I am neither
The greatest beauty
Nor the owner
Of all things fancy
I am me
And I am free
To all this diversity.
At my parents’ house, there is a pond where tiny fishes barely the length of my thumbs happily co-exist with bulky koi fatter than my arms.
The tiny ones look carefree while their gigantic pondmates seem unperturbed.
And therein lies the allusion to yet another paradox. That it is actually, albeit counterintuitively more pleasant to swim among giants than those smaller than you.
True giants invoke feelings of awe and inspiration – but instead of making you feel small they make you feel like you want to and that you can get to their stature if you would put in the giant-sized beliefs and effort that they do. They do not belittle anything or anyone because it is just not in their DNA to dabble in smallness! They do not respond to big dreams with a joke, they respond with excitement because they have been there and know that dreams are worth chasing even if you have to die trying. Dreams are only a joke to those who do not believe in their own.
They do not respond to ideas with sarcasm – subtle or overt – because people who believe in themselves always believe in others. The way they see you is simply a reflection of how they see themselves.
When you reflect on a mistake with a giant, the giant will remark on the lessons you have gained and get excited about your way forward. The dwarf will at best shrug or at worst slap a label on what you did and remind you not to do it again, probably thinking that they are being helpful or maybe because they were not even thinking at all.
So I would rather spend my time in the company of giants. Dwarfed in stature, but have my limits stretched to the point of growth.
I would rather feel humbled and inspired by greatness, than feel insulted and frustrated by smallness. Because while successful people find joy in encouraging and challenging others to pursue their dreams, small minded people crave the comfort of hanging out with the ones who want to stay the same. That is why when you want change you would find people who would crack jokes or cast doubts.
Shrug off the smallness, and look for some Giants to look up to and to look up with. Because here’s the paradox: true Giants inspire greatness and growth in those who dare to dream. They may look intimidating from afar but their spirits are kind and nurturing. Dwarfs look humble but are in fact too proud to fail. They will not bother to see beyond their eye level because it is just too uncomfortable and unfamiliar – so if you find yourself feeling small, get away from dwarfs for they embrace you only if you stay the same.
Once upon a time, a girl was born
And as she grew, it became clear
That she would look quite fine.
Friends and family flatter and fawn
“Ooh” and “aah” over large eyes
And brows that they say
Won’t need penciling, ever
And my, double eyelids!
“The envy of your fellow Chinese”
Then her limbs grew longer, and it became
“Oh you could be a model someday
And have many admirers.”
The girl grew up
But guess what she found
Life isn’t easy, and
“Beauties” aren’t spared misery
And how hollow are mere looks
If beneath the veneer
The mind, will, and spirit stay in infancy!
And how empty the heart
If mere appearance
Were to be the ticket
To happiness, love, acceptance
And behind the scenes
Models work like dogs, fight like cats
And get admired–but as mere objects.
Oh what lies!
Albeit unintentionally told
Beauty, talent, intelligence, pedigree, wealth–
All strokes of luck with no proof of pluck
Tell me I am worthy because of that
And you stroke my ego while raising suspicion of my uselessness.
Turn back the clock
Give me a mountain
And praise my determination
Challenge me to altitudes
And praise me for my fortitude
Tell me I can have it all
If only I would work hard
And get up when I fall
Tell me I would walk tall
Only if I survive the lowest ebbs.
Turn back the clock
And never again harp on the skin deep.
I would rather you spin a story
Of courage, strength, kindness
And other womanly virtues I can work on… and be proud that I finally stand out on a level playing field.
Empty surface beauty is a curse.