Posted by: soulvoyager | August 20, 2010

My Bermuda Triangle

Ripples that grace the lakes with their expanding arcs.

Waves that surge slowly across deserts in the form of sand dunes.

Iridescent rays of light scattering in the pre-dawn and twilight skies.

Spirally helices that twirl round to form exquisite seashells.

Crystalline snowflakes exhibiting perfect symmetry.

Taken from Wikimedia Commons. Under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Branching motifs in trees, leaves, and river networks.

Geometric properties of mud cracks and wakes produced by ships in motion.

The dazzling arrays spinning in a kaleidoscope tube.

Taken from Wikimedia Commons. Under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Patterns, they permeate our world, trumpeting the amazing unity of nature and the intricate creativity of a God at work.

But regretfully, there are certain patterns that I just don’t take to.

Like stripes…

and polka dots…

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I would never wear a dress that has stripes or little circles on it. But it just won’t be my preference.

Likewise, there are certain shapes that I adore.

Such as hearts…

Taken from Wikimedia Commons. Under the GNU Free Documentation License.

They remind me of LOVE, elusive and paltry in this world, but found so fully and abundantly in Christ.

And stars…

For the superficial reason that they are pretty, and the not-so-superficial reason that they inspire me to reach for my own stars – those goals that tug me forward, especially in the stark nakedness of night.

And there are shapes that make me feel uncomfortable.

Like triangles.

Call me weird to pick on a poor triangle. But it’s just not my favorite shape because it’s edgy, sharp, and unfriendly. When I was little, I always thought that it looked like it was going to hurt me any minute. And it didn’t help that many road signs signaling “Danger!” or “No entry!” were all enclosed in… you guessed it right! Triangles.

Ever heard of the Bermuda Triangle?

Also known as Devil’s Triangle, it is a region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean where a number of aircraft and ships allegedly disappeared mysteriously. It had been postulated that these disappearances were due to the paranormal or activity by extraterrestrial beings. Well, I read about the Bermuda Triangle when I was just a little girl.  Being the scaredy cat that I was, I freaked out. Just the thought of things so many times larger than me disappearing into nothingness sent chills down my spine. I pictured the Bermuda Triangle to be like a greedy black hole, gobbling down anything that passed its way.

I have a Bermuda Triangle of my own too. You see, I have three moles on my face. Actually I have more than three moles on my face. As people have observed, I am a very “mole-y” person coz I have many moles dotting my arms. But those three moles, situated strategically around my mouth in a perfect triangular constellation, are the ones that have caused me much anguish, especially in my early years. I don’t really know when they appeared on my face, but I only noticed when my classmates started teasing me about them. They earned the nickname, “The Bermuda Triangle”.

That was when the struggle within myself started. Once during a visit to the doctor, Mum casually asked whether those moles could be removed. The doctor said that I could do so when I was older and more vain. In the end, I never got to the point where I had enough courage to go for an operation to remove the moles. But I still detested them, grudging myself and God for allowing those moles to appear on my face, of all places. Whenever someone took a longer-than-usual look at my face, I would always wonder awkwardly whether they were thinking my moles were ugly. That sense of self-consciousness pervaded my entire perception of myself.

As the eating disorder took over, I gradually started finding fault with other parts of my body. Now that I look back, it is no wonder that just like the Bermuda Triangle, my mouth became something to be feared, something greedy, something with an insatiable appetite, a cavernous entrance to a bottomless pit. My mouth also became like a black hole. Things like horrible feelings and self-condemning thoughts went in, but never came out. They went into my stomach and got banished to the back of my mind, never having gone through the process of digestion and assimilation. I became an enigma. People never knew what I was thinking. Perhaps they thought I was just acting out or being stubborn. Inside, I was tormented by confusion and inner turmoil. Those thoughts wrangled my mind like a snake writhing its way through the crevices of my brain.

I realized that little Valerie at that time didn’t know how to speak up for herself. If I was there with little Valerie then, I would tell her that God wouldn’t make trash and that He created her just as she is, a wondrous, beautifully crafted being. I would whisper in her ear that a woman’s beauty does not rest on a facial mole, but on the indwelling of a gentle and quiet spirit yielded fully in obedience to Christ. I would teach her not to be downtrodden by the hefty weight of others’ comments and to find value in things that matter the most. Most of all, I would take her hand and assure her that I would be there to take care of her always.

Now that I am older and wiser (hopefully), I don’t have to let others’ comments hurt me any longer. I choose not to be embarrassed about my pain, but I want to go through it with dignity, and acknowledge how it helped me to mature over the years. Moles are just that. Moles. An accumulation of melanin. Why should I let myself be beholden to what others have said twenty years ago? It’s funny how we humans cling so tightly to self-destructive things though we know fully well that they are not good for us. I wish to let go and just be. Me.

As Oscar Wilde said,

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist. That is all.”

Do I want to wait till I am six feet under the ground before regrets set in? No.

Do I want to spend an entire lifetime of bitterness about my past? No.

Do I want to waste any more time on self-abuse through my eating disorder and miss out on all the wonderful things life has to offer? No.

By God’s grace, I will be able to walk out of the Bermuda Triangle that had swallowed me whole into the gaping void that was its belly for the past twenty years. By that same grace, I will be able to emerge from the shadows of my eating disorder a much stronger and better person.

As Dr Seuss says,

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than you.

Are you willing to just be? You? Today?

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