It’s strange how people can change without even being aware of it.
Take me, for example.
I used to have so much more to say but now I just have so much more to think.
There was never a conscious decision.
I never told myself, “Today’s the day I’m gonna grow up!”
I think it just happens gradually, it takes lots of time.
I think part of getting older is becoming more self-aware and learning new things about yourself.
I started to notice that things were changing when I discovered that my parents opinions aren’t always the same as mine; when I realized that even though it’s difficult sometimes, I am allowed to think for myself.
I started to see that someone’s bad decision shouldn’t define who they are as a person.
My friends tell me that I’m different than I used to be.
“It’s not a bad thing, or a good thing. It’s just a thing, you know?”
But I believe there is a lot of good that can come from change. I think that being different than I was before means that I’ve learned a lot and that I’ve started to become who I’m supposed to be – who I want to be.
One of my favorite things in the world is skincare. Maybe not the most deep or expected of passions but know you know. While I may not have the best skin, I do really love washing and moisturizing my face, plus all the steps in between.
I remember as a kid I never washed my face, or occasionally I snuck some of my mom’s face wash, but that was it. Then when I got older and interested in actually caring for my face, I got whatever I saw show up the most often on drugstore shelves.
The face-wash made my face feel tight enough that someone could play a snare drum solo on my face. Whatever moisturizer I mistakenly picked up was essentially a too strong concentration of salicylic acid (an effective BHA acid in small doses) suspended in a silicone cream; it left my skin sensitive and irritated.
It was a dark time that almost killed any desire I had to take care of my skin.
It was frustrating, what was supposed to help me feel good about myself was instead making me feel like I didn’t even want to try to take care of myself. Instead of feeling relaxed, my skincare was stressing me out, which in turn made my skin freak out.
So I began to actually research skincare. I started with the products that had made me so sad and pinpointed what ingredients didn’t work for me, and ones that could.
I followed obscure internet trails into back alley articles about the difference between moisture and hydration, pressure points to take down face swelling, and that products with pearl powder are known for their brightening properties.
Now, one of my favorite parts of skincare is all the research that goes into learning about different ingredients and their uses. In fact I often become obsessive and go down rabbit holes I didn’t even realize I stumbled into.
For example, did you know that snail mucin, which is exactly what it sounds like, is great for hyper-pigmentation, and that the best way to harvest it, cruelty- free, is to pamper the snails by putting them in a dark room and avoiding stressing them out. It’s like prepping escargot but the snails live in the end.
The more research I’ve done the more quickly I’ve discovered that skincare is an extremely subjective topic; recommendations and “holy grail” items don’t apply to all. While one person could love birch sap another could hate it, plus everyone’s skin is different.
Through all my research I also learned that caring for my skin isn’t about vanity, it is about taking care of myself mentally. It has become a part of maintaining my mental health.
I look forward to it before I go to bed and when I get out of bed in the morning. I use it to decompress at the end of the day or armor up for one. Skincare to me is time I have carved out for introspection and reflection, which helps me feel less anxious and better about myself, inwardly and outwardly.
It’s no secret that I hated OVS in the beginning of the year. I carried an air of superiority with me, and I looked down on everyone else, thinking they were all kids with “messed up lives” from “messed up families”.
On the second day of school, I had a very serious discussion with my advisor during which I explained to her my new theory: OVS was actually a therapeutic school in hiding.
Looking back, I can barely control my laughter at how ridiculous I was. My year at OVS has been one of the best experiences of my life.
Before I came to OVS, I wasn’t very mature, although I thought I was. I didn’t have a grasp on what’s important in life, and I was too involved with materialistic thoughts.
After being at OVS for a year, I can confidently say that has changed. OVS has taught me what true friendship is, how to stay motivated, and how to be honest.
It has also taught me a lot about myself and how I operate and work. These are skills that I will always carry with me wherever I go.
It didn’t really hit me how much I would miss it here until a few days ago when I was driving on Wilshire.
Don’t ask me why that’s when it hit me- I have no idea. But it hit me hard- as I watched someone make an extremely illegal u-turn, I realized something- I would really miss Jeff Lin.
This shocked me a little bit, but it makes sense. Although one of the biggest things I learned about myself is that I like to be on my own, I made a lot of friends here that I didn’t even realize I cared about this much.
I’m not the best at goodbyes, so I’ll probably end up leaving without telling anyone.
I really just want to thank OVS for helping me find myself.
I was off course when I got here, and I had been for a long time before that. I’m now finally beginning to get back to who I once was- the little blonde girl who wanted glasses to make her look smarter, who read the Harry Potter books over and over, who got made fun of for being the teacher’s pet.
I lost my motivation these past few years, and I think I secretly always wanted to be that person again.
OVS allowed me to be that person, and even embraced that person, and for that, I am forever grateful.
What do I hope to find over the rainbow?
Of course a perfect me, I think. That would be a beautiful girl with a charming smile and melodious voice. She would have everything and be successful at everything she does.
Right in front of me there is a vast rainbow stretching into infinity.
After open the red door with all of my curiosity, the orange river appears and runs eagerly by my side. I follow the river into the splendid yellow. The green leaves swing and wave to me as I pass them. Then the raindrops fall, the sky turns into an endless gloomy shield. The storm starts to howl, carrying blue dust. I look into the gloomy shadow and move forward into another unknown. I move slowly but firmly. I will not change my direction until I find out what is waiting for me over the rainbow. As I am picturing all the possibilities, suddenly a streak of indigo lighting breaks the silence. The snowflakes spin and sway from the violet sky, dancing with dulcet music.
Suddenly I realize something. The rainbow is just like life. There will be pleasure filled with bright colors, and there will also be gloomy moments filled with challenges and difficulties.
Finally I reach the end of the rainbow. Unfortunately, there is nothing but a mirror in front of me. With disappointment I walk closer to meet the girl in the mirror, who looks exactly like me without anything special. She is not that perfect self I had hoped to find after all. I look into the mirror and observe the girl more carefully. Something has changed about her. Her face is more confident and she seems stronger. The girl is me; a new person after the rainbow journey. She is the person who has just enjoyed the beauty and conquered all the hardships; she is the person I want to be.
I look back at the rainbow, from which I discovered my own identity. I bid a thankful farewell to the journey, from which I learned to know not a perfect but a real self.
Suddenly I realize something. I will smile at the person in the mirror.
Yes, this is what I hope to find over the rainbow – a true me.