by Dee Putri
Many times in the past, I’ve found myself wondering what everybody thinks about me. Am I pretty? Do I look cool? Or maybe, do I look pathetic? But I’m not brave enough to ask people about it. Also, when they say that I’m pretty, I’m afraid that it is just about having good manners, or not to hurt my feelings.
Sometimes I think that I’ll buy make up. But I hate when it makes my face look ‘too white’ or ‘too red’. I found a product that really helps to reduce my acne, but my face looked ‘too red.’ A friend said to me, “Do you wear whitening or something?” She meant it as a compliment. “Absolutely not! I think my face looks so red,” I answered her. I don’t want somebody to think that I’m using whitening products, because I’m not–there are a lot of problems with them.
Many Indonesians are tanned naturally, but I’m not (okay, I’m little bit tan now because the sun has been crazy here lately). I think it is from my mom’s genes. Many people are confused about whether or not I’m Chinese, even though I’m not. I know that I don’t want any whitening products, but it’s really difficult to find skin products without whitening formula in them. If you see TV, magazine, or other ads here, you’ll see advertisements where they say things like, “You should be white so you could be attractive. And the boys are gonna like it, of course.” The advertisements really point the boy part out. I hate it. I mean, I don’t want to change the color of my skin, because I like my skin the way it is. Plus, I don’t want to look like what everybody else wants (for example: boys). Why I should be what I’m not?
My sister used to say to me, “You used to be beautiful you know when you were a kid. And now, oh, what happened with your face?” And I always said, “I don’t care, okay?” But I lied. I did care about it. My self-esteem was low and I knew it. But sometimes I think I’m ok, and that maybe I do have high self-esteem: I’ve stopped watching TV, I’ve stopped buying magazines (but okay, I still read them on the internet which means I’m not totally lost). It’ll be okay; I’ll be beautiful on my very own way. And I keep ignoring what other people say about my looks.
I have learned many things from the Internet (thanks, Internet! It really has helped me to grow up). Since high school, I’ve stopped paying so much attention to pop culture – it helps that I outgrew my teenage angst, too. I know that I’m different. I know that everybody shouldn’t be the same.
It is very difficult to explain how I stopped caring about my appearance, because it takes such a long time – it takes time and learning to care more about what I do than how I look. One day I woke up and all I thought was, “What time is it? Am I late for college? Have I done all of my tasks?” And while I still have my morning rituals to get ready for the day, wearing make up isn’t part of it. I keep forgetting to wear any and I just don’t care about it anymore! I have lot things to do and my appearance is one of the last things on my mind.
Now, I’m too lazy to think about how I look. I’m stressing out with life itself! Not having a big mirror also helps. So, I never really know how I look, and I’ve learned how to respect myself without taking my appearance into account. We all have different ways of learning self-respect. But mine comes from this struggle with beauty, exploring it on the Internet and realizing that what defines beauty is blurry at best anyway (especially since someone invented a thing called Photoshop!) I just want to look like what I am. My body is mine. And I don’t want anybody else to say a word about it.