There’s a grand difference between trying to look “hot” versus trying to look beautiful. It’s a fine line when it comes to its visual output; the difference however is quite strong when understanding how we evaluate our self-worth through our externally perceived identity.
We hear quite often that people who overtly care about their physical appearance tend to be significantly more insecure about themselves. While that statement has some merit through its intention to describe a one-dimensional understanding of visual identity, this is just one side of the story. Sometimes people just radiate their inner beauty through the healthy love of taking care of themselves, which naturally reflects in their visual identity.
On makeup and dressing-up: there’s a difference in doing it to hide yourself, versus to become more like yourself. I noticed this for me personally, because every change in visual identity either places me closer or further away from resonating with who I am deep inside. And it’s quite amazing how your visual change can affect your day to day life - people perceive you differently with the slightest of change. For me personally however, it is not a pursuit of putting on different personae/identity - but rather a pursuit of allowing people to perceive me for who I actually am. Much like true friends - they may see you at your visual worst, but the only thing they will notice is who you actually are and could care less of temporary perception.
My pursuit is having people I haven’t met yet “judge” me on a more accurate basis.
ON PURSUING “SEXUAL-ATTRACTIVENESS”
The pursuit of becoming “sexually attractive” begs for an external evaluation of one’s identity, which to many has been linked directly to their self-worth. Or more generally, “what people think of you” becomes our direct evaluation basis of our self-worth.
I bring this up because as a few of you know, I’m beyond fascinated with erotic photography. Pretty shamelessly too - with erotic photography books lying around my parent’s place, the confidence to take my own personal self-portraits, and just a comfortable exploration of this art of visually capturing both human form and the natural spiritual human condition of sexuality.
However in my hobby of going through blogs and blogs of photos, (erotic photography, fine art nude photography - both male and female) the amount of insecurity that bleeds off most of these photos doesn’t sit right with me. Even within the field of erotic photography, there is about a 50/50 mix of the pornographic external evaluation that people seek, and capturing the true essence and beauty of the human sexual condition. Pornographic imagery has a stark contrast because of this in comparison to the purity of erotic photography. A fine line to the shallow-eye, but a world of difference separating lust from love.
This is why I am very careful to release my own nude self-portraits and keep them within a safe circle of people I trust to understand the separation between artistic beauty, and pornographic judgement. Not everyone is capable of doing so within the public eye - thus I need to be careful. I need to protect my art (which naturally is linked to my expressive spirit) from the exploitation of the socially trained mind.
LOVE vs. NARCISSISM
It’s amazing how we are taught to understand beauty merely through its external evaluation by others. It is so ingrained into ourselves, which is why the question “what is art” has stirred up debate since we invented the ambiguous term “art”. And this external and shallow evaluation of beauty makes us remain within the realms of “liking” not understanding the true depths of what it means to love.
An example of this is if one exemplifies a certain form of love towards one-self. Without trying to understand the potential depths of its beauty in self-confidence and respect towards one’s existence - it is quickly labelled as negatively “narcissistic”. It makes it difficult because we are trained formally to hate our bodies - it is seen as a negative thing to show any positive affinity towards ourselves.
Healthy confidence is drastically different than unhealthy narcissism. And when you look for it, you will notice that it is absolutely clear to notice the difference between the two. But when you’re in shallow judgement ego mode, your judgement perceives it one-dimensionally as narcissism.
Humble confidence is a great thing to strive towards, and I bow to the love that exists within your soul.
Don’t be afraid to love yourself, respect your body, feed your soul, and appreciate the beauty of your existence :)
"I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us." - Mahatma Gandhi
The biggest struggle for me as a single male at my age is to explain to females that not all guys are actually this stereotypical image of the American-jock. Reasonably a large percentage of guys perhaps in North America are trained to fit and value their “manliness” within this category. So it’s an understandable frame of mind to work with - its just a struggle because it’s really not true for a lot of guys. And the “all guys are the same” pessimism is unfortunate of a thing to counteract within this jaded world.
But that’s just what makes me inconceivably odd - that I actually am in tune with my emotions, my expressive side, am not homophobic, slim and not machismo, fascinated with ballet and contemporary dance, yoga, cooking, loves arts, the arts, and am at the core of my heart a romantic who would write a song about someone and sing it in the rain.
The search in life to me is not merely someone to “bang” nor companionship nor ownership - but rather a connection that incorporates all dimensions of life; not just a singular-dimensional understanding of physical and at most emotional love.
Maybe this is a sign of growing up. Maybe this is the universe telling me that there is more to life than the singular dimensions that we’re taught to shallowly follow. That connection isn’t about what you force, what you long for or covet - but rather just simply is. And that’s worth keeping hope for.
"The less I want you, the more I’m able to love you."
My body is mangled. Bunched in a knot. I’m having a lot of frustrating back issues, and temporarily camping out on a friend’s couch in Ottawa for a week doesn’t help either. Without yoga, I don’t know how I would survive.
Speaking of yoga, I experienced the best practices in a long time on Saturday. A mixture of it not being a jam-packed charity class (it was a regular one, with plenty room to stretch out) and practicing with other serious yogis - but perhaps my mangled back and focusing on releasing it with stretches just made it all that much better. That feeling when the spine naturally pops and releases a whole gush of blood flow into the surrounding areas (at least I think that’s what happening?). Mmm, tingly perfect.
That plus the beautiful weather. Sun on my skin feels like I’m being hugged by mama nature. I feel loved and belonging. Good stuff.
I wrote a whole “life update” post as a response to my last post being somewhat useless information. But then I realized how much I didn’t enjoy just spitting out updates for the sake of an audience.
Humble reminder: this is my blog of self expression in my journey to understand my inner voice, not a news blog for my life. So I propose, if you’re interested in hearing what’s up with my life - hit me up with lunch or coffee and I’ll be more than happy to chat!
“Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self portrait. Everything is a diary.”—Chuck Palahniuk (via rsvnr)
So I’ve been moving around for the past bit. I officially moved out of Ottawa a week ago - and am settled back in my parents place in Richmond Hill for the time being. Running a high school retreat for leadership development in Guelph over the weekend - and then heading back to Ottawa by bus to finish off two personal projects.
I feel like I have 3 lives, in completely different worlds. Perhaps 4. One of them of course is Ottawa - where I have a bunch of my friends as well as the strange world of architecture students (some whom I’ve been a TA for). This world is completely design-oriented, pedagogically charged, and perhaps a large rational side of my life.
Then there’s Toronto: with elementary and high school friends hanging out, doing things on weekend, and even a few whom I’ve been working professionally with too. But mostly that freedom of reminiscing about our childhood, doing stupid things together without fear of judgement, and just good ol fun times together.
Then there’s the Korean-Canadian group from the leadership conference we all ran together. Another world, focusing on questions of my cultural identity, leadership growth, mentoring of high school students and career development. Organizational things, mixed with community. But nonetheless - great friendships as well and a group I’m happy to also hang out with and have silly fun times with.
I haven’t fully thought of it but there of course is my professional world - the professional contacts I’ve made and am planning to work with in the near future.
All worlds, that are strikingly separate and different communities for different parts of my life.
I’m on a bus to Ottawa at the moment. It’s like I’m switching worlds through this porthole of space and time. I miss the Ottawa bunch dearly - so its exciting to be back and switch on yet another part of my life.