The Daily Aztec

Looking in the mirror: body image issues

by Annie Beltran, Staff Writer

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Everyone has body image issues. Either every year the skin surrounding my body gets worse, or every year I wear my skin I identify new details.

The way I look to other people matters to me. Although I may appear very confident about announcing various markings I find to be imperfect, I had to first realize that I am no crazier than most people.

I have often been informed that everyone has nipple hair. However, I still feel mine is thicker and more abundant than most women. I’ve yet to hear any complaints from people who’ve seen me naked, but I know my areola hair exists in a fashion ranging from less than chimpanzee but more than I’m comfortable having.

I am self-conscious about very specific details on my body that I feel directly affect my public appearance.

I’m not about to offer any new revelations on how to feel better about your body, because we are all beautiful and unique in our own way.

The word “unique” has so many negative undertones.  It’s like in the phrase “Bless her heart” in Texas. You really have to question why the “blessing” is being offered in the first place, usually because you’ve done something considered dumb or “unique.”

As a 26-year-old woman, I am still battling acne. Small, eye-catching, temporary flaws make their presence on my back, neck and face.

No one has ever said, “Annie, you have such a good complexion.”

I know this to be true, because I would have jump for joy and tattooed “Finally Winning” on my chest with arrows pointing toward my face.

At 4 feet 11 inches, I often lie about my size (adding the extra inch) because I don’t like being recognized as less than 5 feet tall.

Sometimes I think when people give me a nick-name they simply run down a list of synonyms for the word “little.” As if I didn’t already know about my limited stature, you screen-printed a t-shirt with a picture of a mouse on it and thought it was a clever birthday gift.

One thing on my body that isn’t small is my nose.

It was a gift from my grandfather. He gave it to me without any regard of what I thought a woman’s nose should look like.

Shopping for sunglasses is a strategy game of “how these fit my nose” rather than “how do these look on my face.”

My point is not to change other’s thoughts about how one recognizes self, in the skin we never had a choice to wear. In fact, I really don’t think I can do that for you. Just like others cannot tell me that the abnormal growth of hairs on my chin are not blatantly obvious.

My words cannot change your beliefs, but hopefully bring to light some commonality in that we are all self-conscious.

Body image issues are not for one specific type of person.

Although I can only write from a female perspective, because that is the only view point I’ve ever truly known, I am confident in saying body image issues are equally distributed among every gender.

Let’s only blame the media, and leave out possible discrepancies in anyone’s upbringing. Leave out the fact that people can be ugly to each other.

Let’s have no regard for the thought that somewhere down the line we allowed the standards for physical perfection to be dictated by naturally impossible restraints.

Some reader out there is probably saying, “Annie, don’t use the words ‘imperfection, flaw, or abnormalities’.”

Why not?

If I felt these genetic trademarks on my body were normal, this would not be a topic for me to write about.

If I told you I felt 100 percent comfortable with my perfect body, from my teeth that could use braces, across my small, disproportionate bust line, down to my oddly sized pinky toes, I would be lying.

I’ve never met a person worth knowing who noticed imperfections on my body the same way I see them. Hopefully I never have to.

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