Welcome to Ask Poppy! I’m Poppy, your go-to girl for all of life’s woes. And when I say ALL, I MEAN IT. I’m not an expert on anything except maybe for being me, which makes me totally qualified to do this.
I’m nearing 30 years old already and I still ask myself how I can love myself. I don’t like how I look. No matter how many times I say “morena beauty,” it just doesn’t register. It didn’t help that my closest friend was a model with porcelain skin and has that girl-next-door look. The type when a guy sees the both of us, he will talk to me and ask if my friend is single or not.
I understand how everyone can’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model. I understand that beauty is relative. But I am so tired of listening to motivational videos and reading feminist articles saying how beautiful is just a concept beyond magazine covers. I know that by the book I’m not ugly. My friends say it in the many pep talks given to me. There are days that I do like how I look, a little. But I’ve been mistaken for being a maid with my tisoy cousins. Not that being a maid is a bad thing…but do you get what I am saying?
I hate my face. Each and every mark I curse. If plastic surgery was an option, I would probably give the Kardashians a run for their money. But nope, I am just an average girl with a regular paying job who can’t do much about my face except to keep it moisturized.
And this hatred for how I look bleeds out into how I am insecure every day. In how I shop, in how I believe people perceive me. Every single day, it’s so hard to tell myself that I don’t look bad. I have my own merit for my own way of beautiful but I always want to look like someone else. The insecurity bleeds into self-doubt.
I perhaps sound like a teenager here and I know that no matter how much one friend can tell me how beautiful I am or if I try to get my validation from the number of likes a nice photo of myself gets on Facebook, it’s worthless. I could be the most beautiful woman in the world for all you know, right? But until I don’t believe in it really and truly, it’s all pointless. I will always think ill of myself and there goes a cycle of insecurity, hate, and doubt.
I don’t know how you can help me out in finding a way to get some self-confidence.
Have you tried not looking directly at mirrors to avoid seeing how terrible you are? Just kidding, I’m terrible. Kidding aside, I think a lot of us goes through that naman. Except yours is becoming a bit too permanent, thus it’s pulling you down real hard.
Your intense wanting to look like someone else is perhaps the source of insecurity. All this sulking and self-hate throughout the years have risen up to the surface and it can suffocate you. It’s suffocating enough that people have built up such high standards when it comes to beauty tapos you’re ganging up on yourself pa.
Perhaps you should start by taking it easy on yourself. You are aware that your looks are not up to the imposed beauty standards, so stop making an effort to look like the others around you. I know! It’s hard! Beautiful people are everywhere! It’s all about acceptance, gurl. You accept what you think you deserve is what teenagers would tell you from the sheer amount of crappy Young Adult fiction that they consume. Sure, no matter how many pep talks from your girl friends you get, all those self-help books that you might be reading, all those dang feminist think pieces that you cling onto—those things will change nothing in you because you’re just not being a good “partner for change” to yourself. You’re biased that you’re ugly. The older you get, the more yellowed you will become. Like, dude, have you seen old people? Not to be ageist, but old people are ugly. Sure, not all old people get ugly, but regular peeps like us who doesn’t have Belo on speed dial needs to chill and just go along with the ride. While you’re mulling over that, let’s look at some celebrity plastic surgery disasters.-
Like, growing up is so much more than just beauty. To me, growing up meant that I simply have no time worrying about how I look, just so I could have more time sifting through all my Facebook friends and getting rid of the trash. Block those ugly thoughts like you block your basura friends. You don’t need validation from Facebook because social media is basically an endless, vacuous place where you don’t really do anything except maybe to get the “trends” and catch up on your “friends.” But it means nothing, really. You can’t just f*cking measure how beautiful you are based on the number of likes that your profile pic has. Like, don’t depend on it that much because chances are even those girls who try to make you feel better, they know that you’re unconventional looking, therefore making them feel a bit superior every time you feel the pains of being fug.
In Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, a comic about comics, he explains the different impact that a “cartoon-y” looking drawing and one that’s grounded on realism. Scott said that cartoonish drawings already exist as a concept to the reader making them a lot easier for comic readers to deliver ideas nicely. It’s accessible because people think that’s how comics should look like—all those years reading Archie and Friends, I know you know what I’m talking about. Scott then presents realistic drawings from comics and comments how these realer drawings have a harder time connecting with the audience because their qualities make them look like just a bunch of still pictures. But then would you rather look like a cartoon than a real version of yourself?
In another chapter, Scott explains how art in any medium follows a certain path. Anyway, the final step in that path is SURFACE. I’m thinking that it’s the final path because you don’t really need the surface to drive something to be created. It’s the least of your worries, really. “It’s the surface that people appreciate most easily, like an apple chosen for its shiny skin,” he writes. “Often if we bite into that shiny new apple—hollow.”
There are so many things that you can accomplish if you stop focusing on your flaws and just start living your life as it should be lived—one that is free from the pain that you feel every time you look in the mirror. Marissa, there’s really nothing that you could do (aside from plastic surgery, sige pwede) to make you feel better. It will be a vicious cycle of self-hate if you’re going to continue treading this path.
Beauty starts with you naman, eh. It’s bullsh*t to say this, but it’s not really the surface that counts, it’s what you hide underneath that matters. And if they don’t see it, and you don’t see it, and you don’t change—honey, I’m sorry but there’s no other way to help you.
Call the Belo hotline na.
Kaya mo yan,
Got a question for Poppy? From love and relationships to weird questions you dare not ask even your psychologist, Poppy is ready to answer them all. Send in your questions to [email protected] or post your question over Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #AskPoppy, and you just might get the answer you are looking for.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Dorothy Guya