Posts Tagged With: Beauty

What is a Picture of Beauty?

What is a Picture of Beauty

I post a lot of pictures of me on my Facebook, most of them of me smiling or just enjoying life.  I’ve been told that I’m narcissistic, that I’m just obsessed with myself.  For those who think or comment in that manner shows me they know nothing about me. If you scroll through my blog or my Facebook, you’ll not find a picture more than five or six years old.  I personally only have less than a dozen.  Why? I never took pictures of myself because I didn’t feel I mattered.  Others didn’t take and post pictures of me either; they still don’t, because I don’t matter to them, not even my friends today. If I’m on their pages, it’s because I’ve tagged myself in a picture that I took, not one that they took of me.

I started taking ‘selfies’ when I read an meme that stated, “If you want to see what or who someone values or fears losing, look at who and what they take pictures of.” That hit me right in the heart and deep in my soul.  It was like God whispered in my ear to pay attention.  It had me scrolling through my pictures of beautiful outdoor scenery and activities, my pets, my family, my food, art, simple things I found beautiful, and it was clear to see all the things I loved, because they were right there in front of me in brilliant color, picture, after picture, after picture.  But it didn’t take long before I noticed what was missing in all those pictures – me.  Well, I made a quick excuse, “I’m taking the pictures, so it only makes sense I’m behind the camera, not in front of it.  So, I went to my family and friend’s pages, scrolled through their pictures, and again I could clearly see all the things they loved and valued, but not one picture of me. Not one.  It broke my heart. It still hurts. This was about five years ago.

Before I go any further, the biggest culprit was me.  My family just followed the example I set for them. Because I have problem letting people touch me, my children never hug me, and they tell me it feels awkward when they do.  Who the hell feels awkward hugging their mother and telling her that you love her?  I’ve hugged and kissed my children since the day they were born, and told them I loved them as often as I could. I still do every chance I get.  But, they forget I even exist.  So, how does that happen?

I stopped waiting for someone else to love and value me and started to love and value myself.  I see women posting pictures every day, mostly of themselves in sexually suggestive positions, and it makes me sad.  It’s literally about 95% of the pictures I see. That’s their idea of beauty.  They are complimented my men and women alike and told how beautiful they are, so why should they believe any different?  Why should they act any different? That’s narcissism, posing to get attention, even if the attention is low, perverted, and disgraceful.  These women don’t understand that they’re not displaying their beauty, but their ignorance, allowing themselves to be demeaned as a woman, and viewed only as an object of perversion.  The admiration they receive now will fade once they get a little older; their bodies no longer have the same sexual draw, and then what? What will they have to offer their admirers since their admirers are only interested in their flesh.  But, a woman who smiles, laughs, is pictured living life, appreciating life, loving herself and the world around her are truly visions of beauty.  A woman caught in a moment of compassion, in a nurturing embrace, being a helpmate and friend, those are images of beauty.  Beauty is not her cup size, not in the shape of her boobs, lips, legs or ass, or in suggestive positions so perverted assholes can fantasize fucking her.  She then becomes only an object of their perversion and no longer a woman of beauty. Believe me; while the men appreciate the pictures, they have no respect for her as a woman.

When I meet a man and start talking to him, if he asks me about my body, or asks me to send him pictures of myself in a bikini etc., then I instantly lose interest in them because it tells me they are not interested in my true beauty.  There are enough women with low self-esteem out there eager to please their narcissistic need for approval by ignorant assholes, but I’m not one of them.  Don’t get me wrong – when I’m in a relationship with ‘MY’ man, I love to be sexual, playful, flirty, etc., because I can share that part of myself with that man because he already recognized my true beauty.  But if I’m not in a relationship, don’t ask me for pictures of my body you fucking assholes! No, definitely ask me, so that way I know who you truly are and can write you off as anyone valuable in my life.

I post pictures of me smiling quite often because I love and value myself.  Those smiles are for me, to remind me that I matter.  This world can’t do that for me. Someone else can’t do that for me. I have to do it for myself.  I post pictures of the people and things that I love and value.  Someday someone else will post a picture of me, and it will truly be a picture of beauty.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beautiful Soul… Shallow World

Beautiful Soul Shallow World

I’m not stupid. I know we live in a shallow, vain, subjective world.  We exist in a society that judges us based on our outer appearance, because most often that’s all we can see.  Image is everything.  We are presented an image by everyone we meet, and we present an image to everyone that crosses our path. I have a mask I wear depending on the situation and circumstances.  When I go to apply for a job, I want to present myself as qualified, acceptable, and capable of fulfilling the requirements of that position, so I dress the part and put on the appropriate mask.  When I am running a 5k, I don’t show up in heels and sporting a tiara, although that might be a hilarious run. While I maintain the true essence of my personality at work or play, I choose the image I want to portray.  I post pictures of what is important to me. I don’t post pictures of what I don’t think portrays the right image.  But we are so much more than the masks we wear or the images we choose to display. Yet, how often do we hurt each other because our small minds can’t move beyond the shallow, the vain, the image, or the mask?

Having two handicapped parents taught me at a very early age to see beyond the outward appearance, deeper than the disease, the defects, the imperfections to realize there’s a soul behind the eyes.  My father wasn’t just a blind man.  He was a human being; often times, a terrible, hateful, angry and evil human being, but human nonetheless.  My mother behind her MS was also a human being.  She was someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s wife, someone’s mother, not just a woman whose body didn’t work anymore.  I can remember as a child holding my father’s glass eye in my hand and resenting it, because that seemed to be all the world could see, how they defined him, how they felt sorry for him and placated to his dysfunction, and he preyed on it, used it to cover his sins, to hide the black soul he carried. I hated the world because they couldn’t see him; all they saw was a blind man. I saw a devil. I saw the anger, the hate, the pervert, the conman, the hustler. The world pitied him, made excuses for him, but I saw his soul.  Behind my mother I saw a broken spirit, a dull soul that was gray it allowed her to turn a blind eye, sewed her mouth shut, and too weak to protect her children.  I learned to see souls very early in life.

Now, as a single woman in a vain world, every day I see the masks, wear the masks, and recognize the masks for what they are.  I am inundated with comments on my appearance, and they’re nice to receive. Who doesn’t want to be told they’re pretty, or their eyes are pretty, or their smile is pretty? It’s better than being told you’re hideous or dull.  But, can’t they see ME?  Do they know how strong I am, what I’ve accomplished in my life? How my soul that had been so damaged and abused has survived, thrived, and overcome in spite of the circumstances, the tragedies, and the hate?  Can’t they see the abundance of love, compassion, and hope that radiates from this broken vessel?

I try so hard to see behind people’s masks when I meet them, get to know the human soul inside them, and decide if I want them in my life. There are MANY, many people I meet that I immediately close out and throw up a wall, defending myself, and keeping them out of my life, out of my company, out of my circle because I see glimpse the devil behind their masks. I don’t listen to what people say. I watch what people do, see how they treat others, take a glance at the trail behind them to see if their path is filled with destruction or love, and listen to my gut. The worst ones often have the sweetest words, prettiest faces, most beautiful bodies, and crocodile tears. They are often damsels in distress or victims of circumstances, but in reality they’re a black plague, the ones causing the strife and drama everywhere they go.  I don’t have time for all that.  But, I can also see sometimes an imperfect mask, a dysfunctional life, a broken appearance, but inside…. I have glimpse some souls so beautiful, so radiant, so amazing that I sometimes can’t hold back the emotion that wells inside me.  They’re often broken, a mess, judged by the world around them – but I see them, I see beyond who they even think they are and see them for who they have the potential to become, what they’re capable to achieve – not because of their looks, their education, their money, their status, their means… but because I know what kind of fight a survivor has, what kind of imagination stirs within a dreamer, what kind of drive resides inside an innovator, a strategist, a clever mind.  I know the power of compassion.  I know the strength of love.

Fuck their world and their vanity. Fuck the shallow people who can love someone because of their imperfections.  I LOVE perfect imperfections. I LOVE scars and the stories behind them.  I LOVE watching people pick themselves up from the mistakes they’ve made.  I LOVE seeing souls radiate – they’re beautiful.

I woke up this morning feeling beautiful and sexy.  I may not have my 20-year old body anymore (it’s now full of scars, marks, imperfections, jiggly thighs, and trace evidence of a life lived, mistakes made, and miracles), but the beautiful soul pulsating just beneath my skin is absolutely radiant. If anyone can’t see that when they look at me, they’re a blind idiot and don’t deserve to be in the same universe.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dreams, Faith, family, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, relationship, respect, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Young and Beautiful

Young and Beautiful

The more time I spend alone, the pickier I become.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  How do we know what we really want in life, in a lover, in a partner, in a friend, or in any relationship we have? We think we know, but do we really? All relationships require a certain amount of sacrifice, involvement, investment, and time.  I sometimes think of all the time, energy, investment, and involvement I’ve wasted on some people and neglected to spend on others.  Most of us are not wasteful with our money, but we don’t realize we need to protect our love and attention even more.

Perhaps I’m just becoming arrogant as I grow more independent.  I’ve always been independent, but there was this one part of me that desired to be dependent on someone else, to let myself be consumed and lost in someone else, but I was never able to fully let go because I didn’t trust anyone, and now … well, now I find the idea troubling.

I was watching the first part of a mini-series about Marilyn Monroe yesterday, and while I don’t compare myself to Monroe, there were some things in that movie that struck a strong chord.  The message they were trying to convey was that she did a majority of the things she did because she had this deep need inside to be loved. Though she was young and beautiful, and the world claimed to love her, she didn’t see it or feel it, and ultimately took her own life still searching for it. I’m not debating the rightness or wrongness of her actions, I won’t judge, but I will say that there was an inner child within myself that watched from the shadows and would often nod her little head and whisper, “She’s just a little girl that nobody wanted.  She just wants somebody – the world – to love her, but you’re scared. You both run when you get scared. It’s comfortable being with those who only want to use you, because they can’t hurt you. But the ones that want to love you, scare you to death.” (Yes, I changed the ‘she’ to ‘you’ because that’s how it appeared in my imagination.)

Why are there so many Marilyns in the world?

This reminds me of the Lana Del Ray song Young and Beautiful – “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?  Will you still love me when I’ve got nothing but my aching soul?”

I don’t think you will, but that’s okay, because I will.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Distorted Image

Distorted Image

Okay, here’s another one of those politically correct moments that really grate on my nerves and has inspired today’s blog post.  I actually had an idea to post something positive and funny today, you know… ‘cause I was in that sort of mood.  But I read an article and that got my thoughts spinning, and that was all well and good.  But then I read the comments concerning the article and the floodgates of ‘ah hell’ have opened.  So, this is sort of a rant.  I apologize in advance, but I’m not sorry for what I’m about to say.  I mean every word.

The article that started this whole thing can be found at this link:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/11477512/Schoolboys-should-tell-girls-their-idea-of-a-perfect-woman-says-expert.html.

The piece encourages young men to tell young women, especially during their formative and puberty-challenging years, what they find attractive from physical to personality traits in order to help the young women form a more realistic and healthy view of their own bodies.  I found myself nodding my head several times while reading this article.

If you really think about it, the way a girl feels about herself and the level of her attractiveness is dictated by the society around her, all in the effort to attract the young men they interact with.  It’s human nature.  However, the definition of what ‘beauty’ consists of is portrayed by media and social forums, and most of them have really fucked up views of beauty.  They lead many young women to feel bad about themselves due to unrealistic expectations and displays, everyday chipping away at the young women’s self-esteem because they can’t live up to that fantastical image, leading to unhealthy practices, eating disorders, mutilations, etc.

Every woman/girl wants to be attractive and beautiful.  We want to be pleasing to the men in our lives, so we go to great lengths to try and fulfill what we think are the ideals of beauty and sexiness.  What better way to really learn what is truly beautiful and sexy than directly from the men we are trying to please in the first place?  It’s just a thought.

Wait.. I can already hear all the feminists reading this post screeching with.. .”I ain’t trying to please anybody but myself… and “another example of women being told to get our self-esteem from what men think of us. “… yeah, yeah… I know. I’m not disagreeing. I’m a feminist and the first person I try to please before anyone else is ME, including the men in my life.  But, I’m also not lying to myself either and pretending I don’t want to look sexy and have my man drooling all over me.  I’m a woman.  I celebrate being a woman, and as a woman – I want my man to look at me not ONLY with respect and admiration, but lust and desire, and a raw sexual want and need.   I want him to be at times unable to keep his hands off me.  I want to make him growl wanting me, and grunt while having me, and groan when I’m gone. In all reality, that isn’t going to happen unless I’m attractive to him.  So, the ‘smart’ thing to do is find out what he finds attractive and see if that is reasonable and applicable.  Yet, the only sources young women have to try to discover this is found in our social media markets… magazines, television, public displays, etc.  Hearing the truth from the source is always a better idea than a secondary source.

The other thing in these responses that really set me off was a comment, one I’ve heard a million times before so there’s no animosity toward this certain responder,  is: “Though his idea of a girlfriend is that she has to have a model body but also intelligence. I keep telling him he’s looking for a needle in a very big haystack.”

My response: “I really hate the idea that just because you might be beautiful you’re more than likely stupid.  Most beauty comes from confidence… and confidence comes from achievement… and achievement often comes from wisdom, knowledge and determination.  What’s wrong with someone hoping to find a partner that is not only pleasing to the eye but the mind also?  It’s phrases like “looking for a needle in a haystack” that encourages people to compromise on what they want and settle for what they think they can get, or doubt something because it comes in a beautiful package.  I want beautiful AND smart.. because that’s what I want, and I have no bones about saying it. I also think this professor has the right idea.  I don’t think all the males in the world are idiots either and all of them think their perfect woman is some brainless-model-sex-kitten.  That’s their sexual fantasy, but they love real women for different reasons, and I’ve learned its mostly confident women who are honest with them, nurture them, encourage them, and inspire them.  I have a male sexual fantasy, Superman, but I wouldn’t want to have a relationship with him.. or expect any real man to live up to that image.  Nor do I expect any real man to truly expect any real woman to live up to their sexual fantasy.  That’s why it’s called a fantasy.  However, love will beat a fantasy any day.” I would like to add, “…but I’d do all I could to try and live up to his sexual fantasy, because it’d be fun and as a woman I naturally like to please people I love and care about. It pleases me to do it.”

But the whole issue comes down to honesty.  There’s not enough of that in this world.  We live behind our masks.  We lie to the world around us. We listen to the lies around us.  Mostly, we lie to ourselves. And in this politically correct world, we’re often too afraid to speak out in search of that truth in fear of being outcast.  Deception is all we see.  The disguises we wear are all we notice.  And our young women continue to fight through these self-esteem issues with the lies they’re fed and bombarded with every day.  It’s sad how many of them lose that fight and succumb to the peer-pressures and never truly discover the real beauty within them. I mostly feel for our young men who never get to get the opportunity to see that true beauty either, only the distorted image. This whole issue works just as well for men as women in reverse.  But, hey… let’s not talk about it, ‘cause we might hurt someone’s feelings.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Relationships, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Beautiful Run

Beautiful Run

Have you ever looked at a flower and just found yourself lost in awe?  They’re not just simple things. They’re not composed of a few lines and colors like the way we draw them with our little elementary school hands.  If you really look at them, you will find they are each a divine work of art.  These natural beauties are filled with complex details, extraordinary designs, and  brilliant colors.

 The phrase “stop and smell the roses” takes on a deeper meaning for me today.  I have been so busy going back and forth in my daily life, fulfilling goals and responsibilities, that at times it has overwhelmed me.  I became the center of my universes, and like a workhorse, put on my blinders as I pulled my cart down rustic back roads, greenbelt trails, and tar-streaked highways. 

 What are the roses in my life?  What are the beautiful things, the complex things, the intricately designed things available to me, placed in my path to make my world a more beautiful place? After reading an article by one of my closest friends, Three Good Things by Jeff Suwak, I got a glimpse of that beauty. 

 There were so many parts in this one article that pushed and pulled me in so many different directions, I’ve had to read it several times and have only begun to see it’s complex, deep, moving message. After I wiped the tears from my cheeks, and got a good night’s sleep, the fog of stress, fear, and depression are beginning to lift, allowing a ray of golden sunshine to fall on me. It is a thin beam, but enough to start melting the ice wall I’d built around my winter’s heart.  Of course, it’s not pretty when walls fall.  My first instinct is to panic when the ground starts to shake and the thunderous crashes boom through my silence. I get scared, I get defensive, I cover my ears and curl into a ball.  But, I am grateful.

 “At any moment I have access to a lifetime’s worth of beauty and contemplation and wonder. The deluge of crap that modern media makes available can make us forget all of the beauty, all of the high achievement of the human spirit and intellect, that is available to us at the press of a button. That is something infinitely worth being grateful for.” ~ Jeff Suwak

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  As I ran the trails, many words from that article kept rolling through my mind, especially about seeing the beauty in such an ungrateful world, and that’s when I saw my first flower.  I nearly tripped over my own clumsy feet trying to divert my direction.  Sometimes I act before I think, and in this instance, after having been running for 2 miles, I was in a rhythm.  So while my reactive mind said “oh, a flower” my feet were screaming “keep moving”.  I managed to stay upright, but pulled a muscle, which made the last mile of the run excruciating.  But, I didn’t let the pain stop me from enjoying those wonderful works of art.

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 The first flower was actually a weed, but one of the most beautiful and complex weed I’ve ever seen.  It’s something that brought me so much joy as a kid. As I knelt down before it, to get that perfect shot,   it seemed to whisper to me, “Your winter is just about over”.  I nearly started crying.  I took my shot and then hobbled down the path.

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I only got a few hundred feet when I saw the next flower.  This one was brilliantly colorful, a bright spot among a brown world.  It seemed to softly speak to me, “A new season is coming.”  I felt tension release in my shoulders.

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It started to rain and I still had a good quarter mile to go. But, I didn’t let the cold drizzle steal the beauty from me. I limped some more and came upon another flower, almost hidden among a pile of  damp leaves. This one was very small and purple.  It seemed to laugh at me as it spoke to my heart, “You’ve only just begun to grow, there’s so much more to come.”  My heart felt lighter, my future seemed a bit brighter.  Though it was raining, I laughed in the rain.

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In a winter wood, filled with leafless limbs and dead leaves, I literally stumbled upon another flower as I came around a sharp corner.  I didn’t see it until I had reached the center of the turn.  This one was very delicate, but intricately detailed.  It seemed to shout at me, “You can’t see all the details from afar and behind obstacles.  But if you keep your eyes open and get close, you’ll become amazed.  Pay attention to the details.”

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My leg hurt as I climbed the last big hill, bringing me back to the start of the 3 mile trail.  I felt relief as I spotted my car parked in the parking lot.  As I passed the restrooms and exited the greenbelt, I noticed a  little flower garden by the curb, filled with various colorful plants.  I hadn’t noticed it when I started this run, knowing I passed right by them.  I shook my head and thought about how amazing it was that I couldn’t see what was right in front of me – what had been in the open, I had missed.

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What beauty have you missed seeing?

 Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Inspirational, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Beauty Defined

Beauty Defined

Everyone has their own interpretation and definition of beauty.  To some, it’s an outward appearance, often set to impossible or narrowed standards, but to others they see beauty in everything, even within the ugliness of humanity.  For me, I hope to be somewhere in the medium, but find and feel I’m in an uncharted definition, being odd and seeing the world from a different perspective.

I believe we all have our own pair of rose-colored glasses, where our perceptions are skewed and enhanced by our experiences, or lack thereof, combined with an individual spin.  I suspect that even if we all had the exact same experiences, we’d still have different perspectives. Who we are, what we value, how we process, and what drives us twists the kaleidoscope of our perception.  That’s why we shouldn’t judge each other, yet it’s our human nature to apply our combination and understanding on those around us.

So, while I can give you the Webster’s dictionary for beauty, I cannot proclaim an absolute interpretation that would fit all of society.  I can only elaborate what beauty is to me.

I consider myself lucky because I see beauty all around me – in nature, in society, in people and in hope.  I mostly see beauty in a smile.  I’ve never felt inferior to anyone, but there have been times in my life I’ve felt ugly because I didn’t physically live up to the general population’s standards.  When I was very heavy I became invisible as a person – it’s like people are programmed to ignore what they consider ugly.  Doors stopped being opened to me, smiles and friendly greetings passed me by, I wasn’t chosen first in a group, often received sympathetic or apathetic looks and comments, and judgments came more readily.  I didn’t start out ‘fat and ugly’ – in fact, I grew up popular and pretty, very active, very social and very attractive.  I was often the life of a party, a natural leader, and people gravitated toward me, never knowing the ugly horror I had to contend with at home.  It was a hard transition being treated differently because I didn’t fit the popular mold of what was considered beautiful.  I also learned when you don’t feel beautiful, it is reflected in everything you do.

It took me a long time, I had a lot of internal healing to do, before I learned to love myself and define what beauty is – for me.  I don’t care what society deems beautiful – society has no power to dictate to me what I feel or think anymore.  The more I learned to love and care for myself, the less power it had over me, the happier I’ve become.

Beauty to me is happiness.  Happy moments are beautiful moments whether it’s in a moment of intimate touch between lovers or a relaxing walk through the woods.  It’s in a kiss, in a laugh, in a smile, in an achievement, in a hug, in a word of encouragement, in a moment of accomplishment, in a joke, in a memory that brings a smile, in a dance, in meeting a goal, in a show of support, or in a gift.  People who share those moments in their lives with me I find absolutely beautiful and their physical appearance makes no difference to me.  People who are happy, who look forward to living life, who see the good (even in a bad situation), who inspired one another, encourage one another, push one another, not afraid to confront the ugliness in their lives, are absolutely beautiful to me.  I’m blessed to know some beautiful people.

Today, I’m beautiful… because I’m happy.  I have a spring in my step, a song on my heart, and a sense of being loved, valued and honored.  It’s really easy to make me feel happy – just let me know you love me, care about me, or that I matter – and watch how magically my worries fall off me. My needs are still there, but my fear evaporates in the face of them.  I’m learning to encourage myself more and more everyday and place my rose-colored glasses on my own face.  I still need a little help every now and again, but I’m getting stronger all the time, and I’m noticing doors are once again being opened for me, I am met with pleasant smiles, I’m invited to join in, and I am complimented often on how pretty or beautiful I am.  No, I don’t look like a supermodel, and would probably not be considered beautiful by the general population’s standards – but it’s doesn’t matter, because I believe I’m beautiful and that’s the only opinion that really matters.

Watch this video below – because I find the woman in it the ultimate picture of beauty.  Her smile is infectious, her moves are sexy, her joy is desirable and the song’s not bad either.  That Old Pair of Jeans by Fat Boy Slim.

How do you define beauty?

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Inspirational, Musing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beauty for Ashes

Beauty for Ashes

As I greet the morning, sipping on a warm cup of coffee, body relaxing after a great workout, I walk to the lake behind my house to enjoy a beautiful scene.  I think about those I love, those I miss, and catch a small vaporous thought of those who have faded from my life.  My focus narrows and I center on the new phase.  I think I’m learning to view and experience the world around me with a different set of eyes.  Well, that’s not true.  I don’t have a different set of eyes, only a different way of seeing.  Well, how I use those eyes are not new either, only that I’m starting to understand the difference between seeing and truly seeing.

All my life I’ve viewed the world in such a way, I’d sometimes wonder if maybe I’d been given a different set of eyes than those around me.  I find beauty in mundane things that most people don’t even give a second thought, and most often what is praised by the masses leaves me scratching my head.  I can see a tree in the middle of a forest and weep at its vibrancy in the face of insignificance.  My heart grows heavy at the sight of a rusty tricycle, long forgotten and neglected, shining in the sun, casting a brilliance that is almost blinding.  It brings back glimpses of happy childhood memories, those often clouded by darker moments. I see the vibrant colors of flowers, leaves, grass, water, sky and earth.  I notice the things out of place more often than the things spotlighted.  I can spend several minutes wrapped in the peace of nature watching an ant climb the limb of a tree, or listening to the wind rustle the leaves, or smelling the scent of a beautiful flower, or running my fingers over the dew-kissed grass, and feel so connected, yet so lost at the same time.

I view people differently too.  No matter the outside appearance, whether wrapped in attractive skin or gross deformity, it is the soul of a person that radiates their beauty or ugliness.  In my youth, appearance was important to me and I spent a lot of time focused on what I found visually appealing.  Though these beautiful people got to share part of me, claim to be my friend, claimed a few stolen kiss, and shared in many of my gifts and talents, there were always one or two friends who shared my heart – but only on very, very, very rare occasions.  I was an expert and hiding my heart.

Today, after a life of heartbreak and love, I find I’m attracted to aspects of beauty that can’t often be seen with the naked eye.  It’s sometimes found in a kind word, a moment of appreciation, a stirring of hope, reaching for a dream, or a spot of comfort, or a word of rebuke.  Sometimes it’s in a kiss, a pair of hazel eyes, a touch, a glance, or a simple word of affection.

We can choose to see the beauty or the ugliness in everything… in our situations, in our dreams, in our daily lifestyles, in our jobs, in our friends and families, in our neighbors, in our government, in our gods … in everything.  I still see ugliness, but I will admit I’m beginning to see more and more beauty all the time.

What do you see?

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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