I spent most of my childhood in Los Angeles, California. I was like the typical Cali kid who would roller blade/bike on the street, play basketball/volleyball with the boys and spend my afternoons running around in the park. Physically, I was very dark, chubby and stocky. Mentally, it didn’t really bother me since I was still half the size of the other kids. Emotionally, I grew up with a balanced and loving family, I was well fed and very happy.
I was never really concerned with my appearance until I moved to Manila in 1993 (I was 13 years old). My parents sent me to an exclusive all girls private school, Assumption (My mom & family’s alma mater). Playing sports and hanging around the boys most of my life made me temporarily forget that I was a girl. It was during my first year in high school that I felt disconnected. I couldn’t relate to a lot of the girly activities that my new friends wanted to do. Plus, I was going through the early stages of what every parent worries about, puberty. I eventually started to become more self conscious of the way I looked and the way I felt about myself. I hate to admit it but I was not very happy with what I saw when I looked in the mirror.
I felt short, dark and fat. I really felt like the ugly duckling!
It was during this time that I was determined to change. I started eating better, working out, spent more time in the beauty parlor and shopping with my mom. My grandparents would take my sister and I with them during their trips around the world. We were exposed to so many different cultures, people, the latest fashion trends and they introduced us to their love of european brands and designers. I was soaking everything in and absorbing it all like a sponge. The rest is history.. it was inevitable. I fell in love with fashion, style and beauty!
During my summer vacation before my 2nd year of high school I had lost weight, had all the latest fashion must haves, was developing my own sense of style BUT I still wasn’t happy. I would stare at the mirror longer and longer every night before going to bed and eventually my eyes gravitated and zeroed in to my nose. It hit me.. my nose occupied most of my face. I went through magazines, watched television, observed the people around me trying to analyze the proportions of everyone’s face-I came to the conclusion that my problem wasn’t my face, my nose was just too big and wide for the size of my face.
I openly talked to my parents about wanting to have my nose reduced and of course they blatantly said NO and thought I was crazy. I didn’t take it against them since I knew that eventually I would have it done, it was just a matter of time. And everyday, for a long as I can remember, I would spend a good 10-15 minutes staring at my face. I would analyze my nose and its proportions – I would squeeze the sides of my nose and hold my breathe to see what my face would look like if my nose were thinner. I even tried to tape it and use a clothes clip to be able to visualise the effect.
I graduated high school, went back to the U.S. for College, had my first child – Danielle and went back to Manila. Everything was still the same -I continued to have my nose issues! At this time I was already 23 years old, I knew that I was going to have it done as soon as I found the right doctor. I was shopping around, my mom and aunts surprisingly joined my bandwagon by asking friends, researching and referring potential doctors -BUT- I just couldn’t seem to find the perfect fit. I wanted a doctor who didn’t want to change my face. I just wanted him to enhance my nose. I needed a doctor who shared my sentiments and vision. He had to be someone with a good track record, someone I felt comfortable with and someone who I thought was good – for me!
After more than a decade (2010), I found the doctor and made a decision that changed my life, the way viewed myself and the way I felt about myself. FOREVER!
My only regret: I wish I had done it sooner!
Photos were taken by Cyrus Panganiban for Lifestyle Asia Magazine
- Cat Arambulo-Antonio