Friday, 17 July 2015

Talking Body.

It was the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who said, "The only thing that is constant is change." I bet Heraclitus knew that he himself would soon change after saying that, and was probably aware of how much he had changed before that moment.

I've been watching this series online called the "What's Underneath Project", launched by a New York City based mother-daughter duo, Elisa and Lily, known by the brand name StyleLikeU. Their main objective for this series is to allow people to see "what's underneath" their clothing. The subject for each episode is asked to remove his or her clothing on camera, projecting the idea that style is not the clothes that you wear, but who you are as a person that is the source of your personality.

Here's the StyleLikeU beautiful mother-daughter duo themselves.
Source: Twitter

I myself, have been an advocator for individuality, and self-love for quite some time, and if you've followed my blog, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. I really do admire this duo's work and their mission statement, which has been to "lead a movement that empowers people to accept and express their true selves" as quoted on their Twitter page found here.

My favourite videos from this series so far can be found here and here, and I'm happy to say that they are the inspiration behind this blog post, so thank you so much!

After watching these videos I soon came to the realization that, society has really made us think that shaming others, and feeling insecure about ourselves, has been okay, that it has been a norm.

However, while this movement of shame has been so prominent for so long, I've noticed that within the past few years, we've been trying our best as a human race, to get away from this narrow minded mentality. Largely widespread across North America, many people have been starting groups and movements for the glorification of individuality just like StyleLikeU, resulting in the inspiration towards many other countries to participate as well, allowing self-love to be a global change, which has been absolutely beautiful.

One of the most recognized movements has been Dove's Real Beauty and Self-Esteem campaigns such as this one, where women were drawn by an artist based on, how they described their appearance, displayed on the left, and how strangers described their appearance, displayed on the right.

I can say that as an individual that has been given the privilege to grow up with a strong heritage, it can definitely be hard for a culturally distinct group of people to accept diversity when it comes to physical appearance. This usually stems from the fact that, when you're from a particular culture, and grow up in your native land, you realize that most people have the same sort of aesthetic, that no matter how much the aesthetic of the global community changes, remains static in the native land. This doesn't necessarily mean that a particular culture cannot become more accepting of diversity, but can have a harder time because aesthetic, as we may know, makes up a huge part of cultural identity.

As a filipino woman, I can say that the most glorified aesthetic of the Philippine culture is displayed here. Notice the trend of the large doll like eyes, lighter skin tone, long dark hair, and especially the ironic "mixed culture" factor that claims 3 women on this list (#1 Dawn Zulueta, #2 Kim Chiu, and #5 Marian Rivera).  

Which means, that I, along with many others believe that the contemporary North American society can be a lot more, and should be a lot more, sensitive to, and accepting of, self-love. The idea of the "melting-pot opportunity" in the US and in Canada has become so active lately, that we expect people to assimilate, more than accept, the diversity that is what makes these two countries so beautiful, and individual themselves. I think that this assimilation has caused many people to assume that we need to not think about colour, and to not think about where we came from, and to deny our culture, when in reality, this should have been more of a movement towards learning about the things we've become ignorant towards for so long, which is that, cultural diversity is meant to be acknowledged, and is meant to be a strength for our nations.

With the discussion of cultural diversity, comes the idea that body image does not need to be so static, and shouldn't be in North America. I may not have an idea to pitch about the body image of different cultures, but I do think that, as a culturally diverse set of nations, we need to be a lot more aware of the idea that, bodies come in different shapes, and sizes, and that comfort and confidence come in different aesthetics.

This means that, we need not to glorify one face, or one style, or one "golden ratio", but instead, need to find the beauty that is deep within every single type of body, big or small, thick or thin, blank or scarred, tattooed or barely covered. It is not just something we need to try to do, but it is our calling as a set of nations that seek to embrace individuality.

At the end of the day, yes our bodies are part of who we are, but they are not entirely who we are, and bodies come and go, they change. They have the ability to scar, to sag, to build muscle, to lose muscle, to stretch, to squeeze, but they are just bodies, we are who we are for our personalities. Even models, from Chanel Iman to Heidi Klum, are known for their faces, but are remembered for their personalities and souls.

Our bodies are just bodies, they are part of us, but they do not make up who we are, we do.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Falling Down is the Easy Part.

Fall down seven, stand up eight. It is the rising that matters to us, not the falling. But nowadays, it's so easy to focus on the fall. My fall, your fall, his or her fall, that we forget so much about the rising.

We glamourize the stage that is after the rising and forget to focus on the process of rising itself. It is not easy to rise, but somehow we seem to think that seeing how people are afterward is much better, much EASIER to show, than the process of rising itself.

See, when you're down to rock bottom, people always say there's nowhere to go but up. That's true. But when you're at rock bottom, you don't remember what it's like to be up there in the place where you remember seeing the light in its brightest radiance. You tend to become too fragile, too unstable, too incapable. However there is always that one thing that you feel most compelled to hold on to, which is the fact that, even at rock bottom, we can see that there is light, it just takes time to see it.

This my friends is when we choose to rise. But it soon sinks in that choosing to rise does not dictate the reality of rising. Who are we to rise? What have we become to rise? Can we rise? How dare we think about the possibility of rising?  These are the questions that blind us, and make us incapable of rising, questions posed by no one else but us.

We are capable of rising, we just focus so much on the aftermath that we soon forget just how hard it was to rise. Just because it is known that it is difficult to rise, it doesn't mean that we can't, and it definitely doesn't mean that we shouldn't. In times of great trouble, the higher we rise. So no matter how difficult it is, get up, and rise.

Even if falling down is the easy part.

Monday, 6 July 2015

When the Lord Calls, He Calls.

It's hard when we're broken because all we want is to be fixed, and all we want is to be the ones to do the fixing.

So we go in, and we fix. We fill our brokenness with empty promises and false hope. We fill our brokenness with things that dissatisfy because all we want is to for the pain to alleviate at least for that one second. We want the mountain to not be so high up. We want the wounds to not be so deep. We want our crosses to not be so heavy.

We seek momentary pleasure, we seek so called "love", we seek material things that will take our minds off of problems for a little while, no matter how much our hearts have shattered.

We dictate to ourselves who God is. We take Him, we mould Him, we fix Him.

But why do we think that we can fix things, when we ourselves are so broken?

We ask the Lord why He allows us to suffer without even thinking twice about where the suffering comes from, before we begin to point fingers. It is not the Lord who allows us to suffer, it is we who allow us to suffer. We may not choose to be broken in the first place, but we choose to think that we are entitled to fix what is left over. We choose to stay at rock bottom. We choose to continue to be broken, until we are no longer whole.

In Him we are whole. When we surrender to Him, it is He who calms the storm, it is He who hears our cries, it is He who comforts us when we have nothing left, when we begin to feel like we are nothing.

He takes us in His glorious arms and heals every wound, alleviates the pain until it is no more, climbs the mountain by our side, and takes up His cross as we take up ours. For every little bit of pain we suffer, we are not alone because He suffers the same pain. But if we choose to allow Him into the doorway of our souls, He is the one who heal us and bring joy to our hearts that lasts longer than anything temporary in our lives.

For His love is everlasting.

So when He calls, let us answer. In Him we are victorious over anything and everything that life throws at us.

Let us not be afraid, because we are on the side of the One who stands in truth. We are on the side of the One who calms the storms, the One in which all bow before Him.

When the Lord calls, He calls.