Life Being “Ugly” & the Day I Could’ve Died Because of It

Most of us have felt ugly at some point of our lives, and sadly many of us still do.  TV, media, models digitally enhanced in magazines add pressures to individuals, to meet the criteria of standards defined and accepted in society. As an Asian American growing up in a primarily white community I had to get used to the stares.  Usually, it’s not the “You’re gorgeous” good stare, but the stare when Aliens set foot on earth and you lean in to ask, What are you??   But there is also racism within race– colored people, Asian, black, hispanic, preferring light skin over dark skin.  Here are some struggling with living in an “ugly” person , from bullying to the point I almost completely died from suffocation, to not attracting boys at all.

This post, is somewhat related to a post I had written a few years ago, Desire to Be Someone Else.  When I was a child who believed in God, I already knew well beyond my years, what’s “pretty” and ugly.  I watched TGIFs on Fridays and absolutely adored Susan Summers’ blonde hair and blue eyes.  At night before I went to sleep, I would pray that I’d wake up with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Of course that sounds ridiculous, especially (how would an Asian look better with blonde hair and blue eyes?)..  Well, I was a child probably about 4 years old or so… so I thought to myself… maybe wishes can come true… maybe if  my hair turned blonde and my eyes turned blue, I would also get a new face change completely.

Well, unfortunately for little me, I never woke up with blonde hair and blue eyes.  The idea stuck with me for years, how unfair it seemed.. Attending school for the first time also did not help with the situation.

1st day of kindergarten, all the kids stared at me.  I was too young to understand fully why.  I watched a lot of Sesame Street, which was diverse, so I knew what different raced people looked like.  Apparently most kids never saw an Asian until they met me.  They asked What are you??  Some kids wanted to sit as far away as possible as if I was contagious or some sort of disease.  That was the 1st time in my life to learning what hate is and also learning how to hate.  I pretty much hated everyone in my classroom at that point.  I wasn’t one of them and they weren’t one of “us.”

Thus the treatment for being “ugly” resulted in a series of events that involved a little “violence” including kicking the other kids for staring at me too long.  Don’t ask me, I was young, stupid, and certainly didn’t learn that from anyone.. maybe the chinese martial arts movies I watched growing up, but it certainly wasn’t self defense, just retaliation.  I just only wished my “bravery” and retaliation lasted throughout middle school.  I think a little kicking would’ve been a little justifiable to the bullies who drove people to want to commit suicide, though I wouldn’t encourage it.  Instead, I was the kid who tolerated the abuse from the other kids.  More could’ve been done to stop them.

Being “ugly” also wasn’t a race issue.  I was also told by other Asian kids growing up, that I was really really ugly.  I’m not going to lie, I went through a period in my life, that if you saw pictures of me as a kid, you’d probably think I was really fugly too.   Of course my mom loves all my kid pics and thought I was her little princess.  I, on the other hand, looked in the mirror, staring at it hard, as if maybe, just maybe, my face would mutate into something pretty.

It was so apparent how ugly I was to the other kids, these boys decide to make sure I knew that, they ganged up on me, pinned me down to a sofa, and sat jumped me repeatedly on my face until I almost completely suffocated.  Imagine someone sitting on you to the point where you could barely breathe and your neck could break.  I was screaming helplessly, “STOP! STOP!” making note that I couldn’t breathe and the weight was crushing me.   They were laughing hysterically.   When I made my escape outside,  one of the kids chased me down, and proceeded to start stoning me with handful of rocks that the driveway was made up of.  As he was stoning me, I was screaming in pain, but I remembered that he was afraid of my friend’s mom, so I threatened that I would tell on him to my friend’s mom.  So he dropped all the rocks and ran off.

I was left with the aftermath, which was bad painful bruises and scrapes all over that my mom tended to.  My mom was not going to let that go, so she told my friend’s mom and that was that.

Though the bullying stopped from those two particular no good kids, it didn’t stop in the schools.  Eventually, I would make enemies with multiple groups of teens in middle school. They pretty much made my life (and I’m sure other people’s lives) miserable.  They weren’t hesitant to pick at the easiest target– my ethnicity and appearance.  They were so disgusted by my appearance, my hand me down clothes, the way I hold myself that they spent hours, telling me that I should be crossing my legs when I sit (just like a lady), that I should get rid of my ugly barbie clothes and buy brand named clothing, and put on a little bit of make up.

My wise ass comments, that was more wise than the ass, which was that a lot of the brand named clothing they were wearing was made by slave children younger than them at the time.  They refused to believe my facts, and this added fuel to picking on me for such “insult.”  Truth hurts, you don’t want to contribute to evil, yet it’s ironic how evil they were.  Back then Nike got sued for child labor/slavery.  I believe Gap and Adidas may have also gotten in trouble.

I went from not giving a poo, to incredibly insecure about my appearance.  I fell in and out of severe depression, and desperately wished to be “pretty,” like the other girls who picked on my severely about being “ugly.”  Boys were also disgusted in me, and I never dated.  The whole ugly and bully thing got so bad, I already had thoughts by the age of 12, that there was absolutely nothing to look forward to in life.  This wasn’t the average bullying, but one that caused a lot of repercussions years later.

When I did finally hit puberty, I was highly embarrassed about it.  I was already made fun of for not hitting puberty sooner, or developing more like the to the girls.  I hid under sweaters even through hot weather (which I was made fun of as well).  I couldn’t win.  I didn’t know why, but hated bra shopping too.  Hitting puberty certainly didn’t win over any guys either.  I was still “ugly,” and people still questioned my appearance.  I did look much younger than my age.

Looking in the Mirror


No one knows, how long I spent in front of the mirror.  I tried to improve my appearance by trying new things with my hair and wearing lipgloss and nail polish.  By the time I reached high school, I got rid of the ugly sweaters, baggy sweat pants, hot pink shirts, and started wearing clothes that were more fitting to me.  I was still very skinny, often called a toothpick, scrawny or anorexic  but I certainly looked healthy and little curvy in terms of a bigger rear than an average skinny person.  People were shocked that I wasn’t a size 0.  I started to get compliments from people on my nice shirts, and people wanted to be as thin as me.  Friends have told me this before, but now it was the “popular” girls saying it too.  Who knew that this would happen?

By senior year in high school, I felt much more confident in my appearance.   I was also surprisingly getting some attention from guys who some of them were the “popular” athletes, when I assumed that they would just go for the cheerleaders and blondes.  Though I wasn’t as tall, full figured, pretty as other girls, I felt like I was in a much better place than I was before, and finally OK at looking at the mirror without being upset.

Fast forward to adult hood and college.  When I had gotten into martial arts, I was the fittest ever.  I started wearing a little make up by my 3rd year (mostly due to outbreaks of acne).  I felt like I looked decent and was in excellent shape.  I attracted a lot of guys, and was floored by the fact.  I still got confused for an 8 year old when I was 20, but for those who knew my age, they felt I looked good for my age.  Conscientiousness of appearance, was pretty much non-existent, except for the fact that I wanted to look respectful and never too revealing.

By the time college years was over, I was confident enough to go from a one piece to a bikini at beach parties.  I definitely did not want to be scantily clad, but just an ordinary woman on the beach, who’s not hiding.  I did do a socially experiment at some point to test the waters of a theory a friend made.

By the time I completed college, it was also a shocker that some guys would call me hot, sexy, beautiful, pretty, cute.  Sometimes flattering, sometimes not at all…  Somehow as I got older, my genetics worked for me instead of against me. But I realized most of all, be careful what you wish for.  I wished to be pretty, and it took a long long time, before I got the “pretty” looks.  But I was also getting a lot of unwanted attention.  I was conservative in appearance most of my life.  It didn’t help that by the time I got into adulthood, I found out from friends, that Asian porn was a hot thing, so that probably contributed to unwanted attention.

As I got older I started to look more and more like a woman.  I still get confused as a teen, but it’s a far cry from being bullied, harassed and yelled at for being “ugly.”  Besides bad acne well into adulthood, it looks like I’ve taken care of myself, and will look young for a very long time.  People are shocked by my actual age.

Still today, to be honest, some insecurities still linger on.  It doesn’t make me less of a person, but a human living in today’s society.  Some days I embrace my appearance, wearing the most flattering outfits, and getting creative with make up.  But I do catch myself staring at the mirror sometimes.. maybe more often than I should, trying hard to find the beauty within my face.  Why do I have so much acne and acne scars?  Why do my Asian eyes look so mean without eye shadow?  A part of me still screams “ugly” when I look in the mirror, though many men and women have told me otherwise.

I could’ve been a serial dater, but luckily I never came down to such desperation as to date every guy that gives me some attention.  I instead, have been a loner most of my life.  95% of my life actually, and I’ve been satisfied, as a person of my experience, and things I’ve gone through. I need that lone time.  It does confuse many people and people have asked me “You’re so pretty, why are you still single?”  It’s kind of weird, and bizarre to hear that.  Even today, it baffles me because sometimes I still don’t see what other people see, and I seriously wonder if people see things differently.

This study that defines mathematically what beauty is, compiles the mathematically image of a beautiful woman (not an actual person), based on a variety of cultures who define what they see as beautiful.  It turns out that it’s traits of Caucasians.  Universally, people want to look more Caucasian.   Asians, Africans, and other racial groups are having more and more surgery and obtaining illegal skin lighteners.

Well, this isn’t a pity story nor do I want pity… Just a story of the realities of how much society puts beauty to a pedestal, even children, and prejudice.  If you believe “looks” doesn’t or shouldn’t matter.. it actually does.   I’m not saying to not take care of your appearance, body, etc and expect people to treat you with respect regardless.. we do want to be impressionable to others.  In some ways, yes it shouldn’t matter, but looking impressionable and pleasant is nice.  In cases of making an impression, job interviews, dating profiles, etc, you want to look decent, like you put some effort in respects to others.  You don’t want to look like you came out of the garbage disposal, prison, etc.  In my case growing up, I groomed, I was clean, my shirts were usually unwrinkled, but my choice of ugly sweaters didn’t fly well with others.  (All of a sudden, years later, when I got rid of all mine, they’re popular during the holidays.. how ironic.).

Certainly people have asked me why it is so hard to get a job or get a date in cases where they certainly need to look more groomed and wear decent looking clothes to interview in or go on a date.  I hate to say it, but I responded with the cold hard truth that maybe they need to cut/shave their chinese wise man length beard, and wear something professional looking.  People want to see their beautiful faces anyways, and that they take care of themselves respectfully.  Of course such comments didn’t fly well with some of them, but that is the truth.  Some of the guys I have hung out with had dirty clothes laying all over their rooms, unwashed toilets with crud all over the inside and sometimes the outside, (which is a nightmare for the ladies).   It is no indication of  how good of a person they are or how skilled they are, but an indication of how they value themselves and respect for others, for example, I wouldn’t let a lovely lady sit on a poo coated toilet that I dirtied up.  We’re talking feces.

This story is more about phenotype.  We can’t change our race or what we’re born with (with an exception to surgery), but it shouldn’t come down to needing surgery, unless you’re seriously deformed and conscientious about it.  But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  We are conditioned as a society of what beauty should be according to media, and magazines.  For the sake of your health, you need to look in the mirror and say “I’m beautiful.”  Next time you see someone, friend, stranger, etc.. don’t tell them “You’re hot.”  “You’re sexy.”  just tell them “You’re beautiful inside and outside.”


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