Youth Voices

I consider myself one of the fortunate/unfortunate persons to be born into a family of beautiful women. Fortunate, because from them I inherited some excellent genes that I certainly can’t complain about. Unfortunate because it meant I had to live up to a certain “standard” that their beauty created for me and other female relatives after them.
My two larger-than-life older sisters effortlessly rose to the challenge, it seemed, as soon as they were old enough to talk. They took after our mother, in that they both have pretty faces, great legs and fabulous figures, as well as the enviable talent for excellent do-it-yourself hairstyling.
Needless to say, they were a tough act to follow, and I couldn’t help letting out a “Phew, that was close”, when I entered my teens and realized that on-lookers considered me beautiful also. I found, though, that as time progressed, it was something that my sisters and I became slaves to; a desire to always look spectacular; to always impress. In fact, it’s something all women, at one point or other, become slaves to.
There is a constant pressure on us women to make every effort to look our best at all times, if not put on by the svelte, flawless-skinned fashionistas appearing everywhere (from newspapers to billboards to our television screens), by the men in our lives and those we happen to encounter on a daily basis.
Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. You might wake up one Saturday morning and not feel inclined to dress up, so it’s little or no makeup, hair brushed into a loose ponytail, a T-shirt and jeans. You walk past the group of construction workers hanging around on the sidewalk, and they say nothing to you, but then another woman passes by decked to kill from head to toe, complete with all the curves accentuated in the desired places, and immediately there is a noise of catcalls, whistles, and “Sweetness, good morning”.
Although you know you shouldn’t care for the opinion of such mindless creatures (you’re an educated, independent lady, after all), somehow, the fact that they noticed the other woman and not you still makes you feel, as we say in Trinidad, “real old” (translation, not hot).
So you find yourself making an attempt to dress up a bit more the next day, even if it makes you late for wherever you’re headed to.
And what about those times when you’re thumbing through a magazine (this one is classic, girls) and you see the season’s latest in dresses draped on some impossibly skinny models, and decide that, since it’s all the rage, you have to have it? Never mind the fact that that dress is about three sizes too small and you have to choose between looking as slender as possible in it and breathing?
It’s almost laughable when one stops to think of how much we go through just to look somebody else’s idea of fantastic (because that is what it is, after all; somebody else’s idea).
What’s sad, however, is that we can go through all that trouble and still not feel fantastic on the inside.
And that’s what I strive to do for the rest of 2014 and beyond; instead of constantly making over my outside, I’ll attempt to make over my inside. Anyone care to join my revolution?

Next Time Around


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