We’re More Than Our Flaws

6 July 2021

One day 20 years ago I was on the platform of Bishan MRT Station looking out for the train.

A young woman brushed past me. She had the blackest black hair cascading from her head to below her shoulders in rich glorious waves that danced and rippled.

Picturea credit: “Hawk Whispers His Message of Awareness,” 1993 by Patricia Wyatt.

“Wow! What amazing hair you have!” The words had flown out of my mouth even before I knew I was saying them.

“Thank you! No one has told me this before!” said Girl with Raven Hair.

“But I’m overweight,” she added, pointing at her stout form as if I should take back the compliment.

She was indeed on the chubby side, but that wasn’t the first thing I noticed about her. She beamed when I told her that her hair, was the showpiece, and not her hips.

Girl with Raven Hair had been thinking of wearing black clothes to look trimmer although pastels were her favourite colours.

I asked her to rethink her new colour choice. Black clothing can also make a person look heavier than she really is because of its opacity.

She then realised focussing on hiding her curves had caused her to lose sight of the obsidian tresses that had gathered about her like a comforting cloak of lush velvet.

Whether it’s a lisp, or a limp, or not being trim enough, imperfections are not the sum of us. Investing our energy to hide them ironically amplifies their hold on our psyche and keep us from seeing fully.

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