I was critiquing my work in progress, HUMAN OR HIDDEN, a few days ago and surprised myself. I’d forgotten something Blair had thought and found myself smiling when I got to the end of Chapter Fifteen. Her opinion on beauty really struck me, being that she had much more to base it on than most and I figured I’d share it for this post:
“The forest smells of death.” Nathaniel said, stopping me.
I brought my eyes back up to him, away from the trees, away from darkness, away from anger, and couldn’t tell how he felt about what I’d said. He was looking at me but I couldn’t read him. Not that I really tried, I was tired of following signals. If he had something to say, he could bloody well say it. I wasn’t pulling it out of him. He didn’t look ready to burst into flames, so I took that as a good sign.
“I want to follow your scent. It should lead us to the body.” He said.
He was hauntingly beautiful, framed by the darkness, eyes glowing again, unmoving. Vulnerable in a way no other vulnerability could compete with, with no clothes to hide behind. But then again, he’d chosen the vulnerability. It was different when you had no choice. I should know.
There was beauty in the way he held himself as well. But beauty can fool you. Beauty can hurt you, kill you, rip you to pieces from the inside out. Sometimes beauty isn’t beautiful at all.
I stood barefoot and covered in blood before the big bad wolf and wondered if it would be foolish to trust him.
(When Blair refers to ‘what she said’ to Nathaniel, it has nothing to do with a romantic relationship between the two. I say this simply because reading this excerpt on its own, I realized it comes off that way.)
This was one of Blair’s more philosophical insights, as most often her opinion is kill kill kill! (just kidding, but you get the idea). And it made me think about what beauty really means. To me and in popular opinion.
According to Google – a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.
According to dictionary.reference.com – the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
Right now in popular media, beauty is defined as physical perfection, which ironically, is very fake. It’s showing us, telling us, that beauty is the mask you put on. But that mask isn’t you. It’s you trying to hide everything you and the world consider “less than perfect”.
I find the meaning of beauty to go much deeper than that. To use a much overused cliché (which I happen to love), I believe the meaning of beauty goes deeper than skin.
Beauty is who you are. What you do to and with yourself and others. How you live your life, your personality, your outlook. The reasoning behind everything you do, say, think, wish, fantasize, and dream.
On the other side, beauty can be used as a mask for a much different reason by a different kind of person. The outside may have a pretty mask, but what happens when the inside is hideous? People have the tendency to meet someone beautiful and want to think of them – and do so – as a good person. A beautiful person. Because how could someone so beautiful be evil?
I read this book a couple months ago, “Skin” by Ted Dekker and it talked a lot about how people perceive others due to their outward appearance. Wendy, the main character, tried to look beyond the superficial to see the real beauty (or lack thereof) in a person and ended up seeing people for who they really were, not the mask of beauty they put up. I loved this book’s outlook because it took another character, the essence of beauty on the outside, and showed us just how ugly she was on the inside. And no one wanted to accept that. Why? Because she was beautiful and she knew it. She used it, hid behind it, and it was her mask.
To me, beauty isn’t only the superficial. Instead, it’s a balance – both inside and out. Who you are balances out with what you look like for me.
DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
Never forget that sometimes beautiful people use their looks against you. They get you to perceive them as a beautiful person. And then they hurt you.
Like Blair said, sometimes beauty isn’t beautiful at all.
I’m not saying all people with good looks are horrible people, I’m simply saying we shouldn’t automatically “judge a book by its cover” when it comes to people. Just because someone looks beautiful, doesn’t mean they are. And just because someone isn’t physically attractive in your eyes, doesn’t mean they aren’t beautiful on the inside.
Get to know the person behind the mask, behind the skin.
Beauty is not just a visual; it’s the heart of the person. Beauty is in, radiates from within, the soul.
(Excerpt from HUMAN OR HIDDEN Copyright Daphne Shadows. All Rights Reserved.)