Here is my diatribe.
I once met a boy who had a life that I was never able to understand. He had a past he was running away from and a drug addiction he was diving into. He had friends that he shared a roof with, but none of them knew who he really was. I remember a night, where i called him because I was afraid for his life. It was cold, wet and soggy but I was outside standing in freezing rain because I just couldn’t be inside. Not after knowing he overdosed on heroin. I called him and called him and when I could finally get him to answer I yelled and screamed and eventually cried. I also remember exactly what he said when he told me what it was in his past that he was running from.
Last year he completed rehab.
I once met a boy who grew into a man before he left middle school. I saw him work, and strive to become better because that’s all he could do when his family couldn’t afford food or clothes. I saw him work and eventually afford his own college attendance. He once said words to me that were heartbreakingly stark in comparison to the life I’ve lived. I asked him how he’s able to spend days without food and he said “It’s easy when you don’t have a choice.” I haven’t used the idea of “no choice” as an excuse and I haven’t let anyone else either.
I remember the day he said he got into the school he wanted.
I once met a girl without a father. We’ve all heard this before. We’ve all heard about the girl who had no father to pick her up in his arms and tell her how boys were supposed to be at her age. But this girl was different. I fell in love with her because somehow. When her father chose drugs over her, when her father chose himself over her, she still managed to smile, laugh, cry and live on her own for herself.
I remember the night we said “I love you”
I think people need to reconsider what beauty and beautiful means. Search the term beauty and see what images you get in your browser. Then think of the moments that made you cry. When I think beauty I think about both the moment where she said yes and the moment she said no. Even the time she said maybe. I think about the time I stood on top of a mountain with the mist caressing my skin and the dew clinging onto the green blades of grass that pushed up between my toes. Because the road that took me there was one of misunderstanding.
Why should we reconsider our definition of beauty? Because if you look at the images you technically searched for then you’ll understand that those images have little in common with the moments that I know YOU know are beautiful. Are they beautiful women? Maybe. But I highly contest that it takes more than an image. It takes a feeling.
Beauty cannot be encapsulated in an image. A picture of someone cannot be beautiful, but the person can be. Colors and words have no meaning unless they were painted or said by someone and unless they made you feel something that you cannot let go. The picture is nothing unless it makes you remember, think, or feel. Beauty isn’t an aesthetic state, it’s an emotional one.
When I look at you I don’t see the makeup. The contours of your face. The symmetry. The color of your eyes or the white teeth hidden behind lipsticked lips. When I look at you, I try to see the memories you’ve had. With the father that may have been there. With the drug addiction you may have had, and with the hunger you may have suffered. You’re beautiful not because you smile, but because you make me smile. That day on the mountain isn’t beautiful because the sunset made each droplet of water a prism of light and dreams. It was beautiful because I managed to burn it in my eyes. I managed to capture that moment and feel my heart sink when choose to recall it.
Either give us the word beautiful back or create a new one for us because these images you give me, and your definitions do not adequately describe my friend’s recovery and moment of clarity after a maelstrom of addiction. It doesn’t describe my friends willpower to feed his hunger. It doesn’t describe my friends love for her father. It doesn’t describe the moment I couldn’t stop shaking because i felt something real for the first time in a long time.
beau-ti-ful: adj exciting aesthetic pleasure
It’s more than that. We’re more than that. And that’s coming from someone who isn’t more than anything. I just know what I felt that day. And that definition, those images, and these people who say it’s an image….they just don’t cut it. So please. Give us back that word. Give it back to the people who’ve done more than seen it. Give it to the people who’ve felt it.