Garbage Beauty

My heart hurts today. I want to sleep.

At my age, I should not feel like a teenager, but I do. I feel like maybe my sickness makes me restless and life so uncertain, so prone to moodiness.

I hate and hesitate to admit this, but I feel the prettiest I’ve ever felt in my life, in terms of the exterior. I’ve always struggled with my view of myself. At 37, I think it’s more that I’ve accepted myself and not so much that I’ve suddenly actually become pretty. I think it’s my desperate final blossom before I move into middle age, so I am trying to enjoy it while it lasts.

At the same time, I feel so ugly and rotten inside. Maybe it’s the sickness, but maybe it’s just a recognition of where I am right now. If I focus on the outside, maybe I can keep the interior ugliness from shining through. But, it’s there.

I see them everywhere now: men looking at me. What a vain thing to say. Probably, men have always looked at me, but for the first time I am noticing. And maybe for the first time, I want them to see me. That’s right, buddy, I am pretty. Thanks for appreciating it.

Is that not disgusting? What is this horrific vanity? Am I trying to find value in myself based on being desired? Do beautiful works of art become smug the more they are appreciated?

Here I am, a married woman. To a husband who loves me and tells me I’m beautiful. Shouldn’t that be enough? Shouldn’t I love myself more than this?

The High Museum here in Atlanta had a Vik Muniz exhibit back in the summer. What a talent. He takes familiar works of art and reconstructs them with other objects on a large floor then takes a photo from up above.

He has one series where the medium he uses to reconstruct the original artwork is actual junk. All kinds of discarded items: paint cans, tvs, tires, coils that he’s collected.

Here’s an example, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus:


That’s how I feel right now, and have for a while. Like the garbage version of Venus. Reminiscent of actual beauty, even enough to fool the eye, but actually made up of garbage upon further study. It’s not a pretty feeling at all. I feel so vulnerable right now. And worthless.

Thanks for reading.


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