Thursday, February 15, 2007

Living as a work of art

Last night, for whatever reason, I popped "Memoirs of a Geisha" into my DVD player while I was studying for class.

As many times as I have seen this movie, something about watching it last night, maybe the fact that I was at first half-listening, and half-reading my textbook, or the fact that I have been completely exhausted emotionally lately, made me recognize a lot of things in the movie that have transcended into the stereotypes that haunt (or drive) Asian women or women in general today.

In the movie, the voice over for Saiyuri says: "To be a geisha is to sell your talents, not to sell your body. You are to present yourself as a living work of art."

I guess I have lived most of my life trying to be my own living work of art. The idea of doing it just for the sake of one man's (or several men's) happiness is overwhelming to me. I couldn't imagine what pressure it must bring to a woman to be in a society centered around a woman being beautiful and "skilled". In high school, I used to parade around in my baggy jeans or my overalls and bright colored sweaters, writing about my life, and pieces of life in poems and prose, and essays. I'd spend hours in my parents' basement late at night, with a paintbrush in my hand and an empty canvas in front of me, starting to find myself as an artist. I defined myself by the art that I was passionate to create. That was me living as my works of art.

As I got older, (and I am thinking this as I am writing) perhaps I have succumbed to living as a work of art. I traded in my paintbrush for clothes, and make-up. I haven't traded in my pen yet though. I like knowing that the little writing that I urge myself to complete, I can share with that special person one day - hoping that for even just a brief moment he'll try to understand where it all came from, and what part of me it is.

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