{topTED} Embracing otherness, embracing myself.


Kalina Croes is from a small island in the caribbean (Aruba), currently residing in Upstate NY, and awaiting the days to continue pursuing her ‘not-so-small’ artistic endeavors in the Big Apple. She is currently studying Communications Design at Pratt, with a focus on Advertising. She is fond of people who are not mean, illustrating on her iPad, filming moments that the mind tends to forget over time, and overanalyzing. She also enjoys long romantic strolls to her bed.
Here is my {TopTED}Talk with Thandie Newton in all her beauty and eloquence:

 reviewed by Kalina Croes

“Our little portions of oneness is given a name, is told all kinds of things about itself, and these details, opinions and ideas become facts, which go towards building ourselves, our identity. And that self  becomes the vehicle for navigating our social world. But the self is a projection based on other people’s projections. Is it who we really are? Or who we really want to be, or should be?”

We all have that self in us that makes us doubt who we really are, and what are true potentials are. In this TED talk, Thandie Newton (well known British Actress) talks about how her struggles overcoming that tiny demon in her mind, that shaped her whole self into become something she lost control of. She first started off with the struggles of growing up in England as the only black, atheist girl in an all-white, Catholic school run by nuns, and how at an early age she already felt as an anamoly because of the difference of skin color and hair. She reaches a valid point of how deep down, we all want to be accepted, to fit in somehow, in the way society established itself and the standards in it. She later on talked about how dancing and acting drowned out all the negativity that she established her self with.

“I would put all my emotional expression into dancing. I could be in the movement in a way that I wasn’t able to be in my real life, in my self.”

“I can hardly find the words to describe the peace I felt when I was acting. My dysfunctional self could actually plug in to another self, not my own, and it felt so good. It was the first time that I existed inside a fully-functioning self — one that I controlled, that I steered, That I gave life to.”

But even with success and fame, she struggled to find herself, to accept that she was beyond what she set her expectations to be. She struggled with bulimia, and grueling therapy sessions. To me, that is crucial, because we will always have that demon inside of us, that will always belittle our self-worth. I, myself struggle with accepting who I am, and my self-image. I like to delude of myself by painting a picture of who I really am, and pretending that’s me. It’s a happy delusion for a while, until you look yourself and the mirror and see all the imperfections reflected upon you. And that’s when the demons come in, all the comments from past people, media, fashion magazine, come crashing in doubtful waves until you’re consumed wholly in an ocean of negativity.

This was the most emotional Ted Talk I’ve viewed because she talks about how we have been trying to figure out how to live with each other — billions of each other, but we don’t really live with them, that our “crazy” selves are living with each other and creating an epidemic of disconnection.

She later closes her talk with a memorable quote that will be forever engraved in my mind: “Imagine what kind of existence we can have if we honor inevitable death of self, appreciate the privilege of life and marvel at what comes next. Simple awareness is where it begins.”

reviewed by Kalina Croes

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