With Ting @ Yuandong’s Wedding
My cousin Liyu for marrying his JC sweetheart of 9 years, Cailing!
Yuandong & Grace for tying the knot as well! :D
I Not Pretty
I don’t usually put much effort into my appearance, cos, well, I don’t think it’s really worth the money or the trouble. As far as appearances go, I can’t help admiring people who are naturally beautiful. Who wouldn’t like to be effortlessly lovely, right? But since I’ve long resigned myself to my ‘plain jane’ fate, I don’t make too much effort to pretti-fy myself on normal days.
Of course special events and weddings are exceptions. And I relish these moments of dolling and dressing up because hey, I still think it’s fun in small doses. It’s also interesting when relatives and friends’ parents compliment me by telling me that, “Hey! You look so different now… you’re a lot prettier than before!” I always laugh and tell them in return, “Thank you, but I’m not any prettier than before. It’s just because of the make-up and pretty dress! Don’t be too disappointed the next time you see me again hor!”
On the flip side of this, I’ve run into Zibin’s colleagues who met me for the first time at our wedding. Though they’re too polite to say it (except one guy who also told me I looked different from our wedding day), they usually look at me with a degree of mild surprise. I can almost hear them thinking, “Eh, Maj Hoo’s wife is plainer than I remembered…” I just meet their eyes and flash them my trademark grin. I may be no looker, but I can still try to blind them! :P
I used to be insecure about my appearance. When Zibin and I started dating, I used to feel embarrassed when I caught him gazing at me. I’d be thinking, “What’s there to look at?” And I used to wish, somehow, that I was better looking to complement his boyish charm. Simply knowing, even believing, that external beauty isn’t that important doesn’t mean we plain people don’t suffer from feeling inadequate and insecure. It takes a lot of inner growth to outgrow this kind of insecurity!
Believe it or not, Zibin fell in love with me during the ugliest time of my life to date. I had put on 8kg in my freshman year in Toronto and was suffering a bad acne break-out too! I remember how keen he was to let me meet his family and relatives and how shy I had felt. ha ha…
But slowly, I learned to bask in the warmth of Zibin’s loving gaze and not feel embarrassed. Because isn’t that the same way God looks at me? In His eyes, I am beautiful because He loves me. There is only glory, and no shame, in that!
Here’s a note of encouragement to anyone who feels less self-esteem because of a less-than-stellar appearance, or to those who are attractive and feel insecure about whether or not they are loved merely for their looks: media and culture may be powerful influences in how we view ourselves, but let’s never forget that beauty and love or joy has no correlation.
You may not agree with me, but when I think about the people I love in my life, I love none of them for their looks, no matter how physically attractive or unattractive they may be. I love them just the way they are, inside and out. They have their lovable moments, but they also have their annoying and quirky moments. I love them anyway, because that’s who they ARE.
Whether beautiful or plain, we can be enslaved by a warped idolatry of appearances. Let’s try to let it go, shall we? Not only because there are more enduring qualities than physical beauty, but because JOY is an INSIDE business.
Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. The question to ask then is, “How do you behold yourselves?” I pray that we will all learn to see the beauty in ourselves and one another. :)