Am I Beautiful Now?
What is beauty? How is it defined? Can I be beautiful one day and ugly the next? Is it something that must be maintained? Can I slowly fall away from beauty if I am not constantly working to keep it close?
I wrote a poem the other day. It was called “I Had a Thought”. I attached it to the end of this blog post if you wish to read it, but the premise of the piece was noticing thoughts that I am both beautiful and ugly fill my mind. Some days I am both of those things within a matter of hours. Whereas sometimes I remain ugly until an aspect of my perspective shifts a couple weeks down the road, and I am suddenly beautiful once more. This got me to thinking, what does is it mean to have the thought that you are beautiful if thoughts are so fleeting?
I honestly can say that the thought that I am beautiful is a difficult one to come by. It never exists when I am looking in the mirror, getting dressed in the morning, or shaving my legs. In moments where I am intimately aware of my body’s appearance, beauty disintegrates and all I am left with are judgments, too fat, too round, too speckled, too soft, etc, etc…. But then I go out running, scuba diving, dancing, or hiking. These moments where my body is showing off– how it can swim or jump or leap or, just simply, breathe– and then judgements are replaced with thankfulness. Thank you legs for being strong, lungs for filling with air, heart for beating, eyes for blinking. I become overwhelmed with the complexity of the body’s machinery and the access it gives me towards experiencing the world. Then I have that thought, I am beautiful.
When I ask you what is beauty? What is the first thing that comes to your mind? The latest covergirl model? The unrealistic standards of human bodies? The newest designer trends? Or does your mind wander to thoughts of mountains and oceans, birds and dolphins? Do you think of the cosmos and the planets? How we are one small speck in the center of a beautifully complex world?
Where your mind lands in response to what beauty is gives an enormous amount of insight into the sustainability of beauty within your life. To find understand beauty as a reflection of the flesh, the body, or an outward appearance is superficial and fleeting. Appearances change, bodies age and constantly shift. Our bodies are simply the casing for the eternal existence of our souls. To put our definition of beauty into how they appear is like putting your worth into the size of your home.
For myself, it doesn’t bother me that I don’t find beauty in my reflection. I know those times when I am consumed with disatisfaction in my appearance are not my definition of beautiful. Those are lies fed to me by the world and by past experiences. And if my perception of my appearance is built on lies fueled by an blind world, then I will let those lies run off my soft, speckled skin like water droplets. I would never again want to confuse my beauty with the world’s because believing the world’s lies about beauty, for years led me down paths of destruction that I never again want to feel the repercussions of.
I know that because of my history of hating my appearance that my perspective of my appearance has and always will be skewed by worldly standards. You cannot erase memories. You cannot rid yourself of thoughts. Those experiences are a part of my story, but I find freedom from my past when I eliminate the effort of trying to rewire my body image thoughts. When, I stop trying to rewrite my entire history with poor body image and instead walk down an entirely different path. A path where I disregard my thoughts about appearance as lies and instead start filling my mind with truth. A path where the goal is not to look in the mirror and think I am beautiful, but to start to understand beauty for what it was naturally intended to be. Nature. We are natural beings, not meant to be put on display for ourselves or anyone else.
Since I no longer feel the pressure to fall in love with my appearance, I can now look in the mirror in the morning and have the thought I am ugly, label it as a lie I have obtained from the world, and then set out on my day in search of truth. The truth about beauty lies somewhere in my running legs or in the mountain tops, in diving below the ocean’s surface or feeling water droplets fall off my skin. Truth is anything deeper and more meaningful than learning to love the way my thighs touch or appreciated the rolls on my back.
Am I beautiful now? It is a question that can only be answered by yourself, but when you search to find the answer don’t confuse it with the lies from the world. Beautiful will not be found in the mirror. It is not supposed to be found in the mirror. Beautiful is found deeper, where the soul finds rest, where the universe aligns. We all radiate beauty the moment we know where to look for it. Turn off your eyes and turn on your heart. Find what connects with your inner self, the self that is and always will be stunning.
“I Had a Thought”
By: Morgan Blair
I had a thought that I was beautiful
It spread like warm milk through my fingers,
Dripping crystals on the floor.
It felt so nice, leaking crystals from my hands
That I took the thought and stored it away
So it would be hidden for another day.
I had the thought that I was ugly.
It infected my tongue with thorns.
A vine wrapped down my throat and through my eyes
My thorned tongue has licked my face
So my tears were streaks of blood.
I had the thought that I was strong
Before the sun had shown its face
All was still, my breath was deep
And I lace my skin in steel
Down below where waves don’t crash
My armor serves me well
Leaving suspended deep in space
I had the thought that I should die
It was followed with nothing more
I am addicted to feeling pain, or really feeling at all
So I took that thoughts and chewed it down
Destroyed on my tongue of thorns
I went swimming through the oceans
I saw how vast and true and big
And I had a thought that I was beautiful
Remembering its hiding place