By the same token, sometimes I appreciate being the town celebrity ( especially when it gets me free food), but at others resent being the “token” American ( the one who speaks for all America- don’t blame me if someday you encounter a Japanese person with a Southern accent-I’m just doing my job) as opposed to being a “token” black- which seemed to happen wherever I went at home. ( I must not be hanging out in the right circles.) I didn’t realize how much I looked out at the world from inside myself, until I moved to a place where everyone was looking at me...constantly. Except when they were studiously ignoring me. There are days when I completely forget what I look like- until I catch sight of myself in a mirror- and realize that I have claws for nails, no makeup on and my clothes don’t match. Here, it just doesn’t seem to matter- no-one’s looking at me. They may see an American, a woman, a black woman- but they aren’t looking at me-because that’s not all I am. (And more to the point- there are no men here who are looking- and hence my vanity goes out the window. Every girl –whether she denies it or not, likes to have a mirror, e.g. men’s faces, that show her she’s attractive. Without it, well, what’s the point? We may dress for other women, but we only get points for man drool- ok, in the interest of equality, if some women drool too, that’s ok. Sorry, I digress. ) The things they see in me are not all that I am- but it’s easy to forget.
Perspective, not just beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I have a mental inability, for example, to see people’s faces. Yes, I know it sounds weird. But the truth is, rarely after a first meeting with someone do I remember their face- at least not well enough for a police artist’s sketch. But I do tend to remember certain elements- generally associated with emotions. I remember quirky smiles, and smiling eyes and voices, or sulky, pouty mouths. But the rest might as well be a blur-at least until I get to know you better. But I’ve always felt like this “talent” of mine was not a deficit. The sensing of other’s emotions is probably a better survival tactic- like airport security being able to read “facial ticks” which help them identify potential terrorists- (no random profiling here, brother! We use science. “ emphatic head nod.”)
But truthfully, being able to read emotions, rather than faces has lead me to an interesting conclusion. While the masks we wear as human beings can change, underneath the emotions we share are all the same- for good or bad. Envy looks pretty much the same on any color skin- and so does love. While looking out of my own mask, I have to remember that what I feel, others can see. And while I don’t promise never to lie with my face- (smiles are social lubrication after all- forgive the double entendre), I do want my face to be more honest than not. To show a loving soul- which I’m still working on developing, that bypasses all the physical traits of which I sometimes despair. I’m working on being able to look into a mirror and see not flaws, but my own precious quirks, my own strengths.
I've always wished that I could be one of those magic girls renowned in Japanese anime- you know, the one's who are complete idiots- until they transform (half naked transformation scene mandatory for the otaku fans). And somehow the ditziest girl becomes a major power, capable of great feats with the magic of friendship and love. ( I live in the land of anime- what can I say? ) In my heart of hearts, I want to be a magical girl who transforms into something amazing. And I'm working on it. There are days when I don't feel magical- but the power of a kind word changes everything. When someone sees past my mask and reaches into my heart. Its the kind of kindess that transcends language... and can make a heart bloom. That's who I want to be when (if) I grow up. Not a fairy tale princess, but a warrior with the power of love.* Everyday I'm working on my transformation- from the inside out. I may never be the fairest in the land, but on a good day- internally- I can say, I clean up pretty well. And while I may not end up in a sailor suit, I can say -somedays, I still turn out pretty fierce. Somedays, I even go without my mask, and instead put on just a smile that says I'm open, I'm here- I know who I am... and I am beautiful. While some say you can’t judge a book by its cover, (which, actually, I’ve never believed- I always judge a book by its cover. I figure if the artist read it and liked it enough to do a good cover, it must be a good book. Then again, I also read the last page first. Go figure. Sorry, another digression), in my case I say, go ahead- take a good hard look. I hope you’ll end up liking what you see.
I've never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful. ~Author Unknown
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* Sailor Moon creators- please don't sue!