A quick bio: My name is Lindsey. I like long walks on the beach…haha just kidding. But really, I am a marathon and trail runner, and I love the city but could not live without nature and being outside. My family is huge and by far one of the best things in my life. I bake. And, to make a living, I do costumes for theatre, film and television (not so much the designing but the building and the dressing). I am so excited to share my list of beautiful things (disclaimer: I have six. I tried to whittle it down, I really did, but these six are equally weighted in my “most beautiful right now” category. Actually these things are on my “most beautiful always” list.
1. A child’s laugh
I mean honestly, have you ever not smiled at a child giggling? It’s impossible. Children have this sheer joy. Joy that cannot be rivaled. And it doesn’t have to be anything hilarious to get children to crack a smile, open their mouths and let out a squeal. Earlier this week on the phone my niece and nephew told me about a movie they just saw, Moana.
Apparently one of the characters gets shot in the butt with a blow dart and exclaims, ‘Really? A blow dart in my butt cheek?’ Now it took us a solid five minutes to get that story from their mouths to my understanding, with a lot of help from my mom, aka Grandma. Several bouts of laughter rolled through the car as the phrase was repeated over and over. I hope that we can all find that unadulterated joy in life and let ourselves giggle.
Here’s a link that instantly makes me smile and then laugh. I mean this kid thinks tearing paper is hilarious. Enjoy.
2. My mother
I know most people think their parents are great. As kids we write poems and essays about them being our heroes – apart of course from one of the main guys Captain America, Batman, Superman, Bond, James Bond. But this is different. This is something special. This is someone special and no list of beauty could be complete without her.
Sure, sure I’ve gone through the typical daughter phases with my mother but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized she embodies beauty. Outside, of course she is incredibly beautiful, but her true beauty radiates from the inside out. She is one of my best friends and I am continually learning how to be a decent human from her. She is thoughtful and generous. She loves completely. If you need something she will take care of you, your children, your bill you can’t pay. Her house is always open and full of food ready to be shared. She often offers her home and hospitality even to people she doesn’t know, friends of friends. I have always felt loved and accepted by her.
How amazing to have someone who doesn’t necessarily understand your lifestyle or choices but asks questions to better grasp it and allows you to be who you are, flaws and all, with complete support (With motherly concern and advice of course). Every young woman deserves a strong female example. I hope that one day I can exhibit one fifth of the beauty she does. **Oh, and bonus, she is a ham. She’ll pose crazy for pictures all day. She is the first to hop on the dance floor and the last to leave. If you ever need to invite someone to ensure the party gets started and stays hoppin’ my mom is the one you want.
Seriously, humans are beautiful. There are so many different people. Different races, ethnicities, religions, social classes, hair colors, eye colors, education levels, sexualities. The permutations are endless. How incredible is that? We are all so unique yet created with the same four basic genes coded just so. I wish I could explain how full my heart gets thinking of humans. Have you ever seen someone or a group pass by and they make you smile? They are falling in love or learning to use the subway or arguing about what type of milk to buy or seeing the energy that is Times Square for the first time.
(Let’s be real, sometimes those same people test my patience with their sprawling slow slow mass group walk…it’s give and take) But they are just living life. They are doing what they do best, being themselves and without knowing it being unique. They also sometimes break my heart. Sometimes people choose hate over love of individuality. But that too is part of the beauty, no one has the same ideas or beliefs. While I strongly believe in equality, I believe that includes every opinion – no matter how hard that is to swallow. We are a resilient breed, humans, and we continue to be beautiful even when it is unintentional. Especially when it is unintentional.
Sense me getting emotional? Ha.
Beauty number four. Emotions.
Take a walk with me for a moment. Imagine you are talking with someone you are attracted to. You are close. You are smiling, laughing, enjoying each other’s company. They get closer. Soon your faces seem like they should be touching, yet somehow they aren’t. You get those butterflies, a warmth, a safe nervousness. The buzz is intoxicating. There is an unspoken electricity in the air just before you touch. Feel that? That crush? That lust? That love? The happy emotions are easier to appreciate.
But those hard emotions, the ones we run away from, we hide, we do anything we can to get rid of as fast as possible. Those feelings. They have value too. Sadness, heartache, pain. Those are the big ones. The “kick you in the face with a steel toed boot while you are already curled in a ball on the floor” feelings. Why do we run from these? There is beauty in pain. We grow during these times. It doesn’t feel like it but we do. We learn more about ourselves. We learn our strength. I know it’s scary but I encourage you to sit in those emotions. As J.K. Rowling says, through Dumbledore in the Goblet of Fire, ‘Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.’
Let them take their course. Count yourself lucky because we get to feel. We get to be inspired by happiness, love, lust, pain, heartache, fear, anger, rage. They all serve a purpose. They are all beautiful in their own way. I will leave emotions with this:
‘Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: there against the depth of this background, they stand out, there for the first time we see how beautiful they are.’ -Rilke
With so much emotion there must be a release. For some this release is tears: tears of joy or pain or confusion. For others exercise, Facebook statuses, Instagrams. And then there is art. Beautiful, amazing art. I’m not talking about art that is beautiful (although that has a place in this category) but I am talking about art itself. The act of art, the pretty, the messy, the misunderstood art. Music, dance, paintings, installations, performance, theatre, poetry, writing, pottery, digital, religious, political, personal. It’s all beautiful. I know not every form is everyone’s cup of tea but man is it amazing to see something created. To feel the raw emotion behind the action. Art allows people to feel through someone else, it asks the viewer to trust and let go, it asks the hard questions, it pulls back the bandaid on the festering wound and begs to be healed. Even if you don’t understand a lot of art or don’t feel this beauty, this emotional connection, it still serves a purpose. Ever turned on the radio to distract yourself? Gone to a theatre or movie to get out of the real world if only for a few hours? Taken a date to an art museum, concert, or fancy garden/park?
Art. It’s society’s heartbeat. And just by looking back at art from a different time we can find the pulse of that society. Art allows a safe space for people to truly feel both in the creation and the absorption of it – given of course the permission to let the art move them. Some of my favorite art is the type that most people don’t like. It’s the weird, gross, uncomfortable art. It’s also the ‘my kindergartener does that same crap’ art. I could spend days explaining it but the best answer is the shortest one. It moves me. It digs its claws into my soul and perches there. I know it doesn’t always make sense. But isn’t that beautiful?
Finally, your bonus beautiful thing. New York City
Granted I am biased; I get to call this one-of-a-kind world city my home. I am still a baby to the city. I’ve only lived here five years but it still takes my breath away. I still walk all over the city and discover new things. The three bridges that connect my borough to the main island still fill me with joy and pride. It is a city of exceptional beauty. Street art, tall buildings, our parks, the history, the people. We pride ourselves on diversity. We are loyal beings to Lady Liberty and her domestic playground. I fell in love the first time I visited and haven’t been able to break the habit. It’s insane how she will knock you around, give you hope just to toss you around again, and then cradle you showing you her vulnerable side. This city is not for the weak of heart. It’s often described as, ‘a place I love to visit but could never live in.’ I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
I’ve met the most interesting people while exploring the city. I’ve dated, tindered, been involved in emotional black holes, sworn off dating, and been pulled back in. I’ve quit jobs, taken freelance work, and prayed my job security was stable enough. I’ve been out until 6 in the morning watching the sunrise as I get out my keys. I’ve come home at 5 in the evening just to cuddle up with Netflix and fall asleep by 8. I’ve seen world class art and back alley performances. I’ve been pushed to my limits, broken, and put back together again. Ultimately, I have fallen in love with myself. Could all these things happen in another city? I’m sure, but not for me. This city has completely shaped me. She has allowed me to find myself, never asking why but always encouraging me to explore. What a beaut.
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Oh Lindsey, you have me in tears! Thank you for those kind words. Unfortunately, I’m not as eloquent as you. I love you, too, and am super proud of you!!