Thursday, January 30, 2014

Life | Late Bloomers

Me at an event for my graduating class circa 2009.

I had said in a previous post a while ago that I would write up a post about how I had gotten over my insecurities (well, most of them anyway) and gotten to this point in my life where I'm comfortable posing in front of a camera as opposed to wanting to stay unseen. Well, here's that post. I apologize in advance for how long this post is. 

I hadn't really started "blooming" until after I graduated. While I was in high school, I wore mainly jeans and tee shirts with a sprinkling of sweaters and cardigans. I was interested in a lot of Asian street style blogs but didn't have enough confidence and the wardrobe to attempt to even start dressing the way I wanted to. I always felt incredibly uncomfortable in my clothes as if I were some whale out of water. I didn't even wear makeup and I was mainly stuck behind my glasses since I didn't get contacts until my junior year. All of this just added up to one socially anxious, socially awkward, and weird looking Asian girl. To add to that, I was at my heaviest, had stress-induced acne, and was constantly feeling inadequate in comparison to everyone else in my grade. Now, this isn't to make you feel pity for me, not at all. I'm just stating how I feel. My senior year is when I started trying to branch out of wearing pants and whatever else I wore. I wore more skirts, more dresses, and was a step closer to dressing how I currently dress.

I still felt a lot of dislike towards myself however. I hated how I looked and that stopped from me doing a lot of things and I regret that. It wasn't until early last year that I accepted myself and my body. I disliked how much fat I had, how chubby my cheeks were, how acne just seemed to pop up in the most awful places on my face, and how nothing ever seemed to fit right on me. I'm 4'11" and weighed in at 135-140 lbs. throughout most of my high school career and it was awful. I saw all of these slender and beautiful Asian girls and wondered why I didn't look like that. It didn't help that my younger sister looked like these other girls, all slim legged and flawless skin. I didn't have any of that. At the time, I felt that I needed to be at least moderately nice looking in order to have a fun high school experience. Despite thinking that, I had a fairly nice time in high school. I had a good group of friends and all the times not spent at school and doing homework was actually quite good. But I still wished that I didn't look like me. My insecurities made my introvertness even worse. I found myself not speaking out when I wanted to and instead let the people I had been friends with remain the louder voices and center of attention. I was perfectly at home not speaking and playing the supporting role to their life films. I didn't see myself as someone who was leading role material, even in MY life. So this went on. 

Fast forward to my graduation in 2010 and I'm a little happier with myself and how I look. I've gotten a bit better at feeling more comfortable in my skin by being slightly better at applying makeup and dressing myself. That year, I bleached my hair and dyed it a bright red. That summer is the one that I look back on fondly because it's when I really started to change things for myself and took the first few steps to being happy with myself. One of the first things I learned that really helped to get me started with loving myself was that the women I found to be incredibly beautiful and gorgeous were confident women who accepted themselves. One such woman that comes to mind is Marilyn Monroe. She was a petite and curvy woman who is considered to be the sexiest woman ever. Knowing that even she, this beautiful and talented woman, had insecurities was incredibly helpful to me. It was nice knowing that even people I considered to be beautiful had problems. Then I encountered the self-love and body positivity section of Tumblr and smothering goodness, the people who posted in those tags helped me more than anything my friends and family could ever say to me.

After that year, dressing myself became second nature. I knew what I felt comfortable in and what I looked good in. Albeit, it took a while and lots and lots of self-love blogs that definitely contributed to how I feel about myself now. 2011 was the year I bleached my hair blond and kept the blond in my hair for a few months. It was definitely a huge step. I was so used to dying my hair a nice red and sort of blending into the crowd that the blond was like yelling out to strangers that I existed and I demand your attention. The blond hair was fun and I miss it often. All through 2011, I kept a healthy level of self-confidence and I had even lost 15 lbs. at this point and weighted 125 lbs. It was a great year, it wasn't until 2012 that my self confidence took a huge dip that lasted until early 2013.
Left: Blond hair early 2011; Right: My hair has grown out, summer of 2011

Late 2012, I began dating a guy who I had been incredibly wary of because he had said some problematic things that had me second guessing him but he seemed to like me and I liked him so we started dating. I can honestly say that that was the biggest mistake of my life. He was narrow-minded, sexist, racist, and for lack of a more polite word, a dick. He constantly made me feel like I wasn't good enough and that I had to change myself for him to "accept" me. He had constantly told me that I wasn't  beautiful, sexy, hot, or pretty; I was, in his words "exclusively cute" and that's all I could hope to be. He was also emotionally manipulative and always made me feel like every fight was my fault. I was so desperate for someone to like me that I stayed with him for eight months before finally realizing that I am capable of being happy single and that I am a damn good looking girl. So I broke up with him and that was the best feeling in the world. Early spring 2013 was the best. I got my self confidence back up and above what it was before and even started this blog. 2013 was a big year for me in terms of self confidence and loving myself for what I am. I bought and wore a bikini, albeit with high waisted bottoms, but still, the experience, though I was filled with trepidation at first, was exhilarating and empowering. It was also the year that I embraced my sexuality for what it is. And towards the end of the year, I ignored hair stylists everywhere and got myself a pixie cut.

In 2013, I learned that if somebody can't get over your body weight and body type, they are not worth your kind words and time and frankly, they can go and, pardon the word, fuck themselves. I also relearned that my weight and looks do not define who I am; it is what I say and what I do and how I affect people that define me. I also came to a comfortable happiness with my face. I came to love how big and brown my eyes are, how my skin can go from a pale tan to a dark brown depending on how much I'm in the sun, and how full my cheeks are. I also learned that yes, I am indeed pretty, beautiful, cute, hot, etc. and even if I wasn't, that's okay too. It helps that my wardrobe grew with careful planning of purchases and lots of great thrift finds. Towards the end of December 2013, I also met my current boyfriend and I can't tell you guys how happy I am that I met him. He's an absolute sweetheart and I am so not used to dating someone so amazing and brilliant.
September, October, November, and December of 2013.

It is now 2014 and my self confidence is at a pretty high level. That's not to say that there aren't still a lot of things that I'm insecure about and that I'm still trying to accept, but that's life. I've accepted myself in all of my fat and dorky glory and that has been the best thing. It took me a little over three years, constant fluctuations of my self confidence level, lots of crying, and some help from close friends for me to get to this point.

Loving yourself and having a healthy level of self confidence takes a lot of work to get to, especially when the media and society are telling you that your body type is wrong and weird. It also takes a lot of time, like I had said earlier, it took me a little over three years. The time and work it takes for each person are different so don't feel as if something is wrong with you if you're 26 and still struggling with self love and confidence while everyone else is happy go lucky. Everyone has a different time table and it's okay if it takes you a bit longer than other people. It helps to not compare yourself to your friends and strangers. That was something that took a lot longer than I wanted to for me to learn myself. It's a rocky road to self love and confidence, but everyone gets there eventually. Don't feel discouraged. Keep working at it and keep trying. You'll get there when you're good and ready. I mean, if I can learn to love myself, you can get to this point too. 

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