Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Independence on Dongcheon 4(sa)ro

It's the first day of July on the corner of Dongcheon 4(sa)ro. A corner that I walked by every day, until one day...a little store opened with a major brand name...but they provided a cafe type setting that was just enough for my imagination. To envision it as someplace else, somewhere else...enough of the props for me to absorb the scenery and to record the passers by.
Being a foreigner in the east, is like being given Cart Blanche, to be without restraint for social conventions. In this place, where I thought I really had accepted myself for who I was, I came to find out that I had not. My own self deception came flying back to me. How is this possible? When you are faced with the fact that I had to come to a place where I had no desire to fit in, to assimilate to their made me realize the shallow nature of my own culture. I cannot look like them, I cannot dress the way they do (or I can, but really I don't like their fashion), and the reality is it made me embrace my individuality even more.

This concept of what is beauty as defined by a western mindset...seems distorted. All of this self loathing that is a global disease. The size of an eye lid, the shape of a mouth, to whatever body part you choose to hate this week...keeps the cosmetic industry in business. I am not saying let yourself go to hell...but love the foundation pieces you have been given. We all seem to want to look like someone other than who we older...instead of just being.

Ah, that state of mind known as being content....realizing that for every feature of my body I have a story for it...and embrace what makes my unique. Ah...that leads me to Mindy...this little girl bearing a flag of Independence...and my increased self knowledge.
The one thing that never ceases to amaze me (and I don't think it will ever stop amazing me) is how through that reserved facade people stop, stare, and if they are really bold they will have conversations of simple greetings with me. This girl, who greeted me, "Hello my name is Mindy...I am fine are you?" And for some reason I didn't even think about the significance of the shirt...or the approaching Independence day...but still took it as a sign of welcome...acknowledgement to an American, who was sitting and recording the moment.

As moments do happen...suddenly and without a sound at times, but the important thing to recall about them is you choose whether or not they are of any significance to you.

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