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"Changing directions in life is not tragic. Losing passion in life is" - Max Lucado. Well... that happened, which is why I'm no longer on WtW. I'll be fine.

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Lotus #leefudgecontest

December 1, 2018


I've had three suitors before. They were my parent's hope and dreams. Then, they met me and declined their offer to marry the eldest Jiang daughter. I don't blame them; if I took one look at me, I would have ran away too. 
We stand outside of the extravagantly large building, the decorated wooden entryway beckoning us. But I don't move from my spot, even as the brisk wind dishevels my hair and pushes my clothes. Every village has one of these grand, elegant buildings where torture occurs. In my culture, a women is beautiful if, and only if, she has a small, yet proportional face, long, dark hair, and small feet. It's also much better if she's an average height. Lucky for most girls, they have it all.
Except for me. I have no idea what happened when I was born but there must have been some confusion. I am unnaturally tall with larger feet than most. I do have long, dark hair, but my hair is too dark to be lovely. My face is pretty proportional, or at least, I like to think so. 
This obnoxiously beautiful building represents the ideal Chinese woman. This extremely evil wooden building was where footbinding occurred. However, I never allowed my parents to bind my feet. I was lucky. My sister, Ying Yue, was not so lucky. She's the one we're waiting for in this terribly cold weather anyway. 
"Feng Mian, maybe it's not too late for you to bind your feet. It would be harder for it to stay, but I'm sure it could be done" Nian Zhen whispers from my side. I ignore her, which is becoming a very usual practice lately. Chen Nian Zhen, easily the prettiest girl in all of the village, is a bit of a haughty brat whom I dislike strongly. Sadly, she and my sister are close, despite the eight year difference between them. 
"Don't bother with that girl. She won't ever get her feet bound and get married. She'll never be blessed with lotus feet" my mother grumbles from in front of us. I glare at her back, tightening my grip on the bouquet of flowers I held. Of course, they were orchids, Ying Yue's favorite, and lotuses. 
Nian Zhen giggles. "You're right, Auntie Jiang. At least Jiang Ying Yue is doing it" Nian Zhen whispers, elbowing me. I want to punch that stupidly petit nose of hers but I don't. 
"Ying Yue doesn't have a choice, does she, Nian Zhen? She's a seven-year old girl who was brainwashed since the moment of her birth that, in order to be beautiful, she has to conform to stupidly painful standards" I snap. My mother sighs and turns to face me. 
"Please don't start, Feng Mian. I don't want to hear it on this joyous occasion" mom says, pleading at me with her eyes. I just nod and look down at the dirt ground beneath my soft shoes. At least could wear normal shoes. My mother has to wear special lotus boots that make her limp. She can't even manage the garden. 
A hand slips through my arm and I turn to see Zhao Hui Yin. "Don't worry about Feng Mian, Auntie. She's going to get married to the emperor's son, I bet. Look at her natural beauty! She has the elegance of a dancer, don't you think?" Hui Yin flowers me with compliments as she glares at Nian Zhen. I smile and hug Hui Yin as quickly as I can before mother notices. 
"I suppose so. If anyone is to marry the emperor's son, I hope it's either Nian Zhen or Ying Yue" mother mumbles and turns back around. She seems to discuss something with father, her voice low. I turn to Hui Yin.
I mouth the words 'thank you' and give her a small smile. Hui Yin has always been, and always will be, my best friend. She doesn't have her feet bound either, but only because she was born with an odd sickness. The doctors advised her parents not to bind her until she was older. By the time the sickness passed, she was too old to get her feet bound. I, personally, don't think she needs it anyway. She has extremely small feet and is shorter than my shoulder. 
"After, let's go to the market. I bet Uncle Xu has some fresh fish from the neighboring village!" Hui Yin whispers. I roll my eyes. She has no interest in Uncle Xu's fish. She only wants to see his son, Xu Disung. He is very handsome, though I will never admit that aloud. 
"Sure" I whisper. Before I can continue speaking, my mother squeals and rushes towards the entryway. The leaves of the nearby willow flutter down, the obnoxiously strong wind blowing them in several directions. I don't move, even as everyone else surges forward to see Ying Yue. 
I don't want to see my baby sister limping with some sort of twisted pride. They'll all call her beautiful and say that she'll get married soon. They'll continue to fill her head with such lies that I can't bear it. But, I suppose, I can understand why. Everyone wants to be beautiful, even if they must go through torture for it to happen. Sometimes, beauty and happiness is worth any amount of pain one must endure.
Check out Lee Fudge's contest here!!!
This piece started out as a potential novel years ago. At this point, I have no idea what I'm doing with it. So, might as well publish it and see if I get any feedback. I don't love this piece too much, but I'm sure with any help, it could become decent. Let me know if I did well with describing the circumstances and character. 
Don't take this as historically correct, either, please. I didn't do extensive research of the foot binding process. I just know a bit about it. And, I don't mean to look down at ancient Chinese culture. It's something that Chinese women did and valued, that's it. I just wanted to make a character who disagreed with the idea of it but also understood it. 


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  • December 1, 2018 - 3:55pm (Now Viewing)

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  • korra4life

    Thank you both very much!
    I am interested in tons of different cultures which is why I wrote this.
    @Quille, I have no idea if I'll turn this into a novel. I don't know what it'd be about

    over 1 year ago
  • Lee Fudge

    Dude, I love Chinese culture! Great work!

    over 1 year ago
  • Quille

    You could (and probably should) definitely turn this into a really awesome novel :DD You don't have to if you don't want to though, but I would certainly read it :D
    Good luck with the contest! :DD

    over 1 year ago