In a world I did not yet exist, lived a perfectly average working-class family of a late Soviet Union, just before the independence and all the changes that it brought. It was a family of three - mom, dad and a little adorable daughter. She was demanding perfection of a child. Bright, well behaved, stubborn and curious to the whole world. With pretty soft face, perfect pair of blue eyes adorned with thick lashes and cute round and slightly curled nose and a jungle of a hair. When that jungle was kept in the sunshine of summer outdoors, it would get the shade of a soft sun-kissed straw. In winter it would grow again to soft caramel. It was think and silky and would grow so fast, even constant cropping would not stop them from reaching her thick tightest beautiful braid up to her knees. And everyone would sigh: "ahh, such hair.." When she was 3 years old, she declared everyone that she would grow up to be a performer, for she loved to recite poems standing on a kitchen table for any kind of audiences there were to listen. And one day the parents would promise her that very soon they would buy her a new sibling. That happened such long time ago most parents would not actually know their child's gender until birth, but that would not stop them from wondering and making assumptions. Since they already had a girl, a boy would had been a perfect addition to a perfect working class family so, one cold winter, just before the biggest soviet holiday - new years eve, I decided to emerge and shatter their hopes and expectations. I got lost on my way of coming into this world so when they waited for a head of a baby to emerge, I pulled just one foot through, declaring clumsiness as my birth-right. After all the difficulties and fears, when they finally took that bundle home from hospital, to the awaiting sister, she was very disappointed. She saw a small, reddish wrinkled creature that had noting lovable to start with. The blackest wisp of hair would remind nothing of her honey locks and finally when she saw my eyes they would remind her of two shiny black bugs. I was nothing like her and she was in despair asked her parents why would they not choose a baby that looked more like herself. When she finally adjusted and attached, she would constantly be disappointed in me as I would constantly shatter her expectations. Also the busy parents made her responsible for me so she became the third, bizarre child-parent. Ever since I was little, I remember people comparing and commenting us, as if we we not two little girls, but two young fillies. My sister constantly admired but me - compared to a little black-haired devil or a gipsy-child. In kindergarten every one used to call me Isaura, after a popular telenovela about a slave girl in nineteenth-century Brasil. As I grew, my black wisp of hair remained baby-soft and sparse, it would be always put up in a tiny pony tail on the crown head, with remaining length falling around my tiny ears. I wished that one day it would become as long and thick as my sisters, instead it remained thin and my forehead looked like I had bald-spots. I remember one phrase that slipped someone's cruel lips: "the older sister has such a beautiful thick and long braid, but the small one's is nothing but a tail of a mouse". This and many others carved my heart with the sharpest knife. I always felt I was different in many multiple ways, and staring into mirror I would observe and count the countless faults I hated about myself. My hair, my brown eyes, my hands, with short stubby fingers, my ugly crooked legs, The big teeth that were too big for my tiny skull, the list grew countless over the years. Sometimes I did have my pretty moments, but that only involved fancy clothes or trying out the perfect princess shoes my cousins' had. I understood very early that beauty had much to do with money, because my parents could not afford fancy dresses and princess shoes. In many ways feeling ugly helped me a lot, because I started caring less and less what others thought, because as much as I had tried to fit-in, it would always end up in others labelling me a weirdo and me being disappointed in people all the time. I had a few friends that would always be other kinds of weirdos too. I loved to spend time alone very much, I would draw, read, sculpt and construct things I could conjure from my imagination. I was a lonely child, but I had my wonderland, were imagination would always test it's childish limits. I would sculpt faces from as many things there could be, earth clay, the horrible greasy thing that was called kids' clay. I have ruined every single carpet with that stuff and I have no idea how my mother coped with that. Old chewing-gum, crumpled bread, sand, snow. Every material would itch my fingers to sculpt a face. After thousands of really ugly ones some prettier started to emerge and hypnotise me as I sculpted them. To some, I really loved how they turned out and I made bodies thus my life-long hobby of making dolls evolved. As I started growing into young teenager the weird need of boys' attention emerged, confusing me further more, because whenever I had a childish crush on a boy and that would be mocked by peers, I made an assumption that crushing over someone who might not at all fancy you will lead to devastating humiliation. So I learned to fall in love secretly. One was a blond boy, that used to read excerpts from bible during mass in church I attended every Sunday. Other was a boy that lived in my house and I could hear him practice piano, I had a memory from an early childhood of how we met first time when I was little. He loved my tiny red wooden piano and I liked his pretty face with greenest eyes adorned by a beauty mark just right beside one. Later boys turned to enemies, so we never spoke, because he went to different school than me. He had a dog he would walk in the evenings and I would just stare at him and obsess. There were others, from my school, but their magic seemed to wear off too soon, so they never knew some crazy chick was into them. No, I did not obsess about the alpha types, they always seemed just boring, instead bad boys became my illness. I fell in love with a bully in my friend's class that used to mock me and tease me, call me a humiliating nick-name. I hated him, but more I hated myself for falling for him. I spent my sweet sixteen secretly obsessing over him as I would see him every day in class. I treated him as my enemy which he was, but kept it as a darkest secret. That year was magical, because I had developed some self-esteem becoming friends with many young metal-heads that learned to judge less based on looks or social status. As if coolness finally started to mean something personal, daring and noble. It was a miraculous group mostly formed of talented deviants attending a drama club lead by an eccentric teacher. It was a place where for the first time in my life I felt among others alike. They all strived to be free thinkers and find a deeper meaning to things than materialism and hierarchy of a status. I even started feeling beautiful. I admired my thin frame dressed in black military style, heavy combat boots that were such a statement. They made my feet numb at first because the hard leather would cut into skin, soon hardened scarred skin formed and It seemed for me I would not admire boots more beautiful. I was not searching for conventional beauty, instead I let my own identity blossom, not be afraid to be called a freak, but be proud of it. I never wore any make-up then and many later years. I didn't feel a need or point for it. Then suddenly I became a hot chick, boys would seek out my attention themselves, and I could choose! I was still obsessed with the nerdy bully classmate even though he did not fit into my created ideal of long-haired bad boy (preferably a musician). We played a game or run and chase, tease and play the whole year, but it was as subtle as a flutter of a butterfly. Once we both came too early to a class and sat there waiting in a short corridor, only with a short official conversation, we would both then come too early for the rest of the year just to sit there in silence of each other's company and pretend we did homework or study for some class. Yet we both persistently did not miss any Tuesday before that class. I also knew he stared at me during gym class as I played volleyball. I felt his glance slightly burning my skin. I used to come to every school's baseball match pretending I was interested in the game as well as watch baseball on TV with my father, so everything would be more believable. The term was going to an end, soon to the blessed summer. My friend organised a party at her parents' summerhouse with under-age alcohol consumption. One thing lead to another and we soon were kissing on the wet grass near the river covered in soft fog with a full moon brightly shining in the water. It was a truly magical moment to me. All of the classmates came there to see us, because it seemed so unbelievable to them, to see us both in an embrace and showing a middle finger to their remarks. It was young, naive and rather innocent love. The last day in that school year we would sit behind one desk, he would help me with my maths and we would hold hands when all the teachers saw. Summer started soon as his interest fleeted somewhere else. He went to a vacation abroad and he never called. It shattered my whole world into pieces, there was no foundation under my feet any more. I felt discarded, I started wondering what pissed him off so much in me he had to run like this. I no longer felt beautiful and soon tons of different faults emerged into surface feel so insecure again. Even if other boys sought my attention I never seemed to notice good guys, which led me to string of series of unfortunate events involving men unsuitable for me breaking my heart or trying to break me, as well as the cowardly type - running away. Some of them praised me for beauty, sometimes simply trying to get into my pants, some really meant it, some further said painful things that made me hate myself. Only when I truly learned to be alone and be true myself and not act or dress as others expected me, but my inner censorship demon of perfection allowed me. With age I saw that many natural beauties just fell apart neglecting their bodies, having children, sun damage or just horrible hairstyles and cheap die-jobs would soon fade their former beauty. As I started working in beauty industry I got to see many many different women every day. Some nicely groomed, some fake and overdone and some complete disasters of an excuse of a woman. I realised myself that beauty, especially with age is a hard full-time job. To dress nicely and properly for your body, to eat healthy, to exercise, to use make-up wisely and have a daily skin care routine. To respect yourself more and to love yourself more. That is beauty to me now, and I know that I may not change my stupid crazy nose, or my legs suddenly won't become long and beautiful. But I will feel beautiful, because I worked for that and just like the famous Loreal commercial says: "I'm worth it!" I choose to be beautiful, because I do it for me.
P.S. I don't believe any one would read this long nonsense, but I don't really care