As a little girl, I never thought about my lips. They were just there and necessitated chapstick.
I’ve always had larger, fuller lips. I was self-aware of them, but being a very naive child I wasn’t really too worried about human aesthetics or anything along those lines. I was worried about the next soccer ball I’d kick or the next softball I’d throw.
It wasn’t until the end of elementary school, all through middle and high school, did I suddenly become aware that my lips were such a statement.
I have no idea when I learned about what sex was, let alone a blow job. Let’s just say the stereotype of an Asian-American girl is pretty fitting for my childhood. I grew up very sheltered. But all of a sudden kids, especially boys, were teasing me about having ‘blow job lips’. I didn’t have the courage to ask what they meant, but I knew it was meant to be hurtful. I tried to not let it bother me, I was such a tomboy at that age. I was always hanging out with the boys. I assumed (or made myself believe) they were just teasing me like they tease each other, so I tried to ignore it for the most part.
|The Guidette and I|
It only got worse in middle school. So now I knew what BJL’s were, but then they threw another one at me ‘DSL’s’. I was already pissed off with the first nickname, but when I learned what the second one was, I was livid. I was embarrassed and upset that they would mock something I did not have control over. Didn’t they know I didn’t choose my lips?
I told my Mom that kids were teasing me about my lips, her response was ‘Women pay for your lips.’ Which obviously, as an 11-year-old, that didn’t console me in the slightest. I did not tell her the full details of what was being said, other than I was upset by it. She offered to talk to the Principal at school. This is where the story gets a little fuzzy because I’m not sure if she actually did or I was independent enough to do it myself. Regardless, the Principal was alerted and the boys in question were brought to her office.
I do remember the outcome. Said boys in question came back and teased me even more, but for a different reason. They told everyone “She almost got us kicked out of school for making fun of her DSL’s!” So now everyone knew I hated the name and tried to get them into trouble. There was no serious backlash and it blew over, but I still hated that nickname.
Then came high school, the name still followed because so did the kids. At this point, I was slightly desensitized to the derogatory name, but it still stung every time someone mentioned it. Everyone knew I hated it, so it wasn’t always said to my face, but it will still something the boys mocked.
I vividly remember playing miniature golf, as a Sophomore (or Freshman), with a bunch of friends and a boy named T referenced me my lips as BJLs. I flipped my shit. I literally reached down at whatever hole we were at, grabbed my colored golf ball, and threw it at his face. Mind you, I’d been a softball player for at least 8 years, so I kinda knew how to throw the golf ball. It landed square on his chin, he was livid. He did nothing to retaliate, but it kinda got awkward after that. I don’t really remember much of the golfing after that, probably because I didn’t have my golf ball anymore.
My whole point in describing these pivotal moments of my harassment (I feel guilty using such a harsh word, but maybe it is correct) is because just recently I’ve come to terms with my lips and have started to enjoy them. Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m not so shy about wearing statement color lipsticks, or lipstick in general.
I’ve been a strict chapstick and sometimes lip gloss type of girl for most of my life. I have tons of lip glosses, but I always forget them or go straight to my Chapstick. I never wanted to bring attention to what was already something that stood out, which is obviously an overstatement, but is how I felt because of the years of teasing. These days, I’ll joke that “I grew into my lips.” As I’ve matured (re: gained weight) they look much more proportionate to my face.
One random day at Nordstrom, years ago, I really wanted to branch out with my lip color. I let the MAC girl convince me to buy a red lip liner and lipstick. I’m pretty sure Gwen Stefani had a huge impact on this decision. I think it literally took me about a month to actually use them. I did and it wasn’t so bad, but they didn’t get used much more after that. Don’t get me wrong, in high school, I’d wear lipstick to prom, but I always made sure they used a very neutral color – nothing vibrant was calling unwanted attention to my lips!
Fast forward to the last two years, or so. I’ve started to branch out and buy more lipsticks and liners and wear with a much higher frequency. I can’t buy a lipstick without buying the liner, I don’t know why. I’ve been trying to embrace my lips and use them to accessorize my look. But behind these MAC clad lips, I’m still that middle schooler who doesn’t want to be called or looked at as DSL’s. I know that others pay to have injections in their lips and I’m grateful that I’m blessed with ones that don’t necessarily need that. However, it took me a long time to get where I am.
|Lipstick // MAC Viva Glam III — Liner // MAC Burgundy|
Kids can be mean. I never felt bullied, but I was subjected to my share of teasing. I didn’t realize how hurt I was by this whole ordeal until I started thinking about why I don’t wear lipstick often, even though I’ve bought plenty of them. The realization came one day when I was staring at the mirror, outlining my lips with a liner. I just kinda sat there and was flooded by vivid memories of the boys taunting me with those nicknames. It didn’t stop me. The process continued and the lipstick went on, to complete the look. It just reminded me that eventually, things pass, we learn from them, and hopefully, grow.
Funny thing is, I’m still acquaintances (thanks to social media) with many of the people in these stories. I don’t talk to them on a regular basis, but there are times we interact via social media. I don’t hold any of it against them, but I do hold their hurtful words near to my heart. I wish I could tell my 11-year-old self what I know now, but I can’t…
Sometimes it the little, personal hurdles that really make the difference.