I searched for ten minutes the other day to find the lizard on the wall.
It was hiding secretly within the shadows in the corner.
I heard tales of its colorful scales and its mysterious demeanor. Word swirled ‘round like a cyclone from the top of the class and circled its way down to me. I, grey with storm, immediately sought desperately for a pop of color. I scoured the molding, the stairs, the brick, and finally found my way to it. It was perfect – as all creatures wish they could be. No scars, no blemishes, no dull shade – only brightness and smooth, perfectly cut shape. There was a line that sliced like a spine down its back, and its eyes were outlined in a beautiful baby blue. To me, it was of equal quintessence of beauty as a sunset. Both looked like paintings — somewhat shifts from reality, not quite captured by anything but pigment and brush because real life doesn’t suit them quite well – real life is not perfect enough to portray their essence.
It was a bad day when I found the lizard. Somehow, however, it seemed to get better after my discovery. I snapped a picture, and after it was secured in my camera role (like medicine locked safely away in a cupboard), I continued about my day happily. It’s strange to me how a touch of vivid green can turn the dullest palette a little bit brighter.
Some of you asked if I would write about the lizard in my blog. What lesson could I turn this little reptile into? What analogy would I use this time? I was wondering this myself until a student came up behind me, just as I was reaching to pick the creature up.
“Ew! Don’t touch it! It’s gross!”
Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. Gross? Really? That stunning, perfectly formed reptile could be perceived as gross?? It was simply preposterous. I refused to believe it. It was impossible, and foolish, and inconceivable. But it got me thinking. How many times have I looked in the mirror and been absolutely disgusted with what I saw? How many times have I locked the door of my room, doing anything to prevent me being seen? How many times have I covered my face in makeup or a mask and hugged my arms tight to my chest so that no one would look at me or touch me?
Beauty is so subjective. That lizard, to me, was perfect. It was vivid, and immaculate, and gorgeous. But right in front of my eyes, I witnessed someone look at that same perfect lizard and exclaim in disgust. It seems ridiculous, right? The two starkly different reactions? The same applies to beauty standards in society. First of all, the cultural definition of “beauty” shifts and changes so fast that by the time you’ve worked to achieve one set of standards, they’re already irrelevant. Second, the definition of “beauty” might be completely different from one individual to another, regardless of the cultural norm at the time. Somebody is always going to think you’re mid, or ugly, or not all that. But at the same time, there’s always going to be someone who sees you in the way I saw the lizard: flawless and magnificent. How will you choose to see yourself?
(Credits to Amelia for finding the lizard first <3)