self-image

I recently (this year maybe?) started putting more effort into how I look. As much as I can, I try to get at least a thin coat of foundation on my face before I leave the house. Also, I’ve done numerous wardrobe cleanses and gotten rid of clothes that don’t fit, look dangy, I don’t wear anymore or I just plain hate but held on to it for so long because they were exxy. I spent quite a great deal of money on a new haircut – the works, as well. I’m pretty much trying hard to polish myself up from my usual ripped jeans, t-shirt loving self. All of these really have helped me to feel much better about myself and about meeting people. Yet, every single day I look into the mirror and hate everything I see.

It’s odd. Some people have picked it up and yet many many people have not. Sometimes, I get told how pretty I look, I blush and just say thank you and respond quickly with a compliment. One of my friends recently told me that I looked good and then said, but skinny girls always look good. Actually, I get that A LOT and honestly doesn’t really feel like a compliment to me, but hey, I’ll take whatever is out there. I realised that what she said probably came from her own place of insecurity. She recently had a baby and life as a working mum meant there was no time to go to the gym or focus on herself, her priorities were evidently different from my own. Dressing up and spending that extra 15minutes on her face just isn’t something she can afford to do. And that’s okay. At that point in time, all I wanted to do was tell her how each and everyday, I struggle with what’s looking back at me in the mirror. My legs are scarred, my breasts small (a friend grabbed them yesterday and exclaimed how tiny asian breasts were), numerous pimples have found their rightful homes on my forehead, I’m exceedingly short, I have slit eyes. Need I continue?

I’m not going to go on a rant about how the image of western beauty has shaped society to such an extent that the idea of beauty itself seems to come packaged with a pair of deep set blue eyes, blond hair, chiselled chin, a defined nose and carried by a pair of flawless long lean legs that never end. No, I’m honestly and truthfully not saying I blame society for how each and I’m assuming every woman’s insecurity with her appearance. I think it most definitely plays a huge role, but I do believe it ultimately boils down to what the woman wants to see in the mirror. The noise of the outside world can play on and drone on if she lets it and that voice will one day drown her.

Starting with myself, maybe when I stand in front of the mirror every morning, instead of wondering what horrid elves pulled such a horrid joke on my face, I should smile and see the person who values relationships and people above all else. I should look past my tiny eyes and see the girl who is loved by God and see a soul Jesus died to save. I want to look past the fact that I have to tiptoe to get an appropriate height over my sink, I love the fact that though I may be small, I’ve learnt to be brave. Maybe I should look at my pimples and see not the ugly they seem to be but that I’ve gone through a lot. This week alone came with a mountain of challenges and these pimples mark the ones I conquered and the ones I did not. They perhaps could remind of the lessons I have learnt and must learn.

I struggle with feeling good about myself, but today, I will not be drowned out. I hope you do the same.

banter?

the weather not unlike my mood has been temperamental. one day it’s bright and great, and next time i look out the window, it’s moody and  unbearably cold. i’m partly relieved because i went slightly mental the other week and spent a bit too much moolah shopping online. i got a vegan leather jacket and a beanie amongst other things. they arrived today and not a second too soon. 

28902104_069_b 
 (from urbanoutfitters)

haha what’s funny is that i bought both her beanie and her jacket without actually realising it till 5 minutes ago.  

Anyway, I think what’s been on my mind is that i pretty much suck at bantering. i’m not a boring person by any means. i know i’m not, i’ve lived in three different cities and as such have picked up enough knowledge to talk about most things. but i guess, it’s not the content but how i deliver it which i stink at. not good at small talk. :/ which is odd seeing that i am an extrovert. in some instances, i’m alright but i think when i put too much pressure on myself to portray this or that, it comes out very forced and uninterested or uninteresting. i must say, people who are able to banter have my respect. i don’t think it’s really a bad thing that i am unable to seem interesting because it hastens the process of getting rid of meaningless relationships with people who really don’t care about it. but it also means, i might loose out on having meaningful relationships with people who need to start off superficial before they can dig deep. one of those things i guess i just have to keep practising at before it becomes something i’m good at.

 

tinder part deux

I am not a carefree person at all. I’m pretty uptight, I love routines, I hate even the whiff of danger and I love formality. I love deep relationships, the comfort that good friendships provide and absolutely hate uncertainty. I’m quite like a dog at times, I need my structure and a few close doggie pals along with a nice compound to stay in and will bark my bum off if a stranger comes close. Nice.

Hearing about some tinder stories, makes me think about how different I am to them. J and I were texting for a couple of days and admittedly, I love the attention. He’s smarter than the average, by saying things that played to my intellect rather than the typical, ‘hey cutie’. Though that waned when he realised that I wasn’t a causal type girl but I instead actually love being in a relationship and will never put out. It’s odd how even though, I don’t know him, I am affected by him. But I guess that stems from my inability to form superficial relationships. Any and all relationships affect me. I am way too emotional this way.

Why has this J affected my life so much? We talked about how polar opposite we are and his how he finds speaking to strangers comforting I whilst understand why he would, find most relief in the arms of solid friends. However, I get the strange excitement that perhaps to me J represents. He brings along this mystery that I am compelled to twist out. My friends would say, I am trying to solve a problem. I won’t disagree. Or maybe, being the way I am, it’s hard not to wonder what my life would be if I didn’t choose to live this way. Perhaps, he is in my eyes the window that allows me to peak at my alternate life.

Anyway, I deleted Tinder yesterday because it offers me nothing I truly desire. This friendship I have with an increasingly uninterested J reminds me of how quickly I get sucked into a world that I refuse to be a member of and a world that will not love me back.

I guess, with anything, it is always a process. It’s a process of reminding myself that I don’t need any nobody’s approval. That I am actually remarkably happy with my life. Yes, there could be a few improvements, but gone are the days of second guessing my choice of lifestyle.

tinder?

this weekend, i decided to download the tinder app. a friend and i fiddled with it over dinner and it seemed innocent enough – that is, if you don’t right swipe the douche-bag photos i.e. topless pics. so when we got home, i downloaded it and for a while i was pretty obsessed. i got more matches than i thought i would which is a confidence booster (i didn’t think i’d get any). i got to talking to a few of them, some were creeps and they were quickly unmatched. a handful were decent and one seemed to get along with me quite well. this one was great just chatting about things and we had deep discussions (as deep as you can get on tinder) and yes it was nice. he admitted he found me interesting and my expressions intriguing, which is nice to be recognised as ‘not blend’. finally, he asked whether i was looking for true love. that was a difficult question. firstly because at this point, i was convinced that tinder wasn’t right for me. not because of stranger danger, but because of what it represents in my life.

at church, one of our beloved ministers was leaving and she gave a phenomenal farewell sermon. it was about trusting God and not fearing. she encouraged us to get out of the boat and to go where Jesus is. In Peter’s case, he scrambled out of the boat into open and walked towards Jesus on the water. I’ve heard this story so many times, till today, it had little significance in my life. however instead of it washing over me as usual, i was reminded how incredible that was. to get out of a boat, to jump ONTO the water and walk towards Jesus.

so how does it all fit together?

One of the reason why I stayed on tinder even though I realised that it was a hook-up app (yes, i can be slightly naive), is the fear being alone. I fear it to a large extent and this fear can drive me in the wrong direction. Being on tinder itself isn’t wrong to me. I can’t even bear the thought of meeting up with any of them, let alone seriously entertain the possibility of hooking up with any of them. In the ‘about’ section, it reads,
‘Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.’

there isn’t any false advertising going on.

but if the fear of being alone is directing my actions, that means, my love and utter reverence for my Lord is not. This also means, i am not trusting in my God to meet my needs as he wills, but acting on my own fears to meet the needs i deem important. i am reminded of the israelites in the dessert and how God gave them manna. everyday, the people gathered and it was sufficient. some tried to keep the bread for the days to come worried that God might not provide. the manna they kept were found to have maggots in them the next day. every single day, God provided food that was enough for their daily needs, they didn’t need to worry. with this, i know every single day, God provides for my needs. every single day. i don’t have to keep my metaphorical manna because my God who loves me will take care of tomorrow for me.

this leaves me with my decision that leaving tinder behind is for my own good. yet obviously, my sinful self indulges in the safety of getting matches and having guys chat to me making me feel not only completely surrounded by people but wanted by them. but obviously, this is so incredibly superficial it is almost impossible for it to amount to anything at all. i will miss my one and only person who for some reason finds me charming and pretty. that makes me happy. maybe i’ll take him with me and we can be friends outside of tinder. though, he said quite honestly, he was merely looking for a casual relationship. and friends of mine can testify to the fact that casual does not run in my vocabulary be it in fashion or relationships.

a dog on his master

A DOG ON HIS MASTER
by Billy Collins
As young as I look,
I am growing older faster than he,
seven to one
is the ratio they tend to say.

Whatever the number,
I will pass him one day
and take the lead
the way I do on our walks in the woods.

And if this ever manages
to cross his mind,
it would be the sweetest
shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass.