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  • A.S. from ELEVEN

Skin Deep

We are never in control of what people think of us, so why do we torture ourselves with their thoughts about us? Especially when we know ourselves a lot better than others. Beauty has always been interpreted as something visually appreciated before it is seen as something from within. I can’t help but wonder, why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we value the perception of others on ourselves more than our own? This is not it. (as the Gen Z slang goes)

Growing up, I understood how beauty was a light shade of skin, poreless face, skinny but not too skinny body and muscular but not too muscular body... to others. I never felt like my body was ugly until someone mentions to me something unique about my appearance to them in a teasing or mocking way. I have loved this body from the start but people have intentionally or unintentionally made me feel as though this body was not worthy of love. People tend to say things about this body so carelessly. They are stating facts. Facts that support the societal view of what beauty is. Oh, but how limiting is that? To put the definition of beauty in a box when it is so much more.

I have studied art. Let me assure you dear reader, beauty is not a light shade of skin, a poreless face, a skinny but not too skinny body and a muscular but not too muscular body. Beauty does not count the wrinkles, scars, pimples and hairs on your body as though there is a specific amount of all these things you must have or not have to make yourself more beautiful or less beautiful. I blame the Roman and Greek sculptors for creating such exaggerated human sculptures made of brass and marble that caused such a skewed perception of what beauty is. They only did that because they felt that the natural state of the body looked boring. Again, I studied art and that really is the reason why they exaggerated the human figures of their sculptures. This has resulted in beauty standards set differently year after year. The idea that the natural body is never enough stays the same. Does this mean our natural bodies are any less beautiful? No. Please, let’s stop this limiting mindset. The sculptors looked at bodies but they did not know how to appreciate them.

We owe a lot to our body. It functions so well for us. It allows us to feel the world around us. We can see, taste, touch, smell and experience the world thanks to our body. Every marking that lies on your body is evidence of your life’s experience. Let me try to reframe what people do not see when they look at their body and face in the mirror.

To the reader, these are what the features on your face and body represent.

The acne scars on your face from your teen years:

Shows how much your body persisted through natural change during puberty.

The dark circles and eyebags:

Shows how much sleep was lost because you are hardworking and burned the midnight oil to complete your assignments and revisions.

The calloused and rough hands and feet:

Shows how much you held onto what you believe in and stood your ground when things made you sway.

The wrinkles at the corners of your eyes, nose and cheeks:

Shows how much joy you felt in your life that it made you smile so wide, so often.

The parts on your skin that seemed to have more hair than what is deemed as normal:

These hairs made you more sensitive to the space you exist in. The space holds you as you are more thoughtful of it.

All parts of you:

All of them show that you don’t just exist in space, you live in it.

To the reader, you are more than what you think you are. You are beautiful, lovely and admirable. We can’t control nor change what people have said about our bodies but what we can do is love ourselves more than what others could imagine. I believe that you can because you deserve that. None of your features on your face nor body could show just how beautiful you are. Your beauty is beyond the surface of your skin. It is skin deep.

If you have not been loving yourself, let me tell you this first so you can say it to yourself in the mirror later.

I love all of you, even the parts that you think are unlovable.

I love you.

Love, Sophea


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