No pain no gain? The importance of being beautiful

Published on Friday, 2 March 2011 on Meld Magazine.

WHAT makes you feel beautiful? Is it makeup, clothes, shoes? Or are you a believer that beauty comes from the inside out? Meld columnist Marcella Purnama hangs up her heels after a prolonged battle between love and loathing.

Photo: Jesse Therrien

Photo: Jesse Therrien

Here’s my self-confession: I’m not a fashionista, and I doubt I’ll ever be. I’m not a beauty/make-up geek, and I’m oblivious to the latest trends and big brands.

I’m definitely not a high heels girl.

Not that I don’t want to be.

During those Sweet Seventeen parties, I used to borrow my older sister’s cocktail dress, and my mom’s lowest high heels. I detested wearing them at first, but later my feminine side finally kicked in – and I grew to appreciate the gorgeous dresses, beautiful high heels, and curled hairs.

I tried on make-up for the first time when I was 18 – I was signed up for a make-up lesson, where I learnt about applying eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, concealer, foundation, eyebrow pencil, and blush-on correctly.

I reserved the make-up for holidays (usually Sundays when I didn’t wake up late) and mostly for special occasions. But with high heels, it was a love-hate relationship.

I loved high heels because it made me look pretty, gorgeous, and a whole lot taller. It was a confidence booster, and sometimes it was the one thing that attracted the opposite sex. But I hated it, because after an hour or so, my feet would invariably be covered in blisters, and plead me to release them from the torture.

I vowed each night after a party not to wear high heels ever again. But by the next party I would find myself trying on a beautiful dress, and thinking to myself, “Oh boy, it would go lovely with a pair of new high heels.” And the cycle went on.

The diagnosis for my love-hate relationship with high heels finally came thanks to my sister who is is a doctor.

I have hallux valgus.

Not a severe one, of course, but it is a condition whereby your big toe (called the hallux) starts to deviate inward in the direction of the baby toe. So instead of growing straight, your toe bends. Scary, isn’t it? And it will bring even more pain if I’m wearing high heels.

The last time I wore high heels (the 3cm ones) was during my sister’s graduation a couple of months ago. I literally couldn’t walk after one hour. The pain was unbearable, and yes, I vowed to never wear high heels, again, except for some grave circumstances (marriage?).

After some psychological reasoning with my feminine side, I have finally decided that a pair of gorgeous flats would do just fine. Sure, I’ll look like a dwarf among those pretty, long-legged girls with high heels. Not to mention how it may look slightly weird with a cocktail dress.

But at least my feet won’t hurt, and it will make me happier than just my supposed-to-be-better-looking outer appearance.

I will be able to walk for hours, run if the occasion demands. And even though people (hopefully) might (not) notice something odd at the party (yet I can’t really escape the reality when a group photo is taken), who cares?

An old friend once asked me once on why I didn’t wear high heels.

“They would look good on you,” he said.

And I’m glad I could say, “I love my feet too much to do so.”

The same goes for fashion, corsets, the new Korean wave haircut, dieting, and over-gyming activities.

I’ll eat desserts whenever I feel like it, have instant noodles for supper even though I just ate dinner two hours ago, and finish that last bit of cake when no one wants to.

I’ll apply make-up when I feel like it, dress nicely when I want to (or if the occasion rightly demands), and wear sandals on every other occasion.

I’m healthy, I love my body, and I’m happy. If beauty is painful, I’d rather be me and pain-free.

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2 thoughts on “No pain no gain? The importance of being beautiful

  1. I think you are totally right. In a perfect world, every girl and woman would wear make-up when they feel like it etc.. However, it is not a perfect world and I applaud you for getting the message out there that “females – it is all up to you – your choice.

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