Celebrities, politicians and the Internet-famous are often thought to be the only ones who can make an impact on society. But the truth is, you don’t need a huge following to have a positive influence on those around you. As such, for the 7th and final challenge of Teenage Gorgeous You! 2017, we had our finalists participate in the ‘I Pledge’ challenge, in which they shared about issues closest to their hearts and pledged to spread good vibes and all-round Internet positivity.
“I pledge to advocate against self-harming”
Amyn was 15 years old when he reached for a razor blade. Bullied from a young age, Amyn bore the emotional scars from years of name-calling and emotional abuse at the hands of cruel bullies. Seeing no way out, he started self-harming – the only outlet he thought was able to relieve his insurmountable stress and frustration. “It wasn’t that I didn’t have any friends. I just didn’t want to share my problems because I know that they too had their own issues and I felt it wouldn’t solve any of my problems. Besides, I didn’t know if they would listen to me wholeheartedly – I didn’t want my problems to be talked about with other people.” The self-harming continued even after he enlisted into the army. “Even though the bullying and name-calling lessened, I continued because it affected my self-esteem and anxiety levels.” It wasn’t till Amyn started to attend SAF Counselling Services at the recommendation of his platoon sergeant that he started to see a positive change. Becoming fast friends with two of his army mates also helped him tremendously, “The good thing about my friends is that they don’t do negative things. Instead, they encouraged me to channel all the negativity into doing something positive.” Under their good influence, Amyn rose through the ranks and was promoted to a Corporal. “I’m really thankful that I met my friends. If not, I think I might have continued to cut myself till now.” Having been free from self-harm for 3 years, Amyn finds himself much happier. “I’m surrounded by friends and family members who are really supportive,” he adds, “This is not the end. You guys can change yourselves [for the better], seek professional help or even talk to someone you can really trust. There’s no point in self-harm. It won’t help to [solve matters].”
“I pledge to adopt, don’t shop”
“To this animal, his life begins and ends with you. You are trading your sadness for his happiness, giving him a life of bright colour, at the expense of your heart.” Chloe shares her rather poetic thoughts on what it’s truly like to own a pet and animal adoption. “Every pet owner can definitely recall the burst of excitement that comes with bringing home a new addition to the family… You’ll truly understand the meaning of love when you see how much it appreciates your attention. Your heart will be beaming with satisfaction at the fact that you’ve given this animal a place to call home.” Urging those who might be thinking of getting a pet to consider adopting an animal instead, Chloe interviewed volunteers from an animal shelter who gave insights on animal rescue and shelter life. The most important takeaway would be that rescue animals can be every bit as loving as a store-bought pet, and there’s no reason not to give an animal a loving home and a second lease on life!
“I pledge to help those who need my assistance”
With playful mannerisms and sunny good looks, the fact that Derrick is a qualified nurse takes many by surprise. Dedicating his free time to taking care of sick patients over the years, Derrick has nursed his fair share of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases like stroke and cancer. He has even witnessed life and death situations. “Back then, I was in charge of taking care of a male patient who was paralysed. He wasn’t able to communicate with me, even if it was to tell me if he was in pain or whether he wanted to relieve himself.” Derrick shared, “One day, while I was getting ready for work, I received a call from his family informing me that he had just passed away. At that point of time, I felt very sad but I had to stay as professional as possible.” Instead, he controlled his emotions and comforted the patient’s family.
Bringing up his desire to inspire others to help those who need assistance, such as people with disabilities or the elderly, Derrick added, “We don’t know what it’ll be like in the future. [Right now], we are still young, mobile and able to take care of our daily needs independently. Who knows if we’ll need to depend on others’ help one day?”
“I pledge Internet positivity”
Embodying the phrase, “there’s power in numbers”, Don brought back all his good friends who’ve lent him a helping hand throughout the competition. Each of them pledged to spread Internet Positivity in various ways: “To be kind and mindful that your words will have an impact on another person”, “To give back to the society in whatever way that you can”, “To let everyone know that they can be beautiful regardless of whatever shape, size and colour they are.” As for Don? “Believe in yourselves and don’t let anyone’s words bring you down. Focus on the good and don’t worry about failures. Instead, worry about the chances you have missed because you don’t even try. All of us have our own insecurities. Learn to embrace it and you’ll find yourself leading a happier life.”
“I pledge to be confident of who I am”
Lending her voice and creativity to this challenge, Joanna and her friend Tessa recorded a self-composed song titled “Less than Perfect”. “We wanted to do something different so we decided to do an original. This piece touches on the need to have self-confidence, in the hopes of reaching out to you guys, or to those who are feeling a little low. It is also a timely reminder to ourselves that we are perfect, just the way we are.” We’ll leave the lyrics below, so watch the video and sing along!
Wipe away, those saddened tears
Don’t let a bad day bring you down
It doesn’t mean your life will always be this way
What’s that, they always say
You’re worthless, you’re no good
Don’t you listen, just listen to me
Push them aside,
Keep them away
Cause it’s you that matters anyways
Don’t you ever feel, less than perfect
Are what makes us humans
Keep your head held high and soar the skies
Don’t you ever feel, less than perfect
Look at the mirror, and what do you see?
Just a trampled, ugly, version of me
Make that count, just breathe, do you see what I see?
Close your eyes, just believe, there’s no bad you, just ugly dees
Forget them, make em’ scram,
Don’t you ever, feel, less than perfect
“I pledge to #StopHating and #StartLoving”
We’re all guilty of tweaking our photos, be it slapping on certain filters or photoshopping our ‘flaws’ away. After all, it’s all about what looks good on the Internet, right? Wrong. “The most important thing is to always be yourself, and be the change to spread positivity and love to yourself and the people around you.” Joyce shares, “[I didn’t know] how important it is to be yourself till i was older. I was always trying to be someone else because they are so great, so beautiful, so inspiring. Hence, intuitively, I wanted to be them. I wanted to be loved by the internet readers. But, this isn’t the way to go. All these while, I am trying to be someone else just because I felt so lousy about myself – It was tiring trying to live someone else’s life.” Joyce added, “I got bashed by hurtful comments on the Internet. And those comments can heavily affect a person’s [life]. Back then, the Internet had determined the ‘standard of beauty’ an influencer needs to have. And I, had nothing that matched that standard. So, I began to heavily Photoshop all my photos – to the point where I couldn’t even recognise myself just so that I can match up to that beauty standard.”
Realising that living to society’s standards was not the way to go, Joyce decided to stop her extreme photo-editing and to start living life on her own terms. “No more trying to copy styles, no more trying to be [someone else]. I truly learned how important it is to be yourself, and not care about how others look at you. You call the shots and you determine what you want your life to be. People will love you for who you are!” She finishes, “Will you join me to #stophatingand #startloving? The internet is a safe and fun place and we shall not pen down hate comments but comments that can light up someone else’s life.”
“I pledge to be myself”
For TGY! challenge 7, Vivien took the opportunity to share an issue close to her heart, about being true to one’s self and not being afraid of being judged. She had come across an online article titled, ‘Top 10 Regrets People Have Before They Die’. The one that affected her the most was also the top regret people had (according to that article) – that they wished they had the courage to live a life true to themselves, and not the life others had expected of them. “I believe all of us can relate to that on some level. And at times where we feel like we don’t fit in, or when we are afraid of being judged, we unknowingly allow society to control how we should behave or be like.”
Vivien goes on to encourage those watching to always stay true to themselves, which includes pursuing their talents and skills. As a dancer herself, Vivien had faced certain doubts, “I have had my fair share of ups and downs as a dancer. I often doubt my ability to “qualify” as a dancer. Most of the time, dancers around me are growing and improving fast – they dance well and look good effortlessly. On the other hand, for me it is just a constant struggle to do well, look good and feel good in dance. I was so afraid of how people will look at me.” Choosing to reenact a dancer’s POV in her video, Vivien adds “But like what Joanna (a friend of mine in TGY2017) said, ‘the love for dance never, never dies’. Although the thoughts of me being bad at dance or not being cut out for it still comes and goes, I’ve learnt to let go and enjoy the process! Be yourself and keep on doing what you love!”
“I pledge to support female rights”
Gender equality is a huge topic to tackle and while we in Singapore are considered fortunate as compared to our female counterparts in other parts of the globe, there are conversations to be had and changes to work towards. Shira makes her stand passionately, “This is the face of a feminist. I will not allow myself to be shunned, objectified, belittled. Why should I succumb to nonsensical mindsets where I am not capable of many things, because of gender and colour? Why should I be kept unseen and unheard by the world when I have so many words? Us girls, will fight back. Don’t get me wrong, feminism isn’t a radicalised mindset. I pledge to support our rights worldwide.”
More Teenage Gorgeous You! 2017 related stories: How Many Skincare Myths Can You Debunk?, 8 Millennial-Approved Things To Do At [email protected], 7 Ways To Style Your Sneakers Outside The Gym, Millennial Pickup Lines That Will Up Your Dating Game, 6 Types of Millennials You’ll Spot At A Cafe