25 May, 2011

Stay Always The Beauty You Are

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com. Mail sent directly to Mystic Metals will not be read.

Stay Always The Beauty You Are


So the bookstore is closed for the next two days for remodeling. That sucks for me because I can’t write in my house. Kind of shitty for a writer to not write in his own house. So what I did was I got a converter for my cigarette lighter in my car. It plugs in to the lighter out and provides an outlet for stuff like, oh say, plugging in a computer. I don’t know why I told you all that, but at least now you know that I’m sitting at the battlefield looking onto the Delaware River and writing in my car. In a related story, my computer screen is so filthy that with the glare, I can barely read what I’m typing. At least I can smoke in here.

So here I am at my favorite place on Earth, smoking a cigarette and writing article number three hundred. That’s right, three hundred. Not all of them have been posted as blogs I know, and some of them are chapters in my first three books, but I’ve written them. That’s nearly 500,000 words over the last three years that we’ve shared, and I’m very thankful for my readers. I try to say it frequently, but I like to make sure you know. I’m not going to list my loyalists because I’ll inevitably miss someone and feel guilty (like how I missed naming Krista the last time I listed. Sorry about that, kid.), but I’m thankful and you should know that.

So what are we doing for number three hundred (besides starting every paragraph with the word ‘so’)? We’re going to talk about your job in all of this. “My job,” you may ask yourself or a pet that is annoying you by sitting on your keyboard or face. Yes. Your job.

So what is your job? It’s a simple one, kids. But let’s talk about how we got there. The first set of blogs I wrote way back on the Mystic Metals Myspace blog (and if you’ve stuck with me, comment a high five) were about simple things. They were about how things are done in the culture. We talked about bifurcation, suspension, microdermal implantation. We talked about stretching and modifying healthy. Tattoos, bad ones and good ones, difficulty in finding jobs, being the right age to mod. All of that. Then, a couple of months in, I realized that we had something special here. Our relationship is greater than my making poop jokes and references to Asian horror movies. I realize that our community, the Mystic Mob as I’ve called it in the past, is a unique thing, and that the message that we are sharing here has a greater purpose.

So what is that purpose? I’ve always ended the blogs with the same sentence. I always say, “Stay beautiful.” The first time I wrote that little sign off, I thought it was a nice reassurance of what we are and what we celebrate. Then I read the sentence. Over and over and over, week after week, month after month. I’ve typed it three hundred times, and in my first three books, at the end of each chapter. I looked at the two word imperative. I looked at it. It had more gravity than I initially realized.

So I trolled the internet to other sites, other online communities that collect modified people to share ideas and stories. There, at these sites, I found very little celebration of beauty the way we celebrate it here, and I realized that maybe we’re different.

So what are we doing differently? We, or at least the way I try to write week after week, have a different sense. We have a sense that our modifications are exactly what they are defined to be. They modify. They change. They augment. They enhance. But a thing cannot be modified unless it has the characteristics that the end goal hopes to accomplish, right? You can modify an engine to run fuel injected instead of carbureted, but it’s still an engine. You can modify a dress to fit your new weight loss frame, but it’s still a dress. You can modify a chili recipe to be less spicy, but it’s still chili. These things become a different kind of engine, a different kind of dress, a different kind of chili. But they all start out as an engine, a dress, a chili.

So we modify our bodies to be a different… What? We are all beautiful, and when we modify ourselves with stretched lobes, full sleeves, septums and labrets, we are cocooning ourselves in the rubber gloves and tattoo machine buzzing to become a different kind of beautiful. The beauty was always there; we are just changing it a little.

So why do we change it? You cats and kittens know that I don’t often entertain that idea of why. Why isn’t important. Why is a question whose answer will more than likely arrive at more questions. Like the little kid who starts a why question loop and then suddenly you’re answering why questions for two hours. Like internet porn. Yes, little kids asking why is like internet porn. We all have our own reasons. For mod, not porn. I’m not too interested in your search for the perfect scene on bangyoulater.com. You kids know why I mod, and I know why some of you do too. But there is an unique comfort in living in the house we build rather than the house we are asked to live in. This is my house, built to my blueprints, with my ideas and reasons. We build our own houses, don’t we. We specify and outsource the work to qualified people so that the house we live in is the beautiful creation that we know it is. The raw materials, however, are beautiful in their own right. Think about going to Staples or OfficeMax. Think about walking down the aisle with the pens. Thousands of pens hanging on hooks in plastic packages. Quite ordinary, they seem. But they are beautiful because they are the materials that may create the next best seller, a love poem to a beautiful woman, the signature on a record contract, an apology, a bereavement card, a happy birthday wish, a drawing that will hang in a museum. How beautiful those pens are.

So what’s your job, then? Simple. First, stay always beautiful regardless of your modifications, regardless of those around you with whom you choose to associate. Let nothing usurp that beauty. Not an incompetent lover, and angry boss, an overbearing parent, a friend who wants you to be a little more this or that. Stay always the beauty you are. And secondly (yes, I know I said there was only one thing you had to do, but go with me on this), let those around you, modified or not, know that they are all beautiful. Tell a stranger when you hold the door at the Wawa. Smile at the cashier when you buy your cigarettes and coffee. Let your eyes speak in place of words, and let others know that regardless of the reflection in the looking glass, they are all beautiful. Let them know that we all celebrate our beauty differently, that some of us dance, some of us paint or write, some of us wear our hair in a way or make up just so. And some of us modify. Let that stranger know, and let those familiar to you know as well, that whatever it is he does to celebrate the beauty that he has, then that in itself is a wonderful thing.

So that sounds pretty simple, yeah? I’m not a ‘change the world’ guy. Least of all do I believe that the opinion of one dirtbag in South Jerz shared in the infinite space of ones and zeros of the internet means much of anything in the grand scheme. But I do think that in order to see the beauty in yourself, you must first see the beauty in others. It’s not so much as a ‘love yourself before you can love someone else’ thing. I’m not sure I buy that either. But what it is is that when you know that everyone who passes through the narrow space of your ‘in a minute’ and your ‘just a second ago’ is a beautiful and valuable thing, then you’ll believe it of yourself as well. How hard could that be? Stay beautiful, kids.

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