Portrait of my own Unique Beauty

If what you see in the mirror is ugly, then consider this: chances are you’re comparing your own unique beauty to what, for your entire life, you’ve been programmed to believe is beautiful.

And what is beauty anyways?

Margaret Wolfe Hungerford said, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

And isn’t that true? Yes or no, in more instances than not beauty is subjective. In fact, I’d go even further to say that beauty manifests itself in infinite ways other than what the eye can see.

As a photographer with a fond admiration for women and men alike I can honestly say that I have taken countless photographs and manipulated them to appeal to the mass collective of what is to be considered quote on quote “beautiful.”

Hypocrite. No, I think not. I never claimed they were beautiful but simply did my job in a way that my superior agreed was aesthetically pleasing.

A wrinkle here, a crows foot there, deleted.

Nobody has ever died from a portrayal of beauty, right?

Wrong. Though I’m not an extremist so there are many factors to consider, all of which yes, I agree, may seem like a bit of a cop out or excuse not to hold oneself accountable for taking what is and transforming it into something less natural.

But this isn’t about my career choice or eye in which I behold.

This is about you and that “ugly” reflection in the mirror.

You are not ugly, you simply aren’t. You are you, and you are beautiful.

Those who claim to seek perfection, well, they’re only trying to fill a void. And it’s a bottomless pit because like beauty, perfection is ultimately subjective.

While I sit here and delve deeper into thought, I watch a mother and daughter walk by my window. The mother is flapping her arms as graceful as she can. The child looks to her mother and understands she is trying her best.

In the end all that we can do is try our best to love ourselves enough to fully accept the unique beauty of another.

Any other judgement is of which we have been programmed to believe.

It’s taken a very long while to believe in myself and I willingly admit that each day is a slow progression to further acceptance of my own unique beauty.

If someone tells you you’re not beautiful, that’s their loss.

And I hope the next mirror that you face looks back in your direction as the child looks with grace and marvels at the perfection of her mother’s love.

Portrait of my own Unique Beauty, September 8, 2020

Leaves they fall in autumn

Everyone has problems

More elaborate than my own

Like these they fall in autumn

Their limbs are all exposed

I want to tell them something

Assure they’re not alone

Still leaves they fall in autumn

Sometimes to live you’ve got to die.

Some say the world’s worth saving

Some say we’ll never know

Like a corn cob pipe and button

Left in the melting snow

A fireplace can warm you

For a while from the cold

Still a child holds his coal eyes

And now he knows.

It’s not his fault that his friend must go

Either way he’s gonna cry

You’re beautiful so it’s logical

This season’s just a state of mind

If I could save you, you know I would

But even I know that’s a lie

See summers change and then grow cold

It’s no longer up to me to decide

This Adam’s apple is proof of Eve

Did you think it would be that easy

just to walk away.

Like we were the 30th of April

now it’s the 1st of May.

The sun here is always shining

yet I still see rain.

I was California dreaming

just to numb the pain.

Awake

or asleep

It doesn’t really make a difference

Blue

or green

The ocean looks the same

Black

or white

Just pictures on a TV screen

You

and I

We’re searching for significance

I guess…

You had to make your move

like we were playing chess.

Across from one another

we are at our best.

Stuck between the sun and moon

like all the rest.

Before my Confirmation

I never did confess.

Up

or down

The world’s full of extremes

Then

or now

The choices never change

Commit

or don’t

Either way there’s so much pain

You

and I

We’re just finger painting our esteem

I guess…

Then a baby’s born

Then another one and then some more

While a preemie dies

It’s not her fault that he’s premature

Grief

or guilt

Both come in due time

Live

or die

Flip a coin put it aside

Bitter

or sweet

This Adam’s apple is proof of Eve

You

and I

Banished from that Garden

we couldn’t find.

Still, did you think it would be that easy

just to walk away?

It was cold that year I remember well

I fell in love with her smile

like I had a choice?

She looked me over hell

felt like a little boy

It was cold that year

I remember well

Tangled blankets and sheets

that old apartment smell.

I fell in love with her mind

like an Etch A Sketch

She threw so many bones

like we were playing fetch

It was cold that year

smoke on the fire escape

I drew her in black lines

then shook but couldn’t erase.

I fell in love with her body

like it was a toy

We’d make love for hours

then a little more

It was cold that year

with Manhattan in view

We counted down from 10

New Years on Pia’s roof.

Ain’t it a trip life

you work just to get away

She fell so many times

I’d pick her up and say

You choose the road anywhere

let’s take a drive

Coast to coast man

we died to feel alive.

There’s a scrapbook somewhere

it’s unfinished but proof

That true love exists

and it’s in me and you

A crazy beautiful thing now

baby that’s the truth

I’ll finish it one day

till then this’ll have to do.

I fell in love with her eyes

bewitched under spell

At the flick of a switch

I could turn heaven to hell

If looks could kill honey

stare come on I’m your guy

I never loved her more

than when I wanted to die.

I fell in love with her soul

as she burned the sage

Expelling demons like a shaman

she was young and brave

It was cold that year

at the Macy’s parade

Her face covered in scarf

a perfect picture to take.

I fell in love with her frown

just to turn it around

I fell in love with her ups

just to carry her downs

It was cold that year

I remember now

The first night she slept

next to me safe and sound.

Ain’t life a gas man

you work just to get away

You get away then go home

wishing that you’d stayed

One more day in a motel

somewhere new

They’re always coming man

those damn check out blues.

There’s a memory somewhere

to take me back

Always underdressed and upset

baby that’s a wrap

I remember it all like it was yesterday

That’s why I wake up in love

with each and every day.

this tiny secret

Dying

Everything

Everyone

Always dying

Dead

And gone

People live

People die

And die

And on

For what is life

Without death

Knowing this

tiny secret, that

In death

there too

Is life.

between the lines

If nothing else sticks

take solace in that,

life happens—and—you die,

between the lines

there’s simply time.

For what?

Bah! You tell me!

Besides,

I’ve got to get my watch fixed.

Sirens

Far off in the distance they scream.

“Someone is going to die!”

Passing by the window now is another.

“Someone is going to die!”

Turning to page 359, I’m reminded.

“Someone is going to die!”

And I could describe the flashing lights.
Or the screeching of tires.
The anxiety.
The awesome routine of the Ambulance Driver.

Though my better judgement tells me other wise.

Not do describe the pain.
The wailing.
Or the fact that Sirens are neutral.
And that red is the only conceivable color to match.

“Someone is going to die!”

Turning to page 404.

“Someone is going to die!”

And another passes.

“Someone is going to die!”
“Someone is going to die!”
“Someone is going to die!”
“Someone is going to die!”

Farther off in the distance now,

like a tribal chant, you can almost dance to it’s rhythm.

WEE-WOO, WEE-WOO
Wee-Woo, Wee-Woo
wee-woo, wee-woo