Skin sunk around bones in protruding starvation is beauty.
Normalized with eyes melted into pits of blackened seas. Salted water burned pain into a sickening sensation of emptiness.
Body twisted into a sensual blur. Collar bones puppeteering her breasts.
Blossoming from spirited youth into the world of never ending expectations and misdirections.
Bones expected to be filled with feathers, skin expected to be tightly pulled against every crevice, face expected to be whipped with unreal and unnatural smoothness.
She mustn’t let the words of broken societies control her body, though she’s tempting to hurl herself into the vortex of self deprivation, rising above will unleash her true beauty wrapped in a pleasant blanket of happiness.
This year I learned that there are two types of Christmas trees: a noble and a douglas.
I was standing in the parking lot of Lowe’s, searching the fenced in barn for this year’s tree. To my left, there were the douglasses. I knew that any one of them would look great in my living room. They had the classic Christmas tree feel, and I felt satisfied with the quality.
Then, I looked to my right. Propped along the wooden fences were the plush, green noble trees. And they were, indeed, noble. The trees looked as though they came straight out of a holiday hallmark movie. The branches looked as though they grew to meet cold winter snow, and I could not picture any kind of tree that represented the holiday better.
I again turned to my left. The douglass trees then looked drab. Dying, even. The only thing that made them more appealing than the tall nobles was the pricetag. I sorted through each of them, however, and found one that would suit my living room. I admired it and it’s imperfections seemed to disappear. But I again turned towards the nobles.
The contrast in beauty was striking. The tree I had found did not seem as beautiful anymore.
I picked up the large and awkward 25-pound bag of Laguna Specked Buff clay and set it on the canvas table with a thud. Getting my wire, I slice a piece of clay that measures out to be exactly 1.5 lbs. The thin silver wire attached to green handles slides and slices the clay so beautifully. The clay, not wanting to be sliced, holds some resistance which makes the process all the more satisfying. Once set up, I wedge the clay using my leverage along with the firm table top to push and elevate any air bubbles out of my freshly cut piece of clay. Once done, I take to the wheel. The centering is first, the specked buff clay, rough and sprinkled with sand turns round and round the wheel. The sandy texture rubs and grinds the blade of my hand, but at the same time moves and bends at my will. Finding the middle of the clay, I press my finger in with a strong and precise motion, bowing out slightly. The clay spins quickly but stays perfectly in the center, completely content on the wheel. Taking my fingers, I press into the right wall of the clay and start to form my walls. Squeezing and holding the wet clay between my two pointer fingers, I begin to elongate my piece. The walls become delicate and thin. I grab the metal rib, flexible, I bend the awkward, thin, metal oval around the wall of the clay to smooth out and nicely finish the mug. After I trim the bottom and smooth out the lip with a rectangular piece of leather, I take it off the wheel and it begins its’ drying process.
Going back 10 years ago, a 6-year-old blonde-haired girl went into the rabbit shelter in Santa Barbara (that to this day does not exist) with a determination. As she comes into the outside rabbit room, she laid her eyes on hundreds of bunnies. She walked around the shelter saw some cute ones, but not staying more than a few seconds to thoroughly examine the rabbits until she comes upon an odd pair, two brothers one bright white with blazing red eyes and the other another jet grey. She immediately sat down as began to play with the bunnies. His mother seemed shocked because these two bunnies were not particularly young and not particularly friendly. Not more than half an hour later the little girl left with her new bunnies, chewy and sweetheart. Sweetheart, the white rabbit got his name from immediately coming up to the girl and resting his small head on her equally small foot. While the grey one simultaneously chomping on a carrot, moving his mouth in a circular motion made the child burst into laughter. As the girl began to grow, so did the bunnies. Stages of their life passed by quickly. Skipping ahead two years. The girl left her house with one of the Dork Diaries in hand and walked out to the back yard where the hutch sat. She climbed through the bunny door and sat in the wood and chicken wire cage. The bunnies would hop over to her, lay down, and not move until she got up to leave. Every day, she would read aloud to her bunnies, all the way until she graduated the fifth grade. Going into middle school the bunnies became a second priority, but she still fed them twice a day and would do monthly spa days for the rabbits, which they thoroughly enjoyed, until that next summer came and the white bunny that had glowing red eyes died. She held him in her arms for the last time before her dad took him to the bunny clinic. He had bladder stones. That night the not-so-little girl, her mom, and brother sank onto the living room carpet embracing one another in each other’s sadness. The girl had never truly lost anything to that extent before. But life went on. The girl in the fifth grade, about a year before sweetheart died, had gotten two more bunnies. Chewy lost his bother that day, and at 7 years old decided to keep living. As middle-school continued, the girl grew more distant from the bunnies, she became more interested in drama and “life”. She still took comfort in them and would visit them when she wanted to take comfort in something so innocent and that depended on her. Although she loved all of her animals, she would always hold chewy longer and give him extra carrots. She loved the way he would eat them. Although it did not make her burst into uncontrollable laughter, she smirked and watched until he finished chewing. In eighth grade she lost one of the bunnies and she buried him in her yard. She spent the rest of that day with chewy and the other bunny. Chewy looked happy as ever. His jet grey coat was sprinkled with white. His eyelids dropped slightly but his eyes sparkled the same that they did nine years ago when she got him. Now, skipping ahead to the present day. At 10:13 on November 22d, 2020. The girl’s mom comes in and says that something is wrong with chewy. Immediately the girl, who has turned into a young woman, begins to sob. Running outside she sees chewy laying on his side. Shaking. His head hung low as he tries to stand. She picks up chewy as he lays on his side. Turning him over she sees that he has an infection. Putting him down gently and stroking him in hopes to provide comfort to him as he had done for her. Her mom and her get into the car with Chewy. They decided that the best thing to do is to end his suffering. Knowing that a piece of your childhood is dying is something hard to face. Arriving at the 24-hour clinic, she carries the box to the front door. Her mom fills out paperwork as she sinks into a patio chair looking at Chewy. As a man approaches the door to the clinic, she opens the box and gently strokes chewy’s back and says goodbye for the last time. Standing up. Not being able to stop the tears, she hands the box to the doctor. And at 10:55 pm, Chewy and the girl are separated forever. Turning to her mom embracing each other like they had done so many years before with Sweetheart, they drive home. Sinking into a coma of emptiness, the girl thanks Chewy and wishing him the best where ever he may be going. She hopes that he finds peace and that he is relieved of all pain that he felt.
Thank you Chewy for all that you have done for me. You will be remembered and loved forever.
The Alaskan glaciers melt into the icy rivers as the sockeye salmon swim upstream in hopes of population. Scales sunk with an intense array of pinks and dark reds. The salmon’s dark green heads protrude out of their thick body of flesh. In a small school, three or four fish swim passionately up the shallow stream. The stream on the verge of freezing glistened in the bright sunlight, and the salmon swimming only inches under the reflective water continue on their journey. The smell of pine swept through the chilled air and the misted grass sprouted on the side of the stream. Although life thrived outside the stream, the salmon’s life narrowed down to a single purpose. They needed to keep swimming.
Am I laying in a hospital bed surrounded by my family, basking in all of my successes. Nothing but happiness and satisfaction when I look back. I close my eyes with the itention of sleeping. Slipping deeper into sleep. I lose my grip on life. My lungs exhale with my last breath and Im gone.
Is that a sad way to go?
Or am I climbing Mount Everest? Each breath a fight for survival. Each step a step closer to absolute accomplishment. Maybe I started in a group of 15 and now there are two. My other partner ready to make the summit with me. We leave camp four which sits exactly at 26,000 feet. It is a day of oxygen tanks and sheer pain. The wind is generous but the air still spun with little frozen flakes. Were so close. With only a half an hour longer, my partner says he can’t make it. I push on. I make it. The snow had stopped completely. My lungs shrunk and my body crippled with the cold. Sitting down I rest. Absolute peace. The clouds hung below the mountain cutting me off from the ordinary world. Hours pass by after the excruciating journey, I let the cold take my body. The weather changes and the winds pick up. Without enough strength or carry on I sit there letting the elements take me. In my last minutes, all I can think about is the excruciatingly cold pain that rips at my skin. I close my eyes and my body is forever frozen in time.
That would be cool.
But what happens after death?
Do I instantly begin a new life? Do I get re-circulated back into the possibly ever looping birth cycle? Did I die just to die again and again and again?
Or does my energy and soul dissipate into the world erasing me completely?
These questions are unanswerable so I choose not to fear death but accept that it will happen. All I can do is live before I die.
Walking among trees, flowers, and bushes, I see so many detailed shapes and colors that could be put together to represent almost anything. One homework assignment I had this week was to create a biological structure using elements of nature, and it was incredible to see how many mediums were available in the small space of my backyard.
I can see the textures of the plants and imagine how they would function in a work of art. I remember back in the seventh grade when our english teacher had us replicate the art of a famous nature artist by arranging leaves on the ground. We created the pattern of a heart using the different shapes, colors, and textures of nature. It was incredible to see how so many pieces of nature can come together and create something so beautiful.
While nature is stunning in itself, it has the capacity to be rearranged into a work of art with intent. The intention within a nature piece shows the connection between human spirit and the beauty of the natural world.
They say beauty is only skin deep, but what is that supposed to mean?
Many of us find ourselves examining our features in the mirror for hours on end, or catching a glance of yourself in the mirror and feeling a wave of self conscious thoughts crowd your mind.
Why as human beings do we strive to be beautiful on the outside? Why is not having a beautiful soul or personality good enough?
I often find myself wondering if people still believe that beauty is in fact skin deep. I would much rather be adored for how I treat people, rather than for how I look physically on the outside.
If people believed beauty was in fact only skin deep, I think many of us would live a happier life. We would not care so much about how we looked or if we had the perfect body to fit in a bikini because it would not matter. In the end, none of it would really matter.
Yes, beauty is on the inside and it is skin deep, but sometimes in order to find that inner beauty you must learn to love your external self too.