I really should have told you this story 5 years ago when I started the blog. For so long I’ve only shared it with a handful of close friends. But since I’ve been getting more ‘up close and personal’ with you, I think it’s time that I share it with you. Hopefully by the end of it you’ll agree that it is a story worth the wait.
Something happened to me when I was young. It had such a devastating effect on me that it lasted for two decades. And only in the past couple of years have I been able to ‘shake it off’. So even though the story has a tragic start, it does have a happy ending. So don’t pull out the tissues just yet. Here goes.
When I was young and growing up in China, I was constantly called ‘ugly’. My mother was a stunning lady, so when I didn’t inherit her looks, some people joked that I was ‘adopted’. This is because I had tanned skin with small eyes and mono-eyelids, all of which in Chinese standards equate to the polar opposite of beautiful. So from a young age, I knew that I couldn’t rely on my looks, and therefore concentrated on studying hard.
Before you start pouring pity on me, hear me out. I didn’t let what other people said get to me. Well, not much. The only ‘negative’ effect it had on me was that I never looked at my face in the mirror. There was not much to look at, after all. Even to this day, I never look at myself in public bathroom mirrors, I still feel self-conscious whenever I check the mirror to see if mascara has run after a sad movie.
So now you know why I am such a makeup illiterate and why I have such a unique sense of style. The Chinese culture stresses conformity, but because I was rejected by traditional standards, I became ‘rebellious’ and embraced individuality.
Although I didn’t meet popular standards of beauty as a child, I never felt unworthy, because my parent loved me. Due to their encouragement and support, I developed diligence instead of depression, strived to be original and not conventional. Now that I’m older and have finally mastered mascara, I don’t cringe as much about my looks. Plus, I hold on to the truth that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” by God, so other people’s opinions of me matter even less, because I am now sure of my worth. Looks are fleeting, it is our character and attitudes that define us.
Who would have guessed that, this ugly duckling would become a fashion blogger and share photos of herself with the world? It just shows, other peoples’ opinions may shape us, but they can’t define us. I wonder if there’s anything in your past that still has a hold of you? I hope that my story can encourage you to ‘shake off’ the labels and shine forth as the magnificent person you are created to be.
Where: Beneath a flowering wattle tree
Wear: Unreal Fur Jacket / Vintage Hat & Dress / Miss Sixty Heels (And a slick of mascara)
Photos by Karen Woo
Chinese Translation by Teresa Ruan (Click below to read)