I wanted to be perceived as beautiful. I wanted my eyes and lips and neckline to be mesmerizing and sweet and tempting.
I would observe myself in the mirror and contemplate how my cheekbones blend in with my round, hazel eyes.
I took pride in my tall figure and walked it boldly and entitled.
Shoes and handbags and colorful, silky, or soft things, were stuffed in my drawers, mingled, and very less worn because, hey, a girl can’t pull the same outfit more than three times.
Blazers with oversized shoulders, open-back dresses, sequined tops, tutu skirts, stilettos, bangles, hair curls, winged eyes, shimmery and sunkissed skin – You name it! I’ve rocked all the superficial ideas that passed as a trend.
Never would go to a mini store looking shabby. It was not only a matter ofself-respect but also a deep-rooted vanity that wouldn’t let me pass as an ordinary girl. I had to look put together even in the most common circumstances when a shirt and a ponytail would be a reasonable choice.
Phony, attention seeker, manipulative, wannabe? I wouldn’t say. Maybe curious, disoriented, and fairly young.
Behind the walls, like any other young woman, I would wonder if anyone has noticed my far-from-perfect hairline or thick lower lip, my slightly hooded eyes, or my uneven smile. As well, I thought blue-eyed girls are the most beautiful.
While adjusting my dresses, I would question whether my waist can ever be too small or my ankles too delicate.
I carried all sorts of insecurities with me over the years but managed to display my charm anyway. And use humor as a way to ignore them.
After a decade of flaunting beauty, I became spirited by the idea that being acknowledged as quick-witted was socially more celebrated.
Soon I acquainted myself with quantic physics, philosophy, history, arts, and religion. Became obsessed with pseudosciences such as numerology, alternative medicine, channeling, or extra-sensory perception. Read all the books that could help me reach a decent level of knowledge.
I wanted no one to question my perspicacity or my ability to defend my opinions. I began using words and knowledge as a weapon. I surprised myself cutting through the flash of those who would dare to be suspicious that I could get it wrong. It was important to be perceived as a conversational hurricane.
I still have memories of myself bewildering my uni teachers. Or being overly confident and speculative during training sessions, distract the audience at the expense of the instructor. There was a devilish pride flourishing inside me when I overshadowed with my remarks the only accredited in the room.
Ah, turbulent times and energy are used for the wrong purposes!
Becoming a biochemical engineer or an environmental scientist just didn’t work for me. I had to spend years building strategies to impress the community.
I couldn’t say I have lost respect for erudition but surely I value the compassionate, caring ones now. After hunting for a long time the wrong things, one’s soul settles in a moist, warm, and welcoming environment. Most will get that life has a deeper, more fulfilling meaning.
Today there is nothing at stake other than my sense of peace and my mental tranquility. What others say is not an absolute truth and what happens around me is a matter of perspective.
I am slowly moving into an age of unconditional contempt where I am comfortable with fine wrinkles on both sides of my mouth, where I foolishly get things wrong, and don’t feel less of a human when I have to offer apologies. Funny how during a phone conversation, I used to research the meaning of something foreign to me and pretend I knew about it already. Now I allow myself to say “I don’t know” and I allow the other person to pass that knowledge to me. Life has humbled me and made me more soft-spoken. As slippery as I was before, now I am bold and straightforward.
And I don’t give a shit.
I walk down the road with a stack of fears on display, that matter less and less and I avoid being dragged into the muddy scenes of my mind.
“So be it, Isabela … “ I tell myself. “You have already played too many roles. How about start playing yourself?”
Whether we’re tall, short, chubby, tanned or fair-skinned, pimpled or smooth, big-mouthed or gentle, confused or determined, as long as we hold untarnished self-esteem and have a set of values, we’re doing fine.
Today I regret most that I haven’t discovered this living earlier but, I can already tell that tomorrow, even this regret won’t exist any longer.