When you’re out to find your One True Love, how much of a change do you have to undergo? I wonder. Ladies, do we have to be lady-like, wear tons of make up, and wear dresses to attract a man? Gentlemen, do you have to own a car and a business and maybe five condominium units to attract women?
What makes a person attractive? What makes a girl beautiful? What makes a man handsome?
I do wonder.
I grew up boyish. Completely, totally, hopelessly boyish. While the girls in my class would sit together to read Candy Mag and gush over the latest teen idol, I’d be at the other side of the room with the boys, turning armchairs into bump cars and crashing them all over the place. I inserted Stay Fresh mint balls into straws and blew them at people. (I’d make a good hitman, I can say that.) I cut classes to watch Slam Dunk and spent my lunch periods discussing the episodes with the boys. I didn’t like make up, I didn’t like dresses, and I wore my hair short. And I was find with that.
But as I grew older, I began to wear dresses and loved doing so. I began to put on make up and even got addicted to matte lip cremes and long-wearing lip liners. I wore heels and became a pro at running down the hallways in five-inch stilettos (it’s the only way I could catch my next class on time). I began to like the color pink — not as much as green — and I began to love fixing or playing with my hair (if I had the time). And I was also fine with that.
But then just recently, The Search happened. And suddenly I was more conscious of the clothes I wore. I was more conscious of what shade my lipstick would be. I was more careful of how I spoke and how I schooled my super intimidating expressions. My well-meaning friends (bless their hearts, I love my squad so much) started to coach me and started to guide and guard the way I spoke, the way I sat, the way I greeted people — boys, especially — and even what kind of case I’d use on my cellphone (no Naruto designs!). On dates, I’m not allowed to bump fists with the guys, not allowed to hit the guys, not allowed to “tropa zone” the guys. Even the books I read said so — do not be one of the guys.
For a time, I followed that. But it came to a point where I don’t feel like myself anymore. Because… what if I AM one of the guys? Can’t I like pink and still want to kick ass in Tekken at the same time? Can’t I wear make-up and bump fists with my dudes at the same time? Can’t I braid my hair and give thug hugs to my bros at the same time? Can’t I be both beautiful and boyish at the same time? What if I feel beautiful even when I’m boyish? What if I keep thug hugging my dudes and I keep fist bumping with my bros — and still feel beautiful and gorgeous and all kinds of attractive at the same time?
And why am I even bothering to think about this now? I really don’t know. Maybe it’s because I got a thug hug from one of my bros yesterday, and we both got berated over it. We all shared a good laugh even though our friends kept saying, “She’s a girl! You can’t do that to her! And you, Karren, pa-chicks ka lang!”
I love my friends so much, and I love that they’re all so hell-bent on helping me find my One True Love. I love that they panic over finding me a date, and I love that we spend hours until morning talking about what kind of man I’d end up with (someone who’d brave through my grumpy pre-coffee mornings, we deduced). I love that I have a vigorous and solid support system. I love that I have friends who’ve already been through what I’m going through now, friends who are not stingy with their love and with their wisdom and their insights. You’d want to have that too, whether you’re a girl or a boy. (The dynamics must be different with boys, I’d think.)
But I realized this just now. Maybe being beautiful and handsome isn’t ALL about how you dress up, how you speak, what you have, how you act… though they do play a great part. Maybe it’s more about how you FEEL. Maybe it’s about feeling so good, so beautiful, and so blessed, that you can’t help but shine. And maybe it’s more about taking care of yourself than dressing up. It’s more about feeling good about yourself than looking good with the tons of make up you put on your face, or the gel you put on your hair. It’s more about having so much love in your heart, that you can’t help but overflow and share this love with others.
Maybe it’s not about LOOKING beautiful or handsome. It’s about BEING beautiful and handsome. Because when you have a beautiful heart, then no matter how you act or how you speak or what you do or what you have and do not have — you will be attractive.
Lately people keep telling me that I’m blooming. “What’s your secret?” people always ask. I don’t have a secret. OK, sure, maybe it does have something to do with the new brand of lip liner I’m wearing, or the BB cream I’ve started to use. But seriously, dude. Do you want to know my secret?
I spend Mondays at the Blessed Sacrament. I bring your prayers there, and I spend hours talking to Jesus and my Saint Squad. I spend my nights on my knees, praying to God, listening to Him, talking to Him, but most of all receiving His love. I spend my days waiting, waiting, waiting — but not on people. I wait on God. When I get impatient, I don’t take matters in my own hands. I talk to God. When I get disappointed, or frustrated, or a tiny bit heartbroken, I tell people, yes. But I also talk to God. Nowadays, I seem to be talking to God all the time. And it’s the best. Thing. Ever.
You want to know how I bloomed these past few weeks? It’s because I’ve fallen so helplessly in love with God, I cry at the very thought of it. I am so in love with God, and He’s so in love with me. It took me thirty years to realize that I am as much His daughter as I am His soldier, and that I don’t have to work so darn hard to earn His or anybody else’s love. I’m walking on water with Jesus nowadays, and I love it. I love it. I love it.
So, yeah. I don’t want to stop giving and receiving fist bumps and bro hugs. I don’t want to stop talking about Naruto. I don’t want to stop high-fiving people when I greet them. I will keep wearing Chucks with my dresses (provided I get away with it in the office), I will keep using thug language, and I will still be a dude and a chick at the same time.
Because I realized this only now: I am my own kind of beautiful. And I’m fine with that.
And you? You be your own kind of beautiful — or handsome — too.
Don’t change because others tell you so. Don’t change to make others like you. Don’t change to impress others. Change because it’s good for you. Change because it makes you feel good. Change because it makes you become a better person.
Someone out there is made to match your own kind of beautiful. God knows who they are. God will give them to you at the right time, in the right moment.
And when you find them — when they find you — it’s going to be epic.