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Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Let's be natural

Rika Kayama

When I recently told a younger friend of mine, "Your face is so radiant because you are still so young," she whispered back to me, "This is called 'natural' make-up. It takes absolutely ages to put on."

    Conventionally, the katakana term "nachuraru" is translated to mean "natural," but in the world of cosmetics, it refers to makeup which has been carefully applied -- to, ironically, give off the impression that nothing has been done to the face. The "natural look" also applies to apparel and overall, it is quite a sophisticated look to pull off.

    When I was talking about the "natural look" during a break at the hospital, a nurse said to me, "Even plastic surgeons are providing the 'natural look' nowadays." Apparently another nurse told them, "The doctor I work for is a master at carrying out cosmetic surgery that doesn't make it look like the patient got surgery."

    This seemed somewhat paradoxical to me. I asked the nurse, "If you can't tell if anything has been done or not, what is the point of getting the plastic surgery in the first place?" To which the nurse replied, "Apparently, the point is that nobody can tell if plastic surgery has been done. But somehow, you get the impression that the person looks better than before." Again, this is an example of putting in a lot of effort to be "natural."

    Come to think of it, mental health treatment is a bit like this as well. Patients pay a course fee, travel a long way to see a specialist, and are told, "Being natural, and doing nothing, is the best way to be." That makes me think that we should do nothing to begin with, but instead, people go to great lengths to learn how to do nothing.

    Anyway, I wonder if it is actually possible to completely stop everything. Is it really possible to revert to one's "natural self" -- to stop putting on makeup, to stop studying, and to stop presenting oneself well? I am not so sure.

    When I expressed these concerns to my younger friend, she laughed and replied, "Going natural is not the same as being sloppy." I understood where she was coming from, but it is in fact unnatural to go to all that effort just to say, "Look at me, I am natural." Why not just try hard, and then be acknowledged for your efforts? My friend then said to me, "Come to think of it, you are natural, Kayama-san!" Somehow, this made me feel happy. This is because I don't go to any extra effort to "look natural." It happens without me trying.

    So, I would like to say this. Don't try too hard to look "natural" through artificial means. The real definition of being "natural" is to be yourself. (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)

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