Ugly Duckling

Allow me to let you in a little secret — I was butt ugly as a child.
Some kids were cute because they looked fat and adorable. Meanwhile, with my round face, small eyes and pug nose, I looked more like a pug than a doll. So when people asked me if I was cute as a child, I’d nod and say, “Sure, I was cute, if you considered pugs to be cute.”

No exaggeration — this was what I looked like as a kid.

What made it worse was that my cousin who was born the same year as me was absolutely pretty. I looked back on my baby photos and there she was, looking so adorable in pigtails and a bright red dress and white socks. Beside her, was butt-ugly me, whose very existence seemed to make her look even more beautiful than comparison.

Then again, everybody else was… If you looked that ugly, everybody else is no contest. It’s like saying that you’re a genius — especially if you compared yourself to a 3-year old.

Which is why I scoff when my friends tell me, “Wow, you look so hot,” or “You’re so pretty, why would you ever run out of boys?”

I couldn’t even believe it when my college crush asked me out a few weeks ago. Whoa, here was a guy who didn’t even exchange a few words with me during my freshman year. Why the attention all of a sudden?!

It’s true, years of brainwashing that you’re light years away in the physical department tend to make you doubt their words. Sheesh, are you just saying that because you need something? It’s not as if I can do you any favors…

But then again, the stigma still stays. That’s what all the years of having been surrounded by people prettier than you. Also sucked when your best friend was the heartthrob of your entire high school… sigh. Imagine the trauma…

I vividly remember when I was in high school, my dad called me in for a father-daughter heart to heart. He said, “Raven, there are those whose success come easy because they are beautiful and pretty.”

He paused.

Given that, I think you have to study extra hard in order to make it in this world,” he slowly concluded.

Talk about ouch, from your own dad even! Okay, so what if I don’t think I’ll ever grace the covers of Cosmopolitan or Vogue. But imagine your own flesh and blood saying those harsh words about you. As if it’s my fault! I’m from his genes! It’s not as if I chose to look this way!

Which is why I always tease my friends when they’re on a boyfriend hunt, “Sure, choose someone with great personality and you can live with… but remember YOUR KIDS!”

It’s true — quit punishing your future children and admit it.

Average looking Raven + Ugly looking mate = Below average looking child.

Average looking Raven + Good looking mate = Over a 50% chance of an above average looking child.

So yes, at the risk of sounding superficial and lame, I think looks and height are important factors in choosing a mate. If you choose someone who’s vertically challenged, you better prepare yourself in having shorter kids. Guys, if you’re not that tall and your wife ain’t as well, and your kids are as big as Godzilla, better watch out. They may not be yours in the first place… or maybe, you can just blame the milk. 😛

Often times, I joke that I’ve gotten the worst of my parents’ features:

My dad’s large lips for example…

He has huge lips that protrude and are the highlight of his face. My brother and I shared the same huge features as well, and to tell you the truth, it wasn’t fun being a kid with big lips.

Though Angelina Jolie made thick lips an envious asset, she came in a few years too late. That never stopped the other kids from calling me a “penguin” when I was younger.

Large lips were not ‘cool’ then… and kissing gave you cooties. So yes, Daisy Duck lips did not make you particularly attractive to the opposite sex.

Aside from this unpleasant feature, also inherited his huge pug-like nose…

Now, though the Chinese think that wide noses are lucky and mean that one will live a life of wealth, it is still not something you’d desire a woman.

Try sticking a gigantic nose in a woman and see if that makes her look attractive. NOT!

At best, I can say that it gave me lots of character, and a lot of air to breathe! Let’s see if people can forget me now!

My mom aso shared in the blame. There were for example, her small chinky eyes that disappear when you smile. Too bad people nowadays think that large doll-like eyes are cuter.

There’s also her thin, fine hair, which makes me worry at times — What if I run out?

To their defense, I got my dad’s baby-like skin and my mom’s above average height, thus giving me the chance to join society and not look too butt ugly. At the very least, I do have some assets I can be proud of.

Regardless, still doesn’t forgive the huge lips and nose. Try doing the math and see if that qualifies me for any modelling contests anytime soon…

Don’t get me wrong. Makeup helps a lot. But they ony help when you apply them.

This is a problem if you’re like me and have such a hard time waking up in the morning. Sometimes, I wake up late that I wash up and run out without applying makeup.

Not wearing makeup reminds me how much I need to wear makeup! And sure enough, the chances of you running into your crush is higher when you’re at your absolute worst! 🙁

Makes me want to dig a hole and stick my head on the ground ye.

Now, au naturale may be good for some, but trust me, Raven before and after makeup are just two different beasts. It’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! It’s amazing what a puff of powder, some blush and a light eye shadow application do wonder to your face.

Hence, I’ve come to appreciate the help that comes with artificially beautifying yourself. They really do emphasize and accentuate your features. I swear, they make me look prettier than I really am!

To end, I’d love to think that people like me because of my infectious personality and quick brain, but come on… who are we kidding?

I remember my friend CW advise that I start wearing large, baggy clothes so that “guys will no longer pay attention to your body, but rather to your bubbly positive personality.”

True, it logically made sense — guys would stop going gaga over your S-curve and your ample assets and concentrate more on the deeper side of you. They’d want to get to know you better outside the bedroom instead of inside it. Nonetheless, there’s a flaw to this argument:

Guys are visual creatures — how can you catch fish without the bait?

That’s according to my other friends btw. Just saying…

And yet, salvation is here.

Honestly, I really don’t look as bad as when I was a baby. Maybe it’s the makeup or whatever, but for some reason, though the huge lips and nose didn’t go away, there are other features of mine that made up for such lack.

Maybe the standards in Taiwan are lower, but back in the Philippines, nobody ever told me that I was pretty or beautiful. Sure, I was seen as magaling (competent) and mabait (really nice), but anything related to the physical was not something people would talk about when it comes to me. I’d be seen as okay lang (just okay).

So it’s a surprise when some of the hottest, cutest guys would pay attention to me. In the past few years, I’ve managed to catch the eye of one Tom Cruise, one Brad Pitt, one Eminem (!), and one Gerarld Butler. Am talking about lookalikes, okay.

Sometimes, I think it’s from the clothes I wear.

When the clothes you wear are pretty hot and you have that cool attitude, you exude an aura of sexiness, and confidence is attractive.

Even today, people still talk about the outfit I wore on my last birthday — a red-hot dress that’s up to the knees and shows off my ample assets. It was cheap when I bought it at WuFenPu, but made me feel great as I celebrated my 27th birthday. My female friend introduces me to her colleagues as “the girl wearing that red dress,” and I sometimes wonder if that’s the only adjective best to describe me.

Other times, I think people find me attractive because of my loud and outgoing personality.

I can’t really be a bitch, so when people talk to me, I’m polite enough to talk to them back. As Chinese by nature are more traditional and more reserved than other cultures, me actually making conversation makes me look even more sociable than I really am.

Hmmm… Maybe it’s my parents’ upbringing? There’s just something about relatively more educated people that makes them more attractive. No matter how sexy or physically blessed you are, if you don’t use the cells between your ears, then I’m sorry but you’re a bore. Talking about the latest fashions and the weather can only do so much, and after that, you better start talking about something else. I have enough of mundane small talk that goes nowhere. More thought-provoking conversation please!

Likewise, being emotionally stable more often than not can also be attractive. When every girl around you is wacko and stalks the guy they like, being a woman who has her pride do have its advantages. At the very least, am proud to say that I’ve yet to stalk a guy and wait outside his house, hoping to catch a glimpse of him and the other woman.

Whatever it is, being physically attractive is a lost cause.

Truth be told, God gave me this face, this body and unless I have some radical surgery done, there’s really no way for me to significantly improve what I have. The best thing to do is to accept who I am and just make the most out of it.

And I guess, that’s part and parcel about the transformation to being a beautiful swan.

Those who are most beautiful are those who aren’t always primping themselves and continually looking at the mirror. They are those who are most comfortable with their own skin and what they’ve become. Personally, I find women who have come to terms with her own self as the most beautiful of all.

True, you can always have bigger boobs and breasts, but if you merely depend on the physical assets to prove yourself, years will come and go, and you’re fighting a lost cause to those who’ll be prettier and sexier than you are. Weight will be gained, and skin may sag. But wisdom, confidence and substance will differentiate you from all the bimbos out there.

Admittedly, I’m still learning this lesson — some days, I still care about what I look like. I check myself out in the mirror and stop myself from eeking.

Maybe as I was cute when I was butt ugly as a child, I can still retain my prettiness by being my own self. Sure, I won’t win any beauty pageants, but nobody else looks like me.

Knowing that, and accepting that I am special makes me beautiful — and so should each one of you as well. We are all beautiful because each and every one of us unique.

And wisdom comes in accepting that.

Gotta shower! Nighty!

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2 thoughts on “Ugly Duckling

  1. Question:
    In baby times you were ugly
    now you are a hot babe, right?

    You prefer hot boy to prevent
    getting ugly baby, you should better ask for his baby photo,
    maybe he was ugly too in baby times.

    Last but not least I know a lot of
    people super cute in baby times
    but really ugly as adult



  2. Wonders of what an outfit, a dash of makeup and a bit of personality can do to compensate for the lack in the physical department… Not really saying am hot. Only admitted that I was pretty ugly for a baby. And that’s an understatement. 🙂

    But counting my blessings. As you’ve said, could’ve been worse. Could’ve started of as ugly, and even be uglier as an adult…

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