Saturday, May 29, 2010

True Beauty Doesn't Fit into a Plastic Mold

Beauty comes in more forms than we can imagine at times. Collectively, we have a standard for what we consider to be the threshold for what is and what isn't. Nature displays it in ways that we become enamored with, but it can leave us speechless when we try to explain exactly what it is. Beauty is a feeling, an unspoken reality that captures our attention. It contains a sense of intrigue and attraction without true explanation.

People often seek beauty for themselves. They not only want to feel attractive, they also wish to be seen that way. We compare ourselves to others and to the standards of beauty propaganda that we're bombarded with by the media. It's the reason we diet, exercise, put on make-up and seek to "tweak" those details about ourselves that we find unacceptable. With the progression of technology and medicine, we've turned plastic surgery into a multi-billion dollar practice. Anyone, as long as they have the adequate financial resources, can magically change their appearance to reflect what society says is beautiful.

Ok. So I've thought about it-going "under the knife." Sometimes it's for the typical reasons that females might seek surgery. Some of us aren't blessed with the right "genetics" in the fat/cellulite distribution department and no matter how much we diet or exercise, that stubborn fat won't leave our behinds or thighs. A little lipo sure seems like a convenient way to be rid of it once and for all. Other times it's not for the typical reasons. A lot of females rush to a plastic surgeon to enhance their chest to the "perfect" full C/D cup that nature didn't bless them with. This I will never understand. But that's because I'm only 5'4 and a half and would gladly trade mine for a set of B's any day. Sorry ladies, but having a pair of bigger bazookas isn’t all it's cracked up to be. Just try finding shirts or bikini tops that will fit that area properly when the rest of your upper half needs a small or an x-small. And you can forget about stepping outside in the morning to walk the dog or grab your newspaper without putting on a bra. Not to mention when it comes time to hit the gym, you have to order special sports bras from pricey outlets like Title Nine that will actually hold the twins in place.

Still, while I can understand the drive to enhance one's physical appearance, I think it indicates a lack of self-acceptance when one seeks to completely change the way they look. I'm not talking about dyeing one's hair, Botox, a lip plump, a little lipo or laser resurfacing. I'm talking about completely modifying your appearance to the point of not maintaining most of your original features and/or coming out afterwards as almost completely unrecognizable. This lack of self-acceptance comes from within, I believe. The drive begins with a need to gain the attention and acceptance from outside in order to fill the void that exists inside. If I create the appearance of being beautiful and "ok," then that will somehow mean that I am. It doesn't matter that in the process I lose my uniqueness or neglect the development of true beauty-that of my character. As long as I am a "carbon copy" or reflect the imprints from the "cookie cutter" mold, I am a desirable and worthy individual. I fit in because I appear to be what others say I should be.

The tragedy inherent in this line of thinking is that no amount of appearance modification can truly make you one hundred percent acceptable. Standards will change. Your physicality will change. And as my high school drama teacher once said so eloquently, "no matter where you go there's always going to be people who don't like you." So you have to learn to start with how you feel about you. You have to take off the glasses that the world hands you and design your own.

Inward beauty always breaks through the barrier of the shell it's contained in. It shines through the eyes, like the soft, warm rays of a summer sunrise. It becomes spoken words of inspiration, encouragement and helpful tenderness that gets imprinted on our hearts. It shows up in our ability to smile in happiness at the small, everyday miracles in life, which often go unnoticed. It's the ability to forgive when it isn't deserved and the ability to see the smallest flicker of light within a black sheet of darkness.

Inward beauty is being able to see your reflection when you scrutinize the presence of someone else. It's the realization that when you look in the mirror you see the reflection of who and what you've planted in your inner soil. That soil and those seeds can yield a rose, a tulip, a sunflower or perhaps even a dandelion. Some are considered flowers, others weeds. Yet each contains the colors and the petals that someone, somewhere, finds intriguing enough to savor.

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