The Ugly Truth

One second, one glance and you’ve already formed an opinion. Not one that dives deeper than the surface, but one that decides whether you want to or not. Of course, it would be a lot easier if an image of our souls could be portrayed as an external for the surface level folks running from the depths of people that don’t appeal to them within seconds of viewing an outer shell. 

Dressing nicely will illustrate your income, opening doors for those that can afford it, investing in big, bold brand names that we can somehow feel proud of owning. My favorite quote from Billie Eilish, paraphrased, is, what would it all be for if everyone were to drop dead right this second and you were stuck with all these things that you didn’t even want in the first place? Attracting the materialistic to be in your circle can only last you so long.

Then we have the chosen ones. The facade of beauty that only gets scraped against the surface, roughened and worn thin. The kissed upon the skin that’s so tasteful, some can’t even explore far enough to penetrate and understand the true beauty that person may contain. 

In a society that is already good at validating beauty, we have created mediums to really emphasize the problem. We have dating sites where we swipe left and right dependent on the photos we see. We hit follow, like or comment hyping up our girls or guys based off of a picture that was strategically chosen in the face of followers. One of the most upsetting things to me is when I post a video talking about something meaningful to me and I receive comments talking about how “pretty” I look, as if you missed the whole point. Another one that gets to me is when people dm me saying, “I’m in love with you.” Was it the one dimensional side of me that I didn’t mind posting, allowing everyone to see? Unfortunately, our souls have been replaced by images.

I’ve been typing this post for awhile trying to find all the right words. I recently read a part in the book “Self-Realization” that talks about whether truth and beauty are compatible terms. It states that because the truth, no matter what it holds, is always beautiful we should be “attracted to the beauty of truth, but since time immemorial we have been habituated to love of untruth appearing like truth” (Prabhupada, 37). Chasing intangible materials of the world instead of chasing and serving our true purpose in life. We think that if we can drive the nicest cars, live in the biggest homes, wear the most expensive clothes, and buy a new face and body we’ll somehow become more wealthy inside. But like Billie Eilish asks, what will it all be for if you’re the last one standing and none of it was to truly feed your own soul?

Who Runs The World

It has been quite some time since I last wrote on here, but as I enter into my last quarter at UCLA, I find that my life will unleash a whole new set of ideals and journeys to share with everyone. These past three months have been crazy and I could not be more blessed, but that will be reflected on more once season is over.

As most of you know, two weeks ago I debuted my new floor routine at the Pac 12 Championships. As assumptions have been passed along as to why I changed my routine, I have decided that this would be a perfect place to start writing again; a perfect place to share my truth in my own words.

Last summer I began asking Miss Val about having two different floor routines for my Senior year, which she would call it nagging but I would disagree. Little did we know that my first routine was going to go viral, especially so early on in season. People began traveling and coming to meets to see THAT routine! In a world often filled with chaos, they shared that this sparked a moment of joy. Because joy had been void for so long prior to college, it was my main motivator.

Post-season started to approach, finals were finishing up, and it seemed like the perfect time to make a change. At the same time, the documentary film ‘Leaving Neverland’ came out. This sparked debate, started conversation and left me with more questions than answers about changing the routine.

I knew it would inevitably create chatter, and I would be entering into controversy, whether I wanted to or not.  

Using my voice has empowered me to take complete ownership of my life. So, in return for speaking my truth, I listen. On a team where my own floor coach and some of my teammates are victims of sexual abuse, I hear; I listen; I feel.  I wanted to stand beside them. So my final deciding factor to change my floor routine was just that… To stand beside those who know what it is like to be sexually abused, to stand beside those who know what it is like to not be heard, and to stand beside those who have lost a sense of joy. 

I have always wanted my routine to spark joy, for all people. So I stood, and I made a change. Not to play judge or jury, but to get back to joy. If my Michael Jackson routine left even one person feeling uncomfortable or less joyful, I felt like it was in everyones best interest to change the music to my routine. 

I also thought about the things that I am extremely passionate about and what my heart gravitates towards. I believe in empowering women. When picking my original music, Tina Turner was someone I wanted in my routine because of the strong impact she has had on my life. I admire her courage and resilience. So, when we changed my floor routine, the goal was to showcase all inspiring, strong, impactful women… WHO RUN THE WORLD!