The other day, I was asking “what’s beautiful to you?” When you think of beauty, what comes to your mind? Ha ha, it’s an ongoing exercise, because our eyes are usually set on the ideals, and on the things that we don’t have. And beauty then becomes something that’s unattainable, something we only desire, something we feel is a privilege to be or to have around us. We forget that beauty is forged in our brains, in the way we perceive ourselves and the things around us.
It’s just that many people amplify and promote their perceptions and we’re heavily influenced by them. And we think because they think that this is beautiful, then that sets the standard of what beautiful is. But ideally, it’s your prerogative to define beauty and what you feel is beautiful to you. That once you realize what’s beautiful in your eyes, you stop stressing about what you think other people are seeing, and instead, be more appreciative of what you are seeing, and in your own way. And because of that, I thought I would give you a story about my toe nails.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Now, if you know me well, you would know that I have some two funny looking toe nails on my right foot. Unconsciously, they’ve been a bother to me for the longest time. How I know this, is that when I am in open shoes or barefoot and I see someone angle their head and eyes towards my feet, I would start fidgeting or moving my right foot to divert the attention from my toe nails. Many times I would look down at my toes and think, “I have ugly toe nails.” And because I told myself that so many times, I started believing it. And so I would even put out a disclaimer when someone looked at my toes.
Well, it happened when I was pretty young (say 5 years thereabout). I was playing with my cousins, when a big and heavy wooden board that was placed against wall fell and went straight for my toes. It was an ugly moment, a lot of wailing, confusion, a lot of blood and hanging toes (so I am told), that were luckily sewn back. The only downside was that my two toe nails were now a little distorted, but that honestly, considering the nature of the accident that was a small problem to deal with. Like, we thank God it didn’t fall on my head, because if that was the case, I probably wouldn’t be here today writing for Kawi Snippets.
So, the other day as I was preparing to go for the Kurlly Diaries High Tea Event, I was conflicted about which shoes to wear. The shoes that I had initially planned to wear weren’t going to be appropriate for the set-up. They were pointed heels, and the event was in a garden and so I knew for sure for ease of jumping around, and walking around, I would need to wear something more comfortable. And not flats, because it was a fancy shmancy high tea event that I was so excited about. I didn’t want to be that person who doesn’t keep to the theme, I can very easily be. The alternative was some beautiful wedge high heel shoes; I received them as a hand-me-down gift from my colleague, but they were peep-toes.
When I received them, I was so excited because they looked so beautiful, they still do. But my problem with my toes peeping out of the shoe, and especially a heeled shoe, was real too. And I thought that because I can’t apply colored polish on them, and there’s something about the bone that makes them look abnormally spaced, they would look unattractive. I wore the shoes, just to try them out and see how I would look, but not because I was going to wear them for the event.
At this point, beauty to me meant perfectly pedicured full toe nails. Was it achievable? With all these new technologies like gel polish and acrylics, anything is possible. Was it going to make me feel better about my toe nails? Well, I believed that if I was to look down and see that they’re covered in some color and they look complete, they would look beautiful for the moment. However, deep inside I know what’s beneath.
Then I just thought why in the first place I didn’t like how my toe nails looked. No one had told me that they don’t look good; no one had made a snide comment about them. This was all me. It was me having imaginations of what other people were thinking of them when they look at them. This was me comparing my toe nails to what I think are standard pretty toe nails around, and I am like, “mine aren’t anything close to that, so there’s no need of wearing pretty shoes showing my toe nails.” That was me denying my toe nails a breath of fresh air, a chance to be seen. That was me hiding.
That’s what shook me up to the reality of things. To the reality that beauty is what we make it to be. And when I wore the shoes, I removed them to only apply a coat of colorless polish to give the toe nails a little shine. And then I put them on again, and when I looked down, I saw a beauty I had overlooked, my toe nails.
To do a test run, when I went to the event, I waited for someone to say something about my toe nails. But no one even bothered, no one saw them. It was all about the shoes, the beautiful shoes that my toe nails complemented. For once, I didn’t have to pre-empt my toe nails story, because I saw past their imperfection and saw them as beautiful, not an excuse for toe nails.
Do you have a beauty that you have overlooked? Whether it’s a part of your body, a person that means something to you or even a thing that you own. Maybe it’s about that time you looked at that thing from a different angle.
Wishing you a fruitful remaining of the week! And to my Muslim friends and readers, Happy Eid! May your days ahead be filled with love, light and peace!
Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*