Let's Talk About Lips

It’s the end of February. And while many of us have spent this month celebrating our significant others or hating those what have for various reasons (CLICK HERE for alternative holidays ala Korea), what I want to talk about today is just as important. Arguably more so.

I’m talking about self-love.

In the age of social media, comparison – particularly when it comes to appearance or beauty standards – is a constant issue. Instagramers look bloody perfect. Highlight is popping, brows are amazing, holy contour. Hey, I edit my photos, too. And there are previous posts where I know full well now that I overdid it and look like an alien.

But let’s talk about lips.

Really. That’s what I want to talk about.

I have a point, I promise.


Nowadays, people I meet are obsessed with my lips. I’ve heard people call them all sorts of complimentary adjectives, tell me how lucky I am, or that they’re jealous – I’ve even been asked where I got them done. But I’m not a geneticist so I couldn’t tell you where my on my double helix you’d find “where” I got them to look the way they do. I don’t share this to be boastful about my pout. I share this for context. Because, my gods, was my childhood a different experience.

Growing up in Korea and being subject to that standard of beauty while being half Mexican and half Chamorro was not a fun time. Sure, I was thin even then but everything about my face was wrong. The boys I went to school with would even go so far as to say I wasn’t pretty like my female Korean or Korean bi-racial friends (who, by the way, never negatively commented on my appearance). When you’re a kid, those words can have a serious effect on you. Especially when they sound something like:

“What’s wrong with your lips?”
“When are you going to grow into your lips?”
“What stung you?”
“You got some DSLs.” (No, I had no idea what that meant at the time. Also, not appropriate to tell an eleven-year-old.)
“Did you have an allergic reaction?”

I did everything I could to avoid bringing attention to my lips. Red lipstick like the one in this post? I did not buy a single tube until I was in my mid-twenties and at the urging of my makeup artist cousin.

I hated my lips.

For a long time.

Fast forward several years and lips are THE THING in the United States. I mean, Kylie Jenner is about to become a billionaire off a cosmetics empire built on her lip kits. Now my lips are attractive. Now people pay for lips like mine. Or they over-line their own. Or worse, suction them to make them swell. (Please don’t do this. Please.)

I am at a point in my life where I have learned to love many parts of my appearance and appreciate them as gifts from my parents and grandparents. But I’ve also learned that beauty standards vary. From place to place, culture to culture, and person to person, what is or is not beautiful is different. Learn to love the skin you’re in. That way – no matter how you look now or how you decide to change your look as you grow and evolve – you will always radiate the type of energy that comes with confidence. And that is always attractive.

Which of your features do you love most or have you learned to love? Let me know in the comments!