Tuesday, November 29, 2011

You Are Beautiful (Re-Post from 3/31/11)

You Are Beautiful (Re-Post from 3/31/11)

William D. SIEMER II

I am tired. I'm getting older. Age has taken a toll on my body and my appearance. The rates of wrinkles, crevices, and bags under my eyes are only increasing.
I wake up, get a shower, put on some clothes, and head out the door for work. I get into my equally worn Ford Focus, and glance up at the rear-view mirror. Staring back at me is a man who has seen better, younger days. This is only the beginning...
Every day I drive the same stretch of Cincinnati highway, so every day I see the same billboards. They are mainly littered with ads for hospitals, digital internet providers, and miscellaneous retail stores. However, on this day I am feeling particularly self-conscience, and apparently more aware. I pass the downtown sport's arena and see a large digital display promoting $1,500 eyelid plastic surgery. Hmmm... my eyelids are looking a little saggy. The next billboard that catches my eyes is a surgeon who touts performing "3,000 facelifts." That might help get rid of my crow's feet and sunken eyes. Another billboard. Another facelift. That will assist with "The Tracks of My Tears" and the canals leading from my nose to mouth. In total, I passed six billboards for plastic surgery within 10 miles. I would make some Michael Jackson reference, but I'm actually a fan so I will leave it at that.
Maybe I chose the wrong profession. I get a few hundred dollars for advanced Photoshop editing--these doctors get a few thousand. That's not the point (I don't actually do much digital facial reconstruction.) However, how many times do we need to exploit the insecurities of people with the promise of youth, the forecasts of before and after, and the hopeful advancements of skin care products?
As I've aged, I've realized that beauty truly does come from within. Furthermore, I now find beauty in "flaws." After all, everyone has their own idiosyncrasies that make up their personality, so why not characteristics that distinguish their individuality? Gray hair is a color in my palette; a wrinkle is a simple stroke from my brush; old age is a priceless Van Gogh painting.
I didn't buy into my own philosophy a few years ago. I remember writing the following lyrics, "I'm sorry that I'm not the person you want, I'm not symmetrical and my body's not proportional. I'm not the pretty face in your magazine. Oh no, I'm not."
Still, I may not be the pretty face in your magazine, but I am trying to embrace my aging. Wiser? I don't know, but I need to come to terms with reality. I'll end up looking like my father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, and that's fine. I'm tired, but so is everyone else.
If I had infinite money, maybe I'd purchase those six billboards to tell you you're beautiful the way you are. Sure, I'd be putting people out of business, but maybe the doctors could concentrate their efforts elsewhere. I am not against people resorting to facial reconstruction. All I am asking is to consult with people around you, and look at yourself as a piece of art.
Some of the most beautiful pieces of art do not concentrate on perfectionism, but on substance. What are the impressions, moods, and beauty of the message? Look deeper.
My message is you are beautiful. Hopefully, someday I’ll realize this is true of me. I am a perfectionist, but I need to make peace with the face in the rear-view mirror, so someday I again ignore the billboards that eluded me for all this time.

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