It doesn't take a perfect vision to create a convincing composition. All the artist must do is set aside the large part of her compulsions and cater to what she knows the customer wants to see, wants to feel, wants to believe. In other words, she's a smart businesswoman, doing all she can to ensure the customer comes back. But this also means she's a poor psychotherapist, sailing down a circular trench rather than taking her chances with the raging waters. Where in the world do we submerge our little flippers?
In short, it's easy to put on a happy face for those you wish to impress, appease, or simply avoid. What is it about the human condition that allows us to so seamlessly slip into a persona we don't recognize in a few years time? Likewise, how is it our internal vibes can so starkly contradict our external state? The irrevocably shy child, the isolated college freshman, the downtrodden love-seeking teenager--why don't I identify with these people anymore, and why do I pity them so?
When I think back upon these past three years of college, I realize just how much I've changed for the better. Every year brought a new life lesson to be cherished. Freshman year was adjusting to the elevated academic pool and a newfound life of independence. Sophomore year was learning to get over myself and hone my passions for the legal profession. Junior year was trusting myself and finding who my true friends are. Senior year will hopefully be relaxing and focusing on law school and the career ahead of me.
Such an amalgamation of competing interests and agendas from year to year can make a girl quite the anxious specimen. And reflecting upon these changes one to three years later can reawaken the same old anxiety, and understandably so. As I look back at old Facebook posts or Instagram photos, a sudden surge of both annoyance and fear often overwhelms me--annoyance that I ever acted so childishly, and fear that I will act that same way again. This mounting perturbation leads me to loop my mind along old memories and emotions, producing the self-fulfilling prophecy that there's nothing I can do and that I can't maintain my feats of pride.
Well, that mindset is bogus for hundreds of reasons, namely four: 1. I, meaning my conscious mind and not my anxieties or memories, am in control of my life, and 2. Nothing, not even myself, has the power to undervalue my worth and achievements, past or present, 3. My slip-ups have led me to the greatest realizations and accomplishments I can imagine, without fail, and 4. I have friends to help me out. :)
Given my natural tendency to ruminate on irrelevant memories and to accommodate others and not always myself, I often feel as though I'm losing my own essence and my principle philosophy as the hours tick by. So, a couple days ago, I took the liberty of enumerating the primary values that have and always will define me and carry me through life. With these in mind, I can always remain in my own center of respect, jubilation, and pride, and no one can take that from me.
1. Working hard. In contrast to the "natural intelligence" other kids too often relied on to make a name for themselves, I muscled my way through AP classes and am still muscling my way through college. This is not to say I have no natural ability or have not utilized it frequently; rather, I am making the point that I always interpret my own successes and my admiration for others in the lens of pure work ethic and not on privilege or political prowess. Nothing on this page could be closer to the truth.
2. Empathizing with and boosting up others. Whether through my blog posts, my public words, or my actions, I always hope to inspire others through my story and reflections to become the best, healthiest, most fulfilled people they can be, just as I'm trying to do for myself. While it's important to put my own priorities first, I never hold back compassion or camaraderie at times when I know it is merited.
3. Remaining strong and driven, always channeling my passions. Without some sort of long- and hard-sought goal in mind, hard work may be futile or unsatisfying in the end. Likewise, what's in a goal that you don't value or advocate for yourself? No matter how or why I falter, I will always hold my head high and own my passions to the utmost. With the fight that I bring to my objectives necessarily comes an undying esteem for those objectives and more importantly for myself in so chasing them.
Friends may exalt, and brothers may cheer, but be not a friend to yourself, and your spirit may veer.
Feel free to post your own values on Facebook or in the comments, here!
Always with love,
P.S. Sean took me by great surprise in asking to snap these photos. I had just come out of the shower, and the last thing I expected was to jump into photo shoot mode within a few minutes. But now I see how perfect the pureness and ordinariness of these shots are to my message of acceptance and stability in values above. :)
P.P.S. I have no idea who that guy in the last photo is. Sean wanted to include him lolol.
Top: Phantom of the Opera T-Shirt. Scarf: J. Crew. Pants: Ann Taylor. Shoes: J. Crew. Glasses: Chanel.
All photos by Sean Su.