I never liked looking into the mirror – even today. Perhaps it was due to years of what was being said about how I look. Perhaps I’m avoiding my own gaze, own judgement.
My self-esteem was at its lowest when I tried to look like a girl, or rather, what social conventions think a girl should look like. I grew my hair, I wore skirts and I behaved like a girl – whatever that means. I did all these as I yearned to be accepted by my so-called clique of friends.
I can’t really pinpoint when the turning point was for me. Perhaps it was when I continued my education at a different school after graduation – a school where nobody knew me and I could be who I wanted to be. Perhaps it was when I grew tired of being a poser. While I want to say I couldn’t care less about what others say about me, I unfortunately, still do, unfortunately). But what’s more important to me, is to love myself at the end of the day.
Now, strangely enough, people are taken aback when they find out that I go for facials, groom my eyebrows and hair regularly. Well, you don’t need to fit into a certain type of look to care for yourself, right?
People judge you. Strangers build their first impressions of you within seconds. Similarly, we judge others too. This world already has a lot of hate and judgment. What we have to do, is practice love, mindfulness, and gratitude. Sometimes on this road of life, you need not walk alone. Find your people. And walk together. In other words, be with people who love you and whom you love. And most importantly, learn to love yourself too.
Jia Yee graduated from SOAS, University of London with a Master in Economics and is the co-founder of creative agency – in the wild. She was part of Teater Ekamatra’s youth wing – Mereka, and is currently a mentee under the National Arts Council Mentor Access Project. Her theatre credits include A Beautiful Chance Encounter of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella on an Operating Table (Teater Ekamatra), Unsettling Stones (Grass Stage Theatre Shanghai) and 11. Kuo Pao Kun Devised (The Theatre Practice) – nominated for Best Ensemble at the Life! Theatre Awards.