Beauty, Life

Dear Morena,

Welcome to The Morena Next Door, a lifestyle website curated by your friendly neighborhood morena.

For years I have struggled to accept myself. Ten-year-old me would awkwardly look in the mirror and constantly pine about that gap-toothed, chapped-lipped, dark-skinned, ridiculously thin little girl who had a ton of insecurities staring straight back at her.

Growing up, I used to want a lot of qualities which I did not have – aquiline nose, bigger boobs, whiter teeth, a fairer skin tone, white underarms, smaller waist size, etc. The thought of going under the knife to achieve these beauty goals had haunted me throughout the years. I’d failed to see beyond physical beauty. I had failed to see the good parts of me.

Come to think of it, I’d say my teenage life was based on some profound fear of rejection. What other people think of me mattered more than what I think of myself. In my effort to fit in and impress others, I’d shortchanged myself and lost sight who I am.

Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s okay to not fit in. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay not to live up to what other people expect of you. Time has taught me to be thankful for what I have – God, my family, friends, a roof over my head, good education, a well-paying job – because what I have right now is all I need, really.

Looking at the mirror now, I still see that little girl in those eyes – and I’d say I love her for who she was and who she’s becoming. I’ve also noticed that a lot has changed. My gap tooth is gone (and I didn’t even have to consult a dentist for it). My skin has gotten a lot lighter. I have gained a sufficient amount of weight. In other related news though, I now deal with stretchmarks and wrinkles; my underarms are a daily horror; I pop pimples whenever they appear; hair issues are very real at this crucial point in my life; I’ve had my heart broken several times; and my struggle with fluctuating emotions every minute of every day is no joking matter.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned over these years, I can’t put any more emphasis on: acceptance; that things do fix themselves with time; and that every day is an opportunity to be the best version of yourself. With good core values, the right attitude, a healthy and balanced diet, and a stash of your favourite beauty products, you can amplify the good parts within and of yourself.

This is why The Morena Next Door was born. She is the best friend you confide in, the girl friend who’ll tell you exactly which lipstick shade or eye palette to wear on your first date with your crush, a doting daughter who’ll go out of her way to get you the medicines and give you the hugs you need when you’re feeling unwell, or the perfect stranger you meet on a fine day.

Here, we can talk more about makeup, passion projects, new hobbies that excite you, food, and practically anything that makes you and me beautiful inside and out. As I begin, please join me on this seemingly endless pursuit of discovering what puts the modern Filipino face forward.

Remember, you are beautiful, and you are loved. Morena or not.

Yours truly,

The Morena Next Door

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