Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Why I'm at my best without make-up

[Apparently I'm not done with this blog just yet. :o) ]

1. Because I don't spent the day worrying about whether I've applied my make-up in the best possible way, touching it up after I eat or whenever my eyes get misty, or whenever I might need to "freshen up". I use that time for other, more important, things.

2. Because I don't spend any money on cosmetics - I spend it on travel, books and music instead. Knowing that my money goes to nonconformist thinkers, multi-talented musicans and amazing experiences makes me feel a lot better than knowing my money goes toward a tube of chemicals which has probably been tested on animals

3. I don't wonder 'will that person like me without make-up?'. What you see is what you get! ...If someone is only spending time with you because of how you look when you are made up, that person is pathologically superficial, and you need a better source of self-esteem

4. Because I know my features are OK. My features are the exterior expression of how I feel on the inside. If I'm feeling unattractive (and I do have moments of that), no amount of make-up will change the expression that my face will assume.

5. Because there is no layer between me and the world. If I want to kiss someone, I don't leave a lipstick stain. If I want to touch my cheek to someone else's face or shirt, I won't risk any foundation particles rubbing off on him or her, or leaving a smudge of eye makeup.

6. I know that I haven't let myself be influenced by the unspoken expectation that women should wear make-up to be regarded as socially acceptable to both women and men. I won't let the patriarchal demands of 2012 make me like my face any less. Let those who live by the mascara wand and lip gloss pot enhance their self-esteem, accentuate their self-love and bring out their self-confidence.

N.B. It wasn't always this way. In high school I was obsessed with lipsticks and eye-makeup, and would spend a lot of my money collecting cosmetic items like these. Thankfully, in English I was given a chapter of Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth to read, and it helped me make the break from make-up for good. I just realised that I didn't need it anymore. When I met someone I clicked with romantically, or had a good rapport with as a friend or fellow student, I knew that it wasn't the fact that I was wearing a couple of millimeters of eye makeup that they were drawn to. It was my personality.

Some further thoughts: Have you ever seen a photograph of a person that you thought was really attractive, only to see them in motion and realise that they were really nothing special? A person who is aesthetically pleasing only holds my attention longer than a short initial period if they have a beautiful character. I have no doubt that some people notice that I'm not wearing any make-up and think things like "she's not making an effort" or "she's not good-looking enough" - and the thing is that these are exactly the kinds of people I wouldn't want to seek me out anyway. I don't need superficial advocates of the patriarchy in my life. What I do need is bright and friendly individualists who care too passionately about life to spend it obsessing over their looks.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Thanks for your support!

I started this blog in early 2010 because I wanted the freedom to express myself in a way I couldn't on my previous site. The time has now come to focus on trying to get my writing published in literary journals and what not, so I can start getting paid as an author. It's been positively challenging to share my world on Blogger for the past two years, but the time has come to say my goodbyes (at least for now) and wish you well. Keep questioning, playing and taking chances... anything is possible if only you persist long enough. ;o)

Friday, 10 February 2012

In-between Pro + Con, Some kind of Fusion

At this time I'm contemplating the life of a successful travel blogger, or a dedicated student of vocal performance. There is nothing to stop me doing both, of course. Maybe I could even create audio of myself singing in different countries, being inspired by their soundscapes both in the commercial arena and the ambiance.


*The above image was created by Ketna Patel for an exhibition in Singapore, and I got it from

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Design your own empowerment

Sometimes you need to be silly for a while.
In certain circles, it's encouraged to 'be playful' and 'take liberties' with the concept of 'making sense', however this just shows how much importance people place on adhering to so-called sensible behaviour patterns and doing what is expected of the 'modern, mature adult'.

This is why I suggest working on your level of disregard for the paradigm du jour. Imagine how we'll be living in 50 years if this innovative approach to learning in the classroom catches on. To position one's self onto comfortable, asymmetrical and colourful pieces of furniture seems to be the start of much more imaginative thinking than being merely tucked behind a desk arranged in a row. It's a beautiful manifestation of the dream spaces we've been longing for - the freedom to live in a world where variation and uniqueness are highly regarded, and the opportunity to arrange your body in such a way that it directly stimulates how you arrange your mental processes. A generation of kids brought up in this sort of classroom will probably have some wild and creative ideas that I can't really imagine at the moment, though I do imagine that they will approach space outside the classroom in a new way, and transform the outside world, as well: all a metaphor for what's happening within.

At this moment I believe that human beings have inherited a rather dark history. At the same time, I have reason to believe that the world is getting nicer. Perhaps we need a 'niceness revolution', where special emphasis is placed upon cultivating goodwill amongst humans, so that it intensifies quickly over a short period of time. Anyway, I can see the strain of making one's way in the world in the eyes of my friends and the intellectuals I admire and am guided by. I learned some years ago through an appointment with an iridologist that when we tense up our eyes, it becomes visible in the form of rings on the iris. I have two, and many of the remarkable and lovable people I know also do. We want to change the world for the better, and it takes a toll on our systems. But, don't forget: every day it becomes a little easier.

Yesterday, some Californian judges finally ruled that taking away the right of gays and lesbians to marry was unconstitutional. This means same-sex marriage will be back, and with this powerful precedent, a huge boost is given to the cause of marriage equality in the US (and abroad too, because America looms so large in global culture). Further, it gives strength to other minority groups who aren't treated equally, such as racial minorities. Someone asked the question on The Guardian yesterday: Can you imagine a non-white leader of a European state, like Obama? This made me think that, for the next ten or twenty years at least, I can't imagine it. There have been openly gay presidential candidates in Ireland and Finland, but the exclusion of immigrants from cultural capital is so insistent that I am sorry to acknowledge that positions of the highest kind of power will not be available to them for quite some time. However, I am also fully convinced that it will happen. Someone extraordinary will come along and capture the public imagination. It's only a matter of time.

In the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about how I can best contribute to softer, more inclusive, more open discourses. I like to treat life as a journey of constant discovery. If I can demonstrate to people how wonderful it is to keep questioning, continue learning, renew my curiosity and thrive on positive challenges, it makes me a happier person. I like to give new meaning to the phrase I used to describe myself when I was younger, 'a self-indulgent altruist'.

To help other people is to do something good for myself.
To do something good for other people is to help myself.

I've always liked this simple encapsulation of karma: What goes around comes around.