Not too long ago I had the pleasure of watching a film called "Mary and Max", the plot of which forms around the unlikely pen-pal friendship between Mary, a girl from Australia, and Max, a forty four year old man from New York.
The film itself is brilliant in the way it portrays a number of "tough" subjects such as mental illness, bullying and isolation to name but a few, but it was a small section regarding Mary's transformation that really stuck with me.
You see, Mary has a brown birth mark on her forehead, for which she gets teased and bullied as a kid. And while she does come up with mechanisms to deal with the bullying (thanks to her pen-pal friend), she is still very self conscious about her blemish: even as a college student, when some guys (one of which she likes) start to make fun of her when she gets pooped on by a bird, she gets extremely hurt and affected. So much so, that she decides to undergo a full body makeover: new style, makeup, hair, even plastic surgery to remove her birth mark. The new Mary is naturally empowered by her new looks and even attempts to flirt with the boy she likes. But when the boy tells her she has dog poo on her shoe, she cries her eyeballs out (eyeliner adorned and all), once again, before she finally realizes that her new looks aren't really for her.
I get Mary. In fact I believe most of us, if not all, do too: we've all felt the need to change our appearance when we're turning over an emotionally heavy page. I'm all for that, and I wholeheartedly support taking those actions that will help you move on. As long as they actually help you move on, that is.
Changing your looks is now easier than ever: there's tons of readily available products out there that will transform you into the version you desire. Besides clothes, there's makeup, hair dyes, hair extensions, false eyelashes, false nails, self tanner, lip plumpers and pretty much anything else conceivable that can drastically alter your appearance - not to mention the massive amounts of celebrity photos we're all exposed to on a daily basis that make makeovers as easy as shopping from a catalogue.
But here's the downside risk of it all: apart from ending up looking like a mirror image of someone else (which may even be your end goal), there's no guarantee that this new you will be a stronger and better one and that the next remark, offensive or not, won't result in a meltdown like Mary's. I truly believe that unless these changes come from loving yourself and accepting yourself in its current state, you're probably setting yourself up for failure.
Let's be realistic here: I'm not saying one should love their flaws (especially if those are things you can improve on) or that we should all stick to what nature gave us - I wouldn't be running this blog if I did. But before embarking on a journey to look like Barbie or Kim Kardashian, because they're enviable by
I guess what I'm trying to say, is that you have the freedom to be anyone u want, but why turn into someone else (especially for the wrong reasons), when you can express your own self and your own personality? It's individuality that's lacking these days, not conformity! And wouldn't you rather be admired for who you truly are, instead of receiving compliments for becoming a totally different person? New styles and trends are always there to experiment with, and I truly believe that limits should be pushed (who wants to get stuck in a rut, anyways?), but preferably not exceeded. Otherwise the trends will end up wearing you, not the other way round.
Before I end this post, let me talk about this girl I saw yesterday on the street. She was in full rockabilly/goth attire: 50's hair, tutu skirt, 6 inch platform boots. Now, for the fairly conservative standards of my town, this girl could have come from Mars. But despite my initial surprise, I said to myself: "you go girl, you own that look 100%".
Comments are more than welcome, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!