Beauty or Something More
Romans 12 says, “Discover beauty in everyone.” I read this on someone’s website as their personal ethos.
This seems like a mostly harmless sentiment. At first it resonated with me but started to feel hollow. A better version, for me, is I'm trying to discover how everything and everyone is interesting or unique. I'm not trying to find beauty in everything or everyone even as someone who takes in details and is possibly too observant. I like the idea in a perfect world.
Something doesn't have to be beautiful to be valuable. I think this point of view has been reinforced by society and that we are visual creatures. We would rather see an open field with flowers and a stream gurgling by than overflowing garbage at the dump. This doesn't make us bad. Striving for perpetual beauty instead of just living makes you feel ugly even when no one whispered the word.
Symmetry and certain measurements are elevated and coveted. Everyone falling outside of this narrow section of the bell curve is deemed less than. I feel this is why people are surprised, who don’t know me, when I have a personality, opinion or something to say. When you are conventionally attractive per society standards it doesn't really matter what you say. The halo effect and your outfit save you from criticism, most of the time.
People want to bottle up beauty, hide it away and save it for later. Beauty and our definition of it is evolving; slowly and quickly depending on who you ask and what media is consumed. The Miss USA pageant is probably not embracing evolving beauty standards. Almost like fashion week runways but model diversity is changing slightly faster among participating brands.
Wise people say beauty fades. Another reason to define yourself in ways beyond a reflection. Beauty is also in the eye of the beholder. I consider many people beautiful who will never grace the covers of magazines or rack up likes on pictures. There is beauty in age, not looking perfect and seeing what others consider flaws as your strength. No one remembers another pretty face with no voice behind it.
I enjoy contorting and manipulating beauty and images as most graphic designers do. It is akin to manipulating reality. So far I haven't used my skills for evil, manipulating someone into the sky high beauty standards even celebrities can't reach, only using Photoshop for fun. I put images together that seem so disparate into something new that you can't believe they were ever apart.
Search and seek beauty but try to look beyond that. Beyond shallow surfaces. Find things no one else is looking for or at. Look at ordinary or normal things with different eyes or perspective. Something doesn’t have to please your eye to make an impact.
“Youth and beauty are not accomplishments. They're temporary, happy by products of time and/or DNA”
-Carrie Fisher, NBC interview from December 2015
Seeking beauty is great but I'm looking for something more. The strange and unusual is a start.