We've all been there. We've all tried on and worn different masks throughout our lives. We all had the chance to be the heroine or hero of our own masquerade. But this masquerade doesn't last forever…
Nowadays, having found myself in a self-journey of tears and cries of laughter, I look back to my old days, where I reminisce on the familiar footsteps that have taken me to where I am now. Although it was a long and arduous journey, I know that it was all worth it in the end. Finding oneself in a society where one is told to conform and be like everyone else, isn't necessarily something easy. But I have overcome that.
I still remember the days when I used to scroll through my Instagram feed and how I secretly wished I could be like the girls in the Instagram posts with fashionable clothing and voluptuous bodies, as well as a nice significant other, who would give them Tiffany's Valentine's Day special necklaces. I didn't know at that time that I was already enough. That I didn't have to have all those things to feel enough. That just being an average 19 year old with ripped jeans and a T-shirt that I have worn since 3rd grade was enough. When I think about it now, I think that it was naivety and a pinch of innocence. I did not know that I didn't have to be a certain way or fit certain characteristics to feel enough. Even though I was already enough, if I didn't really feel that way, it wasn't a matter of being enough anymore. It became a matter of knowing and enlightenment.
Having grown up Korean American, I was so used to the idea of having to live the American Dream when I become an adult. I remember my dad excessively looking through different luxurious cars, trying to fit the emblem of what it means to be from a middle-upper middle class family in the US. My parents instilled the idea that working hard was necessary and vital to one's success here in the United States. Although my parents didn't necessarily come from poverty, they had to work their way up the ladder to be where they are now. Hence, I started to develop a notion that that was the only way I can ever feel enough.
And, I did work hard. I did all my homework and assignments, did multiple extracurriculars. But something didn't ring right with me. I began to realize that I was starting to live the lives of other numerous young adults/college students rather than my own life. The endless readings and assignments I did for my humanities classes, weren't to help create a faux identity for myself. It was more of a matter to enlighten me on how these are the things that may happen to me too, if I struggled to find myself in society.
I was told that society is a scary place. There are people who can tear each other apart with one strike of an insult and people that are just waiting to ambush and take others down. But the only thing they can't take down is one's sense of self.
Maybe that's what brought everything together in plain format for me. Knowing that if I didn't find myself, I would eventually be torn down into the pieces of newspapers flying around in Manhattan on a windy fall evening. Or maybe, it was something else. Something more concrete. Something that told me that being grounded in myself is what matters in this world of conformation.