Of Genes and Society

            Every individual is unique as they are molded by the traits they inherited, their personal decisions in life, and their environment. It is nice to know that who we are isn’t only a product of heredity for the traits that we have gotten from our parents and ancestors are just luck if they happened to be good, and misfortune if they happened to be bad, like a chronic heart disease for example. I am personally glad of the traits I have gotten from my parents as evidences that we are related, and of the traits that I have gotten anywhere from the environment around me as I am still forming who I really am and who I really want to be to cope with this identity crisis that most teenagers like me are experiencing. 

            I am a self-proclaimed Plain Jane since I was still a little girl, and the earliest evidence of it was when people were starting to compare me to my little sister. She gained more favors from the people around us just because she was cuter, and it took a long time for me to accept that fact. Every girl believes that she is pretty, you know. And that’s the truth. When we were little girls, I remember my Mama tell us how pretty she was in her college days, and how many her suitors were. I had ten boyfriends, she said, and that was too much for us. Admittedly, I was a bit pressured by it because she is my mother and she was so attractive when she was a young maiden, and I wanted to become like her. My Papa, however, isn’t that good-looking. I can assure you that. But I won’t say that he is ugly either, because I love him. Being a Plain Jane because of my father can be okay sometimes, but girls just want to be pretty always. It’s just the way we are designed. However, our society undeniably highly regards beauty and the opposite happens to those who lack beauty. Beautiful people were always perceived as good, talented, and intelligent even though that’s not always the case, so I started getting conscious of my appearance when I enrolled here in UP. I guess this is also a side effect of being a teenager – wanting to have a boyfriend and all, experience dyeing your hair, buying clothes that match your taste, and so on. I believe I am a late bloomer. I am not actually boasting, but having lots of people say how pretty or attractive you are would make you think of yourself the same way too, right? So that’s what happened. I was born simple and plain, but my environment pushed me to become like Britney Spears. I am a big fan of Britney Spears, by the way. And way back in my elementary days, I wanted so much to be like her. 

            I am also a shy girl. When I was a little girl, I couldn’t afford to face strangers. I don’t like interacting with them. I always hide in my room for hours whenever there’s a visitor in the living room. Shyness is also a problem when you have talents, for you are prone to be belittled often because no one knows about your capabilities. The people who always have their own way are those who are not ashamed to show anything, and the problem with shy people is that they can only look at those people with envy. My shyness was also paired with perfectionism. I didn’t like to risk trying because I was shy and so afraid of committing mistakes. I was afraid of ridicules that follow erring. There were plenty of workshops and high school activities that may have banished this restricting flaw of mine, but only in UP was it gone. Of course it wasn’t gone completely, but I have gotten out of my shell because of the liberated and carefree ways of UP students. My environment now taught me to be true to myself and show who I really am, although my past and present self may be contradicting. Sometimes you’ll never know who you really are until you are pushed by the society to reveal your true colors. 

            I truly had a feminine nature for as a little girl, I already loved pink with all my heart. I also loved Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls. Bubbles may be cuter, but I loved Blossom’s long hair with a ribbon and her pink dress. However, I turned tomboyish as I grew up, and I started to despise pink and replace it with blue because of “public opinion” in our elementary school that pink lovers were kikays. I also thought that shying away from your femininity was cool. Before, I was a dorky girl who always wore her hair in a low ponytail. I really did look like a loser. A pimply loser. However, when I started reading the classic novels, especially those with settings in the Victorian era, I started to realize how endangered feminine ladies were nowadays. Also, I am a fan of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Cleopatra despite their seductive ways for they really did know how to make use of their femininity very well. I’m lucky to have a hair that’s naturally straight on top and curly at the bottom. I also love my petite figure. These physical traits are actually typical in those damsels in distress. Therefore, those classic books and internet articles on “how to be a lady” taught me to embrace my femininity again. Sometimes I don’t even realize how “pa-girl” I am. People just say it. Probably it’s because unconsciously our thoughts become our actions. 

            I also believe that my creativity is innate, for as a child, I already loved to draw and color them. I could finish doodling in two pads of paper in a day. I also loved scavenging for anything to read inside the house. I also loved to dance in girly tunes (e.g. songs of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera) and sing in our karaoke the songs like “How Do I Live” by Trisha Yearwood. My love for the arts (both visual and performing) and literature came from my mom, although her passion for these things wasn’t as intense as mine. My passion for these things was ignited by high school projects and contests, as well as leisure. Also, my “intelligence” was believed by my parents to have come from my grandfather, for neither my father nor my mother excelled that greatly when they were still schooling. They were just as relaxed as my little sister. I also believe that this “intelligence” that I possess did not come from me or my efforts alone, for it just happened that from kindergarten until college, I got enrolled to competitive schools that offer high-quality education. I was just also influenced by my classmates who excel in their own fields of specialization. 

            I also have my own imperfections: a bad temper, absentmindedness, and stubbornness. I think I got my bad temper from my mom who kept on voicing out her little annoyances from time to time. I can be maldita sometimes, and most of teenage girls are. Before, I get easily offended. However, now that I live with different kinds of people in this diverse university, I’ve learned to control my emotions and be tolerant of other people. Living in a dorm or boarding house gave me a charming disposition, a smiley face, and patience that you would normally give an annoying little brother or sister. My absentmindedness is something I feel like I’ll have forever. I have trouble concentrating on a certain thing, because I am easily distracted by anything. I have a short attention span like that of a three-year-old. My head is just always in the clouds, and I often catch myself staring into space. Because of this, I often embarrass myself and make big scenes in the quiet lives of people. I usually have a hard time getting over humiliations, but this time, I’m glad that people just regard them as funny commercials in the midst of their serious lives. My stubbornness is something that I had ever since I was little. This quality was stuck on me, for my Mama always call me “tigas-ulo”. It was a negative thing when I was still a toddler, but now I find it very essential. I really have a very tight grip on my unpopular beliefs and principles, and as long as my reasons are right in my eyes, no one can influence me to change what I believe in. I was actually influenced by my chosen religion (not Roman Catholic) to fight for what I believe in. But I am a Christian. Religion is just a very sensitive topic to talk about, whatever the circumstances are.

            I guess 50% of my traits are inherited, and 50% of them are from the influence of my environment. Inherited traits are good proofs of belonging to a certain family, and are good stuff to begin with in forming our own selves to what we wanted ourselves to be. Anything that’s natural in you besides your good looks is good because that’s how God designed you to be. He already picked out our initial traits, that’s why He knew us even before we were born. It’s a nice thing that we were given free will to decide for ourselves on how we wanted to complete ourselves. Knowing that the choice of friends, institutions, and environment would greatly affect our behavior, then the “nurtured” part of us is a choice. Each of us is a product of parental genes and societal influences. 

(Psych10 paper about Nature vs. Nurture)
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