Saturday, December 11, 2004

I am Doreen, therefore I am..

Today I feel different. Today is like no Saturdays that I've had. I woke up just before 8 and calmly went about my bathroom routine and rummaged through the closet for something decent to wear (OK, so I haven't done my laundry in ages, but that's besides the point).. and sat out on the swing in the porch, patiently waiting for a colleague to give me a ride.

I noticed the ants that scurry about their morning chores. I noticed the water that trickled into the drain. I watched Donny the pup prance back and forth when I teased him, when tired he will retreat to his corner to rest, occasionally he will walk about and sniff the air as though sensing something amiss.. Silly pup! Skies, sun, trees, birds - picture perfect.

The blue skies and the bright morning sun have been here before. Maybe that same bird was up in that very same tree many a times. But this morning, it was different. Well, it FELT different. I was truly happy - happy being here, happy about my life in general - family, friends, work, and most importantly, happy being me.

Image - we all carry one. The person we project to the world via our dressing, the way we talk, walk and act, the words we use, the train of thoughts in our head, the principles and beliefs we hold true to, the drinks we drink, the foods we eat, the places we go to, the cigarettes we smoke, the books we read, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the things we do for a living, the people we hang out with, and the list is of course endless. An image is a personal facade.

I decide what to wear, but do not decide the judgements people pass onto me when I wear what I wear. I decide what values I keep close to my heart, but do not decide what people think of me when I think in a certain manner. I decide my actions, reactions and things I say pertaining to certain issues and matters, but do not decide what I may be perceived as when I say and do the things I said or did.

Therefore, is it not true that I merely create my facade, but not my image? Therefore, doesn't it make "image" merely an illusion created by stereotypes which are in turn created by culture and society?

"Doreen loves having a beer" is read as "She's a drunk"

"Doreen has got two tattoos" is read as "She's a rebel child"

"Doreen is in advertising" is read as "She's quirky, wild and crazy"

"Doreen thinks that women should have a right to go for an abortion " is read as "She engages in irresponsible premarital sex"

"Doreen laughs and also cusses loudly" is read as "She's rude, vulgar and improper"

"Doreen speaks her mind" is read as "She has no respect for authority and thinks the world owes it to her"

But of course, having said that, it still boils down to me. If I already know what sort of connotation or perceptions that comes along with dressing a certain way, or behaving a certain way, and if I'm uncomfortable - I can change the way I talk, dress or behave can I not?

Of course, the question now is - should I? As a 20-something Chinese girl in a relatively modest and conservative culture, should I be worried about what people think of me? Does it bother me?

Mostly, no. But at times - there's teeny weeny part inside of me that thinks "Crap!" Having rather traditional and conservative parents does this to me sometimes. I sometimes catch myself thinking like mom - "Don't be such a loudmouth, you'll scare men away!".. or "Which decent Chinese man will want a wife with a tattoo?" (she obviously don't know about the second one... yet).. or "Don't go out in the sun too much, men like their women fair!"... or "You're showing too much cleavage, people will think you're easy!"... or "You shouldn't stay over with any of your guy friends at their place alone, what will people think?"... or "Don't come back too late, people will think that you're up to no good being out at such ungodly hours"

Honestly, I do worry about these sometimes. Maybe mom is right? Maybe no man will want a wife with a tattoo or tattoos for that matter. Maybe no men like their women loud. Maybe men really do like their women fair. Maybe I should wear a turtleneck all the time so that men will think I'm all prim and proper and want to marry me.

At the same time, I love my tattoos and I think they are the coolest thing which I've gotten for myself. I like being loud, being expressive, and speaking my mind. I like evenly tanned skin and don't like using sunblock or whitening products. And wearing a plunging V-neck is merely being confident in what I've been blessed with *grins*

I fear of what I will be in future, with of course sagging boobs being on top of the list.

It's a weird life we live innit not?

Posted by Doreen at 9:47 am