Knee Deep

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It is a ray of sunlight escaping the suffocating overcast of clouds. It is a rose bud just beginning to flourish. It is the glow of fireflies illuminating the once dark pond. It is a snow-capped mountain standing proud in the distance. It is the trickling stream through the forest filled with the reds, oranges and yellows of autumn. These types of beauty are seen clearly but true beauty is not knee deep. It is not the smeared blue eye shadow but the window to the soul beneath it. It is not a slender figure but rather the character lying within this shell. It is not the primped to perfection hair but the thoughts and ideas churning under those curls. It’s a mother caressing her new born baby’s cheek for the very first time. It’s love forming with a mere glance. It’s a single tear drop. It’s the smile of happiness on the face of hopelessness. It’s the helping hand of a stranger reaching down to grasp the need of another. Not all beauty is found on the surface often a time beauty is found once one delves deeper.

The world has lost sight of the true meaning of beauty. Women across the globe are putting themselves through drastic measures in order to achieve their culture’s definition of beautiful. Women residing in China once took on the fad of foot binding. It is said that men were as attracted to Chinese women with tiny feet as American men are today to women with a slim figure. The foot binding process is excruciating; the toes are forced to curl under the foot and the foot is compressed to be place into (ideally) a three to four inch shoe. Beauty is obtained by the Kayan women in Thailand through the appearance of an elongated neck. They accomplish this by placing gold coils around their neck. Slowly more and more coils are added and the weight of the coils presses down the clavicle; giving the appearance of an elongated neck. Beginning in the Renaissance and continuing through the Victorian age, corsets were very popular for European and American women. The corset design’s main purpose is to shrink the waist line and accentuate the hips and bust; creating the hour glass figure that is so strived for in American society. Another popular American custom to obtain beauty is to insert needles filled with colored ink into their skin; creating images that will become permanent marks of expression on their bodies. Shooting a needle through various body parts (most popular the ear lobe) in order to be able to put a diamond or accessory of some sort in the area that was pierced is also common. A rising trend is to cut skin and fat off of the stomach and then sew it back together to create a thinner mid section. Absurd measures are being taken throughout the world to become “beautiful.” In America a popular toy is Barbie. Model Katie Halchishick cannot even measure up to Barbie and she should be perfect because she is a model right? This is incorrect. It is very near impossible to live up to the standards Barbie is setting. The worst part is these dolls are sold to young, impressionable girls who now want to be just like Barbie. Model Katie Halchishick had a plastic surgeon mark what would need to be done to her body in order to achieve the look Barbie portrays. She would need a brow lift, a jaw line shave, rhinoplasty, a cheek and neck reduction, a chin implant, scooped-out shoulders, a breast lift, liposuction on her arms, and tummy tuck. If even a model cannot be Barbie shaped without drastic surgery why are we setting young girls up to aspire for that image? The icon of beauty is flawed. Beauty isn’t just a pretty face it’s confidence in yourself and who you are.
Meredith was a girl that didn’t quite measure up to America’s perception of beauty. She had a thick figure layered with clothes that were either frumpy or ill-fitting and her hair hung in mousy strands. Her teeth were a sparkling white but could use the help of braces. Her face wasn’t unattractive but her nose crooked a little bit too far to the right and not an ounce of makeup was applied when maybe it should have been. The thing with Meredith though, was that she had self-esteem so great that confidence seemed to seep from her pores. Many people confuse being confident with being conceited. They try for a false confidence but then over compensate for their lack of actual self-esteem, causing them to become conceited, which is not beautiful. Meredith however was an exquisite, unique beauty. She had a warm heart that reached out to each and every person. Many guys pined away for Meredith not because she was physically attractive but because she was confident, sweet and kind. Meredith was the girl who invited new students to sit with her at lunch, comforted the girl crying in the restroom and passed her advice on to all that she could. Her advice was this “Confidence is key. It isn’t what is on the outside but on the inside that counts.” To me, her quality personality far surpassed any physical beauty out there.
Beauty is not feet bound into tiny shapes. Beauty is not gold coils hiding a sinking clavicle. Beauty is not being unable to breathe in a laced corset. Beauty is not a plastic doll or a dangerously thin model. Beauty is not high heels or a slinky dress. Beauty is laughter. Beauty is empathy. Beauty is kindness. Beauty is confidence. Beauty is the coral reef beneath the ocean tide. Beauty is the mica found just beneath the pine and soil covered ground. Beauty is a single clover flourishing in the dead of winter. It is not always on the surface. Often a time one most delve deeper.

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