Viewpoint: Life will be OK if you didn’t win the genetic lottery

By Ada Zhang

I must first start off by saying that this column is not for everyone. So before you waste your time reading something that does not enhance your quality of life, observe the following rules to weed out those of you to whom my advice does not apply:

If you wake up every morning with clear skin and smooth lips, know your summer itinerary includes a trip to Europe, an internship in New York/LA and a lot of poolside lounging, have the body of a Victoria’s Secret model and Angelina Jolie’s face and get asked out constantly, then stop reading now. To all who meet the above requirements — no hard feelings. We love you. We are happy for you. Keep doing your thing. Cheers.

Pretty people are envied for their looks, sure, but what is truly irksome is when they are pretty and nice and (in some extreme cases) humorous. It makes the rest of us go, “Really? Seriously?” We laypeople then find ourselves actively seeking out their flaws, employing strenuous effort to find something, anything, wrong with these good-looking creatures. We usually come up with nitpicky things that no one even cares about such as “her weird hair line” or “her small chin,” and these “flaws” permit us to conclude that she is not really that pretty.

But let’s get real here. She really is that pretty. Not only does she have perfect hair and teeth, but she is also an extremely sweet girl who you can’t help but adore. She doesn’t fit the pretty-but-menacing popular girl stereotype (she is not Regina George). So as much as you would like to hate her, you don’t.

You accept that she is a goddess and that any guy would gladly cut off his pinky-toe to get a date with her (even the guy you have a crush on, but it’s OK, because there are many fish in the sea). You accept it, you really do, and you’re fine. But as time progresses, you begin to realize the benefits she receives from her ethereal beauty, benefits that extend beyond the dating realm. Opportunity seems to just fall in her lap. All of a sudden, that raging jealousy is back.

She has the hook-up with the sorts of jobs and internships that you only dream of obtaining. While you’re slowly and painfully applying for work, crossing your fingers that you get lucky and score an interview, all she has to do is walk through the door, flip her hair, make light conversation and she gets hired on the spot.

Her future is set. She’ll either marry a rich Brad Pitt look-alike or she’ll charm her way to the top. She doesn’t really have to worry about grades because she is well aware that she has the sex appeal and resources she needs to make it. During finals week, her bedtime is 10 p.m.

The pretty-privilege is real. Is it right that some people are allowed certain perks in life because of their looks? That’s a matter I’m not so much concerned with. I’m simply stating that we live in a superficial world where people are fascinated with what Kim Kardashian is doing. Society lends favor to the better-looking, and beautiful people benefit from this.

Now let me say a few words about the rest of us who do not have the pretty privilege. We startle ourselves every morning upon first glance at our reflection in the mirror. Our faces are ridden with pimples that result from stress. Our hair is split ends galore. Our lips are reptiles and they sometimes bleed when we grin. Life is rough for us. We are on the struggle bus. Destination? To hell if we know.

I don’t mean to depict us as ugly low-lives with no future. That is not what we are. We are hard-working, determined and smart. Yet our surroundings seem to be working against us as we find ourselves asking, “Is it this hard for everyone?”

The truth? No. Not everyone is working as hard as you, because not everyone has to. That is the uncomfortable truth about life: people are not born with equal opportunities.

Still, this is no excuse to make excuses: “He only noticed her because she’s pretty; I could have scored that internship if I had that connection; if I had wealthier parents, I could have had that opportunity,” and yada yada yada.

Well guess what? You didn’t win the genetic lottery. You weren’t dealt as great a hand. Get over it.

This is much easier said than done. Trust me, I know. But the sooner you accept your lot in life and stop comparing it to others’, the closer you get to attaining whatever it is you want.

Focusing on what others have that you don’t is a distraction, an inhibitor, an obstacle that stands in the way of you and your dreams. Things are going to be harder for us. Our life will involve a lot of coffee and sweatpants. We must embrace this as fact.

The good news, though? We can do it. It won’t be easy. We will have to work hard for a future that is plagued with uncertainty. This lifestyle does not sound enticing, but once we finally make it, we will have the satisfaction of knowing we got there on the basis of merit alone.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to feel that. The road ahead of us is full of failed romances, rejections, do-overs, mishaps and disappointments. Prepare yourself with the essentials: chap-stick, tissues, ice cream and a fashionable array of hats to conceal your greasy hair during finals week when showering becomes a big joke.

Ada Zhang is a junior professional writing major from Austin. She is a staff writer for The Lariat.