Meaning of Beautiful

I have heard people talked about the power of good-looking appearance in society. When you are beautiful or handsome, you get more opportunities and a better first impression, etc. Yet, I believe that the beauty that genuinely shines from the inside is more potent than just stunning appearance. I decided to share a photo that brings me to that belief.

Yes, you see it right; it is me. Three years ago, I landed in a country that I dreamed about since I was in junior high school—Switzerland. In less than two weeks, I was sent to the emergency room for chickenpox. I couldn’t open my eyes for a few days. When I opened my eyes, I saw me; the one in this picture. I told myself, ‘I will get better soon; it will be ok.’ What I needed to take care of was the hospital bill—five figures CHF. Five figure CHF was challenging for a grad student like me to handle the fee. One of my housemates helped me with the hospital bill battle. She communicated with the health insurance firm in a few country offices to cover my hospital fee due to differences in languages on the paperwork, while I was entirely on the hospital bed with swollen eyes. Another housemate paid me visits every day and bought me food that I liked. She kept telling me that ‘you are a queen.’

My smile and confidence were dropped to the lowest point when I was discharged from the hospital. The doctor told me to take a taxi and avoid the crowd since chickenpox is infectious. When the taxi came, the driver looked at me from head to toe. Through his eyes, I assumed that he hesitated to take me. My kind housemate explained my condition to him in German so that he could take me with a little more comfort. I was asked to visit the hospital every three days during the first month. I still remember the day that kids ran away when they saw me. I came back home and cried. I asked my housemate, ‘why did they run away? I am not a monster.’ She told me, ‘you are not a monster; you are a beautiful queen.’ Then, she ordered a pizza and ate with me. I told her to eat alone because of my wounds. She told me that it didn’t change the taste of the pizza.

To shorten the story, these people made me feel at home, while I was surrounded by people speaking different languages, practising different beliefs, and having different skin colours and different ways of living. When the doctor allowed me to go out to the public, they accompanied me, amongst other things, to swim in the Aare and pools, go up to Swiss Alps, ride the boat on Swiss river, and try Swiss food. We had a fun farewell party before I left Switzerland.

During my time there, there was zero-second that they made me feel ugly or alien. Their kindness helps me to genuinely understand that the beauty of human being does not define by a good-looking appearance. I do not know what I have done to deserve these wonderful people and to be surrounded by many beautiful human beings who always lift me up. What I know for sure is I need to stay true to who I am and be honest and sincere to myself and people around me. I want to shout out to young girls out there that, if you are fortunate to have things that others wish to have, be kind to others; to raise yourself, you don’t need to put others down. This is probably my definition of beautiful.  

By Sotheary You

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