When an infant is plucked and/or pushed from the womb, they arrive into an aircon-induced freezing room, screaming their lungs out. And if they don’t cry, some sadistic gynecologist who’s not getting any, would smack their little butts. I reckon they don’t want to face the bright lights and would simply rather just crawl back into that warm space in Mom’s belly where they were doing the backstroke moments before. Or maybe they cry because they’ve seen their Dad for the first time. Or maybe that’s how they transition from amphibian to human. I don’t know. What I do know is that they don’t cry because of what they look like.
Babies don’t care what they look like. Even if they knew they were covered in some red/white mucus like goo. Little humans just want to eat, sleep, poop and pee. And be left alone for the rest of the time. They don’t care if they look funny. Or whether they have hair. Or whether they’re a little fat. Or even how ridiculous they look when they smile without one single tooth in their mouths. They will happily play in the mud with any other kid who happens to stroll by.
It’s only when society raises the issue that it creates concern. When some idiot kid who didn’t get enough attention during his fourth year decide to throw a derogatory comment about my skinny limbs. Or the freckles on her face. Or his double chin, third nipple and/or seven toes. And once that moment arrives, once someone or something raises the curtain on our innocence and we are made aware of what defines attractive, handsome or cute AND more importantly, what doesn’t, that my friends is a sad day.
Bollocks I say. But irrespective of how many times I may be able to type that silly word, or try to fight the impending tsunami, the fact remains, every single person reaches a stage in life when they realize how they fit in on a scale of ten. It’s a harsh and cruel reality for any person to wake up one day and find something on their body that they would like to change. And it happens to everyone…
For most of us it happens during or before we enter our teens. When everything we know becomes foreign to us. When our physical changes becomes so radical that it feels like an invasion. The voices deepens, limbs get longer, hair grows in all kinds of places and we grow boobs. Not to mention the changes in women! And in the end something turns out imperfectly. There is going to be something that we don’t like. Something we wished was different. It’s the common denominator of all human beings. I have yet to meet a person who was perfectly happy throughout his life with everything they received from the gene pool.
Fortunately most of us grow up and we become wiser. If we’re really lucky we would have people in our lives who can show and guide us to the true meaning of beauty. And then we couldn’t care less about the crooked nose and the buck teeth, we become like infants again. Or alternatively we decide to tuck our cheeks behind our ears and lose the ability to smile or frown. Or lift the sagging boobs halfway around the neck to have the perfect set of perky twins at age 67. I do think most of us reach a stage where we finally agree to live with the reality that is our imperfections, irrespective of how many I might have.
With all of this being said, we all know how difficult it is to fit in when you’re thirteen. When big feet and braces becomes inevitable crosses we all have to bear. When something as small as a pimple becomes a cancerous growth monster that will plunder and destroy any social life you think you have. When the little imperfections becomes the source of countless tears, frustration and in some cases, counselling.
Princess has the loveliest head of curls. It’s not Merida curls, just flowing gold draped over her shoulders. Unfortunately she doesn’t see it the way her father does. Her curly hair annoys her tremendously. Especially the little baby curls that sprout around her forehead making her look like a deranged lioness at the end of the day. She’s tried an array of clips and hairbands to control her hair but nothing seems to contain them. Much like her spirit. The bottom line is that she would love her some straight hair. After much deliberation and a lot more money saved, Princess and Mom decided on a Brazilian. Mom informed me accordingly and I almost died.
Just before my last breath kicked in, I verbally badgered my Wife for taking such drastic action. Wife just laughed and informed me that it wasn’t THAT kind of Brazilian. It was simply a treatment to straighten wavy hair. Much like an anti-perm. Needless to say, I was so relieved, I didn’t talk about it for the rest of the month.
The day of the appointment finally arrived. There was nervous tension in the house. What if it doesn’t work? What if the treatment damages her hair and she ends up looking like most of my balding mates? I managed to keep my concerns to myself but left the house a little worried. The last thing I suspected, returning from work, was to find a mature, confident, beautiful woman in the body of my daughter. My heart leaped from my chest as the bouncy curls has given way too sleek, shiny, straight hair. Hair of a sophisticated young woman. A teenager. And that scared the shit out of me.
My blog is scattered with anxiety attacks of my kids getting older. Seeing her all grown up, made me once again confront the notion that Princess is no longer the little girl who thinks I’m the coolest person on earth. She’s finally reach the stage in her life where she’s aware of things she doesn’t like about herself. She now knows she not perfect, even if her father has been telling her that since the day she could hear my voice.
I’m not overly concerned about her notion of straight vs curly hair. She’s a wise young lady, mainly due to the contribution from her mother. She understands what true beauty is really about. She’s certainly not vain. But I suppose it wouldn’t kill anyone if you’re in a position to tweak your own reflection a little here and there. Even if it that improvements is in your eyes only.