How I overcame my insecurity

December 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

By Jenn Besonia
Philippine Daily Inquirer

DateFirst Posted 22:05:00 09/18/2010

“BAKIT YUNG isa panget?” our middle-aged neighbor said—yes, middle-aged—while looking at me as if my two sisters and I were just my mother’s dogs she could always judge based on beauty.

That was my earliest memory concerning my physical flaw.

While I was not totally ugly, people just couldn’t help comparing me to my sisters. One is pretty and charming, you will always love to be with her. The other has skin as white as a radish, which makes people think she’s beautiful. If you’re fair-skinned, you’re automatically beautiful; that’s the belief of many Filipinos.

And me? I am dark-skinned, which makes me seem ugly in the eyes of many Filipinos.

I grew up insecure of my skin color. I grew up smiling and trying to ignore the harsh comments of people. They might not be aware of it, because I didn’t show them, but I was really insecure of my color. I hated people. I hated my color.

But then a huge change happened.

I don’t exactly remember when or how it happened, but my color insecurity stopped.

In this life where bigger problems keep coming, there will be a time when you will realize it’s just ridiculous to fret over a simple “physical flaw.” When real problems come, you will find yourself thinking “Why on earth was I so problematic about shallow things?” Lucky are those whose problems are just their “beauty.” It just means they don’t have harder problems to focus on.


The tan-skinned gorgeous models/celebrities also helped me to embrace my skin color. They are rare, but that’s what makes them look “exotic.”

And who wouldn’t feel proud to be dark-skinned when the 4th runner up in the Miss Universe contest is a dark-skinned woman, too? It’s a nice thing that the Philippines is now embracing our color. When Venus Raj won, I knew a shift of thinking about skin colors would ensue.

Online, I met blogger Meloy. Like me, she used to be insecure about her skin. She posted a couple of her photos and narrated her “color story.” I was inspired. Here is a woman who’s not white-skinned but gorgeous and proud of herself. Here is a woman who’s not a celebrity but can still rock that “exotic beauty” look. She didn’t edit her photos. She didn’t put any tanning cream on her skin. She’s real!

A fable

One fable also taught me something precious about beauty. According to it, there’s a fox who accidentally cut her tail. At first, she’s sad about it. Then she thought of something. She went to her fox friends and told them, “This is the latest fashion—cut tail. You should cut yours, too! And anyway, tails are of no use to us.”

Another fox answered, “Dear, we are wise enough to know when someone wishes us well or when someone just wants us to have the same flaw like what she has.”

This fable made me think, what if there’s just a vain white-skinned human who told people white skin is equal to beauty and the people just believed in this vanity?

I don’t know who made the rule that white skin is beauty and dark skin is ugliness. All I know is this, sometimes we shouldn’t believe in our culture especially when it’s ridiculous. You don’t need to be tall, white-skinned, have chinita eyes, pointed nose, thin lips, big bust and butt. You just have to be you. For beauty is being you, and you are perfectly you.

© Jennylyn Besonia


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