The Exhilarating Extent of Exteriority

by kangcuzzi

Earlier today, I was talking to my mom about how much I wanted to cut my hair. At the current moment my hair sits at around 20 inches, the point at which keeping it in check becomes a little bit more than simply ‘pesky’. Although I love long hair – and have always, always wanted it – there does come a point when split ends and loose strands become too abundant for my, or anyone else’s, good, and when hair gets stepped upon while doing latin dance tricks (ouch). ImageBut there’s a lot more to it. Recently I’ve been having a few, if not many, problems with my self-esteem, and I thought that perhaps cutting off some of my hair (which I’ve been planning on doing so for Locks of Love for quite a while now) would be tantamount to getting rid of my insecurities and all the bad incidents that I’ve been through over the past few weeks. I also considered learning how to apply makeup (something I really cannot do, and at my age a skill that should, to a certain extent, be mastered at least to a novice level) because, well, although I wouldn’t be wearing it 24/7 I thought it would somehow change the way I view myself. Maybe makeup would open up another door for me in life in terms of the knowledge I know and the thoughts I come across? Who knows.

Anyhow, as I was talking to my mom about my hair, contrary to what I initially thought her reaction would be she stopped and became annoyed. She told me she found it silly how both my sister and I thought that changing the way we look could somehow change the way we think, feel and act. I let the conversation go for a little while, hence the reason why I’m reflecting upon it now. 

The ultimate question I want to pose today is: what is the extent of exteriority? How far does external appearance go in incentivizing and making us to become different people, and is it always a shallow thing to do? And if so, is being ‘shallow’ always a negative trait?

I think external appearance, in the societal context in which I live, is extremely important. That’s how people tend to notice each other in the first place. Appearance may not be the factor that keep people holding on, but it definitely is the one blinking light when it comes to holding in the first place. Can it be an asset? Definitely. It can be used to your advantage or disadvantage, anything really. And can it change how you think of yourself? Well, I think the reason why one would say ‘yes’ is not because of the notion of looking different, but because of the notion of knowing you are not what you were before and hence, being in a state of difference. Same goes for January 1st(s), Mondays, birthdays, etcetera etcetera. But physical appearance, in my opinion, can go further than dates because it’s something that stays with you for a while longer. It acts as a constant reminder that you are what you set yourself out to be when you changed yourself in the first place. Perhaps you wouldn’t even have changed yourself, but simply found another part of yourself you never got to see. Difference can unleash things like that. 

Some people may think that all of this sounds much too shallow. But is it really? I mean, although I definitely do not endorse building relationships (etc) solely upon appearance, I think it does no good to dwell upon the errs of society and mutter by oneself in the corner. If you can change that thing about society, then by all means, anyone should. But if you can’t reverse its status as a much too embedded facet of human life (such as the case is with physical appearance), sometimes it can do better to act with society. Because only when you act with society, you become society; and once you become it, it becomes so much easier for you to change not only it but so many other matters that you may hold close to heart, albeit not entirely. As George Orwell writes about Julia in 1984, ‘if you kept the small rules you could break the big ones’.

So that’s what I think. Although it is saddening to note that there are many paradoxes within the world, sometimes it can be best to go with it and take advantage. This is what I’ve learnt recently from a plethora of negative experiences, and what my friend told me once I told her about all the trouble I had been going through. Because once you decide to go with the flow, you may make a change to the status quo.