I Chose To Embrace My Flaws, Here Is How
I’m short. My breasts are small. My thighs and hips are big. My complexion has a multitude of
freckles in all colors and sizes. Instead of getting a nice tan, I just get more freckles. My teeth are
crooked. My eyes aren’t crystal blue, they’re brown and boring. These are all things I’ve heard
countlessly throughout my life, not just by the fashion and beauty industries either. By loved ones,
friends, potential love interests, and random people walking by who felt the need to point it out. I
made the active choice to not just accept these things, but to wear them with pride.
When I was little, I had a lot of hopes and dreams about the beautiful woman that I would turn
into. Long slender legs, full breasts, perfect smile, flawless skin, just like my idols Lynda Carter
and Raquel Welch. My baby teeth fell out and and my adult teeth came in with their own
agenda. A massive overbite, jutting canine and overcrowding were the polite words to say instead
of crooked and snaggled. My school friends with similar outcomes were being fitted with braces
(which was its own separate torment), but with dental work being a luxury in my family I was
simply (and bluntly) told to stop smiling for pictures and accept it for what it was. The activities I
enjoyed (gymnastics and figure skating) gave me a very prominent bottom half, and even though I
wasn’t fat by any means, “truck butt” and “thunder thighs” were the words involving me wearing
a bathing suit or tiny shorts. My peers were gaining cup sizes and inches in height, not me. Thin,
reddish dishwater blonde hair didn’t darken into thick, lustrous flowing locks. In the words of my
elders, I had better start working on my charm. So I did. My feminine idols shifted to Cynthia
Rothrock, Lucille Ball, and Cyndi Lauper, masters of their craft who weren’t conventional great
beauties. I started dyeing my hair. I wore makeup to cover my freckles and paint bright colors on
my boring features (like Cyndi Lauper), became the class clown (like Lucille Ball) and was seen
more as “one of the guys” (like Cynthia Rothrock).
As I grew up, I learned that I was not alone. My day job as a beauty advisor taught me that
women of all ages and nationalities and backgrounds thought that at least one feature of theirs
made them hideous. Dark skinned ladies whose tans I coveted wished for pretty porcelain skin.
Long legged women who looked great in short skirts felt awkward for being just as tall or taller
than a man. Larger breasted women couldn’t go bra-less for an evening, which I had never
thought about. My night job as an exotic dancer gained me a cult following more for my
acrobatic ability and music style than for my physical appearance. A “super cool chick” who “just
had something about her”. Keep adding tattoos, rings, scars, evidence that I have lived an
unsheltered life. Transcending into my Ranch career and getting to know people from all over the
world, I gained so much perspective about seeing and being seen. One person’s flaw is another
person’s ideal. When I was set for my consultation to finally getting those braces, I learned that in
other cultures people get (very costly) veneers to make their smiles more like, well, MINE! It is
considered a very youthful and whimsical look to have teeth that look like they just came in.
Someone who had this procedure done asked me who did mine, and I was truly astonished. The
eight inch heels I deemed necessary to make my legs look slimmer were happily discarded when I
was complimented on my petite and shapely frame, and I chose to stop dyeing my hair when
someone spent an entire day at a top end salon to get a color that I had been trying to get away
from by lightening or darkening for what felt like forever. No matter who we are or how we look,
there is going to be negativity and stigma that we are far from ideal. If you’re short, you’re too
short. If you’re tall, you’re too tall. If you’re thin, you look unhealthy. If you’re big, you’re too big.
No matter what shape or size you have, there are “problem areas.” No matter what tone your skin
is or what color your hair is, it’s wrong and needs to be changed.
In light of this new understanding, I saw that it was entirely up to me whose standards I chose to
accept and/or reject. And I chose mine. Features I would certainly find attractive on another
human being didn’t deserve to be demeaned because I saw them in the mirror every morning.
Improvements to my figure by having better diet and exercise habits are for me to be my best self,
not to fit into a Size Whatever because that’s the perfect size. Shaving years off the clock is not as
important as moving forward and being a better person inside and out than I was yesterday. I
have the ability to choose how people, places, and things affect me, so I’m going to choose to keep
smiling. Crooked teeth and all.