Reminders Of Beauty
I’ve been moved to do something different this week. Don’t worry; it won’t be that different. I’ll still likely use some esoteric film reference (“I’m OK without you.” Name that movie.), and likely I’ll use some kind of hyperbole that seems to make no sense outside of the context of this pointlessness. But something different. I have been moved by someone special to talk about why I am beautiful. This is going to be a very steep challenge, so bare with me. Or bear with me if you like giant angry animals that maul humans for being idiots. Actually, I don’t know what spelling is correct in that saying. We’re off to a great start, aren’t we?
I tell you kids that I believe that you are all beautiful. I firmly believe that; I know it in my heart and brain. There is beauty in all things, and that is what we talk about in this theatre. We are all a something that gleans beauty, and what makes each of us beautiful in the eyes of each other is a unique miasma of opinion and judgement. Judgement isn’t always a bad thing. It keeps us alive, after all. We look at that green liquid in the beaker with the plumes of smoke coming from it, and our judgement is that it is probably not a good idea to drink it. But we judge each other, either consciously or otherwise, and often our most turgid judge is ourselves about ourselves.
My judgment of you, whosever eyes are reading this, is that you are beautiful. I don’t need to know you to know that. By virtue of your living, you are a beautiful thing. That ought to be a wonderful thing, and it is, but what isn’t wonderful is that I don’t apply the same rules to myself. I know that logic would tell me that I too am a beautiful thing, but my heart tells me otherwise. Why. Let’s explore.
Those who know me know that my body is a thing that oughtn’t have made it passed the quality assurance people in whatever factory makes people. (YouPont? That joke was terrible.) My body is a mess of failed medical experiments and maturation. Throughout my youth, I was repeatedly told that I was broken because, I have to assume, that is the only way for a doctor to help a six year old understand the purpose of medicine. They are fixers, repairers, menders. Or so is easy to believe. When you can’t be repaired, what then? When you are made to be broken, how does one convince a child that he will get worse and never see a resolution to his pain? You can’t, but you continue to try. You see men in white coats who use polysyllabic words that have no meaning to anyone but those with M.D. after their names. They touch you in places that ought to be reserved for lovers, and they scratch their heads and shrug their shoulders. They send you to someone else. Rinse. Repeat. Twenty-five years later, your medical file is thicker than the Man vs. Food 100 ounce steak challenge.
Where’s the beauty in that theatre? You’re ten years old, uncomfortable, cold and standing naked and alone in a room waiting for an old man to come in with a sharp tool for a ‘can you feel this’ test across the skin that covers your spine, hips, legs, and dick. Rinse. Repeat. That man, likely unknowingly, is a beauty thief. There are many of those in reality, aren’t there. The boyfriend that cheated on you. The abusive parent. The manager at your job who berated you in front of customers. The friend who says, “You really let me down.” The question is, how does one retrieve that beauty, the beauty that is supposed to be such an inalienable thing?
I modify, and likely, so do most of you. Each piece of jewelry that has been hung through my skin has represented a gripping finger hold in my climbing back up life’s mountain, on top of which lives the beauty that I have abandoned. Each tattoo exemplifies a need and desire to enjoy the skin that encases the failed processes and wet and disgusting things under my bones. A sense of control? Partially. Someone with a needle doing what I am asking him to do rather than what he is just going to do is a powerful thing after so many years clamping down on the bit and waiting for the doctor’s appointment to be over.
So why am I exempt from the beauty that I afford to everyone else? Why is it that I can see a stranger of any size, any gender, any shade and know that person is a beautifully designed example of what a person ought to be? If I knew the answer to that, you guys wouldn’t have a blog to read this week. There is a great inequity in the beauty of others and the beauty of me. My happiness resides in the beauty of others, not in the beauty of myself. I look on a woman and see her beauty, her curves, her skin; everything that makes her a special something is there to behold with the senses. I garner an affirmation of beauty from this; it reminds me that beauty is there for me to enjoy. That makes me happy, and yes I am happy once in a while. If I can remind you that you are beautiful, I can get closer to seeing the beauty in myself.
I don’t think it is a pessimistic way of looking at things. I also don’t think that it is a girl pants, eyeliner, goth kid, cut yourself for attention way of looking at things either. To see beauty, wherever that beauty may be, is a glorious thing. The hope is that the beauty I see will be written on my own face and body. So far, that hasn’t panned out too well, but we’re working on it. There are moments, though. There are moments when something will remind me that I too have beauty. Moments like a text message from a siren whose beauty is that of Italian sculpture. There are insects that live in my belly that are rustled awake when my phone vibrates, and for a moment, I am beautiful too. When I take pause to think that a girl in the mountainous region of wherever feels beautiful because of words that I carefully placed in ones and zeroes on her computer screen, I am reminded that therein lay my beauty. I am a reminder, and my beauty lies in helping her see her own.
Can I maintain that sense of beauty for any measure of time that exceeds a butterfly belly moment? I would like to; I really would. So long as I have readers that believe in their own hearts that what I say is true, that their own beauty is a ray of light from the sun that is diffused through clouds and becomes a falling coherent column of light, then I will know that I am beautiful. Until then, I will continue to modify so I can share my beauty with others in the way that I believe my beauty ought to have been from the beginning rather than the ill-oiled and broken carbon meat bag machine that it actually is. I know I am not my body, but my body has been the star in the center of my solar system for all of my life, and I’d like a different focus. It is difficult to think of my beauty without thinking that my body isn’t something it ought to be. Still, the reminders that exist are important to me. Reminders like the art of J. Isobel DeLisle. Reminders like the curves of Emmy and Steph. Reminders like the strangers walking through Haddonfield on a Sunday afternoon from shop to shop holding hands. Reminders like a warm hug from Jenny, and an extended hand of helping from Dan. I know I’m beautiful, and my heart’s realization of what my brain already knows is slowly catching up. Stay beautiful, kids.
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