Monday, March 8, 2010

Do You See What I See?

Everyday I weave through ups and downs, chaos and order, as I try to raise A alone in the best way I know how. After having her, I realized that parenting is essentially a constant vacillation between chaos and joy. A reads a book to herself in a language only she can understand: joy. A gets overstimulated at our local burger joint and I end up with french fries smeared like iron-on graphics on the back of my Levi's: chaos. It's a defining and sensational experience, but the balancing act can be rigorous. You can be the most type-A, hyper-organized and efficient person, but parenting will always find a way to change the game on you -- and the minute you think you've got something figured out, it'll dare to change on you again. It's not always easy to see clearly.

It's hard not to focus on what your child is or isn't doing at the moment -- to not worry about their future, whatever phase they may be in, etc. Like the way I'm scared of weaning A off the bottle, and stress about having a house laced in pee and painted with poo once potty training is in full effect. We naturally get caught up in all the invisibles in our lives: the hopes, heartaches, the songs of the past. And ultimately we can fall into cyclic patterns of obsessing about how things should be.

Many of us are guilty of doing the same with our faces. Since I was a teenager I coveted much bigger eyelids and deeper set eyes, like those of my non-Asian friends. I've probably over-analyzed every feature of my face at one point or another thinking it might be better to have this or that. But in the end, we have what we have. And it's good to remind oneself that more often than not, what we have is actually quite all right.

I have regular beauty discussions with my good friend and make-up artist Jason Hoffman. In response to a question I had about what he would do with my eyes and face on an everyday, easy-to-manage basis, he recently said to me: "Nuy, focus on what you see and what's right there. With you, it's brows, cheeks, lashes and lips." He prescribed a recipe of (after some basic foundation) light brow filling, mascara and lip gloss. I was trying to steer the conversation toward a whole to-do on how to work with smaller/Asian eyelids, but he was essentially reminding me: Honey, keep it simple, make what you've got, fabulous.

For some time after, I thought about what Jason had said, and how so often we forget to look closely at what is right in front of us. And to work with those things instead of wishing for something different or resisting them. I actually ditched my liquid eyeliner for the last couple of weeks as a test, and probably saved a good 3-5 minutes per day ...

It's beauty for thought.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

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