Body image is, for most of us today, an ideal perception of what we should be as compared to the inadequate one that we are. It has evolved to be an image that has been imprinted and ingrained at the core of our minds and values to the sheer point where it dictates our outlook on life. This outlook is one that compels us into chasing a fleeting goal led through an avenue that only ends in non-fulfillment and desultory.
In an age of Photoshop and concealer, it has become imperative to hide our flaws and shortcomings. We must look perfect and we must be perfect is what we have started to believe. To attain the fair almond shade, I must apply and keep applying the thick cake of lightening foundation to bury deep my brown shade of skin. All of my dark circles and dark acne marks have to be camouflaged from the censorious eyes of the world. It is no longer of consideration that those dark circles have actually been developed through ten sleepless nights of drudgery. It is no longer of deliberation that my acne marks are only indications of me going through a normal hormonal change. These are no longer of significance because this offbeat reality of who I truly am has been shrouded by the materialistic and a shallow image of who I should be.
Though our favorite models and actresses have incessantly reiterated their dearest pick up line of how beauty dwells in the heart and not in the face, yet they deemed it appropriate to spend a few million dollars to do a handful of surgeries and get the perfect body shape. And given the fact that my favorite actress’s perfect body curves are the only goal that I have set for myself in the past one year, I will hate my body. I will hate the way my flappy chubby cheeks sway while I smile. I will hate the fact how my fat belly bulges out spoiling my one true desired look. I will hate my failure of not being able to pursue this only one goal.
And this is not where my journey to perfection ceases. This journey will take me to a destination of insecurity and ingratitude. After the relentless and futile attempts to set my body right, I will reach a point of exhaustion. I will get tired of reshaping my brows in the sleek arch shape every day. I will get tired of creating the perfect wings of my eye and altering my lip size every now and then. My fatigue of putting up with this facade then grows into a reflection of ingratitude. It becomes insufficient that I have a pair of small dark eyes that can see the blue and green colors of this breathtakingly beautiful world. It also becomes not enough how gracefully and perfectly my lips sync to express my thoughts and feelings of day and night. It is just not enough.
My deep sense of frustration and ingratitude eventually bottles deep inside my mind until I lose every speck of confidence that I built throughout my entire insensate life. As my confidence shatters, grows my insecurities. My insecurities render me into realizing how wrong my mother was when she’d tell me daily I am her most beautiful princess. Well my mom, I guess did not know that princesses are pretty and perfect. She, I guess failed to notice that Snow White’s snow white skin, Cinderella’s smooth sleek curves and Rapunzel’s coiffured and luxuriant hair is none of the features that I possess. And insecurity is a dark scary thing. Not only it questions what we do not have, rather it continues to pull us to the point where it eradicates whatever little we have.
In the end, we all are humans and have a limited range of emotional spectrum. So sooner or later, the pursuit of this materialistic body image standards will engulf other real life goals. On my list of priorities, smiling as an act of kindness goes way below the list because I’m too busy right now in buying the sangria red shade of lipstick. Honesty, integrity and humor are traits no longer aimed for because six packs, right curves and contoured cheeks are the new trend. And let’s face it, amid the rushing obsession of deciding what to hide and what to show to the outside world, we tend to leave empty the inside. And as the inside begins to empty, the soul begins to wither. Thus eventually, the soul that feeds from love, kindness and care will lose its existence to the carnal desires of materialism.
We have almost made it cliched echoing that true beauty is in the heart but like every other cliche, the meaning to it is submerged and lost in the deep abyss of our conscience. But what needs to be revived is the fact that when everything else fades away, when money is lost, skin is wrinkled and hair is greyed, the heart remains. The heart still remains whole and intact till the last breath of life.