Admitting Defeat

Self-awareness can often lead to the cruel admission that we do not meet the standards we set for ourselves; this is a depressing realisation, and one that was triggered today by confirmation of the characteristic of a physical feature of which I was (subconsciously) aware, but never (consciously) accepting. The physical feature is my skin complexion – my father has been blessed with fair skin, fairer even than both his parents, while my mother is more tan; I covet my father’s ivory complexion and as such had convinced myself that I had inherited it, perhaps to sustain a sense of self-worth to which I was not entitled, but it was my mother who dawned reality on me when she pointed out, rightly, that my skin colour is a blend of both of their complexions.

I have, perhaps, always been aware of this fact, but believing otherwise, that I had inherited my father’s skin colour, made me feel secure and beautiful. However, lies breed delusions, and it is time I faced the truth and do not live in darkness. Thus, my self-awareness today facilitated a correction of self-worth, while it is a downgrade, I am perversely relieved that I do not have fair skin or an appearance that is worth investing in. I can give up; I do not need to spend time, money or effort on elaborate skin care rituals and products; it is pointless to guard what I do not have. I am free! – of delusions, expectations and desires. The acknowledgement that aspirations are indeed unrealisable is a sweet escape from the struggles of their achievement. Today I am free!

Some people are destined to be stars – the universe hands them cards that allows destiny to shine; but not all of us are stars. Acknowledge reality to draw clearer conclusions about where life is meant to lead you: did you inherit the genetics you wanted from your parents? Are opportunities realised without minimal effort even? Answering such questions makes clear if stardom is destined. I have never been lucky in the genetic lottery or otherwise, I have followed rules, but never reaped rewards. Thus, I know I am not meant to succeed, and while this is difficult to accept, it is best to surrender to the reality fate has designed for you. It is sensible to fight fate in matters that are malleable, but choose fights  you can win. The genetic lottery is not winnable. I have found peace in accepting defeat.

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Room for Improvement: #1 Skin tone and complexion

Beauty is not subjective in that the only conception of beauty that concerns me is my own; beauty is clearly defined for me, and I believe that I reiterate the standards of beauty that everyone accepts but does not acknowledge for fear of political incorrectness. The beauty (sic!) of the internet is that my thoughts can be publicised, they are as valid as anyone else’s, and hence are entitled to the little space that the vast stretches of the net affords them.

Discrimination based on skin colour is ubiquitous but  not unquestionable; history has shown that the lighter skin tone as often indicated status, racial superiority, wealth and other features associated with prosperity and success. Thus,  it is unsurprising that the lighter and fair skin colours have become a standard feature of beauty. As a non-Caucasian, I have been (un-)privileged to experience the institutionalised, systematic and hurtful disadvantages that are associated with the darker skin colour. I have melanin, and my genetics decide that sun exposure will generate more melanin, thus, I tan; in fact, I am tan. Unnecessary examination of my complexion revealed that I have a ‘very warm, peach’ skin undertone (very rare, so I was told), so even when I am following the vampire lifestyle, I still look ‘sun-kissed’ (too much kissing).

The development of the youtube beauty guru culture has not helped, the perpetual assurance by these makeup artists/gurus that the colour of foundation is ‘a little too light’ for them simply because they still have a tan reduces my faith in my own skin colour. I keep comparing the foundation colours to my own, and keep learning that they are simply tan, and once their tan wears off, they will resemble the paper napkin I wiped my snot on. It is my conviction, that if a person always has a tan, then he or she is of tan skin colour.

Furthermore, the recent campaigns of ‘Dark is Beautiful’ are heartwarming only when I am hearing them from people who are, in fact, dark. I do not want ivory-skinned beauties, who have never had to reconcile with being the ‘before’ picture in commercials, explain that dark skin is beautiful. It is easy being on a high horse when you have not dealt with its shit; it confuses me when fair skinned people denigrate bleaching treatments, peels and other tools that the rest of the population use to achieve their desired complexion. It is imperative that aspirations be acknowledged, otherwise, insecurities are being bred but their source is unacknowledged, as light skin still remains desirable but the desire is shameful.

I will always desire a complexion that is lighter, I will continue to use creams and remedies that promise me lighter skin, but I have accepted myself. There is a constant reminder that this is as good as it is going to get, and I move on!

 

This is as good as it’s going to get

This is an introduction to a several unplanned series of pieces on body image. We all have a self-image we covet, we desire to be leaner or fuller, taller or more petite, fairer or more tan, and more; these desires are influenced by the transient landscape of fashion and the unbendable tastes of society.

There is large outcry, and rightly so, against a single ideal of beauty, mostly because there is no single ideal of beauty. The debates on beauty are never conclusive, hence there is a need to address unhealthy obsessions that stem from unrealisable aspirations. I have always found solace in self-acceptance, rather than self-love; the latter always seemed patronising.

As a self-aware individual, self-love seems foolish to me, there are several things I wish to change about myself – externally and internally. From being smarter and more careful, to being fairer and leaner, nothing about myself measures upto the standards I set for myself. Thus, self-love is for those who refuse accept their flaws, but I accept myself and when I do not measure upto my standards, I accept that ‘This is the best it is going to get.’

#1. Make Displays of Affection, Private

Kindly oblige:

Behaviour including, but not limited to, touching, hand-holding, hugging, embracing and kissing, between people of the same or opposite gender(s) should not be practiced in places and sites including, but not limited to, public parks, public transport, public streets, shopping centres, children’s play areas, restaurants, cafés and balconies. The objective is to not make other people uncomfortable; love should be privately expressed in a manner that is as sacred and beautiful as the emotion itself.

 

Case for Etiquette

There is an aggressive movement to eliminate inhibitions and live free as people forgo customs and tradition to embrace behaviour that is socially unacceptable. There is a need to recall certain codes of conduct to facilitate a coexistence that is palatable for everyone. This requires exercising restraint and consideration.