This I Believe

Soh-Leng - Seattle, Washington
Entered on March 8, 2007

I am not beautiful but I don’t wear cosmetics – no lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, blushers or what-not. Do I need these enhancers? Sure I do. I noticed that back in 1972 when neighbourhood boys weren’t playing hacky-sack anymore and disco was the rage. My older sisters were (and still are) gorgeous and they did the disco scene while I stayed home with the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen. When I did join their private dance parties, I tried on makeup – black mascara on very short eye lashes, frosted pink gloss on my too full lips and always, a hint of blusher on my sallow cheeks. Oh yes, and frosted pink again, on my perfectly manicured nails.

Underneath that fresh goo, I looked good but I wasn’t me. I attended four of these social gatherings as a painted mannequin in disguise when it dawned on me that I didn’t want to be a cover girl in a fashion magazine. I just wanted to be me with all my physical imperfections. So I turned a deaf ear to Revlon and Maybelline when they said I wasn’t pretty enough; I put my blinders on when Elizabeth Taylor was the prima donna on the big screen; and I plugged my nose when the bevy of perfume-spraying women at Macy’s accosted me.

I believe that ANYONE can be beautiful, inside or out, naturally and unadorned, with a little work and a lot of perseverance. This I believed 35 years ago and this I believe now. Sometimes it takes more than a little work but that’s okay. I changed my eating habits from overdosing on sugary sweets, natural or artificial, to fresh fruits. I quit drinking soda and acquired a taste for plain water (at least 10 cups a day). My complexion improved. I also worked on re-sculpturing myself. To tone down my lower body, I walked for exercise. It became my favourite pastime. To build up my upper body, I lifted weights. I also maintained a fitness routine everyday and haven’t stopped since.

Working on the beauty within was harder work. Critical, impatient, and sarcastic by nature, I had to learn to rethink my thoughts. Although the process is tough and ongoing, it is fulfilling and I’m a better person for it.

I turned 51 this year and my hair is not jet black anymore. Clairol wants to colour my world but I have to graciously decline. I may not be a ravishing beauty but I am all of me, “as-is” to myself, and more importantly, to others.