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Beauty

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a quiet life | gift from the sea

I mean to lead a simple life, to choose a simple shell I can carry easily – like a hermit crab. But I do not. I find that my frame of life does not foster simplicity.

We owe it to ourselves to have a moment of quiet in our day-to-day lives. Amidst a world in which we are busier than ever, yet can’t seem to find time for ourselves . We should find somewhere we can retreat to in times of need, a place within us. In a world where we envision cutting edge technology making our lives easier, but often fail to see how it has isolated us.

We have willingly imprisoned ourselves in the modern Orwellian era, in which we anxiously clutch to our devices like precious treasures 24/7; in which we can’t live without being virtually connected, yet seem to forget about the physical one; in which we find it a need to know everything that is going on with those around us and beyond.

For it is not physical solitude that actually separates one from other men, not physical isolation, but spiritual isolation.

I think we owe it to ourselves to lead a quiet life at least every once in a while. One without computers and cellphones, TV’s and tablets, wifi and social media, and everything else that robs us of being in the present moment. We owe it to our family, friends and acquaintances to look at them in the eye when we’re talking to them and not our devices that excite us with every new ‘news’ that pops up.

It is when we put all of these distractions away that we can really live a life full of presence. Yes, our lives exists physically, virtually, spiritually, and god knows in what other form – but it is the physical one in which we feel the deepest of our human emotions, in which we learn to behave as a human, and not as slaves to our creations.

The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves: that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of the whole web of human relationships.

It’s impossible to be alone in today’s world. Maybe the elderly or those who haven’t given in to all the access that we have to technology are able to lead a calm, quiet life. But chances are that you can’t. But you can make space for yourself.

You can give yourself one moment every day. Whether it’s in your morning meditation sessions, afternoon jogs, or dinners, you choose when they are. Prioritize this time before you lose it to distractions that will make it harder for you to get away from. It’s not easy, it’s highly tempting, and you might not always care.

But as long as you’re conscious of what’s happening around you, consciously aware, the door is always there for you to make a turn for the better.


The quotes I used for this post are from Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift from the Sea“. It’s a book written in 1955, and directed mainly towards women and motherly struggles, but it has become a timeless book that anyone of either gender can find solace in when life becomes too chaotic. Though I haven’t yet finished the book, I have found plenty of lessons that resonate with me within the first few chapters already. I encourage you to read it, too.

-Michelle

what it means to be beautiful

Like many people, my fashion sense has been an important part of my identity ever since I was young. I enjoyed mixing and matching my outfits, even if it took me more time than necessary figuring out what I was going to wear. As I grew older, I craved more: I wanted to wear makeup. With countless celebrities and YouTubers who promote such usage, I was drawn into a lifestyle sparkled by makeup, beauty tutorials, and things that I wished could help me hide my insecurities.

Frustration kicked in when I wasn’t allowed to do so, at least not until much, much later. But by 18, I had already gone through 8 years of acne, a period which attacked my self-esteem constantly. Besides being the first to have acne in my grade, I was also one of the few that had it bad all throughout middle and high school. My acne is partly genetic and partly hormonal, and at that young age I couldn’t really do much besides trying out a few different (and expensive) face products.

By the time I bought my first few makeup items at 17, however, I no longer felt the need to hide my face. From then till now (at 19), I’ve only worn it during more formal events, such as parties, reunions and my music performances. Gradually, as my acne cleared and I came to the realization that – to some extent – makeup was just makeup, my focus shifted. I like how a layer of foundation, blush and eye makeup can make my face look sparkler. But washing my face off after a day of makeup, and letting my skin breathe has made me appreciate my natural face much more.

Don’t get me wrong – I still like makeup, and can’t help but eye the beauty section curiously at times, but I no longer deem them as necessary to make me look beautiful. I can feel beautiful when I sleep, eat and exercise well. I can look beautiful when I take care of my skin with a good skin care routine. I can dress nicely and style my hair in ways that can change my appearance without changing who I physically am.

But makeup? That’s the last thing on my list. I’m tired of constantly looking at people, whether on ads, TV or real life, that make us believe our skin could be better, shinier, and more ‘beautiful’ with that product. This feeling of inadequacy and dissatisfaction is an unnecessary burden, and there’s no reason why any of us have to fall into the trap if we’re happy with my our own body and self.

However, I can also see how many people delve into the makeup world because they truly enjoy it – our face is a canvas, and makeup is the tool with which we paint on it. We can make our face differently each time, an ephemeral form of art that washes out at the end of the day. It’s an aesthetic mask that you’re choosing to wear. Whether it reflects the true you or not, that’s something that only you know, after all. But as much as you mask who you are, you can never hide from yourself.

After all, true beauty comes from the inside and shines on the outside. By taking care of your body and skin, your glowing image will radiate to those around you. The way you nurture and take care of yourself shape how you feel, which in turn shapes your personality respectively. Anything and everything else is a layer that you can choose to wear, but don’t need in your life.

-Michelle