Sometimes, I don’t feel good about myself. My nose is too flat and round and my eyes are too small. My fingers are so thick that rings don’t look pretty on my fingers. Despite always trying to pay attention, I drop things frequently. However, there are some points that I like about myself as well. I like my natural hair color and I am perfectly satisfied with my height. I have a cheerful personality and get along with people easily. The thing that I feel proudest of about myself is that I have a habit of working out every day for one and a half hours, rain or shine.
While working out at the gym located in the basement of Areum Hall, I often see other students step on the scale and breathe a deep sigh. They complain about their weight and say to their friends that they will not eat dinner that day. The situation seems somewhat mysterious to me because they are already in good shape and some of them even look too thin. In fact, this phenomenon appears throughout the entire Korean society; one tenth of all teenagers are suffering from severe eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. What caused those adolescents who should be provided sufficient nutrients and never need to go on a diet to feel unhappy about their bodies?
TV stars are often blamed as the cause of this abnormal desire many people have of an ideal body line. They struggle to possess their own individuality that is distinct from those of others but ironically, they are becoming more and more similar, just becoming more handsome, pretty or cute. Rather, they propagate the wrong concept that individuality is something weird. However, this phenomenon is merely one of various derivatives of the overall loss of individualities in our society. Some would like to say that these days are the times of individuality and diversity, but I would rather say that we are living in the age of losing one’s true individuality. As the hip hop group Epik High depicted in their song “Wannabe,” there is “no conversation without knowing the trendy words. We dress like the fashion magazine and the TV shows. Even for the movies we wanted to see, we follow the reviews. Even when we love, we imitate dramas.” Where can we find our true individualities? What is the true individuality?
Famed street fashion photographer Scott Schuman gives us a clue to answering this question. In his bestseller The Sartorialist, Schuman photographed stylish dressers on the streets. Those who best showcase their beauty all say “I don’t care about trends!” with their entire body, from head to toe. They pose for the camera confidently, not caring that their fashion might look tacky or ludicrous to others. What makes them so stylish is not clothing that follows a trend, but their own insistence and philosophy. A true individuality comes from confidence and love for oneself.
One may think that we KAIST students need not care about such individuality. But the meaning of individuality is not confined to fashion or the standard of beauty. It is a matter of how much we love ourselves and how confident we are with our choices. No matter what others say, you can say exactly what you feel about the things surrounding you. Although people think “the slimmer, the more beautiful,” it’s OK not to agree with that idea. My nose is flat and round so it gives out a soft and warm impression to others. My eyes look great because they balance out with the other parts of my face. I love myself though I drop things frequently. These characters are also inseparable aspects of me. It’s time to find your own color.