As a kid, I was always short, skinny and shabby. I went to a school with strict rules, leaving me no luxury to bother about how I looked. Growing up did not change my appearance all that much; I remained skinny, short and shabby.
Then came a time when I started attending extra classes and stepped into the world outside of school. That’s when I chanced upon the luxury to care about my looks, my dress and hair. Like any other teenage girl, I began experimenting with makeup. It started with some kohl for my eyes. I was not able to clean it properly before school and got punished for coming to school with makeup. Applying kohl neatly around me eyes required me to face the mirror very closely and look myself in the eye.
Consequently, I began to spend an increased amount of time in front of the mirror (more often than required, at least according to my mum). This made me all the more conscious of my appearance. I noticed that I had facial hair (thanks to my hormones and polycystic ovaries). I had always had this belief that women are not supposed to have body hair, let alone any on their face. I was terrorised.
I wasn’t aware that this might be a common thing among many others my age. I was still a school kid when I was discovering my body. I had people around me who would mock me. For a while, it actually did not bother me as I was less informed about body image, but eventually, this indifference turned into pretence.
Once out of school, I started using parlour services to get rid of my body hair. It seemed like a fairly decent option and continues to remain one. It was after a few more deliberations that I decided to go in for a laser treatment. Before the sessions could even begin, I started imagining myself coming out of the clinic with this shinny flawless skin and an ever-glowing face. It took me 10-12 sessions of skin pinching and some medications to come out with somewhat-shinny skin. The treatment helped to some extent, but I continue to tackle with my unwanted hair growth. Times have made me deal and accept my body in a less harsh manner.
Back then, I took certain steps to look a certain way, to feel a certain way. Whatever I was doing was taking me closer to my ideal of beauty. It was aiding me align better with the philosophies of beauty I have had. Or maybe my then confused philosophies of beauty? And belongingness?
Is there a harm in wanting to look a certain way? Or take action to look a certain way? I believe the answer is ‘no’. If appearing a certain way makes you feel even a tad bit more confident, so be it. Take that action, follow that routine.
For me, it is the underlying intent that matters the most. I consider myself fortunate that my beauty routines were an outcome of my free will and my own confused notions of belongingness. They were relatively less influenced by the societal standards of a woman’s prettiness.
Well, I do not entirely regret the action I took back then, but I must admit my pimpled face and unwaxed arms make me feel more real.