Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On Being Beautiful

Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.
- Confucious

What is beauty? This is a question humanity has strived to answer probably since the invention of language. All those silly ancient geniuses - they didn't know what I know. For every person the definition of beauty is different - maybe beauty is making men want you, or being lovable or loved, or just being happy with yourself. What is beauty to you? Here's my opinion-

Beauty lies not in the body but in the heart &soul. This beauty we express with our bodies, but we can only do that by tapping into the beauty in our soul. A lolita spends hours getting dressed, coiffing, making-up, and then stands in front of the mirror and smiles. This happiness that is welling up from inside her - this is her soul set free and expressed in her body.

By today's standards, thinking like this probably makes me a "hippie." I have no problem with that - there are worse fates, worse labels society could have inflicted me with. Some of you will not like what I'm saying because of that - many people are made uncomfortable by talk of the soul these days. I don't understand it, but I don't have to. I don't live for them. It's for those of you who are smiling right now, who are reading and nodding and smiling in agreement - it's for you that I write (I speak, I document) for, not for those who are snickering and shaking their head in disbelief or even disgust.

Part of beauty, probably the most important part, is acceptance. Accept that your soul may not want you to look like other people's (or that maybe somedays it does - some days it may beg you to leave petticoats forlorn and comfort it in sweats or jeans or Uggs). I think that lolitas have gotten past this hurdle simply by being lolitas, by accepting that they love a sweet, frilly fashion that much of the outside world finds ridiculous.

We're used to not being accepted. We face it every day by the outside world - and occasionally in our own world, too. It is beautiful to accept that even the people you identify with may not understand or accept your beauty, whether these people are your family, your friends, or even our online lolita communities. It is beautiful to accept this with grace &dignity but to still express your beauty. However, it is important to respect yourself enough not to show this inner beauty to those who will not respect it. Sometimes it is more honorable to keep your beauty inside to protect it and yourself.

Beauty offends. Lolitas know this well. Offense is dangerous. While it is important that your body reflects your soul, protecting your mind &body are most important. An illustration of all these points would be the girl who posts to daily_lolita in a less than perfect outfit. She is trying to show the beauty in her soul, and she is calling that beauty lolita. It may not fit the rules we all follow, and many of us will tell her - not necessarily rudely (I'm not going to go into THAT here), but we will give her tips on how she can mold her internal aesthetic to fit this label more. She can choose to follow these rules or not - if she chooses to alter slightly her aesthetic and be approved of by the community (in which there is no fault), she will be accepted. If she does not, she doesn't need to expose herself to the community anymore. It's as simple as that - if you want to be accepted by certain people, cater to fit their ideas. If those ideas aren't something that sit well with you for whatever reason, distance yourself from those people and continue living as you feel you should. In this case, our "ita" can either conform to the rules of lolita and continue posting without complaint, or she can continue to dress as she wants but keep it to herself &for herself &not post it anywhere.

Though it hurts my Taurus (by which I mean my internal aesthetic &also my sense of justice &what is right or wrong) to admit this, sometimes internal beauty must be stifled for the health of the mind &body - but we must ask, what is the point of a healthy body if the soul ails? Therefore I leave the final decision up to you, as it often is circumstantial. Will you honor your mind, body, or soul? Is there a way to honor all three? Or, really, is there a difference between them?


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