SOME KIND OF BEAUTIFUL

Sunday, May 7, 2017


I’ve long hated how I look. Asians, as a whole, have features that don’t adhere to modern beauty standards, and my features, at times, feel more markedly different than normal. I have a list of complaints that I’ve long typed out but never had the energy or guts to genuinely write about: my eyelids aren’t creased, which makes makeup a chore. My eyelashes are practically invisible. My body structure is short and stocky. If you look at me from the side, you can see how flat my face is. My cheekbones are hidden under a layer of face fat that I cannot get rid of, and when I smile, they shift and make my eyes disappear. When I stand with my feet together, my thighs fight for room. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I think to myself, I’m freaking ugly. Most times, it feels like the truth.

The disparity between me and the conventional standard of “beauty” has bothered me for a long time, especially with the onset of Instagram culture. Every day, I scroll past pictures of people with long, straight hair and big eyes and slender bodies, and for the short moment that I absorb the picture, I am them, in their Vsco-edited worlds and trendy clothes and thrilling, exciting lives. It’s not even so much about the people themselves as it is what they exude: confidence, regality, well-being, wanderlust, independence, youth. It’s everything that everyone wishes he or she could have, and nobody has all of it, even if it seems like he/she does.

And I think that’s the key. We like the way attractive people look because, well, A) they look good, and B) we like the things they represent. If I only look like that, I’ll be more confident, we think, or, If I look like that, I could do anything. We have an “outside-in” mentality, one that states that our outward appearances dictate how we look.

But in truth, we should have an “inside-out” mentality. What’s inside of us should affect how we act and how we present ourselves. Confidence founded on one’s appearance is shallow and unfruitful; confidence founded on faith, on assurance of one’s standing with God and in the world, is fathoms deeper. Beauty fades, but character stays.

It’s only been more recently that I’ve begun to find contentment with how I look. I’m seventeen; I’m not going to look any better than this. My metabolism will only be this fast once in my life, and I can still eat pretty much anything and not suffer too significantly from it. I’m learning to treasure what I have and not focus on my own exterior too much, because I’d like to people to see me for who I am, not for what I look like.

But here’s what I do like about myself, physically: My bones don’t ache when I walk and run. I’ve never suffered severe injury. My taste buds love fruits and vegetables. I love to exercise. I like the fact that my voice isn’t too high. And I do like my smile, and my laugh.

But more than that, I’m thankful for all the people I know, all of whom are some kind of beautiful, and for the gifts they’ve given me: of friendship and grace, forgiveness and understanding. That is beautiful, the kind of beauty that will only deepen as it ages.

24 comments

  1. Um holy crap I'm so thankful for you

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  2. This is gorgeous, and YOU are gorgeous. <3

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  3. Simply amazing post. As a fellow Asian I can relate to the first part as well. :')

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    1. ain't it true though ? :( :)

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    2. Yep. :( I always feel better when I'm in Korea though. ;)

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  4. I'm part Asian, so I can totally relate and OH BOY did this whole post feel like a punch in the heart for me - in the most awesome of ways, if you get my meaning ;). I needed this post so so bad, you have no idea. Thank you so much for sharing this, Rachel <3 <3 <3.

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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  5. <3 <3 <3 Bless you for this post! Body positivity is sooo important in our unhealthy culture of limited beauty standards. I think the more we are accepting we are of ourselves the way God made us, the more beauty we see in ourselves, other people, and the world around us. <3

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    1. And omg wut... you are a gorgeous queen. <3

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  6. This is something I've thought about a lot recently. For years, I wished that I wasn't asian. I wished that that half of me wasn't there, because the only things I don't like about my face are the things I get from being half asian. I've thought about how I feel like asians are never considered beautiful or "model-worthy," except the few who do have more european-built bodies and who don't look "too" asian. And living in Arizona, I don't have many asian friends. Honestly, sometimes I forget I'm half korean. One time my friend told me, "You're not even asian." That really bugged me, because I realized that I'm just as korean as I am white. It's a part of me, even though the culture isn't.

    This is so long but basically, I totally understand what you mean. I feel the same way too, even though I don't look "super asian." I'm trying to change the way I look at things. Honestly, now I think asian people are the cutest in the world. They're (we're) not always tall and skinny and have high cheekbones and protruding brow bones, but asians are beautiful in their own way and I wish more people would realize that.

    Okay, I'm done now. :]

    Oh and at the very least looking young is great because people now also worship youth in our culture so...

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    1. okay first off kate, you're so freaking cute & pretty
      + i completely relate not feeling asian - i don't think i'm super connected to my culture
      + that's what i remind myself every time: i'm still gonna look like this in ten years, but my classmates are gonna look a million times older, haha, and it'll be a good thing
      thank u for your comment :):)

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  8. Love this so much Rachel! I am also half-Asian (Korean exactly) and totally get this post! So inspiring <3

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  9. Oh my goodness, Rachel.

    I think that you are infinitely beautiful, both inside and out. Short people rock (I'm only like an inch and a half taller than you XD), you have the prettiest hair, and despite the fact that I've never actually met you in real life, it's clear that your smile is one that lights up a room. But more importantly, you are crazy smart, kind, loving, and passionate, and I am so thankful to know you. <3

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    1. awww, i love you so much, grace anne :)

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  10. Oh wow. I've thought about this a lot, and it can literally be the worst thing for me to think about sometimes. Comparison is the thief of joy. FACT. Yikes.

    But God is perfect and He doesn't make mistakes <3 You are absolutely gorgeous, Rachel! :)) So glad I know you (Does blogging count lol)

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    1. yes, it absolutely counts! and thank you so much, autumn!

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  11. YES to all of that, I feel like those Instagram "models" make it seem like their life and appearance is perfect and while everyone knows it's not, it still makes you envy them somehow. However, most of their beauty isn't natural - it's either by procedures and/or photoshop , which is a very unhealthy way of gaining "confidence" and making people have unrealistic standards. I'm not asian but I think your features as a race are very VERY adorable and I think you should embrace them more!

    http://mypastel-world.blogspot.com

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  12. I'm obviously not Asian but I can relate to not fitting in with beauty standards when it comes to my hair. My hair is 4b/c so it's really hard to simply tie it up the way I want without having to use so much product :/ I also got bullied for it (well, it was part of the reason I got bullied). I do like it a lot more now. And I felt so liberated when I finally wore it out in an afro today!

    And it's sad that you were self conscious of your eye smile :( Euro-centric beauty standards suck. They need to be more diverse (but I guess the American one is the most diverse).

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