On Anti-aging and Physical Appearances
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The reason why there is burgeoning of facial centers, anti-aging clinics and esthetics businesses because believe it or not, deep in the recesses of the human mind, we are humans who do not like to get old, have wrinkles and die. We stop counting when our age is not in the numbers of the calendar, we resort to cow poison so our wrinkles doesn’t show, we contour everything from head to toe, we defy gravity on our cheeks and bellies. Lagnat na lagnat tayo sa mga botox, anti-aging, anti-wrinkles, anti-cellulite, etc. Anything that defies gravity on our facial muscles and body contours, ang hilig hilig natin diyan. We somehow have the notion that the more beautiful we are outside the more acceptable we are to society. The more highly people will believe us.
There was however a man in history for whom appearance did not matter. Actually, kung makikita mo ang kanyang mga sinaunang mga pictures, it was the least of his assets, ang maging pogi. This person was Abraham Lincoln who knew he was not a handsome man. Edwin Stanton, a political opponent of Abraham Lincoln, often called Lincoln a “gorilla” even in public debates. But Lincoln never let his appearance bother him, but other people used it to insult him. No man was insulted for his looks more than Abraham Lincoln. But he never took a grudge against Stanton, that when he became president, he appointed Edwin Stanton as his Secretary of War. Siguro kung tayo yun hindi tayo mag a-appoint ng katunggali natin sa politika. Lalo na yung magsasabi sa ating “pangit ka”. Even Lincoln’s friends objected to his decision because Stanton was known for ridiculing Lincoln. When asked why he was choosing Stanton, Lincoln replied “because I know he is the best man for the job”. This is one of the many reasons why Stanton became a Republican and apparently changed his opinion of Lincoln. At Lincoln’s death Stanton remarked, “Now he belongs to the ages,” and lamented, “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen.”
(Above: Abraham Lincoln)
Stanton vigorously pursued the apprehension and prosecution of the conspirators involved in Lincoln’s assassination.
This is one of the many reasons why Abraham Lincoln turned out to be one of the greatest Presidents, if not the greatest President of the United States. He recognized a person’s worth no matter how that person have hurt him. He doesn’t solely rely on physical appearances.
Again, when it comes to physical appearances, who would have thought that a black African American with a middle Eastern sounding name will be elected as the 44th President of the United States? His full name is Barack Hussein Obama. He recalled, “That my father looked nothing like the people around me — that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk”. Incidentally, The inauguration of President Barack Obama as the forty-fourth President, and Joe Biden as Vice President, took place on January 20, 2009. The theme of the inauguration was “A New Birth of Freedom,” commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.
(Above: President Barack Hussein Obama)
In my own humanity, I was once labelled as “the little brown director” and my color has been a stigma for me since I was in the Elementary grades where my classmates would tease me and call me a “niger”, “black” “uling” and “ita”. I somehow thought that my skin color is inferior and bad. So when I became an adult, I clamoured to have a more fairer skin. Thereby taking all necessary whitening, bleaching agents, tablets, going to expensive procedures just to make my skin lighter, whiter, etc. because I was not proud of my skin color. Well of course, those procedures did succeed to some extent. I am no longer as dark as before, but after all those things, I realized its not the color of my skin that would really matter in the long run. It’s the color of ones heart. Beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder. Thankfully, I overcame that vanity, little by little.
When I met Dr. Noah McKay, he is also one person who will not judge by appearances. To those who have met him in person, I know that you can recall only gratitude, love and everlasting hope and possibility for humanity and for healthcare. I will always be thankful to God for the short but wonderful experiences with him and just like thousands of people out there, I am still hopeful for the future of medicine and healthcare worldwide. He passed away February 13, 2009, at the age of 52. Just like most Filipinos who are delighted by food, he also loves food. And yes, I can still recall when I introduced him to our amiable Dean who was also my former Professor, Dr. Nini Festin Lim, who told him that I am one of the brightest in class (to my surprise!) and Dr. Noah replied “yes, she is, I know and I never doubted that”. His message of love and gratitude inspires thousands of people at seminars and public appearances everywhere. He encourages us to integrate love and gratitude back into our family, our relationships our careers, and institutions. He dreams of a day when we teach an educational curriculum based on love, compassion and non-violence at our schools and colleges. Our future and the future of our planet will depend on it. Hats off to you Dr. Noah! You are a visionary. You believe so much in the capacity of human nature and what we can do to make this world a better place to live in. You will be missed. We thank you and your family and wife Kim, for sharing your life with us. God bless you richly. Our deepest respect and gratitude will be with you and your family. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
(Above: Dr. Noah McKay formerly Nasser Talebzadeh Ordoubadi)
I remember a story about a soldier who was physically handicapped, was finally coming home after the Vietnam war. He called his parents in the San Francisco and told them he was coming home but never seemed to have the courage to tell them about his condition, that he lost an arm and a leg but instead told his parents that “I am bringing home a friend with me”. “Sure” his parents replied, he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting, he stepped on a land mine and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere to go” and requested that his friend live with them. The parents told their son “I’m sorry to hear that son, maybe we can help him find a place to live in.” But their son was unwavering in his decision, “I want him to live with us”. “Son,” the father replied, “you don’t know what you’re asking. Someone with a handicap will be such a terrible burden to us. We all have our own lives to live, and we can’t let something like this interfere with our daily lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this friend of yours and he will find a way to live on his own.” The son hung up and the parents heard nothing more from him. But a few days afterwards, the parents received a phone call from the police station and told them that their son died after falling from a building. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-striken parents traveled all the way to where the city morgue is to identify the body of their son. Only to find out, to their shock that their son, had only one arm and one leg.
The parents in this story are common to most of us, we find it easy to accept those who are good looking, rich, beautiful or fun to be with, but we do not like people who are fat, physically challenged, who inconvenience us, who are unlike our skin color or race. We would sometimes judge a person by appearances.
We do not realize that these people are hurting too and that somehow, there is this unwritten law inside our head that says, “you must keep your emoptions inside you and do not bother other people of your weakness and hurts”. We project an image of ageless beauty but our hearts struggle with pain. This is now a time for us to respond to our friend’s hurts, our neighbor’s cry and be sensitive, be willing to open up a home in your heart where they can be accepted no matter what. Do not believe in myths that is better not to have wrinkles. Aging is inevitable but aging with wisdom gained from life’s experiences and lessons are commendable. Therefore, we age gracefully. We do not pick or choose what part of our loved ones life we can accept and not accept. As I recall the movie Connie and Carla with one of my favorite actor David Duchovy, they said, “That is why God placed those laugh lines, let your eyes crinkle, your skin wrinkle…these lines show that we have lived!” and “when your love partner doesn’t love you when you look like a map tell him to hit the road….!” Funny. But they have some point in it. When we place too much emphasis on the outside appearance that is where imbalance happens.
For those people who had been ridiculed, teased and given the cold treatment because you seem to be just ordinary. You are not. You are original and the one and only in the sight of God. Be a gimper for God. Cultivate your talents, find true friends who will not judge you for how and what you look like. God created each of us through His likeness and image. So don’t be afraid to shine. God created you to be unique and there is noone else like you on this planet. Wherever you are…..Shine!
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