TRIGGER WARNING – BODY DYSMORPHIA, NEGATIVITY.
That was hard title to physically type. Mostly because I don’t want to have that mentality, and also because I’m sure it might be a shocking headline for many people to read.
I had the idea to write this blog post because of the influx of negative, nasty comments I received over the span of the last 2 weeks when I’ve posted selfies, throwback pictures, anything with my face in it on Instagram and Facebook. These comments have come from people I know in real life, and people who would call themselves ‘close’ to me. It was quite a shocker – but also something I expected and ‘saw coming’, based on where I live and the type of people who live here.
I’ve always tried to keep a positive front on my blog (I have, so far) but I do know that that’s not me. I’m the most pessimistic person masquerading as a optimist and it is the most hypocritical personality trait I have. I love uplifting people, I love telling them to love themselves, their bodies, their skin, their lives, but I don’t do it myself. I don’t practice what I preach. My depression and anxiety played a big part, and my mental health was always mocked, along with my physical appearance.
Body image has been a problem for me ever since I was about 11. It mostly stemmed from the fact that I was diagnosed with scoliosis at that age and had to wear a back brace for the next 5 years of my life. I was also born with a lazy right eye – so one side of my eye is slightly droopier and doesn’t have a double eyelid.
It took a lot out of me, my confidence went right down the drain. I couldn’t wear any of my old clothes because of the shape of the brace, my body starting growing weirdly because the brace was in the way, I ended up with wide hips, big thighs and an unproportionally smaller waist. My boobs never really grew, my bum never did either. But holy hell did my tummy, thighs and face expand.
In many Asian cultures, women are “meant” to be small and slim.
I’m sure many of you have heard that in Korea, it is a tradition for parents to gift their children with plastic surgery when they graduate from school. Despite it not being such a big thing here, I am aware many people are being “asked” to go for plastic surgery, some people are pressured into doing it by their family or partners, and some people have body dysmorphia, like myself.
At 5’2 and 53kgs, I wasn’t really considered slim. In the UK I could shop in the 9-15 section in New Look but the moment I came back to Singapore, I was a size L from H&M and XL from some Chinese stores online. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an L or XL, but because of the things that people said about me, I felt embarrassed and I felt bad about myself. I’ve always wanted surgery, I’ve always wanted to have some sort of weight loss procedure, I always wanted to do something drastic to improve my skin. People encouraged me to ‘fix’ my eyes and my friends asked me to go for surgery in Korea to shape my jawline and get a nose job. But I never did it because I was scared of also being judged for such a ‘taboo’ subject.
I grew up with a lot of criticism. People would tell me I was too fat, they’d tell me girls couldn’t have such bad skin like I did, my hair was “bad” because it was frizzy, unlike the Asian stereotype of straight, smooth hair, my thighs were ‘too big‘, my teeth were ugly and I should’ve gotten braces, my forehead was too high and I even had people telling me I needed facial plastic surgery. Even my complexion has been made fun of – I am pale with yellow undertones and my complexion been described as “sick-looking“, “disgusting“, “*retching noises*”. These are not exaggerations. At the age of 26, I still get these disrespectful comments and they still upset me because to a certain extent, I believe it too.
All these were said to me in disgusted, off-putting tones. Not a casual “You don’t look good today, Marissa.” More like a “Ugh, ew, you look disgusting today, what’s wrong with you?” I’ve had people ‘close’ to me tell me that my boyfriend called me beautiful and pretty only because he was my boyfriend and that was obliged to. Essentially, trying to tell me it was all lies.
When you grow up surrounded by people who tell you that you need to change almost everything about your organic self, those words in your head don’t go away.
It is 2020, I am still a self-deprecating human being, but I am slowly getting better.
It is an extremely excruciatingly slow and steady process, but I’ve got some amazing friends who have helped me look at myself in a good light, I’ve got a boyfriend who always tells me how beautiful I am every day for the 4 years we’ve been together and I’ve got my internet buddies who always hype up my selfies. You know who you are! Thank you for all that you do for me, especially those who won’t know me in real life.
This post has been of a very different tone to my usual, but I feel it is necessary. Body dysmorphia and negative body image is an important topic to be discussed, and I wanted to be real with you guys. If you’re one of the people who suffer with your inner demons or with people around you throwing pessimism at your face over your appearance, I’m so sorry you are going through this, as am I, but things will get better and we have to learn to accept who we are, and love ourselves.
All that has happened to me in the past and those that continue to happen still make me very sad. I still cry over it some days.
If you’re one of the people at the other end of the stick and you’re constantly bringing people down about their appearance for whatever reason it may be, please stop. It doesn’t help, and it only harms. You wouldn’t want that done to you either. Evaluate why you’re doing this, and work on the reasons.
Until next time,