Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 63

I’ve been struck lately by how ironic it is that I’ve chosen to major in a field that will require decorum of a sort that I’d always been ambivalent about.

Trigger: we had a class on stage presence and as part of the class, we had to observe our classmates and note their postures, facial expressions, body language, and how they were or weren’t emoting/projecting whilst speaking. It was very illuminating how very much you could tell about someone’s confidence/stress levels and subconscious desires if you paid attention.

We also discussed appropriate seated posture for women versus men, because it came up that people have been lambasting President Tsai for the way she sat. It was interesting, most if not all of my classmates thought that the classic “legs together and held at an angle” was for the dinosaurs and that it didn’t matter if a woman sat with her knees open. I’d been brought up differently and I pointed out that Hillary Clinton always sat that way. Of course, HRC is in her sixties, so not the most persuasive argument.

Something I’ve been trying to do recently is to keep a smile on my face at all times. For one thing, there’s that study about how your brain releases endorphins if you smile. For another, there is the proverb about how “even if the hand is raised, one does not strike a smiling person”. Lastly, I do have resting bitch face and it’s probably best to just get into the habit of always smiling rather than be caught unawares.

Teacher’s comment: you did very well, but you didn’t smile until you were on stage; you had a sullen look as you got up from your seat and walked up.


It truly is funny, how right now I’m having to consciously modify a lot of my behaviors and mannerisms according to what my eldest uncle has always requested of me: “smile without showing your teeth, sit without your skirt rustling, keep your back straight even when asleep, talk in a well-modulated voice, and never laugh too exuberantly”.

I used to resent it, because I saw it as rank sexism (which it is), but now that I’m choosing to do something where presentation is as key as knowledge and expertise, I might have to return to those lessons of my childhood.

Full circle, as always. *sighs a little*

Another full circle: I woke up this morning and realized that there is actually very little reason for me to be in any way stressed about what is going on with my graduate program.

I’d been considering the line between letting go, flowing, and giving up. I’ve been despairing a little, uncertain if I’m simply sinking into the quagmire.

The thing is, almost nothing in my life has gone the way I expected it to.

I thought I’d be married with children. I thought I’d be the relaxed eccentric owner of a coffee shop. I thought I’d be a psychologist working with troubled youth. I thought I’d be a journalist, investigating corruption and exposing wartime atrocities. I thought of forever with people who no longer speak to me.

I thought many many things and the only constant in everything is the desire to love, be loved, and to bring a little joy to the world. And to write. I’ve always wanted to write. My words. My voice. My stories.

So why worry about this program? Either I graduate or I don’t. Either I pass the professional exam or I don’t. Either things happen, or they don’t.

I will do my best, as usual, but on the other hand, I don’t even care. The world could end tomorrow and stressing would be all for naught. Or, on a more positive note, I could meet the One (or the Duo or the Trio *sly grin*) tomorrow and get married the next day and decide to give NTU up for a life on a boat set to sail around the world (unlikely, really, the giving NTU up bit, but you get the idea).

I used to think of schooling as a set-destination trip to somewhere. Somewhere better, or somewhere concrete, with a set itinerary and plans.

But really, why?

For all I know, as with all other things in my life, it’s a springboard to something completely unknown rather than a path.

Open my hands and fly, I suppose.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv Enabled