Simple solutions are elegant; the simplest solutions are truly divine. How true that we can take the simplest of things and make them complicated. To unburden our lives of the clutter and complexity is a fair endeavor. But, it is the nature of humanity to embellish. We are a species that adds flourish and flair. We just keep adding layer upon layer thinking it adds to the “finished product”. It is meant to be beautiful. Is it some fundamental knowledge that we are fallen away and therefore we cannot leave things “simple”? We aspire to be better, to regain favor, and so we get creative. All aspirations towards beauty are meant to enhance, even showcase what is already lovely. We are not easily accepting of things just as they are. It is the nature of Thomas to doubt, right?
Few women can go without any makeup or fashion accessories. On days I leave the house without earrings, I feel partially dressed. The baubles in my ear lobes are part of the complete assemblage of what makes me feel properly dressed…and attractive. And every culture has its own sense of beauty. Every human primps and preens wanting to be attractive. This is not egotism. It is about seeking a clan, a mate or a position in society. But we make it so complicated. The more industrialized, the farther our daily existence is separated from Nature, the more requirements we have of what makes someone attractive and desirable.
Everything should be as simple as possible, Albert Einstein said.
Beauty is a reflection of character. Beauty is a not a skin. We are not avatars able to assume a personage and “be” beautiful. Beauty is not an applique. Beauty, true beauty, radiates from the inside out. My mother had this saying, “Beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes through and through.” I think the converse is true, too. A plain and simple person can seem profoundly beautiful because of the deeper, inner beauty they radiate. My mother spoke these words to a scorned and tearful child who had been mocked or bullied by the other children for being skinny, buck toothed, flat chested, a brainiac or stronger than the boys at tug-o war. I never quite understood how my “insides” could ever be enough to be considered pretty. She wanted me to be kind and honest even to those who were mean and cruel. She wanted me to hold my head up and have pride in myself. It felt like she was dressing me in the Emperor’s new clothes. I didn’t believe her. But, I stopped crying and I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t have much of a choice, right? I had to go back to school, the playground, the pool deck, the auditorium, the world.
Now I understand. Beauty radiates from deep inside. And while a person can be pretty and physically appealing, it is their inner beauty that truly takes your breath away. A pretty person who can sing an aria becomes enlightened. A person who can reason through a theorem and proof is stunning. A person who can stand true in the face of adversity, not cowering from fear, is brilliant. One who can move with grace and power is breathtaking. While hair and clothes and fashion and accessories can enhance, true beauty starts deeper and more simply. It starts with truth.
There is not an embellishment in the world to make up for a bitter heart, a petty mind or a hateful tongue. When you let your heart love, your mind wonder and you keep only kindness in your words, you enrobe yourself in the purest and most elegant grace. And then beauty is simple and pure.