I pulled out of the parking lot and onto the torn up cobblestone of Elm street on my usual route to the highway as I headed home from work last Tuesday. As I made my way down the street I came to the point where I turn right, and on the corner there was a stunningly handsome pit bull on a leash, the man holding the leash looked rough and while totally unjustified on my part I thought the worst. As I watched them through the corner of my eye, the man bent down and patted the dog on the head, the four legged beauty raised back to reveal a giant happy dog smile as he stretched upward giving man a kiss on the cheek. I did not think about what I was doing, I just did it. As they crossed in front of me , I rolled down my window and yelled out “Your dog is beautiful!” he turned back with his disheveled hair and flashed me a toothless grin and replied Thank, you”, as I was rolling up my window, I paused and pressed the button reversing the window and yelled “Hey Mr., You’re beautiful too!”
That moment lingered a bit, as I thought about what it means to be beautiful, what is beauty? How do I see beauty as I walk through the world. I could not shake the question from my mind, and as I went through the week, it was on the forefront of my thoughts. When it comes to physical beauty like most I have many people in my life that are simply stunning. Lauren walks around unaware that she could just as easily be waltzing down some Paris runway at any moment and I might love her just a tad bit more because she seems totally oblivious to it all. The reality is the most beautiful thing about her is the amazing calm kindness that is the backbone of her gentle wise spirit. We live in a society that defines beauty within a very stringent box of what is acceptable and what is not, but we all know that is total bullshit. Size, age, height, hair, nose, skin, thighs, eyes, gut, teeth, and every other part of someone’s body can be ridiculed, torn apart and marked with the giant glowing neon “rejected” stamp that is used all too often. I am kinda over being tethered to societies views of beautiful. I will never have a perfect body, I will not be defined by image, by my arms, or any other one part of me and I continue to work relentlessly to kick my shame to the curb.
My view of beauty has changed over the past several years, a terrified dog who now walks confidently and proudly to the kitchen getting a drink of water can instantly bring tears to my eyes and I am in awe of how stunning he really is, the loving worn and wrinkled hands of my mother as she pats my knee takes my breath away, and witnessing a wise, wise child who sees the world like no other, a child who only sees love with his beautiful heart makes my soul soar.
My dear friends Julie and Matt have a little boy named Jonah. He is one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen in my life. Full of love and wonder, his smile is infectious and he alone gives me a renewed faith in the world. A hope I now carry that we can be kinder to each other, to judge less and smile more. That we can throw definitions of perfection and out the window, as they are simple not useful and cause such destruction and pain among us. I long to see the beauty of this world through Jonah’s eyes and with his help I am learning how to do that….I still have so very much to learn.
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness.- John Keats