Features

I Could Be The Smart Girl, Maybe the Cool Girl, But Never the Pretty Girl

"This is an ode to anyone who has struggled with recognizing beauty in themselves."
IMAGE Marielle Tuazon

Some girls are born pretty. They grow up believing they are because that's what everybody around them suggests. Some girls on the other hand take a little getting used to the fact that they are. This is the story of Marielle Tuazon, who for the longest time believed she was meant to be on the sidelines. Until recently when she realized that she may not perfectly fit society's standards of beauty, but she is 100% beautiful in her own way, like all of us are. 

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Being the only girl in the family has its perks and downfalls. In some cases, it's the same thing: a paradox, if you may. Beauty is something that is judged the moment we are born, and being me, I revel in the fact that people can't compare me to anyone but my mother, which prevents me from garnering more insecurities than I have now. Then again, at the same time, I feel the pressure to reach whatever standard is projected on me. I am a frustrated perfectionist, and yet, my knowledge on beauty was strangely limited ever since. I dressed for comfort, and only learned how to do my makeup in the last 2 years. I had no idea about threading or waxing or any other beauty procedures most women do.

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I didn't care much about how I looked, because when you're young, being beautiful is (hopefully) the last thing we think of.

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There were more important things to attend to, like play dates and High School Musical marathons. Female icons were only looked up to, and we rarely think that we need to look a certain way to feel beautiful.

Something about innocence, maybe. I wish I still had the privilege of not being beat down by societal beauty standards. This month, I almost ventured into pageantry; which to me is still a huge shock. I have been in school for so long and only now did a teacher reach out to me and honestly say they want me to represent the class. I have zero experience, limited confidence, and low self-esteem. I could see it not going well. I have to admit; it was the most flattering thing ever. It felt kind of good to be chosen, for once, no matter how unexpected it is.

I think the only redeeming value I possess is my brains.

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When people are asked about me, it's always the thing they remember most. Marielle: the nerd, the Inglesera, the sosyal. The comments are mainly based on how I act and think, barely focusing on my looks. If implied, I'm always commented as so-so, 50/50 at best, borderline cute. A friend once told me at first glance I was just like any other face out there, but the longer I get stared at, the better my features look. In short: I am not a head turner. I am not the social media girl who gets a thousand likes on a selfie or have a line of guys waiting for an opportunity. The Pretty Girl, if we were to identify it. I could pass as The Smart Girl, or maybe The Cool Girl, but honestly why would I let society label women off like that?

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I was always leaning towards chubbiness when I was younger, so I totally knew being an actual muse for anything was out of the equation. I never understood why size mattered. The idea that body shapes and sizes dictate beauty is quite ridiculous. Beauty queens are always sporting a figure so perfect it's distracting, and my body is far from that. All these things barely hurt my feelings because I got so used to it, and not being chosen every time taught me to expect less and appreciate other people's beauty.

Being on the sidelines does that to you. We have an almost immune reaction towards these things. We don't necessarily put ourselves down to fish for compliments, but we know where we stand, at least.

Following recent heartbreaking events in my life, I lost almost 20 pounds now, from 150lbs to 130 lbs. I am working out semi-regularly and eating a bit healthier than ever. There is fulfillment in such achievements, and it's so beautiful when done for other reasons than vanity. I find joy in trying when I can.

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Naturally, those pageants have screenings, so it was no surprise that I didn't make the final cut. It was an odd feeling, to be stared at by so many people all at once, and knowing they are judging every movement, alongside the way I looked that day. I could barely speak, much less walk gracefully. I have never felt so conscious of my movements in my entire life, it felt like walking on eggshells. I rushed through the whole process, and it took quite a few jabs on me to not be chosen in front of an audience of men, because even if I didn't want it as bad, I wanted to experience it. 

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These recent occurrences reminded me of what a friend told me in a fight a year ago when I took irony on a whole new level on social media by sometimes captioning photos like I am so full of myself. It went somewhere along the lines of her telling me that it seems odd for me to possess such self-confidence because it comes off as GGSS (Gandang Ganda Sa Sarili) and a solid, "let's face it, Marielle: you are not conventionally attractive."

What is considered as conventional beauty? As far as I know we all have preferences.

That made me think for weeks, to tell you the truth. My self-confidence hit an all-time low during those times, but luckily I (and our friendship) managed to survive it. Now, I can say I trust myself more than I did a year ago, heck, a week ago. It's amazing how much we can internally reflect on in a span of 7 days. As the cliché goes, we're all beautiful in our own way, and I guess it's true. I no longer feel the need to criticize others for things they're bad at, things they lack, in order to feel that I am a notch above them. I can recognize strengths and weaknesses in others now, developing a purer heart to forgive myself for mine and compete only with myself in the past, with the goal of doing better than I did before. If I focus on myself and my self-growth, I attain inner peace. It's always nice to remember that someone else's beauty doesn't mean the absence of mine. 

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Another thing: beauty is subjective, and it's more than just the physical appearance. Some people are just born with it, no doubt, but it also takes a lot of improvement to be seen way past your physical appearance. Let's not disregard our knowledge and talents.

Looks can be improved in a few minutes, but these things we have inside ourselves took years and years of practice and mastery. That is beautiful.

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Why stick to one facet of beauty when you can go around and above it? Flaws are a given, too, anyone has them. We are all human, breathing, and alive. It's alive. It's one thing to be grateful for. Being unconventionally attractive gives us the opportunity to be appreciated in a deeper level by others and ourselves, once we recognize what we are capable of. This is an ode to anyone who has struggled with recognizing beauty in themselves because they don't fit in the criteria society set out for us. Rise above it.

If you're beautiful in your own eyes, their views won't even matter.

All the love,

Marielle

Read her post in full or her other entries at mariellewritesalot.tumblr.com.

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About the author
Mara Agner
Assistant Lifestyle and Features Editor
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