"The Ugly Duckling" is not about Beauty.

     Para a versão em Português, clique aqui. 
     Blame it on the filters, the make up and the gym membership, but most of us seem to carry within this feeling of having been one very very ugly duckling, now grown into the most beautiful swan in the pond. Honestly, any self esteem is good for the heart, and I won’t be one to question people’s search for an evergrowing love for themselves.
     However, growing up and understanding how much harm can be caused by the social perception of beauty has made me reject its importance in my life. You can blame it on Funny Girl, maybe, but the last thing that I want to be important about me is how pretty I am or am not. I enjoy having and expressing one very loud personality, louder than anything else – not necessarily screaming, but mostly. 
     I was thinking about this as I watched the dozens of swans living on the river right opposite to my student hall.
     One very interesting thing that studying Art allows me to is overthink about things, to the point of being capable of extracting from them hidden meanings and purposes theretofore nonexistent to me, but real enough for my subconscious to learn from them. So, Hans Christian Andersen was most probably only talking about his past as an ugly child, and rejoicing on the beauty and glory that the years had brought, but I’d rather understand The Ugly Duckling as a story about identity.
     If you have never seen swans, know that they are huge birds, constantly cleaning their white feathers, and usually spill water on those who don’t feed them (but I’d guess that’s an specific feature of the ones who live next to me). Their babies are greyish and could be the clumsiets and fuzziest creatures swimming on fresh waters. You can tell that swans and ducks don’t belong with each other, even though they can be seen hanging together.
     After being rejected by his mother, sublings, and basically every other creature he ever met in his life, the duckling strongly believed he wasn’t much more than one very unlucky bird. Even though he had already seen the swans, and was aware of their existence, he couldn’t see himself as one of them, because he couldn’t think of himself as anything other than what he had heard his whole life. His identity was distorted, as a fogged mirror in which he could only see disappointment.
     Life can be really ungrateful to those who take a longer time to finally fit in, because there is a rush; the world won’t stop spinning around for you to go somewhere else and try to figure out yourself. Then, we can all relate to the unfortunate events in the life of the duckling. Some may say that the tale enhances the idea of superiority between different types of people. I’d rather highlight that the duckling’s biggest joy wasn’t discovering himself as one of the beautiful birds – or even the most beautiful of them all – , but having found a place to belong, to feel welcome and important, instead of freezing to death alone in the winter.
     One of the greatest joys in life, for me, is that, after so much pain and trials, I know who I am and I have found a place, several places, in which my presence is desired, in which I can grow into a better person, and help others as well. I could say that, now, I am a swan surrounded by so many others swans, but we could be ducks, seagulls, bears, bees, ravens. And I may not always feel happy, but I am happy to have a purpose, a focus, a direction. The ugly duckling flew his way into the sky, and I’ve just spread my wings and followed his path. I hope that you will join us someday.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s