Farewell 21.07.2017

Indents mark background information that adds to the reflection but can be skipped to save time.

I keep thinking that I would be indifferent during handing over and farewell because I rarely spoke to my juniors, even if I did, it was little more than workout timings and the occasional “all the way”. Furthermore, I felt more estranged from the team ever since the talk with my coach in which she expressed her disappointment at my lack of determination during training. Her accusations were true, to a small extent, but it only served to make me feel even more deflated about my performance. Apart from that, scholar’s farewell was painfully dry.

I remember joining middle distance being such a relief financially because I no longer needed to skip meals for cello fees after switching over from string orchestra. Initially, I faced training with a relaxed determination- my goal was to improve, and being without sports background and the slowest runner at the time, I felt no pressure to achieve anything in terms of placing in races.

Within the first two months, I kept on breaking personal best timings and it fueled my motivation. I changed my goal from being only second last in the team to representing in Nationals Cross Country. That year, I got a shin splint from overwork and ended up as reserve The next year, new members were very good and I barely made it into the competing team, only getting to run the race because of two of our best runners falling sick. We were winning in all sorts of smaller competitions leading up to Nationals only to disappoint our coach.

From getting breathless in an 800m race to clocking about 50k of runs in a week was no easy feat. The overwork plus my own obsession of maintaining my record of  continuously breaking personal bests made me feel anxiety before every training. Running became a burden instead of passion.

Coach’s words only made me acknowledge that and since then I have felt awkward being someone who was not ready to give her all for team.

Farewell took me back to the beginning of 2016, when I was at peak fitness and performance, when I was determined to do my best in not just training but also academics and in my own character building.

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Farewell 21.07.2017

I used to be even more cold and aloof than I am now simply because I was shy and did not know how to respond to affection, especially from people I am not very close with. A friend once commented that hugging me was as warm as hugging an iceberg, unmoving and freezing.

At the start of 2016, I learned to be more affectionate and caring towards others. I made up with people I have hurt and those who have hurt me by extending friendship through simple actions such as lending them cutlery during an outdoors camp so that they can eat. I would consciously look out to see if others needed help. I tried to smile more because my resting face was scary, I even earned many compliments about being very positive, which encouraged me to continue my efforts. Probably because of my overenthusiasm in being warm and caring, I ironically ended up with many constantly sad friends which had a depressing influence on my life. Other than that, giving so much and receiving almost zero reciprocation from people I cared about also made me decide to go back to being distant.

In my farewell notes, a group of juniors specially got me a gift- small and I may never use it but it was the notes that came with it that really made me tear. They wrote about how I tried to make conversation with them on their first day at training while bringing them through drills, saying that they were grateful for my warm welcome that day despite them feeling very awkward and thus remaining silent whenever I spoke to them. That simple action that I have long forgotten is the reason they understood that I was just quiet and not mean or scary.

In growing, I tend to pay so much attention to the areas I am lacking in, so much so that I often forget to keep up what I have done right. Farewell reminded me that despite many failures, some of my efforts did not go to waste and that while it was alright to avoid uncomfortable social situations, I should not allow fear of failure to prevent me from doing what I want to do, which is to be nice (sometimes) because I have now experienced first hand- through how my actions came back to me in a pleasant surprise and what my juniors did for me, the cliche yet unbelievable “small actions can create big change” (or something else along those lines).

 

United We Troll 20/7/2017

Senior prank. Near impossible at my school where the most harmless toilet paper wad on the ceiling is considered vandalism- a serious offence. Out of the question for my class, stereotyped to be 100% model students just because we take all 3 sciences instead of 2. (The stereotype is quite true). Amusing stories of seniors sleeping in hallways or filling the entire school with balloons before they graduate is something that belongs only in the fantasy of social media. For the same reason, I cannot upload the hilarious photo of my entire class standing out in blue uniform in a sea of white running attire during morning jog.

It was not an intentional attempt to rebel. My class would never find it in us to do so. In fact, the incident happened due to the obedient nature of the class and our attitude towards school rules. Upon receiving notice that the track would be occupied during morning jog, the chairperson assumed that jog was cancelled and reminded us to adhere to school rules and don full school uniform.

Technically, not being in the correct attire warrants a minor offence. However, because it was unintentional, and involves a class of 42, we were let off the hook- no run and no minor offence. Of course we would be making up for the missed run on another morning but I do look forward to it 🙂

This was not the first time school rules were broken with “offenders” escaping unscathed because of their sheer number. Usually, people who were not at their respective places for assembly would have to endure a harsh scholding.  That day, many in my cohort were confused by the seating arrangement even though it did not vary from the norm and were stranded even when the national anthem began playing. Nothing happened after pledge taking, we just shuffled sheepishly to the spectators stand and scrambled to find any free seat.

Unknowingly, we have had unforgettable moments that add new dimension to our otherwise monotonous student life. It also truly highlights that numbers can overthrow unjust authority. Certainly I am not saying my school system is unjust, nor am I encouraging people to do what we accidentally did on purpose.  I just wanted to share this story because it is as though I have finally gotten a taste of real-life Mallory Towers, a childhood favourite book series 😉

 

Love: Family vs Friends

You reap what you sow. I can never give my all to another. I dance around wanting sincereity from another yet being too afraid to bare all because reciprocation is not guaranteed. To practice this choreography is an exhausting and unrewarding experience. Every time when I am about to give up on myself and the people around me, I fall back and practice loving within only family, a circle that I can trust will never betray my efforts.

Honestly, the people within a family are never more or less perfect than the first stranger I meet on the street. I think we naturally find it easier to love our families because we are not given a choice.

With family, since neither party is given a choice in who we get to love, we are more willing to accept the other’s shortcomings because we are guaranteed that they will do the same for us. However, when we get to choose among people who will not necessarily choose us, it is inevitable to stumble across hearts in masquerade attire, hearts more guarded than the Vatican Secret Archives or simply those that do not seem to click with ours. After repeated rejection (with some successes), we learn via negativa and give up on those too far from our ideals. I learn to step into what is more practical and less loving and personally I feel that this is the black hole of compassion and empathy. Everyone has flaws, and a lot of people are less than ideal, none better than the other once we truly get to know them.

Having to gamble our feelings is unnerving for everyone and with that mentality, finding a true friend that loves you is no easy feat. I used to believe in fairy tale versions of this relationship, often judging those who mercilessly knock down the idea of friendship, believing that it is merely a social game. Now, I begin to understand how easy it is to give up, even Cinderella left the ball and got a break from dancing around the love of her life 🙂 However, thanks to God’s amazing biological design for us humans, we are all insured with the chance to learn love because no child can be born without a family, though it is unfortunate that some do get left behind by their parents for various reasons. He never fails to pour His overflowing love into our hearts through parents, parental figures etc. Praise the Lord 🙂

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

– No Longer Slaves, Bethel Music

Just some thoughts 🙂 Funny how my previous post which was more of a rant than a purposefully crafted post was more well-liked. I guess I should try to share more personal experiences and feelings when appropriate (and comfortable haha- I tend to prefer sharing logic over emotions). Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

 

Check-in with God

 

16.07.2017 First Breakdown in ages. The feeling of inadequacy and loneliness that had remained buried for such a long time resurfaced. For a few days, I could not calm down enough to go about the situation rationally and finally I broke down to find out what I truly felt. Decided against going into the whys for the time being and to offer it up to Him.

Lord, I tried so hard to remove the distance between us that has accumulated over time because of the temptation of sin. I decided to close the gap because sin is 1 second of pleasure and a lifetime of regret. However, I often (wrongly) feel that you are not enough because you are so silent, that even silence can drown you out. Hearing you without the aid of your physical vessels take effort, and although I try to remind myself to steer clear from excuses, I am tired.

Lord, I tried so hard to become a happier person, to see everything positively because you saw all you had made and it was very good. (Genesis 1:31) I distanced myself from negativity that I, at the moment cannot change. I used to question the purpose of life and my purpose in life so I started actively searching for the me that You intended me to be. I did all these because I know that to follow Your Will is the only bread that can ever satisfy.

Yet I often find myself falling to sloth, sleeping, watching shows, procrastinating, instead of doing the one thing that I have responsibility to carry out, the one thing that makes me feel unbearably lonely – studying. I do not understand why the people around me eat, live and breathe textbooks, extra practices and math drills. I do not know why my show of interest in other things make me less of a good student in my peers’ eyes. Studying is inevitably done alone because I am not valuable enough to be part of a study group.

I find myself crying again, but this time in frustration. I have so thoroughly removed sadness from my life that I have forgotten what it is like to experience sadness.

Lord, sometimes I feel like becoming a typical teenager who knows not right from wrong. It is an easier path to walk. Now, my conscience stops me whenever I try to take the short cut.

Lord, I thank you for allowing me to rebuild the relationship I have with all of my family. Thank you for teaching me to love them and to feel the love they have for me. I value it so much that I am afraid to be less than perfect, for fear of destroying this delicate scene that took us long to achieve. It becomes another burden I carry.

Lord, I value and thank you for the people you have allowed me to meet, the people who bring me closer to You when they share with me what they know about You. I grew closer to these people because you gifted me with this ability to contemplate and I am afraid to show irrational emotion for fear of losing these people. I will always filter and assign meaning to what I feel before sharing, it often becomes a burden that I am unable to lessen through sharing.

Lord, thank you for gifting us with the rosary. Even though the repeated prayers may be monotonous, it is a physical way to connect with you especially in times of desperation. It is a struggle though, to focus amidst all the negative thoughts swimming in my head.

Amen.

Ended up posting more recently even though I am much more overwhelmed by work, I guess my blog helps keep me grounded and reminds me that I have accomplished something :”)

Who Am I?: (Pt. 3) Influence vs Pressure

Who Am I is slowly and unintentionally becoming a series because it is my self-discovery journey made public. In Part I I contemplated on what makes me me, Part II was about how I realised that ironically, it is difficult to be the cliche Be Yourself especially the parts of my identity that are not archetypal. 

We are all minefields. On the surface, we seem like smooth plains untouched. Buried beneath the top soil of who we are lie minerals, metals and sometimes, mines. Minerals and metals are what we choose to develop in ourselves, nudged by our experiences and the people around us. The mines are forcefully planted in us by pressure, external and occasionally internal.

Pressure often comes in the form of categories. It is ironic that in a world that believes in individuality, we are still expected to fit into groups with highly specific requirements for their members, and we enforce these stereotypes on others, and ourselves. For example, I used to think I was a ‘classical music kind of person’ thus never even attempting to understand pop music. On the other hand, my peers at the time thought I was odd for enjoying ‘old people music’ as they saw themselves as being ‘in’ thus frowning upon all sorts of music that were not the latest releases. Another example would be icebreakers. Every start of the term in a new school, teachers, or orientation committees will suggest icebreakers, often asking each individual to share a few fun facts about themselves. These fun facts are something I struggle to come up with because I know that they will eventually define me for these people I just met and I know that no list of fun facts will do me justice because I am human, I am a complex being. Astrological star signs, Chinese zodiac symbols, 16 personalities, Hogwarts houses are all boxes we sort ourselves into, preventing us from thinking out of the box when it comes to who we truly are.

삶에서 장르는 덫 (In life, genre is a trap)

– Do You, Rap Monster

This year, I have been consciously trying to choose to be influenced rather than pressured. I have stepped out of the footsteps of my father and introduced myself to Korean Pop. The interesting thing about this experience was that I gained the perfect example of how easy it is to lose yourself in all the hype of a ‘fandom’.

Background: I would not say I started off as a fan of BTS. I was more of a Rap Monster fan. I found it interesting that someone with an IQ of 148, considered a genius would choose to pursue such a career instead of focusing in what the world thought he would be good at. I only started to listen to their music because Rap Monster happened to be involved in a lot of their productions and I did enjoy his music. After a while, some of the members’ personalities as glimpsed from their own variety recordings caught my attention and I grew to enjoy watching their music and non-music related shows and performances.

My roommate happens to also like the group and she prides herself on being a typical “ARMY who loves and supports all the 7 members equally”. However she obviously did not care as much about some of the members while she continued to insist otherwise. Personally I do not think it is any of my business because you do you, girl, until she insisted on my doing so as well to be considered a ‘true ARMY’. It would have been so easy to forget why I admired the people I admired and blindly follow the command. Thankfully, I hate being told what to do and thus began to think about her suggestion and came to the conclusion that I should not have to like someone more just to belong under a label. So be it if I am now a fan of Jimin, a fan of Jin, a fan of Suga, a fan of Jhope etc. but not a ARMY. So be it if I am a fan of the group but not an ARMY simply because I think some of the members are more admirable than others 🙂

My venture into K-pop gave me many stars to learn from and a whole new culture to experience and it will eventually shape part of who I become. However, it is not necessary to like everything under the K-pop umbrella, I do not have to agree with plastic surgery if I do not want to. My experience studying overseas taught me the value of hard work but it does not mean I should always be working, I also do not have to be like the stereotypical scholarship recepient, I can still maintain my usually laidback nature. What I am trying to say is that there are so many things around us, and we will try to bring order to our identity by trying to define ourselves. The definition should be kept open to amendment so that we do not limit our development. (As you may have noticed, in Part I, most of the things listed are not restrictive and are things I am very sure about, where the only change possible would be a contradiction. e.g. I did not say that I was a humanes person to limit myself to only humanes but that I loved humanes, that does not mean I cannot love science too, I just gave the humanities a special mention because many slighted it heh.)

Read the English translation of the lyrics, they are very meaningful ❤ I also found the first verse a pleasant coincidence because the lyrics are similar to the first paragraph in Part II of Who Am I even though I had no idea who Rap Monster was when I wrote the post. It is nice to know the artist that I like is worth me being a fan of beyond looks and rap skills but also on what he stands for and raps about.

First time sharing something like this. Hope no one sees it as an interruption in theme 🙂 I don’t think it is. ❤ Check out Analogy: Puzzle because it was supposed to be a part of this post but I did not want the post to be messy with different analogies flying all over the place.

Analogy: Puzzle

I am a puzzle piece equipped with a paintbrush. While I can paint new designs onto myself to blend in with the hundred other pieces, I cannot change my shape to make myself a part of another puzzle without cutting parts of myself away.

I am a puzzle piece equipped with a paintbrush. I have the choice to stop by a stationery shop and pick up one of two things, a blade or extra cardboard.

Choosing the blade means removing the parts of my identity that aren’t mainstream where I am, thus ‘finding my place’ in the puzzle called society. It is not worth the sacrifice for people who do not truly love you, who cannot accept you as every part of who you are. Choosing extra cardboard means becoming my own puzzle, adding puzzle pieces as I gain inspiration from the puzzles I visit.

Using the paintbrush means I get to be inspired by those around me, to add unto myself the admirable qualities of others without also inheriting their less desirable traits. With the paintbrush, I am not a clone, I am a work of art, the masterpiece of my life.

It is tempting to fit in, to find a sense of belonging, but we forget that the parts of us that we left out to fit in will cause us to feel lonely too. Instead of this unrewarding experience, why not continue building onto ourselves as individuals while remaining open to other unique puzzles join us to form a collection? That way we become accepted as a whole!

I recently heard a sermon about how the world places overemphasis on individuality while community is neglected, however I believe that each individual tends to favour either one over another when they are equally important. Some think other humans are fit sacrifices for personal gain, while others are willing to give their identities up to find ‘friends’. We are unique and thus are able to serve the Lord with our talents and recognise Him in our weaknesses. In our differences, we are able to have personal encounters with Christ that differ from one individual to another. Only when we embrace our differences can we see the ultimate common ground that is Christs’ love which includes us all.

Yes, I amFinally posted this after 25 revisions. It was going to be part of an upcoming post 😉 but I ended up having too much to say 🙂 Hope you like it!

Tower of Babel: Best is an Asymptote

Anyone well-acquainted with encouragement would have often spoken or heard the phrase “Do your best.”. Having read books like The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk, I used to believe in a more exhausting version of the Growth mindset, that I am limited only by my imagination and the amount of effort I am willing to exert. I believed that the reason for my edge in academics was due to good foundation set during kindergarten days. I believed my drastic improvement in running was due to my own determination and belief that I could. I believed that with practice, I could achieve anything, that hard work always paid the same salary to each of its employees. Therefore, I was convinced I had never gone all out because I have never passed out at the finish line. These beliefs of mine were hardly delusional, they were very much scientifically proven, I just forgot details that add another dimension to my story. It was not by my own effort that I was born into a family that prioritises education, neither was it the effort that gave me belief in myself. I was blessed with the chance to strike at these lotteries.

Losing control instills fear. Accepting God’s power means acknowledging that we are vulnerable. It means that I can sacrifice my favourite foods and activities and live the healthiest lifestyle and still have my cells divide uncontrallably against my will. I can study my whole life but this data can be wiped overnight without reason. I can go under the knife a thousand times to look like a goddess and have the world’s perception of beauty shift, leaving me again ‘imperfect’. Camouflaged as a chink in my perfection is His difficult-to-accept love. By admitting that I am weak, I need not feel bad about the sleep I got during finals week, I need not blame myself for falling after being shoved during a race, I now know that I have a circle of control, and that some things are simply beyond my reach.

Undoubtedly, humans are destined to do great things, but not alone. Everything we achieve is God’s grace reporting for work.

With various scientific breakthroughs over the centuries, it is tempting to believe in the word ‘limitless’. Lucrative industries are destroying Mother Earth and her inhabitants? Oh you know, one day science will find safer and more environmental-friendly alternatives, for now, patience is a virtue. People are dying due to lack of medical attention? One day science will invent the antidote to your illness, science will find cheaper and more affordable modes of surgery, science will. Science always will.

How can science be the magical solution to everything when science does not even believe in magic? Discoveries in science are not guaranteed. In fact, they are ingeniously called discoveries because we are merely opening our own eyes to what was always there, and if the solution to our problems do not lie in science, they do not lie in science.

Sometimes they do. But other times we need to take a step back and uncover the root of the problem, often lying in human greed which blinds us from the plight of others. Excessive trees being felled mean landslides threatening the lives of those living nearby and global warming destroying the earth, yet some are unwilling to give up their beautiful wood furniture, or plot of land to build their 5th new vacation home to salvage the situation. While science is attempting plastic trees that can provide us with both our comfort and help for those suffering from our actions, we could make a change if we allow our collective conscience to lead us into boycotting products that fell trees unnecessarily. Progress is nothing but illusion because humanity has regressed as we are now able to push all responsibility onto limitless science.

Best is an asymptote. Since the best we can do will never be the best, why sacrifice to achieve the unachievable? We should simply pick the easy way out, which is to continue believing in our own version of the Tower of Bable and change nothing. We should not attempt to push closer and closer to the best, it is a waste of time.

The above paragraph is clearly meant sarcastically especially when we clearly keep in mind that the pursuit of science is to better understand and examplify God’s love.

Hopefully this is not a digressive post. Not too sure what to tag it as. There is so much to be shared that it is hard to find a common topic that will cover them all but I really enjoyed having this as food for thought and I figured it was one of those things that were a pity left unshared 🙂 I’m not stating my post as a fact, it is just my personal opinion. There’s more from the reading I did today but till next time.

Blissful Moments, June 2017

Finally, a more blog-like post on my blog! Hope you like it but it’s kinda OK if you don’t. As you might be able to tell, my blog was started more for me than for anyone else and I’m trying to remember that whenever I craft my posts or reread them, scrutinising every detail, pondering whether I should remove the post.

As I often mention, I know quite a bit about my faith in theory, yet something seems to prevent me from acting on this knowledge, even though I know doing so will bring me peace and true happiness within. Below are some moments when I finally acted, and I want to remember these occasions in times of future hesitation.

  1. Making the decision to go for youth fellowship even if I might feel socially awkward, as I usually do around people. I prayed about it and made the decision as I remembered that it was about Him and not how others would see me. Receiving a warm welcome from friends I haven’t seen in a long while immediately upon arrival. Praising and worshiping the Lord freely without having to care about whether I looked “crazy”, assured that everyone else present was equally ‘into’ the Lord that He was their focus instead of me and my awkward worship actions.
  2. Doing house chores to the best of my abilities. (i.e. washing all the dishes and cooking equipment after preparing meals, cleaning the house properly instead of faking a few mop sweeps across the floor. With some grumbles but still part willingly making hot chocolate for my parents when they asked.) Knowing that I was doing my part in loving my family felt good. Learning that giving could feel good. Remembering that doing things out of love brought happiness and fulfillment. (This was something I recalled recently – that His Will was first and foremost for us to love Him, ourselves, and others; and that all the laws and commandments are mere guides to love. Thus blind obedience without love was as good as doing nothing.).
  3. Playing limbo with the family at my youngest brother’s suggestion. I was having the fun I always longed for with friends, except with people I’ve known all my life and am beyond comfortable with.
  4. Suggesting charades + all the laughter-filled times at had with my entire family. It reminded me that despite our differences, be it in faith, perception of the world etc. Despite our disagreements and inability to understand each other, my family was still a family who accepts, albeit sometimes a bit more unwillingly. I remembered that ultimately, no matter how tired I felt of “all the bs”, I will never be too tired to love and experience true love.
  5. 1. Realising I had a closest-to-perfect earthly father. While I was never spoilt materialistically, I know deep down that my irritability and low tolerance towards others’ less than sincere treatment of me stemmed from having a father who loved me. My father is everything to me, someone I admired, my best friend, my shoulder to cry on, my most loyal supporter, advice column, respectful listener, you name it, he is it. Due to his patient guidance, constant support and full acceptance of everything that I am, I became someone who knew my worth and refused to be treated as anything less than that, and every time just after I return overseas from spending time with my father, this aspect of my personality asserts itself more. My father always gives, even when I try to give back, he still ends up giving more. (E.g. I tried to treat him to sashimi using my scholarship money as an early father’s day present. A few hours later, he gave me money more than the amount I spent on the sashimi.) 2. When I found out the amount of effort my dad put into studying had gone to waste, I felt it such a pity and felt the urge to push my father to do something about it, until it eventually occured to me that like me, my father would have his limits too, and what does it matter even if it meant no higher family income? My father was my father despite his limits and I should love him for that. Being able to accept that made me really happy because I felt I learned more about how to love.

Future me, rereading this, feeling self-conscious and judging my writing, do not delete this post, it deserves to stay public :).

Values

As a Chinese Christian growing up, I had my fair share of values being drilled into me. Be it unconditional obedience and respect for elders or to show kindness to my fellow human beings, I am well-acquainted with these teachings that have been highly recommended by many to enlist as my core beliefs. Of those, the most prominent are generosity and humility.

Firstly, generosity-a value so prized it has become part of my holistic education package. The service domain under this co-curricular achievement system ignites passion in the hearts of all youth, sparks student-initiated fund raising events at every school. Six hours of community service a year is a must, not a should. The idea of being generous with our time, effort and money is held in such high regards that schools have only come short of threatening students into it. The multitude of awards and guarantees of higher education institution recruitments beg the question, is it generosity or pretentious flaunts of possessing generosity that society wants to uphold? Generosity means giving something I want to keep to another who needs it. Does anyone need half-hearted and unwilling hands? Does anyone need clicking tongues of sympathy and eyes that gleam with superiority? Smiles that threaten to collapse once backs are turned? While I do believe in generosity, I also believe many of us are taking and not giving, using the needy as our stepping stones to success. Competition was used as an incentive in character building but its rocky foundation has proven to collapse character. As the term itself suggests, character requires building, generosity requires us to have love and empathy, it is unlike sympathy and ambition and takes culture, not lure.

Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are lost.

– Matthew 9:17, the Bible

Chinese humility is infamous for its sincerity, or lack thereof. Loud claims of gratitude towards the Goddess of luck mask undercurrents of internal pride and smugness that one has done better than the other. Mothers pretend to sigh at their children’s mediocrity while vying for them to reign superior in academics, sports, even height and weight. This virtue is essential to being well-liked, popularity is less likely gained by individuals who acknowledge their outstanding strengths than those who merely smile shyly upon hearing praise. I myself took a few years to learn to graciously accept compliments with sincere thanks instead of dodging them like bullets, carefully manoeuvring the conversation away from these perceived minefields. Let us pause to teach ourselves to take pride in our achievements without feeling superior and to take equal pride were the same success reached by others.

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

– C.S. Lewis, the Screwtape Letters

All in all, as many probably are, I am enough to recognise values and yet not beautiful enough to constantly uphold them in true form. However, it is the thought that counts and by His grace, I believe what is meant to come will come. Amen.

Inspired by a school essay assignment question 🙂 No idea how everyone would receive it but here goes nothing. 

Beauty is Internal

I once had a problem of picking at my looks until they become pockmarked with scars of unhealthy self criticism. To my lopsided eyes (they really are lopsided), everyone’s appearance is a work of art at first glance. Some are kindergarten craft projects adorned with uneven patches of glitter and balls of dried glue, others painted with confident, clean strokes of an experienced, steady brush. Meanwhile, I am the remnants of a foiled piece sulking in the recycling bin. Eventually, I learned to notice and appreciate the unique and beautiful details in my own appearance, though self esteem issues occasionally resurface. However, a certain mechanism of my brain remained, the power to warp faces and nudge them into molds that match the impression I have of their personality.

Internal beauty is not a foreign concept, and yet we tune out at its mention because after all the fuss, statistics still show that better looking people are better paid and get away with more nonsense than the less aesthetically blessed. Numbers do not lie. Plastic surgery prevails and thrives, blades break skin and shovel into flesh in search of the gold this lucrative industry offers. The reflections in society’s mirrors scream of beauty that is external, or lack thereof.

I learnt in descriptive writing that ‘perfectly arched brows frame doe-like eyes with luscious lashes’ could just as easily have been ‘brows painstakingly plucked to perfection arch snobbishly above unnaturally large eyes with pretentious eyelash extentions’ depending on the author’s portrayal of a character. These descriptions dance around in the shadows in our minds, undetected by consciousness and all comes tumbling out when summoned by ink on paper. Beauty is internal because the human mind is able to assign meaning to visual receptions based on conclusions we have made about the subject. 

Our brains still trust body language and first impressions because internal and external sync up to a certain extent. While my right eye may not earn a double eyelid from being kind, both eyes can gain dark saggy bags from exhaustion. Some may argue that the external could be faked, and yet the simple action of smiling makes us happier against our will. A sloppy person maybe learn and become more meticulous as one develops the habit of applying makeup, which requires patience and precision. While the external may be changed, the internal cannot help but evolve to match the surface. Beauty is internal because the external is a projection of what’s within.

I look into the depths of my soul and we are back at square one. My soul is a foiled piece sulking in the recycling bin. My flaws glow luminous between the dark clouds of this depressing reminder that I am a human being, not Jesus Christ and thus my internal does not glitter gold nor explode with immaculate light.

Just my personal opinion 🙂 Hopefully the ending effectively conveys my message that even though beauty is internal, everyone has their own flaws and both internal and external beauty deserve to be shielded from judgemental scrutiny. I am hypocritical and fail to refrain from judgement myself but oh wells. Explored the topic as writing practice out of fear of losing the ability to write. Sorry for the brief hiatus, I was literally at a loss for words in response to the events in my life. Feel free to critique, add on to what I wrote or point out and opposing argument 🙂