Perfection Deception

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I've had it up to my eyeballs with the laughably limiting beauty standards that my lovely culture has chosen to shove down my throat since the day I was born. I am sick and tired of being told that there is a specific way I have to look in order to qualify for the golden seal of approval. Go to hell, I don't want your seal. I hate that beauty perceived as the ultimate goal, that without it nothing else matters. That my mind and my ambition is a footnote in people's thoughts that follows their judgment of how my behind looks in the jeans I'm wearing. My body, and everyone else's, is so much more than what people perceive. It's transport for the human being that exists beyond that scope, it is powerful and important, regardless of my stretch marks or my rolly tummy or my stubbly nails. How I take care of my body, how I portray it, how I use it, is of absolutely NO concern to anyone but myself. I don't owe it to anyone to live up to the preconceived idea of perfection. I am not contractually obligated to be YOUR idea of attractive, just by virtue of being alive.

And the fact that I am constantly being told what I'm supposed to define as attractive just pisses me off even more. No, Cosmo, shut up and let me tell YOU what I find attractive. I find passion attractive. I find the way a person's eyes light up when they talk about their favorite book attractive. The way they stretch when they just wake up, the random mole in an unexpected place, their little scar on their ankle and the way they laugh when they tell you how they got it, their respect for their fellow man regardless of circumstance; THAT is freaking attractive. Woman or man or trans or fluid or anything you are, what defines your beauty is not the ratio of your ears to your nose or the straightness of your teeth or the way that you speak, it's SO much more. And your beauty is important only to you, only to how you perceive yourself. Love your body, but love what it is housing even more. Build that up. Become interesting and inviting and make yourself happy, and everyone who tells you that you shouldn't be satisfied with that can go rot.

Perfection doesn't exist, and if it did, wouldn't that be such a boring place? I want the uncertainty and the rough patches and weird bits on my body and in my soul, and why shouldn't I? Because it's wrong?Because it's UGLY? In that case, I can't wait for the day when I'm standing in the place I'm supposed to be, somewhere down the road. Because I will be there, ugly and beautiful at the same time, with the same soft belly and bitten nails and frizzy hair, filled with a contentment that nobody who told me I wasn't worth it could take away. I don't want your approval, my passion for life and respect for myself throws out any meager need for a nod in my direction. I will be interesting. I will be ugly. I will be pretty. I will be odd. I will be happy. What I won't be, is perfect. And that is the most exciting thing, isn't it?

I went to the beach yesterday, with my little three year old cousin, my amazing little girl I love more than life itself. Just the two of us, a toddler and a teenager, the curious and cynical. She refused to let me hold her hand, preferring instead to crawl in the sand, coating her hands and knees and belly. This little lion girl, completely uninhibited, adventurous and excited.Roaring her presence in this crazy world, self-assured and unafraid. I smiled…but then I felt sad. Because I knew one day she would fall prey to insecurities that should never be hers to bear, judgments she should never have to face. This streak of lightning, radiating across the shore, would one day be contending with a corked bottle of societal expectations. The long curly hair, so much like mine, whipping around her round, sand-coated face, would one day be pulled and tamed. Those bowed and soft legs would one day be shaved and nicked. The adorable bulge of her tummy would one day be obsessed over and abused, smacked and hated. Worst of all, that roar of laughter she releases without any urging, with every new opportunity and discovery, will one day be met with a quizzical look…even with shame. And that makes me so ANGRY. Because how DARE this world try to tell her who she is supposed to be. I want to tear apart every glossy magazine she is going to read, smash every television, scream at every person who has the gall to glance at her sideways. I want to grab her by the cheeks, those beautiful pink cheeks, before they are streaked and run down with tears of perceived unworthiness. I want to get to her before they do. I want to look her in the eyes and tell her that she doesn’t have to listen. I want to tell her that she can be everything. She can be strong and weak and skinny and fat and intelligent and adventurous and bossy and silly and uncommon and ALIVE, and those who love her always will regardless. Never be perfect, never be perfect, I want to tell her again and again. But…I know she won’t understand, she won’t believe. She’s going to traverse the landscape of jagged knives and words, just as all of us do, and learn the hard way, just as all of us did. She’s going to read the magazines, watch the shows, hear the gossip. There’s nothing I can do other than be there for her. So, instead of exploding in a firestorm of righteous fury, I got on my hands and knees, and rolled in the sand beside her.

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