By Victoria Ferguson
Perspective has been weighing on my mind quite heavily, as of lately. Like art, everyone has a unique point of view, creating a multitude of understandings in every situation. The trail of instances that transpire in our lives, individually or collectively, result in varying positions that unknowingly shape the lens we view life through. They establish how and which way we grow.
Instances are the invisible brushstrokes of time, the medium in which we are created. They mould us; they shape us. They allow our minds, bodies, and souls to interpret things based on our trauma and trajectory, forming individual outcomes like fingerprint impressions, but with time. Considering this, when we are met with opposing views, it might save us the frustration of trying to make others understand a lens they can’t see through.
Imagine if we were more perceptive with how deeply intimate perspective is, a museum of discerning awareness, rationality, and appreciation—some more abstract than others, with hues of fast-paced yellow or trustworthy hints of blue. Would we be able to resonate with others if we saw their feelings presented to us in primary colours? Since childhood, they’ve been ingrained in us, and we’ve learned to create more by combining them while equally celebrating their growth. We’re taught to ignore our feelings or become so unaware of their soft yet firm existence. How can we recognize and understand others’ actions and feelings on a level we haven’t even met ourselves or appreciate the presence of our own?
People often remind me of flowers. We’re more forgiving, more familiar with nature. When we’re becoming, we see breaking down, yet there hasn’t been a flower that doesn’t bloom without growing apart. Perhaps as a collective, we are a garden, as everything worth having requires tending to.
It’s essential to understand the duality of how loss allows the presence and the ability to be found. Certain words breathe differently when we learn the weight that they carry; it’s like we’ve only known words, emotions, and feelings without the presence of their pulse.
The presence of laughter sounds a lot like the absence of fear.
Sadness, for me, resembles sunshine as much as it does the night sky. Everywhere I went, like clockwork, there it was. Pain is often associated with suffering, but I’ve come to know pain with understanding. The knowledge, which was challenging yet enlightening periods in my healing, felt warm like the sun. I became detail-oriented amidst my grief, observing the moments of feeling mentally preoccupied, gradually lean towards becoming introspective. The moment I realized just how uncomfortable growth was, my perspective shifted from suffering to understanding.
My mind was fluent in falling apart. When trauma happens in your childhood or early teen years, being broken is all some of us associate with feeling or being whole. I’ve always compared suffering to resembling a cave; empty, hollow, so many layers of the unknown. However, the redeeming perspective is its depth—a positive within a negative.
We don’t decide the sequence of events that determine how and which position we view; however, we can choose to acknowledge that empathy exists when we put ourselves in the shoes of another— ultimately creating a more realistic and well-rounded point-of-view. There are emotions to be felt outside of our peripherals.
I’ve yet to understand how anyone can stand so firmly, in their mind, with how they would handle situations they’re not in the mindset of or have previously experienced. We can’t make trauma-based decisions from a pre-trauma perspective. Someone once told me, “Never take the advice of someone who doesn’t have to deal with the consequences of your decisions,” this built a backbone and new layers of perspective for me. When we listen to respond, we’ll never be able to understand and make a sound judgement. Listening to hear, on the other hand, we take the ego out of our dialogues. We can make decisions with the best intent for those affected today, not in our make belief selfish scenarios. We make a mistake when we take our physical, emotional, and mental self and place it in others’ decision-making.
In my personal experience, those willing to tell others how and what they can, would, and should do, are the ones most afraid to find out how they, themselves, feel. They’re afraid to find out who they are so profoundly that they continually try to tell you their version of opinions when it’s entirely irrelevant. There isn’t another area of expertise that allows strangers to make decisions they aren’t equipped for or well versed in; we are best suited to understand our sense of self.
Individually and simultaneously, motherhood and trauma are the mediums that shaped me. Once experienced, I haven’t seen through the same set of eyes since. Considering this, I acknowledge everyone will have their unique journey of gaining perspective through experience, which has led me to wonder how we learn to feel for others. Can we understand through observation forming cognitive thought? Or can we only comprehend through personal experience?
From my point of view, maturity isn’t decided upon based on age but merely the ability to develop understandings through observation. From my experience of being left pregnant as a teenager to becoming a teenager’s mother, several lessons have articulated me into the woman I am today. Our journey of developing perspective isn’t just one particular moment that inspires its creation. It’s more in waves, lessons in motion, an ocean if you will. From where I stand, tears are the most courageous form of water—the knowledge that exists between a blink and a tear; the lessons that this moment holds. Understanding perspective, to me, is redefining what it truly means to be alive, here in the now.
Victoria Ferguson is the Founder of East 29th, an all-natural skincare brand establishing a conscious dialogue that connects both the physical and mental health awareness behind the clean beauty movement while combining skincare with self-care to build a movement that embodies being softer inside, out. She hosts the self-care podcast Empathy Everywhere. After spending the better part of a decade working as a TV and Film Makeup Artist, Victoria made the pivot from creating characters on-set to nurturing confidence off-screen, focusing on the union of elements (body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the individuality and identity of a person. Victoria entered parenthood before adulthood and, at 28 years old, has almost been a mother for half her life, inspiring her journey through understanding empathy and perspective. Follower her and her brand on Instagram!