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Beauty Is a Twin, We Are Individuals
What is beauty? “Glad you asked”, the magazines at the grocery store checkout would say. Page upon page of flawlessly decorated women; tanned, well cut, and ready to serve, waiting to entice the next unfortunate customer. Showing us what we should already know to be true.
The moment we get home, set down our work and relax, beauty is lurking once again. The 60 inch big screen hears our inquiry and exclaims, “I have JUST what you’re looking for!” at maximum volume. Commercials always come on louder than the sitcom chalk full of morals and family values. These voices bring energy, laughter, and sometimes disaster. The images that accompany them welcome us to a cornucopia of perfection, where the popular girls are on our side and men with washboard stomachs and a heart of gold are waiting to meet us.
Want to go to a movie on Saturday night? Beauty’s there too, willing to give you a happy ending and the perfect kiss, but ONLY if you follow her rules. Play the part of the smart girl who inevitably must change herself and “forgets” to throw on a shirt before she goes out to save the world. Movie posters are aflame with flashing lights that continuously remind you, even as you leave the theatre, that “beauty” is always in style.
What is beauty though? I must say, at this point, I am quite confused as to its true form. Supposedly, beauty is a purity of heart and soul, an image we seek to show others, happiness that radiates from inside of us. Nowhere in that definition does it say that beauty causes sadness, dissatisfaction or depression, yet that is what I see. I see my friends enveloped in a constant battle to make themselves look better, assuming it will equate to feeling better too. When something is off the mark, or their body type does not match the one on the movie screen or magazine, they put the failure on themselves and continue this endless search for the ultimate “beauty”.
My intention is not to be preachy, for as we are all pulled in by this much anticipated promise every day of our lives, I too am a victim. It is a hard task, a difficult job to figure out who you are when all that surrounds you is doubt, and the opinions of everyone else are shoved down your throat. Relying on the words and actions of others does not help us grow as individuals, nor does it help us find and develop our own unique inner beauty. It is truly a sad fact that people are all being coaxed into looking like each other; uniforms of skin tight jeans and fake eyelashes marching down the street, the powder from their faces visibly rising into the air, every step echoing with the sound of diet pills and lipstick cases.
The scary thing is, sometimes when I look back over this sea of sameness, I can’t even see myself, even though I know I’m there. It is as if I don’t even exist. Truly, if we all became close friends with “beauty”, finally achieving it, that is all we would be.
The distinctions between people are slowly fading. What is individuality? We start to ask, but beauty waves it’s effortlessly coiffed fingernails and says, “Don’t you worry about that, it’s much too difficult to stand out; come with me and I’ll make all your dreams come true.” What she doesn’t know is that the two of them are actually twins; fraternal, but nonetheless related. They once were the best of friends, roaming the world together just as they were. However, it seems that they were separated along the way.
We are told that “beauty” and “individuality” do not go together, when really, they are the same exact thing. True beauty is revealed through character, the deeds we do and the heart that we have. The beauty we possess may ultimately be different from that of somebody else, but that is what makes it special and worth having. This is why I disagree with beauty as a collective term; it gives the wrong impression, convincing us that we must all be the same to have success in society and feel good about ourselves.
I’ll never forget my senior prom. All of my friends looked so gorgeous, so radiantly beautiful in their own way. Fat and skinny were forgotten, and we were able, for one night, to lose ourselves in the ecstasy of real joy. One of my dearest friends, however, still looks at those pictures and laughs at herself, saying how ugly she looked, uttering her disbelief at how she could have ever worn that dress and been so huge. This is one instance that, time and time again, prompts me to revisit the meaning of words like pretty, happy, beautiful.
What is beauty? It is nothing we can put our finger on, point to in a magazine or purchase in a clothing store. It is the fact that we are who we are, whatever that means. It is the essence of our being, the voice in the back of our head that says, “You are perfect just the way you are, just as others are perfect in their own way.” Beauty is the simply amazing realization that we are alive.