Sunday, April 28, 2013

There has always been beauty in the flesh of you

me, circa 2007-ish


You’ve all
gotten me thinking so much and feel very awake and smart about beauty.  Can we talk about it some more?

An immature perception of beauty scans something for its flaws and rejects it. An intelligent, thoughtful, wise, interesting person finds beauty in many different things. It finds beauty not only in spite of flaws, but contained in the perceived flaws, themselves.

I am not a typical example of beauty. I weigh over 200 pounds, I am 35 years old, my hair is graying. The people admire me might be tempted to say, “But she is a beautiful person. Don't look at all of her physical flaws, just focus on how beautiful she is as a person.” And that is okay, but it's not really what I’m talking about. 

What I would like to suggest is that I am not beautiful in spite of my flaws, but that there is beauty in the shape of me, the lines of me, the heft of me, the flesh of me. There is beauty in the marks on me, the dents on me, in the crooked things about me.

If we say beauty is only skin deep, or it’s what’s inside that counts… it is like we are agreeing with the uninteresting definition of beauty we are presented with by our corrupt, spiritually bankrupt society.  

Where would the beauty on the inside be, if there weren’t a body to carry it?  Where would the beauty on the inside be, if we had no eyes and hands and tongues and skin and hair and bones and faces?

I believe that who we are is important, all on its own, and how we look, isn’t.  I also believe that who we are shines out at the world through our bodies.  Our bodies are us, just like our personalities and our laughs and our interests and our ideas and our everything.  It’s all amazing, when we’re amazing.  It’s all beautiful, because we are.  

How can you separate the beauty of someone’s laugh from the beauty of their eyes and teeth and hands and face?
When you really see someone, and appreciate them for who they are, how can you not love the shape of them?

When we can say, there is beauty in these scars, there is beauty in this shape, there is beauty in these lines, these wrinkles, this skin, these marks... That is where we've begun to see things with truth. That is where our eyes are opening, and we're shedding the years of empty lies that have been perpetrated against us.

Someone commented the other day, “Beauty exists.  It is our perception of it that changes.

Even if you're only discovering it now, even if there are only hints of it somewhere in the rebellious parts of your mind, even if you never find it, there has always been beauty in the flesh of you, there always will be beauty in the flesh of you.

There is nothing wrong with recognizing and celebrating the beauty of a young pretty girl with long eyelashes and pink cheeks. Just like there isn't anything wrong with celebrating the beauty of me, a mother with a sagging stomach and blue veins like a trail of tears down the back of my calf.