I've been thinking a lot about the idea of beauty lately. The train of thought probably sprang from reading the caption of a photograph of a boy and a girl that simply said "My beautiful girlfriend!" It meant beautiful in the sense of appearance. It made me sad.
I guess I don't understand the cultural obsession with beauty as it applies to appearance. It's just not the adjective I strive to be above all others. I'd rather strive to be thoughtful or daring or compassionate or creative. Passionate, driven, conflicted, intense. Bold, bright, risky, kind. Interesting, flawed, honest. Intentional. Open. Sure. Confident. Connected.
My energy is finite, I only have so much to give. And I would rather give it to becoming these other things.
I take care of myself. I don't walk around with the intention of looking like a demon or Rasputin. I own lots of lipsticks and I wear them because they're fun and a form of expression and I enjoy it. I dyed and cut my hair yesterday! I find it important to take care of my body—my vessel—and work to fill it with better foods. I like to stretch every night before bed.
But in the end, being beautiful in the traditional sense is not where I put my energies. It's not a compliment that I find particularly valuable. It's not the adjective where I assign my confidence or efforts.
There's a scene in Short Term 12, one of my favorite favorite films, where a couple is sketching each other. When Grace (Brie Larson) sees the portrait her boyfriend drew of her, she asks, amused, why there are flowers growing out of her head. He tells her it's the thoughts blossoming out of her incredible mind. That she's the weirdest, most beautiful person he's ever met.