There is beauty in the mundane. It is real. It is alive and it is in your face, yet sometimes we miss it all together. It’s easy to overlook the small and the so called insignificant; those everyday things we see all the time. The big picture can be looking us right in the eye, obscuring our vision as to the seemingly unimportant details. And it is in those details; intrinsic little flourishes that sit undetected in the plain open. It is that we must endeavor to see which makes the best art.
This art that is life. It is all around us.
Whatever we seek in our hearts our eyes will find. Generally the experiences we have in life live up to our expectations. Life is beautiful when we can see beauty in it. Each moment is a masterpiece unto itself. A wondrous snapshot framed by time passing from the all powerful now into into the fondness of memory.
Art engages the senses. It interests, it entertains, it delights and at times makes us think. It teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. Art makes us feel. Art is life and life is art. It is anywhere and everywhere one looks for it. I have seen it in a flower that dare sprout in a crack in the sidewalk and in the way the shadows of the maple leaves dance across my bedroom wall. Art is contained in the laughter of a friend, the optimism of a child and the smile of a stranger.
Art dwells in the caws of the crows on a Sunday morning in May. It is the way the light shines in through the front window and straight into my eyes in the morning and just how good a cup of black coffee smells and tastes. It’s “Ventura Highway” blaring on my neighbors radio outside and Mario the cat sitting in the windowsill taking it all in stride.
Art is the perfect toasted cheese sandwich, a cold glass of milk with a shiny red apple. Art is saying “I Love You” for the one millionth time and meaning it all the more.
It is out there just waiting to be appreciated…to be felt…to be acknowledged and embraced…to be lived.
“Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.”
Haha….got you with the title didn’t I? I’d like to think I fooled you but I know you are too smart for that, but it did get your attention did it not? I’m not above cheap theatrics; I’ll freely admit, but I do have a bit to say on this subject because there are many who do fall for this sort of nonsense all the time.
The quick and the easy
People want big results with little or no work. It’s an American thing, this instant gratification. Pair it with another very American thing; our fixation on looks, endless youth and vitality. We are talking some serious stars and stripes here.
We are a nation obsessed with health or at the least the appearance of health. People want others to think they are really healthier and more together than they really are. We have this desperate need to show others what a full life we are leading, jam packed with triumph, success and over-the-top uniquely unique experiences.
What trumps being perfect is at least looking perfect….and we are a self loathing society. 33.3 % of Americans are overweight and 35.9% percent are considered obese. Our ideal of beauty does not configure to the perfection that most of us can never live up to.
This is not to say that being overweight is not a health hazard, it is, but there are a number of other factors that contribute to good health and beauty for that matter than just what is considered the ideal weight and shape.
I have spent most of my life hung up on my weight. Starting with my first diet at the age of 9, continuing on through my teenage years and then onward into my adulthood. I was caught up in the angst of weight worry and denial. Following one crazy dieting idea after another. Denying myself and denying in general that the way I was going about it was well, stupid and all so wrong. I once spent two years of my life, two years..denying myself ice cream, yes ice cream!
Like so many others my self-worth was hung up on body image. I would compare myself to the ideal airbrushed “perfection” the media feeds us all. Of course I could never come close. No one can.
There are a million promises from a million sources who will tell you they are the ones with the secret to slim perfection. Just promise to pay the shipping and handling and it will be sent out immediately. One thing these empty promises provide is at the most, false hope with none of the hard work or willpower that accompanies eating a sensible diet, getting regular moderate exercise, time and patience. Nothing is easy and nothing is free. (except for love)
Sometimes there is temporary success but these fad diets and insensible lifestyles are difficult to keep up. It is easy to feel like a failure. It is also quite common for let-down people to comfort themselves with food and overindulging,…the very activity that is a major culprit in weight gain.
It’s big business; The health and weight loss industry. Add the beauty and fashion industry and you have a powerful bloc of economic players and reapers of piles and piles of big money. These companies get richer while we get more unhealthy.
They play on our fears and insecurities; pointing out what we “lack” and selling us a bottle of the stuff. Let’s stop buying it.
Tell them to keep it and let it rot on the shelves until they see that there is nothing lacking in us– it is they who lack. They lack the obvious; they cannot see the beauty that is inside us all. What a shame is that. Let us not be manipulated any longer…
We are all beautiful. Damn what they say, that media which feeds us stale perfection for us to consume.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
YOU are a beautiful being. Believe this. Know it.
Some people have a spark; a special something that transcends the physical. It is the belief in oneself.
What matters is one’s inside. It is the light of the soul and the love in the heart.
Beauty has a way of shining through.
Beauty is kindness and compassion. Beauty is strength and resilience. Beauty is devotion and gentleness. Beauty is quiet. It doesn’t declare itself it.
Airbrushed models stare back with empty looks as I thumb through one of today’s popular magazines. It is chock full of these empty-eyed ones selling this and that. Their long glossy hair and oh much too white neon teeth prompt me to remember to jot down Crest White Strips when I make out my weekly shopping list; something I have yet to try but am beginning to feel bad that I haven’t.
I don’t normally look at these types of magazines. I am more of a National Geographic type but my co-worker had it lying on her desk and I admit I was a bit curious so I asked to take a peek. I instantly felt bad; too short, too fat and definitely too old. A photo of a 71-year-old actress with no visible wrinkles tells me this. She looks on top of the world and I …well…I look dumpy.
I’m definitely not sporting the new “it” color which is emerald by the way and I haven’t spoken to my manicurist about this news flash. In fact, as shocking as this may be: I don’t even have a manicurist or an interior designer, who this magazine also says I should be speaking to about custom lighting and the new vivid countertops.
I do like the mega heeled bright fuchsia shoes on the following page, but I’d break my neck if I tried to walk in them. The shiny pants are nice, emerald by the way. I haven’t felt this inadequate since I was 19 and used to read this stuff. Back then I would compare myself to these models and even then, I didn’t stand a chance.
It never occurred to me at the time those models couldn’t compare with their own doctored up photos and that no one who appears in these things actually even resemble themselves.
I went on my first diet at age 9 and stayed on one or another until age 40 when I threw out my scale and gave up on that nonsense. (one of the smartest things I’ve ever done by the way)
It is a shame I felt so inadequate. It is a shame many other people do; women and men alike. We as a society base too much importance on appearance. It is superficial, shallow, so damn unnecessary and frankly, stupid. There are so many faces of beauty in different colors and hues. Like in a flower garden, variety of shape, form and color is what lends to the loveliness of a garden. Oh what a boring garden it would be if all the flowers were tall, slender and dainty, pristine white roses.
People, especially younger ones are put under so much pressure, so much scrutiny by themselves and their peers. This leads to so many bad feelings and heartache…not to mention health concerns and deaths from anorexia and bulimia.
I remember how bad I felt when my then 14-year-old daughter, who wears a size seven and is a willowy beauty with long wavy hair told me she was fat and didn’t like the shape of her face. I remember how I felt when was that age and used to starve myself to squeeze into impossibly tight jeans because I too felt fat. This cycle must stop. Of course I told her the truth; she is not fat, that she is wonderful, smart and artistic and it’s what inside that counts and how I am so very much proud of her. She didn’t buy it…”You have to say that, you are my mother.” she said…
I can’t compete with these magazines…not back when I was 19, not last summer when I tried to convince my daughter that she is beautiful and not now as I turn the pages of this all too glossy thick magazine jammed packed of examples of how I don’t measure up.
I know better, I’ve given up on ever being perfect, I am a short middle-aged woman without super whitened teeth and I have fine, straight hair. Although I am well-groomed and take pride in my appearance, I know I am no beauty queen but I am loved by my family and my heart is pure and my conscience clear. I know better and yet this still bothers me. Reading this magazine reminds me why I stopped looking at these things years ago…
We all say that it is what’s inside that counts. We say it’s someone’s heart and soul that is beautiful, many people pay great lip service to this truism…even the media will throw us “common” folk a bone every once in a while; making a big deal out of featuring “real people” in an ad and patting themselves on the back the whole time but how many “Dove women” are there compared to those perfect ones who really don’t exist?
It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we the public; the masses, so to speak are the beholders. If we keep buying this hype, they’ll keep selling it.
I got I new National Geographic today and I’ll be taking it to work, perhaps I will pass it around a bit…and while all this was going on I ran across this quote…online, not in THAT magazine…
“Step Away from the Mean Girls… …and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.
This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.”
Perhaps I’ll print it up and give it to my daughter…
I could wax poetic about beauty and truth and truth and beauty. I could tell you how it comes from within. I could also try to dazzle and amaze you with reworked platitudes about how beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I could attempt to be clever with an impressive display of wordplay and innuendo. I could take a stab at being philosophical about beauty. I might even write a poem or sing a song about the subject. I could do all this…but alas, that has all been done before…
…so, instead I’ll let the quotes speak for themselves and just say; sometimes beauty is just to be enjoyed and nothing more.