“In the transformation of silence into language and action, it is vitally necessary for each one of us to establish or examine her function in that transformation and to recognize her role as vital within that transformation.” - Audre Lorde, “Transformation of Silence”

Enough Beauty

We live in a world where everyone strives to be prettier, to be beautiful, to be the best. We use plenty of skincare products to beautify ourselves accordingly to the society’s definition of beauty. Some even go so far as taking pills deemed “necessary”, and some braver, more desperate ones go under the knife. It’s never enough. Do you know what will make you feel that you are enough? Self love.

I am a 21 year old woman who lives in a small village in northern Malaysia. Living in my circle, looking the way that I do,  is both heaven and hell. Tradition teaches me that a woman must be polite, soft spoken, thin and of course, fair-skinned. I am not that kind of woman at all. That’s not to say that I’m rude, but rather outspoken, short,  fat and yes, darker than most of my friends and family. I’m often labelled as “Black”, “Indian” and of course, “Hippo”. I suffered the most during my high school time, when I got bullied a lot from the time I was 13. Nowadays, no one bullies me anymore ( at least not to my face), but to be honest, the negative thoughts still float around in my brain. I still think that I need to be fairer, that I need to be thinner but there are a few people who help me see beauty the way I am. My family.

“Living in my circle is both heaven and hell”

They made me feel that my dark skin was beautiful too, and that it didn’t matter what anyone else said as long as I believed that. I don’t need validation from anyone else to make me feel beautiful. I am beautiful and so are you. My mom is always quick to remind me that my looks don’t matter half as much as what is in my brain or my heart. I totally agree. You can be beautiful or handsome as hell, and have an ugly personality. I’ve always been told that wanting to be prettier is normal, and I think it is too. What is not normal is the lengths some women feel that they have to go to. When you are risking your life to be more beautiful, something is wrong. The same goes when it comes to loving yourself, instead of trying to meet everyone’s expectations, why don’t you meet your own? Listen to your heart, do you really need to be everything that society told you in order to feel beautiful when that feeling of satisfaction will come from you, and not them? Do you?

“I don’t need validation from anyone else”

Being beautiful doesn’t mean you have to be white, tall, skinny, or have double eyelids, plump lips, thick eyebrows or anything. And, it’s important to note that even when you fit the exact standard of beauty, you still will not be considered beautiful by everyone. People call Beyonce ugly. People call Priyanka Chopra ugly. People call Cindy Crawford ugly. People will call you ugly, but you should not believe that. You are you and that is your beauty. Beauty lies in your smile. We smile when we’re happy and I personally believes that everyone is extra pretty when they smile.  Being beautiful is all about accepting ourselves and loving ourself even when no one sees the same. We can do whatever we want and we need no permission from anyone. We can be skinny because we want to be, and chubby . No one’s opinion on how we are taking care of ourselves should make us insecure. I know, it’s easier said than done. And here I am, still not being confident enough to wear any bright colours but I did anyway and I feel amazing! Why? Because I decided to feel that way. 

“Self worth is so vital to your happiness that if you don’t feel good about yourself, you won’t feel good about anything else”- Mandy Hale 

Tell me, where is the part of your body that you hated the most? Ask yourself why? I used to hate everything about myself but here’s the thing, hating will not make things better. Even if you had already changed yourself completely: multiple surgeries, taking slimming pills and whitening creams, you will still not feel satisfied. Because that’s not you. If we have the time to criticize ourselves, that means we have time to compliment ourselves. Change those heart-stabbing critics into positive and loving compliments. Tell yourself everyday that you are beautiful just the way you are. Listen to Bruno Mars everyday if you have to. Be happy with yourself.

“Listen to Bruno Mars everyday if you have to”

Loving ourself sounds selfish but come on, would a little dash of self love hurt anyone? Put yourself first. Be confident about yourself. You are beautiful and no one can make you feel insecure unless you opened the door for them. Everyone has a different timeline and a different journey. And that means everyone has their own interpretation of beauty. So, what is your interpretation of beauty?  

“Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own”- Unknown 

Yes, there are people who are considered “beautiful” or “close to perfection” but no one is close to perfection. We don’t have to be perfect to live, we can just be ourselves and do what we love because life is too short to worry about what others think of us. What really reflects our beauty is what’s inside of us. Like I’ve mentioned before, you can still be pretty, or handsome but if your personality is a ugly, society will still judge you. See, there’s no end to this. The real problem isn’t with your body, it’s how you think of it and how you think of yourself. That’s why self love matters. Because it teaches us to accept ourselves despite how we look, despite how others look at us, and despite how others are judging us. Beauty is being confident with ourselves, beauty is doing what make us happy, beauty is being ourselves.

“The real problem isn’t with your body”

To those of you who are battling with such negative thoughts, know that you are beautiful and you are loved by us just the way you look. But know this, our loves will never suffice if you don’t love yourself first. So learn to love and accept yourself. Be free from any judgements towards your body. Do what makes you smile and happy, because that’s when you’re the prettiest.

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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