For International Women’s Day (and to just chill out), I ended up spending the day at KLCC Mall in KL with a dear friend of mine. There’s a lovely park nearby with a beautiful fountain, lots of old trees. She’s a nature-lover, and I like chilling out and looking at things.
So, we ended up passing by a Dior stall selling something called ‘Hypnotic Poison’ — a very fancy name for a lovely honey-vanilla-almond smelling perfume. I thought I’d treat myself after weeks of non-stop work to something a little girly, something a little different to my norm. Turns out that it came with a photo-shoot and full make-over session.
The make-up artist was one who’d worked with Bollywood actors and actresses and he decided to take extra time, and … really, it looked like he was an artist at work. I was very lucky to happen to meet him .. and he was enjoying working with me.
I was mesmerized by the process. Layer, by layer – it was so precise, exact and very creative… I started thinking about the painstaking way in which the Italian Masters would have layered their paints, centuries ago. (Am a huge fan of the painting techniques of Leornado Da Vinci)
My friend was my un-official photographer and took before, after and during shots – it was really fun.
By the time he was done … I saw myself .. and I felt like a Disney princess…
It was a strange feeling, not a bad one though – just something new. For some context – sometimes weeks fly without me ever wearing any makeup, or dressing up fancy, or anything like that. I spend most of my time working on various projects, developing new ideas and working with people.
Whilst I was there, I did get some commentary by others on my weight and size – not the stylists themselves ..
… apparently .. the photos were beautiful because my body couldn’t be seen …*rolls eyes*
Here’s the nice thing that happened though, I heard that commentary. But I didn’t let it get to me. I focused on the wave of good emotions I felt about looking at myself and I just let narrow-mindedness fall by the wayside.
Fat-shaming has been a part of one of my core wounds, as no matter how skinny I can get – I’m still taller than most women in my native country, buxom, with Amazon shoulders … I’m not surprised it came up today and I dealt with it by paying attention what I thought and felt about myself. And it was a good thing 🙂
I realized that I actually liked myself better without any make-up, au naturel. But it was still a fun, new, experience – opening a new door of perceiving what I could look like, if I wanted to.
I also realized, looking at the photos, that I was drop-dead gorgeous without needing to be a size zero.
(Yay to transcending wounds 😀 )
One little boy banged a table just so I would turn to look and smile at him. That was sweet. Kind of a reminder saying – society is not this big, monolithic thing where everyone feels the need to critique, shame or simply make a large woman feel uncomfortable for looking beautiful.
Though – I could stand to lose a few pounds for health, but that’s for me – and not what others want to say about it. That’s my sense of aesthetics and health consciousness, and it’ll probably seem ‘fat’ to some – but that’s okay.
I’m comfortable in my own skin, I’m comfortable looking in the mirror and knowing that I love myself. Others might not, but hey – that’s their thing.
The image at the top of this post was adjusted slightly, as I think the camera technician would have fainted if he hadn’t done anything 😛 The Disney Princess one (no, that’s not fur) is fully ‘touched up’ without the slimming function – out of curiosity. I did see how he could lengthen my face and make my arms skinner .. was kinda scary in all honesty. It felt like parts of me were being erased (quite literally) to make a picture that someone else would have liked more.
I said no to artificial slimming as I wanted to be authentic to my current size. And authentic is lovely, in my eyes.
The technician laughed nervously when I said I’m pretty comfortable as I am in that department. I don’t think he knew what else to do or say. He was out of his element ..
wasn’t I supposed to be ashamed? Isn’t that the way the script goes?
Nope. Unless you choose to let it.
So, back to my day out 😀
My friend and I and I ended up chatting to a Brazilian and French male model for a bit, had Godiva chocolate truffles earlier in the day, and had a lovely time with the old trees in the park.
I’m liking the way I’m holding my own with the two guys – no touch ups, no magic weight loss – some makeup though 😀
In reflection, the whole experience was a really good thing …
The make-up and photo-shoot session widened my perception of certain things – what it’s all about, how certain ideals of beauty are – quite literally – staged and constructed. And most importantly, the power of choice that I wielded in accepting or rejecting whatever judgments I, or others, made about the way my body looks and what I’m supposed to feel about it.
I’d call that a win. A big, unapologetically large, beautiful, win.
So all in all – A very enjoyable day with a friend, an unusual day of pampering and sheer girlyness (for two women who don’t normally indulge in that side of ourselves) … and a nice way to recharge 😀
Much Love – And Happy International Women’s Day to All!
Text © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015
Images: My own to use