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Beauty Corrosion And The Rare Weewee Root
I saw someone at the bookstore today whom I’ve not seen in quite a while. It was a wonderful meeting, and a very holiday type of serendipity. You know those. It seems as if whichever store you go to to get that whatever bullshit thing that your whomever relative demands for whichever holiday you celebrate has crawling about it those you’ve not seen in months or years. Then you, obtrusively to the strangers waiting to pick up whatever useless item that the pair of you are obstructing, catch up on the major beats of whichever life events come to mind. Marriages and children and jobs and family you remember from that brief chapter of your life. It’s nice, and strange. It was great to see her and to catch up. This concludes my intro paragraph about whatever topic has come to mind that likely interests my readers very little.
Today, I would like to talk about a friend of mine. It’s not a biography or memoir of our relationship, but she is the context by which I’ll make my point. If I have one. I wouldn’t hold your breath about the ‘having a point’ thing.
To protect the innocent, I’ll call my friend Vee. Vee is a beautiful woman whom I’ve known for a little while. We’re not the ‘grab a cup of coffee at random’ type of friends, though we could be. An intelligent girl with a lighted laugh and sad but communicative eyes. Vee doesn’t love herself, and that corrodes her beauty.
She’s a comparative woman. Whatever it is that she believes she ought to be, she measures with an imaginary yardstick of her conception of what should, ought, or would rather be. It is an unfair and self-fulfilling melancholy. I would never begrudge anyone’s ability to perpetuate his own woe, but when that individual looks to break that shackle, which Vee clearly does, then it’s a problem.
I’m the last person to be preaching about perpetuating misery. That’s my game, and I am an All-Star at it. I am the Ty Cobb of woe. Well, technically, Ty Cobb was the Ty Cobb of woe. I never liked what I was, and I don’t like what I am. Does it affect me? Absolutely, but the affect can only exist in the confines of the effect. So what is the effect? Being born broken, being a slave to the whirling dervish of brain activity that seems to never slow, being a party to the concept of ‘not like the others.’ But we all have these things, don’t we.
None of us are the archetype of the perfectly built human. After all, Bruce Lee is dead. He was probably the closest. That cat was gorgeous. We are all machines that work only on the preconceived idea that we are breaking down constantly. I mean, sure; Lou Ferigno is built like people probably ought to be built, but he’s corroding too. I know that when I was made, I was made broken. If I were some sort of thing in a box that you bought at a crowded holiday mall store, you’d bring it back before you used it once. But you didn’t, and now were here, broken to start but finding a usefulness.
I suppose too finding a usefulness is a goal we all have, whether we are aware of it or not. I think we all want to be the cat that the other cats and kittens around us want to count on. Andy will get my back. That’s a great feeling. Don’t forget to call Andy; he should be there too. Andy will get it done; he always gets shit done. That’s a good feeling. And it’s a feeling that I think is directly tethered to our own beauty. See how I make everything make sense? The sense of not being good enough, not being pretty enough, not being smart or useful or talented or unique enough is a hydrochloric and sizzling chemical turning the beautiful bronze of ourselves into a wretched, phlegm colored green corrosion. They say that when that first idea happened is when we started to nurture and grow the ideas in the greenhouses of our minds. Is that true? I’m sure my therapist would think so. (Love you, Jana!) And what happens when we have many moments? I suppose each of those moments is an ingredient in the gruel that we see our lives as being. I’ll share one of mine, then you share one of yours. Deal? You don’t have to share it to me. As long as you share it with someone. Your cat counts.
I think I was nine or ten years old. I could have been younger. I was at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Brill was the main character’s name. An old man, likely dead now, with a five o’clock shadow which was better described as an eleven-thirty o’clock shadow, and a spiced cologne from a bottle with curves and (to take the words of Dr. Lecter) a boat on the bottle. His hands were cold, my folks were in the room, and the examining table was dressed in the finest linens of paper on a roll. I was asked to undress so he could examine my spine and penis and other things that ought to stay hidden by clothing. I wouldn’t take my shirt off, a button down thing with blue and white stripes. I tried to pull it down far enough to cover my penis, but it was well too short. He examined me, and I remember it frequently.
Now, why did I share that story? Because I am still beautiful. Right, Vee? I am still valuable. Right Vee? I am still in possession of myself and my shame and my glory and my beauty. Right Vee? I am still beautiful. I didn’t share this story for pity or any kind of reaction other than to have context. I did share it because sharing is more valuable than hiding or keeping. This story is one of a million (well, maybe a thousand) that frame my perceptions of self and self worth. Who can have value when an old, unshaven, stinky cologne man is running his ungloved fingers over your spine and unmentionable parts and into crevasses that aren’t designed to have things put into them? I can, and I do, simply by the virtue of my life. If one lives, one is beautiful, which by logic would tell me that you are beautiful because you’re reading this and dead things can’t read.
Finding value and worth and beauty. That’s what I was originally going to write about, but I think I missed the mark a bit. Still, I think you kids have read me enough to understand my mode of thinking. The point is that Vee has beauty and value whether she can see it our not. One of the steps to accepting that is trust. Trust is a difficult thing to acquire, especially when there are those in the past who have scientifically disproven the existence of it. But trust is the lynchpin. You kids, Vee included, ought to believe me when I say that you are beautiful. You must trust me because you’ve not a reason not to. What do I have to gain from your recognition of your own beauty? Nothing, really. It makes me feel good, I’ll give you that. But if you dismiss me when I tell you of your worth and beauty, then you are doing a disservice to us both. You are denying your inalienable quality of beauty, and you’re calling me a liar. I try not to lie. I did learn, though, that the same guy who invented Uggs took a cyanide pill after he was captured by the mountain monsters of Maya on an excursion to find the rare weewee root that can cure wind related eye watering. True story.
I think I’ve made my point, and so I’m going to work on the four other projects I have going whose windows are opened on my computer and are staring at me with ‘why are you neglecting me’ kind of hungry kitten eyes. You are beautiful, and so is Vee. Go tell someone. That person deserves to hear it. Stay beautiful, kids.
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