A Different Type of Appeal

Posted in WinterFilms

Growing up I was always considered the ugly duckling. I think we all go through this phase, but I literally struggled as most of my friends were so cute and petite and adorable. Their faces were innocent and features were gentle. In a complete juxtaposed situation, I was entirely too tall as I hit periods of growth frequently and way too early, my arms and legs and face quite chubby and I just looked about half a decade older than most. Dance recitals, though considered one of the stronger dancers, I was still placed in the back. I took is personally, but for symmetry it just made sense.

skirt c/o NEXT blouse c/o NEXT shoes c/o NEXT handbag c/o NEXT jewelry c/o J. LAUREN sunglasses BODEN lipstick AMAZING GRACE by CHARLOTTE TILBURY

A Different Type of Appeal
A Different Type of Appeal

As I continued to grow, my body grew accustomed to being able to exert more energy—so I joined sports. My height was celebrated and long legs were used to join various sports teams. I went to a school that celebrated the long legged, blonde hair type and I was only partially involved in that group. Queue in the issues that all Indian/Arab girls have and that is superfluous hair, untamed brows, that awkward growth stage. At school, I was fine. At home, however, it got a bit overwhelming as I was just an anomaly. My skin was 20 shade lighters, height almost doubled and my frame resembled that of a Swedish rower—tall, muscular and slender. And thus, my mom often worried about me not fitting in and people often were confused by my appearance.

As I continued to grow, I didn’t really felt like I fit into my cultural community. The girls made fun of me anyways and my sensitive manner always ran to my father for satisfaction, who always ensured me that I was ‘very beautiful.’

in college

Walking down the hallways of my new home, a dormitory that sat on the western bit of campus, I wasn’t the only ‘ridiculously tall’ one. I also was often complimented on my ‘tan’. That soft olive tone from sports in the sun won me many hearts. Finally, that sporty build I had was something most girls strived for. I felt like I was in place.

You see, in grade school, the boys I was around had been in my life since I was very young. We grew up like siblings and so being ‘interested’ in one another wasn’t really the natural way to do things. In university, it seemed, I was considered ‘exotic’—so I still stuck out. That ‘stick out’ feeling just made me felt like I wasn’t desired. Mind you, I wasn’t trying to be desired, but I did feel a bit nervous when entering a classroom the first week of the semester. Most of the girls just looked the same and then there was me, not wearing what they all wore (sperry boat shoes and nike shorts) and visibly just feeling out of place. I was out of state at an almost-state-school and came from a completely different upbringing than most.

As I neared the end of my undergraduate days, I finally saw the purpose of dressing myself for the sake of fashion and making myself feel good. I do term fashion loosely here as it often was Forever21 and Target. I thought I was fitting in, when I was told that I was ‘beautiful’ or a ‘natural beauty’ and for some reason ‘sexy’ just seemed like the more fitting thing to be. I battled with that a lot and eventually just ignored the compliments, that I deemed as energy to become sexy.

A Different Type of Appeal
A Different Type of Appeal

throughout my adult life

I neglected myself a bit as I was intentionally focusing on my career and then graduate school. I did care in the sense that I wanted to maintain a healthy body and continued (read: had to) grooming. I did it all just to maintain myself and that’s really it. But as I continued on with things the last few years, I saw the longevity of looking appealing when considered ‘beautiful.’ It was until one day I was having a in-depth conversation with a guy friend back in America over FaceTime did we talk about how sexual appeal and the like. He was notorious for having all the girls fall for him, but never committed just so he could enjoy college on his own terms. He was, however, an incredible friend to anyone and everyone. Anyway, I digress…

A Different Type of Appeal
A Different Type of Appeal
A Different Type of Appeal

We steered the conversation to what people are doing today and what they look like, almost, 10 years later since we first walked the halls of our dorms. The men today looked like boys and the women looked like girls. We commented on how drastically different so many people’s lives were with families and children and living that suburban life {as he and I live in big cities}. I told him my desire to wanting to give off that almost ‘sexual appeal’ that some of our mutual female friends physically coined until he told me, “everyone has that, Sups.” Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but everyone is sexually appealing and beautiful. Being ‘beautiful’ is what has longevity—it isn’t completely physical—it is definitely something that incorporates personality, way of thinking, outlook on life and experiences.

I wanted to be, and he ensured me I was, just that.