Monday, December 6, 2010

What is beautiful?

As you know, I find people on twitter and stalk away. It's a fun pastime, getting a glimpse into the life of a stranger, seeing their personality shine through on their blogs. One of my favorite twitterers is @thebloggess. I've never seen anyone pack so much humor in 140 characters. She is just freaking hilarious.

This week, however, I ran across one of her tweets that simply said "If you've ever doubted yourself, you need this." Intrigued, I clicked on the link and it led to "Mom Houston".  It is a small article about her best friend, Katherine Center, who is a photographer and author in her own right. I read it and cried. We have best friends because we see the best in each other. It's a shame we can't see our own beauty, we can't celebrate who we are because we're too busy trying to live up to some ridiculous standard.

No one ever told my generation that everyone possessed their own beauty. We were too wrapped up in trying to make sure everyone was as thin as Twiggy, or had hair like Farrah. My generation decided people needed boxes and labels. Children had to be disaggregated into groups, social class, and worth. And if you were chunky, had bad teeth, or, God forbid, weren't completely symmetrical in all things, you were just screwed.

It's only gotten worse over time.

Kate's generation has taken it one step further. It's no longer enough to be thin, straight teethed and symmetrical. Now you have to be smart, athletic, overachieving, and socially savvy. Mean girls who have little compassion or understanding, who cruelly take their place in this world, these are the ones that are celebrated. Why? How did we get here?

I've ordered "Everyone is Beautiful" as my Christmas present to me.  Here's an excerpt.  

Maybe I'll slip it into Kate's stuff as she heads off to college next year. It would be a gift beyond measure if she could internalize what beauty really is before she starts the next chapter in her life.