20 June 2007

Looking Good

(Revised 23 June)

So I was out and about a while ago, admiring the many very beautiful people this region has to offer, and I felt rather sub-par, relatively homely, as is not rare.

This is not, in any way, a plea for reassurance that this is not true. It's simply what I felt and what I do feel on occasions when I pause enough to feel it. And it was frustrating. I realized that no matter how I cut my hair, no matter what clothes I wear, no matter how much I pamper my skin, and no matter how some may compliment my looks in casually familiar or flirtatious ways, I simply am always going to be a fair-looking person but never one of the world's sexiest men. For a moment, I felt a bit beaten down by this. Humbled in the most worldly way. Like I could exhaust myself in the attempt of an unachievable goal I'm not sure I even want but to which I nevertheless feel driven.

Then I thought, "OK. So what if I were horribly disfigured to the point that I was among the least pleasing faces in the world to most people? Is there any hope of looking beautiful then?" This thought humbled me in a far more meaningful way. A few ideas regained perspective. Some people are simply born with genes that make them more beautiful to the average observer.
Period. Let's be honest: there's only so much even plastic surgery can do. Do 'homely' people have any hope for beauty? Some things are nice to look at, but the eyes and countenance of a person are the only thing that can truly endear me to them. A person can be utterly plain in appearance yet radient and magnetic by their character and spirit. It would be nice to have both kinds of beauty, and both are attractive, but only this latter kind is meaningful. I decided I'd rather look 'good' than 'hot'.

Interestingly, both of those require work, but looking 'good' is actually achievable by anyone. Looking 'hot'? Eh...not so much. And, as time passes, and we're all stripped of our youthful beauty, only those who have developed their character are likely to retain at least one type of attractiveness.

Incidentally, in the gym I sometimes look around and admire the beautifully sculpted physiques and marvel at how some people manage to make their bodies so remarkably attractive and wish I didn't have to work so hard to keep mine...hmmm...somewhat toned, at least, but nowhere nearly as beautiful as many of the others around me. And it's funny how I often am sitting there, between sets, thinking this, and...it doesn't bother me at all. I think for a moment about my hopeless state, and then I shrug as I realize I simply can't compete, or don't want to do what it takes to begin to compete at the expense of other qualities of life, and I lose all interest in the competition and jealousy. I shrug, smile, and start my next set with renewed vigor. The workout changes at that point. It's no longer a drive to beef up and tone down to look better than the next guy. It's a deeper motivation to push my body to new limits for my own health and improvement. And, of course, I then appreciate the beauty around me without the messy, covetous, self-demeaning feelings linked to it.

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