revisiting ‘the problem of perception’.

Bringing this back (without the colorful fonts…) because this one is golden.

Personally believe I will forever ever ever remember this little story (I retell it often) for the wisdom between the lines and the reminder of the gift that Eldest Sis is in my life.


Once, in a public speaking class I took in college, our improv speech assignment was to describe ourselves as fruits. One by one, my classmates went to the front of the class – there were apples, oranges, our local king the durian … whatever you could think of, there they were. Unlike them, I dreaded my turn and my anxiety grew with every minute that ticked by. While others were having a jolly good time relating their choice of fruit with their personalities, my mind went blank. I hated having to explain myself, hated it even more that I had to share a piecemeal of myself to this particular crowd, of all people. I’d never been able to fit in with them; not once. I didn’t know what to liken myself to – a mango? A watermelon? A rambutan? I can still remember my sweaty palms and rapidly beating heart, as I made my way to the front when it was finally my turn to speak. I tried rehearsing the brief spiel in my mind, but nerves took over.

“I…” I began. “I think I am a mango.” Oh gosh, why am I a mango? “Mangoes are soft on the outside, but underneath the softness are tough seeds. That’s kind of what I am.” I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. These people, they don’t know me – never did. “I look soft on the outside so people think that I’m a pushover… like there’s not much to me, but they’re wrong. I might look weak, but I’m strong-minded. No one can force me to do something I won’t. So I’m a mango – soft on the outside, tough inside.” 

I went back home later that evening and recalled the day’s highlight to Eldest Sis, who laughed when I told her I’d likened myself to a mango. She looked at me and simply said, “You’re a watermelon. You think you look tough, but you’re actually a marshmallow. In reality, you’re such a softie. Anyone who knows you well enough will know you’re just acting tough.” 

— from ‘The Problem of Perception’ (June 2014)


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