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

(This was me, 2:25pm, August 31, 2020—happy, and holy, and released)

It’s become abundantly clear through time and misfortune, not to be confused with the physical form such as money or objects, but rather with the exploration of self, the embodiment of peace, and the idea that expression can or should be limited or contained due of a value system built out of fear and intolerance.

Most of our lives we are given what can be thought of as a safety net of ideals—paths to follow, standards to meet—to make life “easier” or conducive to the perception of others.

Rather than present ourselves the way we deem fit, the general standard is to be as the chameleon—to do whatever it takes to fit in—who blends into its surroundings for survival.

Well, for myself, I’ve learned to accept and reject that pattern as it does not allow for growth.

I’ve grown everywhere from upside down to sideways and still have come to the conclusion that no matter how hard you try, there will always be a group, a banner, many men and signs who will make it their duty to mock one’s freedom of self.

I accept myself.

Further more, I applaud myself.

I look in the mirror and examine an ever changing life force composed of trial and error, love and appreciation, a life force who has exhausted himself to live his truth, that is…well…hell if I know!

I’m still figuring that out, one moment, one step, and one portrait at a time.

Thankfully enough, I’ve been blessed by an equal partner, a beautiful guiding spirit of light and love to help nurture my venture to freedom of self—Ariel Rachel—who does not judge but embraces my eccentricities as I honor and trust full heartedly in hers.

I highly recommend letting go of inhibition, being open and honest with yourself, others, and showcasing who you are, each and every day.

Be well my friends. I look forward to seeing you for everything that you are, today, tomorrow, and in future discoveries.

(This was me, 2:25pm, August 31, 2020—happy, and holy, and released)

2:25pm, August 31, 2020—happy, and holy, and released

wasted days

I remember all my wasted days

so vividly now and always

because for all my wasted days

tallied together, I’m that much more

thankful for the good ones

and the people I shared them with,

who made them great and who I miss dearly

upon all these abundant, wasted days.

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

it’s dark living in shadows

Living in the present

got you long lost in the past

now there are only memories

but how long will they last?

Like waiting for a moment

that since already’s passed

it’s dark living in shadows

of those which fear has cast.

Do spells exist you wonder

indeed I’ve seen a few

that stranger in the mirror

the stranger he is you.

So tell me of your sorrow

belief is up to you

you just grow older darling

regardless of the truth.

It’s all understandable. (for every no one who ever was)

To be honest

and be open

put yourself in

her hands like you’re a toy.

There’s a reason

for each season

pollen eaten

her wind cradles a boy.

They know nothing of us,

and we

know nothing of them.

We all

just sort of pretend.

We’re bitter still.

In the air there’s a bitter chill.

Like a car crash

I tell you that

it’s not too bad

we both just try not to stare.

In the glove box

there’s a snuff box

full of coupons

I keep in case that you cared.

The leaves on the ground,

remind me

how powerless that I am.

It’s natural to fall down,

we all

just sort of try to fit in.

Leave me alone, no don’t

leave me alone.

Memories fill my head

like waves

crashing down on the shore.

Just as soon as they hit

cast away

back to the ocean once more.

To be bitter

or be broken

understand that

this is for no one who ever was.

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.

Nonsense

I was thinking how peculiar

right before I made a U turn

It was early Sunday morning

flashing sirens without warning

Looking both ways like a child

crossing with chicken on the road

there is this man who looks me up

and down as I begin to sigh

Then I look in both direction

turn the wheel with cruel intention

In the distance there’s this woman

picket signs read save the children

I am half way home before I know

exactly what I’m doing though I

stop the car unlock the door

and let the woman in

She sits criss-cross like a virgin

while I drive off she is urgent

I don’t know what you are thinking

she speaks softly without blinking

I was waiting for the bus when you

rolled up I must confess I recognized

your eyes from times gone by

like strangers on a train

It is awkward for a second

can I interest you in breakfast

She says sure she knows a diner

while she applies her eye liner

There’s a group of old men standing

with dead babies and demanding

that a women’s right is not all right

unless they’re in control

I’ll have coffee she’ll have coffee

yes please thank you two black coffee’s

In her teeth stuck there’s a poppy

seed my breath smells quite like onion

As the man from earlier walks by

the window just in time to see

again with no expression just a

long tedious sigh

He must think of me how boring

flashing sirens without warning

I feel seasick like a sailor

hey can you do me a favor

And that’s when she asks

to take her back in time for

her divorce of course she’d

first prefer some pie

On the drive home I was thinking

how peculiar she left winking

Shut the door then started walking

while I drove off she was talking

To the man who looked familiar

from the corner of my eye though

when I looked away then back again

they both just sort of sighed

Passing by the old cathedral

doors open releasing people

From their suffering they’re smiling

shaking hands exchanging sighs and

Across the street there’s signs

that read like jokes inside my mind

there’s men and women who protest

the earth is flat next to another group

who all claim there is no God.

this one.

You can’t win

because it’s life

and there’s

nothing to win

just death

and then

whatever it is

you believe

will happen next.

For me I’ll be

reincarnated

to live

another life.

I just hope it’s

as strange

and weird

and cruel

and wonderfully

disastrous as

this one.

Maybe one

with less love

and more

true love.

Maybe not.