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The year has changed. It is now eleven years into the millennium. I’m not going to shoot my face off about the last year, the good and bad, the records or movies or whatever. There are plenty of other bullshit blogs and rants on the internet about that type of thing. What I will say is that in this year ended, you touched the lives of dozens of people, maybe hundreds. You interacted with strangers who will never see you again, you enhanced relationships, maybe ended some. You smiled at people, yelled at them, swooned over them. You have shared your beauty with a number of people. I hope you all shared your beauty with warmth, love, honesty, and self awareness. You are all beautiful, and I hope that this last dead year helped you feel that further.
For me, the end of the year was very trying. Shit, the beginning of it was too, and most of the middle. But that’s what reminds you that you’re alive, isn’t it. The trying and the difficult. The woe and the relief of the joy afterward. Isn’t that quote from “A League Of Their Own” something like, “The hard is what makes it great.” There is an inevitability that during any year, be it the last or the coming, there will be times when the walls seem to cave in, when the roof collapses, when everyone seems out to get you. It’s what we do with it that helps us maintain our beauty.
Why do I always draw attention to beauty when it seems to be unrelated? Because it is always related. Your beauty is the thing that is inalienable. Everything in your reality, family members, relationships, jobs and successes, can be taken from you. Your freedoms, your opinions. Everything. What cannot be stripped is your beauty. What is interesting about your beauty is that it is the poison and the cure. It is the thing that causes the problems and the thing that remedies them.
What does that mean. When the piles of sorrow seem to crush, when everything in my periphery is drawn and dark with hollow eyes and fanged teeth, my beauty holds my hand and guides me to the lighter place. The irony is that when the woe is plentiful is when my beauty is easiest to forget. My beauty plagues me sometimes. It is a thing that I often think I am aspiring toward, but in the back of my empty skull, I think that my striving is in vain; I’ll never achieve it, but I reach anyway.
The reaching is the value. People will often say that it is the journey and not the destination. I’m not sure I entirely agree with that because the purposelessness of a journey with no destination is more damning that standing still. There has to be a hope that you will arrive where you are destined to go. There has to be the inclination that the destination may be just over that cliff, just over the next mountain, just across the next desert. If beauty is my destination, don’t I have to believe that I will arrive there? Don’t I have to assume that, at some point, I will tiredly step onto the soil of beautiful, drop my bag, and say, ‘I’m here.’ The futility of traveling with no destination seems absurd and wasteful.
Still, along the journey, there ought to be reminders of what will be the reward at the conclusion. If beauty is the conclusion, we have to remember while walking that there is a finite amount of steps between here and there. We have to remember the goal and what motivated us to strive for it. At some point, there will be a forgetting. There will be a moment where you will look onto your tired feet and stop. You’ll look behind you and realize that you’ve gone too far to stop now, but you’ll look ahead of you and forget why you were walking to begin with. Why do we walk.
Like any good story, conflict will confront us while we walk. The serpent in the desert taunting us with water and bread. Oughtn’t these things temper us and not discourage us? What happens when they discourage. What happens when we decide to sit in the hot sand, comfortable and forgiving, and then realize that we don’t have the motivation in us to stand and continue. Where is the beauty now? Where is the want to have what we decided to trek for in the beginning? What allows us to continue?
We are each motivated by whatever. Some of us create art. Some of us read or paint or knit or find some other whatever to use as catharsis. Tattoo? Piercings? When the warm sand in which we are sitting becomes too comfortable, when we become too complacent to the easy and familiar, what reminds us that our walking goal is only steps away.
When I was little, I was going to doctors quite frequently. No one’s earliest memories ought to be of the inside of hospitals. My mother would tell me that this was in no way the end, this was in no way designed to destroy me, this was in no way anything that I could not overcome. And she, as always, was right. So we continue to walk. We think about the moments along our own journeys where the insurmountable challenged us, and then we think about how we surmounted them. Think of this year. Think of the schoolwork you thought you’d never finish. Think of the job you started, the relationship you ended, the family member who died, the unfulfilled needs, the sorrow. If these things were designed to conclude your journey, how are you still walking? Clearly those things couldn’t defeat you, and clearly you have more steps to take toward your beauty.
We all need a respite, to be sure. We all need to recollect ourselves, to pause reality for at least a little while and rediscover the things that augment our beauty. What are those things? What are the things that help you from the sand, those things you use to remind you that the journey does have an end, and you will see that end? The hope is that our rest does not become sleep. The hope is that when we stop for a moment to regain our strength, it is only for a moment, and not forever. How many along the path have you passed that have made their rest into sleep? We must rest, but not sleep. We must continue to strive for our own beauty. Over the dune, there in the liquid radiant heat, there is your beauty. Go get it. Keep walking.
Those you have passed on the path, offer them your hand. Not because you are stronger or more wrought, but rather because their beauty is part of your beauty. When we all arrive at the contentment of our own beauty, then there will be no doubt that we are all beautiful. Let’s walk together. Stay beautiful, kids.
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