Do you remember when beauty was joy? Shiny objects, pretty colours, soft textures, nice smells. Everything was beautiful.
I remember being so thrilled at the very sight of a brand-new pack of sketch pens. The symmetry of each pen, identical but in different colours. The uniform ridges on the white plastic covers. The smooth transparent packet they came in, with a barely visible flap folded over, still allowing one a view of colour. I loved being able to see. I still do.
But I find, my sense of joy stuck in my gut. I now have words and form to give to that feeling. But there are layers of foreign things these words have to go past. I am realising the world does not like beauty. And I’m part of that world.
Beauty doesn’t always inspire joy and exhilaration. It provokes envy. It triggers resentment and rage. It instigates a desire to sully, to destroy. I see it in the vicious words about celebrities. I read it in the defacing of monuments. I find it in the demolishing of lovingly created structures. I notice it in the misogyny of most men towards most women. I even find it in the self-sabotage of relationships that were thought to be beautiful.
Maybe as we got older, beauty became something we thought we should possess. Maybe we feel ugly for not having our personal label on beauty. Maybe the inability to own beauty inspires these destructive responses.
We forgot that beauty exists only in the eyes of the beholder. As soon you look away (to price tags, to labels, to flags, to things that assert ownership), it stops being beautiful and just becomes an object.
If a flower blooms in a world with no birds, no insects, no lovers or poets anymore, is it still beautiful? No, it’s just a vessel of reproduction for a plant. Pluck it off that plant, bind it in plastic and paste a label on it. Have you become the custodian of beauty? No, you’ve just become the owner of something that will die soon and leave behind trash.
Don’t lose your source of forever joy in the quest for ownership. Your witnessing is what makes beauty, beautiful. Enjoy it.