the world through your eyes

by The Dreamer

my parents don’t think the lake opposite my house is much. probably to most of my friends that i’ve brought over to my neighbourhood, they’ll think the same too. probably to the rest of the world who resides in places with beautiful natural landscapes, the lake really isn’t much.

but i love it. as i’m typing this, my eyes flicker outwards through the windows, towards the distance where a peek of the shimmery waters reflects light back into my eyes. it’s shrouded by my favourite pine trees and the whole dusty green scenery just puts my heart at ease. i feel happy just looking at it.

so what is my point, really, in this—

it’s just…

sometimes i read reviews on movies and novels and art before i even have the chance to perceive them through my own lenses. and i’ve come to realise how superficial and narrow this habit of mine is. things like books and art and music and movies, they’re subjective. it’s quintessentially important to form your own opinions on them, precisely because of their subjective nature. just because one person, because they’re a professional critic or someone famous in that particular industry or just a person that seems to know better says that it’s “bad”, it is just opinion.

it’s weird that it’s the first time i’ve properly sat down to think through this in blatant terms, because somewhere in the back of my head, i know i’ve always been bugged by this social dogma. even in my own realm of fanfiction, i segregate two identities of mine, and now i know how jarringly contradicting my two personas are, and basically i’m kind of beating myself up over it. as an avid reader, my eyes automatically directs themselves to the reviews. on ao3, they’re mainly the number of hits, kudos, comments, or if someone “famous” in the community wrote it, and i base my judgements on that. it’s the first criteria for me to start properly reading a book. and even if the book turns out to be kind of meh, i psycho myself into thinking, yes this wasn’t too bad. 

here’s the hypocritical part. as an author, pretty new into the writing community, i absolutely resent that the entire “hits/kudos/comments” system, because it sets you so far back on the racing track, and as much as i hate metaphorising writing as a race, it’s basically true.

just because a piece of art gets slighted, or just because it’s being praised to the heavens, should mean nothing to me. but it does. and i hate this side of social conditioning that transmits itself into my everyday life, seeping through so insidiously that there is no way for me to cut off the source of prejudice unless i’m being hyperaware about it. and even with much effort of channelling consciousness to stay open-hearted and open-minded, i’m bound to be shackled to preconceived notions. a movie is almost always going to be a bad movie if you actively look out for the source of its “badness” just because someone tells you beforehand that it’s not going to be good, you know? i hate that.

i need to stop taking reviews and social hype as gospel. many of the favourite books that i’ve read often doesn’t have the best reviews. my favourite disney song is god help the outcasts, which is pretty unknown even among my avid disney fans; it’s not highly raved about or anything. some of my favourite pieces of online writing that i’ve come across in my lifetime are buried under the millions of other internet-famous posts. it’s a pity.

how technically good something is has no direct correlation to how much you enjoy it. even if people around me are saying that something is terrible for xyz reasons, i need to learn not to shy away from saying how much i actually love it. my enjoyment for it does not take away their reasons for disliking it.

what i look for in enjoying and appreciating art is just to feel something. if it’s purpose was to make me feel sad and i cried, it’s done its purpose and i enjoyed it.

people are made up of different lifestyles, memories, pasts, opinions, cultures and so much more. they’re bound to feel differently about things. my favourite part of writing is when someone takes the time to comment on what my words invoked in them, whether is it an emotion or a memory, and i thank them profusely for letting me know, because that means so much more than a kudo or being highly popular. it’s knowing you’ve subtly changed someone’s day, for the better, and now a piece of me will remain in them, however small that may be.

likewise, i need to be more conscious that my indifference or dislike does not influence another individual’s enjoyment of something. if you like that kpop group, go ahead. i need to learn to stop making snarky comments about them just because it isn’t my cup of tea. guilty as charged.

i guess a good quote to sum this up is: yellow is not a bad colour; you just don’t like yellow. banana is not a gross fruit; you just don’t like banana.

((this is highly relevant because yellow and bananas are my favourite colour and fruit respectively and they’re for some reason, highly controversial.))

everyone’s opinions are just as valid. listen, take them in, but don’t internalise. i need to realise that the world is a much better place when many different vibrant, contrasting ideas can bounce off walls and be heard without being put down.

this is pretty applicable to life as well? just because someone says something critical about you, about someone else, about your work and your ideas, that does not define you or the subject of discussion.

take everything with a pinch of salt and have the the courage and zeal to experience everything firsthand.