I started this morning with an unfinished paper for my Comp II class. The assignment was to write a 1-2 page essay with each body paragraph beginning with the words "Beauty is..." I came to school today prepared to skip American History this morning so I could have it finished by 2:00 (which is when my Comp II class starts). Well, instead of skipping American History, I attended class and finished the paper during the hour I usually spend getting lunch. 'Cause I'm just a regular Superman like that. Anyway, I felt like sharing the stupid thing since it was so hard to write, so here it is. Notice that I (un)intentionally and (un)creatively left it untitled.
What makes a person beautiful? Is it physical characteristics—blonde hair, blue eyes, slim figure, and a well-formed face? Obviously these answers differ from person to person. Not all people find the same features attractive. And in any case, how fair is it to judge a person’s beauty solely on their looks? Doing so only demotes the concept to that age-old taunt, “Beauty is only skin-deep.” Rather, people exhibit beauty in ways that transcend outward appearances.
Beauty is more than physical appeal. It is not what magazines sell as beautiful. It cannot be found in the right products with the right brand names, purchased at the right stores. Beauty is not the girls buying into the latest trends, believing they can find their own beauty by imitating the cover girls of fashion magazines, slaving to become what pop culture deems beautiful. That is tragedy. Beauty is the girl who cancels all her subscriptions to fashion magazines when she realizes she does not need to resemble a super model to feel good about herself.
Beauty is in the ways people comfort each other. It is the glow of warmth felt by the cancer patient as her family holds her hand, reminding her they will never stop loving her, whether she makes it through the chemotherapy or not. It is the sense of togetherness felt at her funeral, inspired by the gathering of all the lives she ever left a mark on. It is the smile worn by the couple admiring their first child, and the smile worn again as they admire their first grandchild.
All people are capable of beauty. It may not manifest itself in the ways people anticipate, but not everyone gets to model for trendy magazines, and nor does anyone deserve to spend their youth in front of a camera. Such is the beauty that withers away with age, dimming slowly like a fire burning out. True beauty—the beauty of love between different lives—is what makes a person beautiful, and it never fades to black.