Are you beautiful? Am I?
Where to begin?
This article is written without intending to question someones belief about what is beautiful or what is not. It is intended as a light hearted exploration of the word Beautiful and what it means to us as individuals and how we apply it to ourselves.
The first difficulties I can recall having where beauty was concerned was with spelling it. Those three vowels next to each other felt so unnatural and it took me a long time to come to terms with it. Since then I have struggled with the concept for a variety of different reasons.
Beautiful is an adjective used to describe things that possess beauty! So how do I begin? I find chocolate cake Beautiful, I find my dog beautiful and wild deer bounding over the hill tops beautiful. I am neither a deer nor made of chocolate so that offers me little help, If I cannot figure out If I am beautiful can I be sure of the beauty in anything else? I better have another piece of that chocolate cake to confirm it is still beautiful. I am of course being flippant and dismissive, I am a man and a British one at that. The idea of considering myself beautiful or looking for beauty within myself is one that fills me with a sense of being ridiculous. It is this sense of being ridiculous that compels me to write further, it will be this same sense of the ridiculous that will prevent me from taking myself too seriously.
You are Beautiful
A good question?
Christina Aguillera would have us believe we are all beautiful, no matter what they say. As lovely as the sentiment may be, in the real world it is a little trite and lacking in substance to suggest we are all beautiful. Of course the song implies that those of us lacking in physical beauty make up for it in inner Beauty, sadly this too can be proven as largely untrue.
Ed Gein for example as shown in the image to the right was neither endowed with physical beauty nor inner beauty if his behaviour and actions are to be used as reliable testimony of character and therefore inner beauty. Not that It would be fair to single Mr Gein out as especially ugly physically. It is of course his actions that make him ugly not his physical appearance. But the example is valid, if just one person is lacking in anything remotely approaching beauty then surely we can all fall short, can't we?
What is it that defines us as beautiful, is it physical beauty? Christina Aguilera would have us believe otherwise in her song. Odd given that in the music video accompanying the song she is so flatteringly lit and professionally made up by make up artists. But hey we are not here to pick on Miss Aguilera, after all she did not write the song, that honour goes to Linda Perry whom I am absolutely sure had very lovely intentions when writing it.
I think most of would agree that physical beauty is not what really marks us out as beautiful in the eyes of our friends and family, parents after all do not love a child anymore or any less based upon appearance or I would certainly hope not. Physical beauty is very appealing to the eye and all of us notice the physically beautiful amongst us either with admiration or envy but in most cases they are quickly forgotten as soon as they rounded that corner or entered that building are gone from sight. But beautiful acts stay with.
Are you Beautiful?
My definition of beauty will almost certainly differentiate from yours as will yours from that of your friends and family which makes this topic all the more difficult to conclude with any certainty, so I ask my a difficult question, If anything what makes me beautiful?
In my case like many of you my first instinct is to think of all the things I dislike about myself, be it my thinning hair or skin that refuses to leave the otherwise long forgotten teenage years behind. Physically I am certainly no George Clooney nor Brad Pitt but mentally I am certainly lacking the undesirable traits of Ted Bundy or Harold Shipman.
The truth is I don't know if I am beautiful or if anyone would argue that I am, but I would hope if I am it is because I pick up dog poop when I don't have to so others wont stand in it, because I slow my car to allow others to cross the road when I could drive on, because I sometimes give up on what I want so others can enjoy something they want instead. It is not much and I make no claims to greatness or the right to be canonized, I certainly do not deserve that but perhaps that is enough?
Although this article may appear cynical or even self serving (after all I have discussed my own potential beauty) in intention it is not. The notion that it is trite and simplistic to suggest everyone is beautiful merely by right of birth or even existence is a valid one, but that is not to say that beauty is not easily attainable by us all. Even if it is just by picking up the occassional dog poop or doing a good deed. By this definition can I compare myself to the physical beauty of Adonis or perhaps a little more Earth Bound Zac Efron or Beyonce because my intentions are good? Beauty is a very pliable word, I can work it and twist it and make it my own, I can believe myself beautiful or I can consider myself unattractive, subject to the whims of my moods.
The next time I listen to Christina Aguilera sing that song I suspect I will remember the last time I picked up dog poo to be nice and think maybe i am just a little bit! Now writing that does feel a little bit ridiculous.
Is it possible to define Beauty?
A final thought
Your beauty is not defined by me! It is defined by you if you want it to be. This article is about my personal interpretation of the word beauty and how it relates to me and how I relate to it. More than anything I hope if this piece of writing achieves anything it will be to get people thinking about themselves in a positive self reinforcing light.
Getting people to read what you have written in an increasingly crowded cyber universe is not easy so if you have read this, I think you are beautiful.