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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

I think that I am kind of pretty in a soft sort of way. I have soft features, curved-out dimples, full lips, and curious eyes. My hair naturally falls in gentle waves. My hands are graceful but not overly bony. I see these features of myself with a trained softness, the kind only you can have for yourself. It is the balance between the most judgemental and the least. To know that the person you see in the mirror is you, though wholly different than the you that exists in your consciousness and the you of the past. Where does the softness lie? Is it in that appearance? Or does it lie deeper within? 

Maybe soft is metaphorical. To say softness is metaphorical, mental, is to understand it as a state of mind. I know that in this way, as well, I am soft. Sensitive and deeply caring, though I often reserve this side of myself as a gift that will not be revealed until months of friendship. I react softly, feel softly, and understand softly as well. I attempt to interpret each occurrence in my life as a series of facts. In this way, each event is objective. The softness is my subjectivity, how I react gently even when I cannot understand the mentality contributing to the behavior. When I cannot understand fully, the question becomes, how can I interpret this? Am I associating emotion with intelligence with softness? Or is each a separate skill that gives me a type of quiet power? 

When I was younger, I embraced angularity. Speaking sharply, reacting strongly, living in a state of high alert. This is not the me I see today. The truth is, I am just not very angular. I think many people are very angular. Many people react and think in black and white, with no room for the varying shades of gray in between. Angularity to me feels like an americano over ice with no room for cream. Bitter and ice-cold with no room for added joy, to some. An acquired taste, to others. Is angularity a taught behavior? Or was each americano-lover born with an affinity for simplicity? Which should we glamorize?

I think sometimes we think of angularity as high fashion. The pretty we look for in TikToks and advertisements, a pretty that is chiseled and even. A sharp jaw, a straight nose, an even smile. Decisiveness, carefully chosen words, certainty. But angular does not mean perfect, in the same way that sharp isn’t always good and truth isn’t always kind. I am not saying that angular isn’t pretty, because I think every person, in their own way, is angular and soft in a shifting balance and each juxtaposition becomes beauty that can not be measured. I do think we need to embrace that duality, however the balance falls. To be soft is not to be a pushover, to be angular is not to be unkind. Each side of the scale is a stance that we may take, in any situation, at any time. It is where we fall on the ever-shifting continuum that determines our behaviors and our image. Some of it is unchangeable. Those inherited features, characteristics, even the slang and the words we choose are regional and learned. The question becomes, what can we unlearn? How do we unlearn? What will we choose to unlearn? 

This is the gray matter. An issue of individual preference for their space on the continuum. A decision in to what extent we think the perception of ourselves should correlate with the perception of others. How do we shape ourselves to be the person we’d like to see when we look in the mirror? How do we change our mentalities to become what we’d like it to be perceived as? Do we become the perceptions others have of us, even if only through subconscious shifts?

These are questions we may never know the answer to. Nonetheless, we decide who we’d like to be. Angularity and softness become a balance that is ours to shape. All we can do is pull out the negativity of it. Neither is inherently positive or negative. I think it is a gift we intentionally give ourselves to embrace our place on the continuum. To separate softness and angularity from good and bad is to step out of the fog and into clear skies. We can leave the gray matter behind and find the balance of our own scale. Embracing this balance is a rare form of freedom we owe to ourselves. It is a freedom we can give to ourselves. Contentment in the balance of it all. Juxtaposition resolves to beauty, contrast resolves to ease. A form of inner peace that is ours to hold.

Allie is a new member of the Her Campus chapter at St. Bonaventure University. She plans to write pieces on topics such as pop culture, music, health, and more! Allie is currently a junior studying both Early Childhood and Childhood Inclusive Education and Music. On campus, Allie is involved in College Democrats, the Bonaventure Education Association, Empower, and SGA. Allie also enjoys volunteering at the Food Pantry and Bona Buddies. In her time away from academics, you can find Allie reading or taking a walk on the River Trail with her friends. Allie is also an avid music lover and can tell you a fun fact about any music from any culture and time frame.