A Self Affair

Photo by Adina Voicu

My Lips. Excuse me but do not get too excited. There is no spice in what is about to unfold.

The very first memory of my lips started with rejection. I was disappointed with how full they were. A frown would creep up every time I saw their reflection in the mirror. I was barely 7 or 8 years old and felt insecure about the plump pillows on my face. Most of the time, I just kept my lips pursed in hopes of making them thinner. There were moments filled with tears of despair as well. Now I look back and smile.

We all go through a phase where at least one body part does not appeal to us, or perhaps even several. You wish you could trade it for something presumably better. For some, it can be the eyes; for most, as per my observation, it's the nose. A lot of people I personally know have gotten rhinoplasty done. I am not against getting a bit of feature enhancement, but I do encourage you to at least try loving yourself with all your bits and pieces, big and small. I am glad my parents didn't have enough money for plastic surgery, nor was it considered a common practice back then.

I have a short round nose, small eyes, a forever round face, and big lips. I may sound or even look animated. Some even say I look like Betty Boop, minus the curves. I learned to love my body, but it took time and conditioning my mind with positivity. It is NOT easy to be positive; just easy to say it. Feeling it, convincing yourself, and then further practicing positivity is a whole different game. However, a step forward is better than none. 

I do feel I need to get more fit because my body deserves to be taken care of, and trust me, I am trying. We all try. Despite the eating disorder caused by anxiety, I take one step forward daily. Sometimes there are steps taken backward, and that's okay too. Acknowledge it. I still love everything about myself, despite my healthy shortcomings.

Love does not happen overnight, and self-love is hard. The change for the better certainly was not because of family support or friends cheering you up. Despite being generally nice, my family has this unhealthy obsession with how skinny women look beautiful. For most of my life, I was called fat, and by the time I realized I was not always big but rather curvy, it had already done the damage. 

Our culture teaches women to be conscious about their weight and appearance, but they never teach you about healthy eating habits or how to lead a more active lifestyle from a younger age. They want you to learn cooking, appreciate traditional greasy food, and then expect you to not eat. That is low-key torture. The flaw is not in you; it is much more spread out and mostly starts with the mindset of the society. 

The flaw is mostly not intentional; it has evolved into a norm. If confronted with feeling pressured, the answer you mostly get is, "but we meant well, never wanted to offend you," and they are not wrong. This idealism is so deeply rooted in societies that just saying you are ok with your body will not help. You need to acknowledge everything, your own beliefs and what others impose, and then start taking positive steps forward with a sack full of patience and a pinch of wit. That is how the journey starts, with acceptance.

I started by acknowledging my lips. I have them, they are big, now what? Let's make the most of it. The very first makeup product I bought was lipstick. I still remember the shade, cocoa, and even the brand, which was Revlon Colorstay matte lipstick. Then I started loving the rest of my body, and the love grew because it was mine to give, and I had plenty. That epiphany changes everything. To love yourself, you need only YOURSELF. 

Spreading awareness of normalizing all body types, different features, skin colours, and even a small button nose, starts with the self. When you understand yourself, all of you, every inch and corner, you are in a better place to make others understand.

I am grateful now that people actually think I get lip fillers, which I don't; I am scared because I have *Trypanophobia. If they knew how uncool I felt once about my big lips, they would be surprised. Treat your body like you are in love with it, and never let anyone, even your mind, bully it. 

We each have a story, a journey, but all is well if you start moving forward with positivity.

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