"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.

You don’t miss a thing.

     Para ler em Português, clique aqui.

     There is a mystery behind His eyes.

     To be fair, there’s a mystery behind every pair of eyes, once we were made in His own image. How we amazingly see each other through so many different lenses, how I wish I could see myself through other people’s eyes, and how I wish I could lend my own eyes to others, for them to see as much value as I see in such simple things. 
     But the eyes of the Lord – they run back and forth throughout the whole Earth. We’re 7 billion now, but our Mighty God has seen every single person that ever walked on this planet. Every now dead being got caught in the eyes of the Father once, twice, so many times. He sees it all, praise His name. He knows it all, glorify His name. There’s nowhere to hide that His Love wouldn’t find us – for the Lord is no Big Brother watching us, but He watches over us. 
     As I lay here awaken, way past my bedtime, and wonder about who I am, I still find it amazing that the Lord has seen me, and chosen me. I can’t blame those who find it hard to believe that God loves them and has a plan for them – although plenty of milleniuns believe the world revolves around them, depression and low self-esteem are getting higher every year. The world is toxic to us – to our identities, to every single special trait of ours. Everything is taken away. I have been there – hopeless, weakened, no direction, no purpose, so many fears, so many doubts.
     But, in this crowd of seven billion, He never misses a thing. 
     To be fair, I am not much of a big deal. None of us is, we can’t do a single thing on our own. We are limited, but He does for us everything we couldn’t do. When we fall, when we don’t know, when we can’t say, when there is no other hope, He is always there, waiting for us to to cry to Him with our voices. He is the Light that burns brighter than the Sun. And I am just a tiny little thing, making my boast in the Lord. I celebrate my life, celebrate the years behind me, the years ahead of me, the year I’m living now. I celebrate the hard days, I celebrate the pain of coming and going, because He goes before me every step that I take.
     I believe that the mystery of godliness lays in how the glorified God places us safe in His arms, and has a plan for us. He speaks only the truth, and His truth sets us free – for when the world tells us we are weak, and small, and buries us under fake notions of unattainable perfection, the Lord is merciful, and His mercies are new every morning, and we rejoice in being weak, for His power is made perfect in weakness.
     Years may go by, but my heart is permanently amazed by this unstoppable Love that saved me, and saves me every day, and that I will never be deserving of. I was born for the glory of the Lord! My Father loves me. Let the whole world hear that I am loved, let all the bullies, the highest, the lowest know that I have a shield around me, a best Friend who lifts up my head and takes me by the hand when everything falls apart. There was a mystery behind His eyes, and I have solved it, as I looked into them – I am His, and He is mine.