Project 14 – Day 7: My Body

Day Seven deals with the reason I’ve rarely found my face physically attractive, and I’m perfectly okay with it.

I have never found the face that looks back in mirror physically attractive. Ever.

Hear me out. This isn’t a cry for help or an appeal for sympathy, but I have a complicated relationship with my body and my self image. Like most people, I think more about what my body isn’t or can’t do, rather than what it does or already has done for me. But I am grateful. I can breath, and walk, and eat. I can smile, and laugh, and cry. I can hear, and talk, and see. I can smell, and taste, and kiss. My feet have carried me to new places and over well-loved, familiar routes. My hands have crafted beautiful things, like clumsily made pieces of jewellery cherished by their owners, looks for wonderful memories, and little gems of writing. My arms have held those who are dear to me close to me, to comfort, to sooth, to protect, and to shelter from life for a while. I love my body for all the things that I can do with it.

But do I find what it looks like physically attractive? Not really.

I don’t fit society’s definition of physical attractiveness. To listen and see most media, women are physically attractive if they are tall, tanned, slim, blond, busty, and sculpted. Some change in colouring is permitted, but there is am easily recognized trope, bone structure, and body type that screams glamorous and beautiful. My body does not scream physically attractive. My body whimpers it, with a little question mark.  I’m average height, above average weight, black haired, with all the hereditary Asian bone structure that I got from my parents.  By western media standards, I’m not physically attractive. Nor do I fit the typical Asian Beauty trope: I’m not small, thin, and delicate, with milk white skin and a straight, perfectly groomed black waterfall of hair. I tan, I’m an XXXXL in China, my hair’s a mess most of the time, and no one has ever described me as delicate, considering how clumsy I am and how many times I get bowled over.

In essence, I have a hard time calling myself beautiful or physically attractive because I don’t fit what people call physically attractive. I appreciate that a lot of the faces I see in the media are physically attractive because I’ve been conditioned to think they’re physically attractive. I appreciate the artistry that’s gone into their make up, the time and effort and design and creation that goes into their fashion choices, and I appreciate the poise and posture they cultivate, the smile they practice and the charisma they command. I admire the same bone structure, trope, artistry, and effort and poise and charisma in normal people, that I don’t have and can’t be bothered to cultivate yet. That, and them, I find physically attractive. Sexually attractive is a whole other can of worms I won’t overturn right now.

Now, do I like my face and body? Yup.

What? You think that me liking my face and body is dependent on me finding it physically attractive? Not at all. I said before: I love my body for all the things that it can do, and I love my face for all the me it can project. I am a complex, and strange individual, and I love that my face can convey that.

It’s hard to define beautiful in terms of people. I know what a beautiful scene is; it’s something that makes you feel a sense of rightness and peace in your very bones. I know what a beautiful piece of art is: it’s something in which you can sense the depth of the artist’s  feelings. I know what a beautiful memory or moment is: It’s something you want to cherish for the rest of your life. But in faces and bodies?

I find people beautiful when they smile, when they cry, when they’re angry – when they show all the emotions that  make them human. I find faces beautiful when they’re animated by passion, desire, and drive. I find bodies beautiful when they’re cherished, and when the soul feels right inside the body. In short, I find people beautiful when they consider themselves beautiful or are unabashedly human, and it shows.

My face is beautiful, because I can laugh and smile and cry. My body is beautiful, because it works, and I cherish it. I am beautiful, because I’m imperfect, but me.

Physically attractive is beside the point.

Project 14 is how I’m going to start my journey of self discovery, to memorialize  who I am when I start chronicling my life. Each day, I’ll approach who I am through a different paradigm people use to define themselves. Read more about it at my About page.

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