TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
In this era of social media, it seems like everyone is enjoying the perfect life from all the posts and stories we see online. In truth, many are afraid to face their true selves. Without the filters and visual effects, are we able to recognize the person underneath? “Only by seeing ourselves truthfully can we achieve spiritual freedom and improvement,” says Melody Liu. On the day of our cover shoot, like a life coach, she shares with us her years of accumulated wisdom through her trajectory of life.
前陣子剛從美國返台的 Melody，對她來說並不是度假，而是一種回家的溫馨感。享受加州陽光之餘，因疫情緊繃的情緒得以抒發，好似 COVID-19 已不復存在，也讓她逐漸放下焦慮，「我覺得現在的人因為矯枉過正，還是要記得回歸平常心，一直逃避沒有太大意義，所以放開心胸，不要讓長期以來的壓抑影響心情，現代人最重要的是身心靈的照顧。」透過與家人的團圓相聚，分秒時針也彷彿放慢了腳步，油然產生進入平行時空的既視感。即使不常見面，Melody認為家人間的珍貴能量在於無論成功與否、成就多寡，他們永遠會張開臂彎擁抱你。「現代人很容易忘記真正的自己是誰，我們太會包裝自己了，尤其有 social media 這個東西，有些人在社交平台上已經過慣分享生活，已經忘了真正生活的目標是什麼，我們一直在過一個平行時空。」相比長大後結交的朋友，手足則是從小一同成長並歷經童年，即使光陰飛逝，仍是熟稔對方個性與共同回憶的珍貴存在，「真正的親情帶給你的意義是什麼，其實就是『陪伴』，沒有這些回首你的人生，你的靈魂不會有真正的能量。」
擁有一對可愛的射手、獅子女兒，Melody 也經常在社群分享與女兒們的好情感，逗趣溫馨的畫面讓不少人稱羨。而隨著女兒們的年紀逐漸增長，她表示其實女兒教會了自己不少做人處事的哲理，「因為大人有時候會為了很多事糾結，這些糾結你覺得很重要，可是在她們很單純的生活裡這些東西都很簡單。」汲取反璞歸真的童心，讓她逐漸看淡了那些無所謂的堅持與焦慮，更體悟為人父母如同談戀愛、放風箏的原理，時而拉緊、時而放寬，並不是每件事皆能按照自我思想運作。其收放自如的真諦也體現於 Melody 近期所讀的文章中—讓你的心裡得到最大的自由，就是學會接受所有人的不同。「漸漸成長後，會發現越來越不想用你的思維改變別人，因為每一個人的靈魂都是自由的，每一個人的靈魂都是有自己的靈。」學習虛心接受並看見個體間的迥異美德，乃是靈魂獲得自由的最快良方，更是生命旅程中值得細品琢磨的人生大智慧。
放眼時尚圈，回溯風潮總是不斷上演，不論是前陣子火紅的 Y2K 趨勢、秋冬必回歸的印花圖騰等，再再顯示著「流行善變，經典不敗。」的真理。提起 Melody 對於時尚的要求準則，她表示時尚是一種生活的態度，「不一定是你這一季穿了幾樣東西在身上，而是在這個生活中有沒有得到快樂、得到啟發。」經常觀看時裝秀的她，總能透過秀場上的衣著細節觸發靈感，自服裝設計師的核心理念中汲取藝術精髓，慢品皺摺鈕扣中的細緻美學。「我從來不覺得時尚是速文化，每一季都有一些元素是你可以收藏變成你自己的。」亦如黑白雋永的優雅精神、多彩吸睛的潮流風格，皆象徵著世代欲傳遞的文化語彙，「這就是為什麼時尚要分四季，其他藝術不會分，因為時尚四季在世界上各個角落，帶給你的是這個當代的語言，穿透各個年齡層，無論在何處皆可看見。」於她而言，時尚不僅是喜好養分的眾多堆疊，更笑答購物過程也是一種良好運動。
在今年四月，Melody 實現了站上 TED 演講台的夢想，以「Keep Dreaming」為題真切分享自己的人生點滴，更帶來了不少女性群眾的熱烈迴響。當再次回溯生命經歷，Melody 坦言人生最大的轉捩點便是成為了一名母親，不僅扛起對家庭、社會與地球的責任，在微不足道的能力之下，能做出一些些改變世界的選擇，「希望每一天你在這個地球和宇宙上生活，是跟你愛的人、對你重要的人事物，一起分享、一起成長。」分享過程中也讓 Melody 領悟何謂成功與夢想的定義，亦如判別個人美感，其成敗定義實屬相當主觀，「不要用比較的心態去看待很多抽象的里程碑，我覺得現代人會有比較心是因為社群媒體，你永遠不會知道別人真正的故事是什麼，花那個體力跟精神去比較，還不如多提升自己。」經常藉由閱讀與自我共處，Melody 表示這是相當重要的啟蒙過程，自書中吸取他人的分享與經歷，不僅內觀自我，也同時保養了現代人所需的身心靈健康，「像我最近學會泡茶，泡茶對我來說很療癒，讓你自己安靜下來，你才能夠面對自己想要的人生。」雲淡風清地描摹這番話， 臉上從容自適的笑顏也愈發迷人。
In a Parallel Universe
Having just returned from the States, the visit didn’t feel like a vacation for Melody. Rather, it was more like a warm feeling of coming home. As she enjoyed the Californian sun, her anxiety caused by the pandemic was finally alleviated. It felt like COVID-19 didn’t exist anymore. “I think the anxiety comes from overcompensating, it’s important to keep our calm. It’s not helpful if we continue to run from it. So stay open minded and don’t let it affect our mood. The most important thing right now is to take care of our physical and mental health.” During her family reunion, it was as if time slowed its pace, drawing her into a parallel universe. Regardless of the frequency of her visit, Melody believes the precious thing about family is that no matter how successful or unsuccessful she is , they will always welcome her back with open arms. “It’s easy to forget who you really are because we are too good at pretending. Especially with something like social media, we get so used to sharing our lives online that we forget what the real purpose of life is. It’s like living in a parallel universe.” In contrast to the friends we meet as adults, siblings are the ones who grew up with us and underwent our childhood together. Despite all the years that have passed, they are still familiar with our personality because we still share countless precious memories. “The meaning of family lies in companionship. With these memories, our soul lacks real energy.”
Having two adorable daughters—a Sagittarius and a Leo—Melody often posts about the funny but touching memories they share on social media. As they are growing up, they actually taught Melody a lot about life. “Adults get caught up in a lot of things and we always hold value towards these dilemmas. But to kids, these are all simple problems.” Like going back to the basics, she has gradually moved on from the meaningless persistence and anxiety and realizes that parenthood is just like being in a relationship or flying a kite. You have to tighten and loosen your grip at the right time because not everything works according to your will. The true meaning of freedom can also be found in an article that Melody read recently. It talks about how the freedom of the heart comes from accepting other people’s differences. “As you grow up, you become more reluctant towards changing others with your thinking because everyone’s soul is free. Every person’s soul has its own spirit.” Learning how to recognize and accept the beauty in differences is not only the fastest route to achieving spiritual freedom, but also a wise lesson of life that is worth the time and effort to study.
Generational Fashion Lexicon
From the Y2K craze to the return of printed patterns, fashion trends have proven that fashion is ever-changing, but classics never fail. When it comes to Melody’s fashion guidelines, she sees fashion as an attitude of life. “It’s not about the amount of trending pieces you have on, but more about whether or not you feel happy or inspired by what you wear.” As someone who watches fashion shows frequently, she is always able to draw inspiration from the details on stage. By trying to understand the designer’s core concepts, she learns how to appreciate the essence of art and the story hidden between the garments. “I never saw fashion as a fast culture. There is always something from each season and collection that you can collect and make your own.” Whether it’s the elegant spirit of the timeless monochrome or the colorfully eye-catching trends, they are all symbols of the cultural lexicon that needs to be passed on. “This is why fashion is divided into four seasons, while other forms of art aren’t. Because fashion seasons reach every corner of the world and carry the contemporary language that speaks to all ages. It’s omnipresent.” To Melody, fashion is not only about finding our preferences, but also, jokingly, about the shopping, which is a chance for a good workout.
Living with the Self
This April, Melody’s dream came true when she was invited to speak for TED Talk. Centered around the theme “Keep Dreaming,” she shared about her life journey and received praise from many female audiences. Looking back on her life, Melody says the turning point is when she became a mother, a choice that carries the responsibility of family, society and our planet earth. “Hopefully your every day on earth and in this universe is spent with the people you love, and that you get to share and grow with them, while doing things that matter to you.” Her TED Talk also made her understand the meaning of success and achieving dreams. Similar to one’s personal taste, determining success and failure is rather subjective. “Don’t look at your goals with a competitive mindset. People nowadays are more prone to compare themselves with others because of social media. There’s always more to the surface so it’s better to spend your time improving yourself than to waste your energy on comparing.” Spending time with herself through reading has become an important and enlightening process to Melody. Through reading about other people’s experiences, she is able to reflect on herself and take care of her mental health. “Recently I’ve learned how to make tea. To me, the process is very healing,” calmly says Melody, with a relaxed but confident smile. “ By quieting your mind, you can finally face the life you really want.”