There are so many people in the world that struggle with appearance based issues. I would simply like to offer up the way that I have come to view “image” as an ulterior outlook.
If I had to sum it up in one sentence it would be this: My body is nothing and my body is everything.
In all reality, my body is literally meaningless. I have done nothing to either earn or be punished with my appearance- therefore it is not a reflection of my morality- one cannot be judged to be “good” because they look that way or “bad” for the same reasons. My body is not of my own design. I didn’t select my eye color, my body type, my birth marks- so how can those things constitute who I am? That’s like handing someone a random book and using that book to judge what type of literature that person enjoys. That is why clothes and hairstyles and things of that nature are important- they are consciously chosen- so they can be an indication of anything from someone’s personality to their financial status; but the raw material is only inheritance. That is the only thing that your body can indicate- your history- where your family came from- and that is all.
Why is it problematic to focus on appearance? Well, these stigmas about physical attraction exist with multiple purposes. Firstly as aesthetic enjoyment- the same way one would feel affection toward sunsets or flowers. This affection is simple; love is not simple. That is why, though few understand this, physical attraction is galaxies away from love. Another reason is that it is a reflection of how we see or want to see ourselves; our desirability being based off of how desirable the mate is who finds us desirable. There is nothing more selfish than this- using another human to affirm your own thoughts about yourself. This is selfish; love is not selfish- therefore, again, this deters us from finding a real kind of love.
However, our bodies can be something remarkably beautiful if we accept them for what they truly are, which is simply a motive of transportation. There is a clear distinction between your body and who you are- or your soul. The body is what allows the soul to be part of the physical world. It allows you to feel the chill of the air or to wave at a person passing by- essentially it allows your soul to know other souls. That is what can make physical relationships so beautiful. Two human souls can never truly come in contact with one another except through the medium of the body. When I touch someone, I am not touching them, yet the body allows them or their soul to feel it. Without the body, we would never be able to connect with another soul in this way or in any way at all.
So, to everyone who is constantly worrying about their appearance- about their weight or their height or their nose or whatever it may be- I just want to say: You are wasting your life. That may sound harsh, but think about how much time you waste nitpicking those things that you dislike about your appearance. If you don’t get over those things, you are going to spend the rest of your life fighting against yourself. This is not a “don’t worry, you are beautiful,” speech because the truth is, it doesn’t matter if you are beautiful. Your thighs don’t matter. Your eyes don’t matter. Your teeth, your abs, your feet- they are completely meaningless.
Not to sound morbid, but your body is simply a car- one day you will stop and get our and the car will be left empty and abandoned. Knowing that, why waste your whole life pimping out your car and nitpicking all of its imperfections? It’s not ours to keep and if that’s all we ever worry about and act on; what did we live for?
I realize that the world that I am advocating for will never exist- people will never forget about appearance completely. I’d only like to encourage you to stop looking in the mirror trying to see who you are because honestly you never will.
Because I look at the world everyday and I would do anything- absolutely anything- to, just for a moment, experience the ecstasy of being the things that I see. To feel the rush of being the drop of water at the top of the fountain at the Point. To be light as an autumn leaf drifting through the cool breeze. To be as soft and inviting as my bed at home. To be as dark and powerful as the weather just before a storm hits. To be a whisper; or a scream. To be snow, lit beneath a street light. To be the light from the sun- going so much farther than I will ever go. To be a mirror- the ultimate form of people watching. To be the wind- telling birds to fly and making humans want to.
I often stand atop Mt. Washington at night and gaze at all of the city lights. I pretend each light is a human life. I watch as night goes- some go on and some go off. They are like man-made stars. I see their reflections in the river and it looks like the lights there are from another city; beneath us- keeping us afloat. I stand there for hours and tell myself that if I jump off right now, I won’t die. Halfway through the fall my body will shatter into a billion shards. The wind will catch my remains and I will be spread out until I become the city; until I become this sight- I want to sacrifice myself to it.
That is the most beautiful tragedy that is being human. I am trapped by my body and I want, with every fiber of my being, to be something else, yet only as me could I understand that beauty and have that longing. I will always know what it feels like to be these things more than they ever can, yet I will never stop wanting.
She made herself be completely human.
Let’s be honest, there are absolutely no certainties in life I could die tomorrow for all I know.
I’ve never been one of those girls that planned their entire lives- their wedding, their future husband, their kid’s names, etc. That’s just not who I am.
In my opinion, you can’t live life as though there are guarantees. Don’t schedule everything or set outrageous goals for yourself or make concrete plans for your future. Having too many expectations will only lead to disappointment and it takes away from the here and now, which is the only thing we are truly given- the only guarantee that we have.
My six words mean that through my journey in life I plan to come to terms with my own humanness. That may sound odd or complicated, but I basically just mean that I will learn to understand and accept what it means to be human- all of the limitations, all of the beauty, all of the uncertainty, all of the wonder- and by the end I hope to have a concise opinion on what we really are.
I used the word made because that will be part of the journey- fully knowing humanity involves accepting that parts of being human that I cannot change- both the good and the bad; the beautiful and the terrifying. For example, I am one of those people that have never overcome that childish wish of wanting to fly- if anyone asked me what I wanted most in the world that would still be my answer. Yet, my body was not designed to reside in the clouds and that’s a part of humanity that I’ve had to accept. However, my mind was made to have that capability- we can fly in our dreams. Why do killers kill? Why are we so touched by music? That is what my future holds, answering questions that I have and forming my own opinions on life as we live it.
What I also meant with my six words was that my future will be never letting any moment go to waste. I may be young, but I have always been very aware of the world around me. I genuinely take pleasure in the weirdest/simplest things that you would see every day of your life. It may sound cheesy, but I am honestly just happy to be alive, and I feel that happiness surging through me every second of everyday. It is sometimes so powerful that it hurts; so powerful that I tear up. I don’t know why I am like this, but I know that awareness is not going to go away. I know that I will continue to drink in every smell, every taste, every touch, every moment that being human, being alive, has granted me.
The use of the word completely in my six words was also deliberate, because in my opinion these are the things that would make a life complete. Not how much money you make or how successful you are or how known you are or if you marry or have children or fall in love or any of those things that we are programmed to think we need. Life is living every second aware of yourself, in awe of the world around you, and thankful that you have the intellectual capacity to feel that beauty.
I honestly believe that the worst thing that you could ever do to another human being is to rape them. I think that rape is worse than any other form of torture imaginable and that it is even worse than death. I would rather be killed than be raped.
It is one thing to inflict pain. It is one thing to stick a knife in someone’s gut and twist it around until they are coughing up blood. It is one thing to pour kerosene on someone’s face and light them up. It is one thing to cut someone’s eyes out and watch them bleed to death. It is only pain- it is impersonal; the vulnerability that exists is only fear and we still have a home.
That is what our bodies essentially are- our home. Sure we may have a home with our families and such, but the fact of the matter is that the body is the one place in the whole wide universe that is solely and indefinitely ours. No one else can raise your hand for you or breath for you or think with you- every curl of your toes or crack of your knuckles or tear running down your face is completely and only you.
When you feel someone hold your hand or touch your shoulder-that is the wind beating against your shutters. There is only one way inside of a home- through the door. We keep our doors covered every day and refer to them as “private”. Why do you suppose we do that? I like to believe that it is for the same reason that we wouldn’t normally let a stranger into our home- trust. Cheesy as it may sound, we want to know that the person we are letting in will treat our home with respect, care, love and it has to be our choice- we have to be in control of that decision- otherwise that person may not.
Rape is not like getting stabbed or shot or breaking bones- that is all outside of the home. We cover our doors- they are special- only for the people that we choose to let inside. Rape is breaking in those doors, bursting inside and ripping apart everything that someone has built.
When you undergo any other type of torture it will only elicit one core emotion- pain. Rape is indeed painful, but it is pain that specifically occurs in the one place in your body where the highest form of pleasure humanly possible can be achieved; at the height of human emotion; at a human being’s most biologically sensitive point. With rape, someone has the ability to amplify any and all emotions- from pain to pleasure to fear to all things. That’s closer control of a person than can ever be achieved through anything else.
The body may be a home, but it can just as easily be a prison sentence. The body may serve as the house of the soul, but it can also trap it. The body is how the soul is able to integrate with the natural world- so when someone is raped it isn’t just their body at stake. The soul and mind cannot just fly away- leave the body behind and escape. The being that lives inside of those eyes, that mouth, that private door- that is what you’re having- that is what you’re taking.
We have progressed past animals in the sense that we are aware of our own complexity- using concepts created through our culture which reside inside of our minds, we can make things as significant and beautiful as they can possibly be. The idea of physical intimacy is one such concept. As I said, the soul is trapped- so even if two souls fall in love with one another they can never truly come in contact. Therefore, we as a human race have created this idea of physical intimacy- where being with someone in a sexual way has the possibility of signifying so much more than just a means to reproduce or obtain physical pleasure.
Sex is the closest that two human souls can come to touching- rape is the closest you can come to violating the soul.
Take her hand and
turn it over, kill it
as I reach up
to the light
dripping down like
wax from the ceiling;
burning- she dreamt of
wearing the stars
to her wedding.
Pull the cord
and hear the chord
resonate a billion-billion
down the street;
she hears them with
her eyes and cannot sleep.
Stretch me out,
morph me like play-dough,
I’ll run without breathing
This paper gown is too
heavy or maybe it’s the air.
But let me have it all
wrap it up so I can hold it
It will be soft and warm-
the skin of a lover-
and she and I will forget
our limitations and