Lunes, Pebrero 17, 2014

Appear, Disappear

     Mirror, mirror on the wall. Whose the fairest of them all? I bet the evil queen always thought about her appearance more than anything else in her life and of course power, how can I forget. But do they go hand in hand? People now have the obsession over how they would look in other people's eyes. For a lot, it pays to be good looking and if not, at least to be somehow appealing. That's why the most famous hang out of people nowadays are cosmetic and derm clinics, salons, gyms, spas and parks conducive for doing all sorts of exercise from yoga to tai chi to simple jogging and cycling. It's been a storm sweeping our country. Like a plague so infectious you can't help but succumb to it. It's been a trend to decrease our melanin count and be the fairest of them all. All sorts of gluta something had been out on the market selling like pancakes coupled by papaya soaps and some other whitening soaps, lotions and medications. Facilities aiming on reduction and augmentation have sprouted like mushrooms. Before everything became to be all about looks, the only products I could remember which lighten skin were Block and White and Likas papaya soap. Do looks really have any bearing in everything that we do? Is it really that important to please everybody by appearing to be so picture perfect and fashionable? Is it all about the image?
       For some it becomes an investment towards getting what they want. That's power. So trust them to go to any lengths just to make themselves appear classy and so chic. For me, I honestly think that no amount of designer clothes and signature stuff can change that. It's either you were born with it or not. So it's really pointless to try so hard to conceal and layer stuff on oneself just to convince others that we are otherwise our original selves. Some people do try so hard as to buy new clothes just because they're due to attend an event. Where they await to be lambasted with mock flattery and admiration. They use appearances to boast and pretend to be better than the lot. To be talked about and commended on how expensive looking their clothes are. As if that will define the person wearing them. Clothes are just clothes, nothing more. You can't really hide behind them and pretend that you are what you want others to think of yourself.
       Everybody now is so concerned about how they would appear before people. Appearances have become an obsession of ours. I thought only famous people and actors do that. Because it's a part of their gig to look great and hot for us to better appreciate them. Now it has rubbed upon us to always look at ourselves and assess how we could improve and further ourselves in the process. It has become a habit to pay the mirror tons of visits before we set foot outside our comfort zones. Makes me wonder about life. Is life a big production number where we have to look good every time? Where our looks and images are what counts most? Is everything for show and are we living our lives like actors in a real time teleserye? A telenovela orchestrated by none other than ourselves. Where we can pretend and make others believe. Playacting on a daily basis, convincing others as well as ourselves that we are what we show and do. Who are we kidding but ourselves in the end.
       The upside of this is it acts as a confidence booster. Good clothes and great accessories inspire confidence. A better appearance, meaning fairer skin, a nice hairstyle and a good build, can mean a better outlook in life. It's like a superhero cape that once you don it gives you the ability to do just about anything. Making you stand a bit straighter and taller. Putting ourselves in the task of self improvement may mean better prospects in life, may it be on our careers or in love. Since a lot of people bank on the way we look, it may mean being taken more seriously by others. An added respect also goes with it. It also helps in facing people without feeling inadequate in their eyes. When I say these, I'm not only talking about clothes and  the physicalities in general but also the way we live and act  around others. What gadgets we have, what tours we take, and the kind of food we eat. All of these are what makes the modern person we see everyday. All of a sudden we do pay so  much attention to all these mundane stuff. So sorry to tell you guys but none of these really counts. Maybe for simpleminded, shallow people who only care about price tags and blings. But then again, these things shouldn't be the defining character in our lives. How much we have and what we can afford shouldn't be the standard of how to live life. We shouldn't be simply defined by materials things and the likes. Because if we lose them, then who will we be? Surely, we do somehow feel the need to better ourselves and reach our maximum potential. But, a big but, is that we don't exist just to impress and please others. We are our own masters. So the only ones we should be pleasing would have to be first and foremost ourselves.
       The said reality is that everything now rests on the appearances we tend to show others. People who can't afford decent homes have the latest gadgets. Those who can't afford to buy decent meals are always dressed to impress. Those who can't afford to get themselves much needed necessities and in over their heads in debts can afford lavish beach escapades. All for the sake to be able to post everything and be commended by people that they can in fact afford this and that and how cool that they have and been able to go to this and that place. Life must be good. I know that first impressions do count. But they are not always what they seem. Some pretentious jerks go to extreme lengths to impress people and in a way swindle away their trust. Making people see that they have money to burn even if they have none. Thinking that even if 'I don't get to enroll next semester as long as I have a new gadget that I could show off'. Or 'I could increase my debts just so I would be able to afford a fancy vacay with the whole family'. How cool is that? I know that it's none of my business but how superficial can you get? Do you think these fancy stuff can really mask the way you really are? The answer is NO. People talk and not everybody around you get suckered and convinced. One look at you and they could tell an authentic person from a wannabe. Just be content and be not always on the race to impress people. And refrain from being a braggart. There is always a person who is better than ourselves out there. So no need to rub it off people who we view beneath us.
       I know that I would be lying if I say just be yourself totally. I do know that it doesn't work all the time. Maybe in movies, yes, but not in real life. All of us have to seek ways to further ourselves. The way we look for example, can be improved by better clothes or a haircut that would suit us. Just take note that not everything that looks great on other people or whatever it is that is in or fashionable at the moment would also suit you. There are certain styles that would suit you just fine. So do look out for that or ask around for reliable suggestions. Some people do lose it on the fashion department just because they have the notion that what looks good on models would also look good on them. Thus, ending up as fashion road kills.
       People do try to fit in so forcibly they go overboard. That in their desperation to fit in they lose themselves in the process. There is nothing wrong with updating our looks or being healthy for a change but don't overdo it. Real people will like you for what you are as a person and not what you can change into just to be with them. If they can't appreciate you for what you are then they aren't worth your time. Even how we present ourselves in front of people and the way we act, we change just to get the approval of others. And to make people think that we indeed are cool and saucy. Mind you, however we mask it, it will eventually surface and reveal the true person beneath the makeshift facade. No matter how we cover ourselves with lavish things and apparent lovely stuff. We can't down the fact that we do become pretentious fools out to get ourselves in the end. To be found out that we are big frauds is the biggest folly there ever will. And end up being the loser that we tried so hard not to be. We have to bear in mind that we can't fool everybody even ourselves.
       Going back to the question of power. Does beauty equate to power? Good looks and a lasting impression can score you a job or a promotion. It can snag you a partner and an alliance. Actors and actresses, models and celebrities,  use their looks to gain fame and with it comes the power to woo and influence people. So indeed looks can get you thus far. See how many actors turned politicians there are. My point exactly. For them it's a way for channeling power. It can get things done. May it be a special favor or a free anything. That is power. In the realms of love, well the majority do look at the physical aspects first before anything else. I have to admit to this since I myself have a specific, preferred look. What the heck. It's the first thing we see. That's why gyms are so in now. No, apparently not because of health aspects but to gain the much preferred abs and physique to attract more prospective mates. Everything for the sake to look good. So what happens to people like me? Who by happenstance is not so conscious when it comes to diet and exercise. We do get left behind with no prospects to even consider. Reality is definitely harsh. So in a way we find it as a competition and end up enrolling in the nearest gym and shopping for the best skin care and whitening cream there is. Should life be like this? All about looks and the appearances we take. a big competition if you think about it. It becomes staggering and a bit hopeless. How life revolves around things as superficial and mundane. How life have been reduced to who is fair and beautiful should thrive and the rest should just conform and follow suit. I do know that this should not affect us in any way but sad to say it does. Now a lot of people are left feeling depressed, insecure, and unsuitable. Feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness are in constant presence. Desperation and defeat for some is a way of life just because it is dictated by our society that beauty is of the utmost importance in getting ahead. All I can say is to let it not rule us. We are here to make our own rules and live life the way we see fit. So what if we fall short on beauty and appearance, that we can surely make up with pleasing personality, intelligence, humor, talent and a good heart. These are far more important things than the 'how to's of looking good and making ourselves favorable for others. Let them appreciate us for who we really are and not who they want us to be in their eyes. To let them see what's deep within us and not the superficial shell that we can easily manufacture. To be judged upon with no care what it is they have to say about us. We are, who we are, so they have to learn and we have to learn to live with it. Someday, somehow people would take a second look at you and see something beautiful beyond your physicality and appearance. The hope that someday somebody would see us in our raw form and be appreciated is not totally gone. Nothing is over till it's over. Somewhere down the road the spiel of realization would hit everyone and get them to reconsider their take on true beauty and their priorities in life. How we see life in its deeper sense and learn to appreciate people not because of superficial aspects but finding meaning and worth in everything that we do is more important than physical attributes and mundane things.
       I do know that image is everything in our society now. You can go a long way with the right image. But the question is, 'Are you really the image you are portraying?' or 'Is it another one of your masks that you put on?'. In the end, even if we go on and on that our image is as important as our breathing, these things disappear. Our good looks and money can't last forever. They could disappear in a heartbeat. Then where will we be? What will be left in the end? What kind of legacy have you spawn? If we are so reliant on the image that we built and the appearance that we keep, then what would we be without it? The said power, respect, and confidence goes down the drain with it. Let us all think about that for a second. And hope that one day, someday in our future, the day would come that everything people consider as ugly in us would become the new beautiful. Fat would be the new sexy, black will be the new rave, and so on. So the choice is ours to explore, we can keep on hoping this day would come. Second one, we can rely on the innate goodness of people and wait to be noticed just as we are. Or we can succumb to the trend and make better versions of ourselves with the help of money and science. Take your pick and see what happens.   

Linggo, Pebrero 9, 2014


I've been so lost,
No way near right,
Been so far off,
So blinded, so distorted.

Lost all magnitude of direction,
Missed stop lights,
Moved past roads,
Into hills, off cliffs.

Falling down into the abyss,
Crashing into destruction,
No way to turn back,
Broken dreams, shattered hopes.

Each wrong turn, 
Deep into dark tunnels,
Lost all the light within,
Nothingness, darkness.

Amidst all confusion and chaos,
On my dreary way to demise,
Then a tiny sliver of light,
Soft, reassuring.