You only see the ugly up close. Or do you?
Makeup. It hides a lot. It makes things look prettier than they are. it hides flaws. The too-large pores or the blackheads, pooled areas of trapped dirt in the skin. The zits, sometimes white on top and sometimes so pink and red it’s painful to just look at them. Makeup hides the truth while creating this image of perfection.
You might have a crush on someone at work. You fantasize about what your life might be like with them. And in your daydreams, they never disappoint. Of course not. Because it’s all in your mind. It’s a world you create to get yourself away from this world you now find yourself in. If you started dating them in real life, you might see that they have flaws just like yourself. Maybe they forget to shower some days or leave the toilet seat up, or leave too many dirty dishes in the sink. Maybe they take too long in the bathroom every morning, leaving you with cold, or, at best, lukewarm water when it comes time for you to take a shower.
A novel that you just can’t put down. Every line, every word, seems so perfectly chosen. You wonder how these words could have come out of the author’s mind. Is he or she a genius, that much better and smarter than you, who could never come up with something so clever? It looks so “perfect.” Of course it does. It’s been edited over and over, possibly over the course of several months or even years.
What you don’t see is the ugly behind it. The hours of frustration the author spent staring at a blank computer screen, the blinking cursor taunting them over and over with every second that ticked by and the page not coming any closer to being filled up. And before the advent of computers (shock, gasp! was there such a time?) the mounds of rolled up paper thrown into or around a wastebasket, thrown in a moment of sheer dramatic agony of the author, convinced that they couldn’t form a single thought in a coherent manner.
Ever read through a company’s annual report or documents sent to their shareholders about how the company is doing? Be honest. From beginning to end? Of course not. If you’re not one of the document’s drafters or one of the company’s lawyers, or a student reading through it for a class assignment (yep, that was me), then you would likely fall asleep by page 3. The document looks nice and pretty from afar. Perfectly formatted paragraphs and logos and strategically placed phrases in italics, or perhaps other various uses of formatting techniques such as bold and larger fonts, hiding the ugly truth that a company is going down the tubes.
But what if you only wanted to see the beauty up close? Is that possible?
On a run, you see wild sunflowers up ahead. From far away, they’re like a sea of yellow and black swaying gracefully in the breeze. As you get closer, their individual shapes begin to emerge, and some beckon to you as would a grandmother to a child. You raise your hand out to give them a very slight touch with your fingertips. They look as if they are smiling in return. You whisper “thank you” to them as you run by and can’t help having a smile crawl over your face as a result. A runner then passes you in the other direction, and the smile is contagious.
The feel of a lover’s kiss for the first time after a long period of separation and anticipation.
The feel of a cat’s paw on your face, urging you to wake up in the morning.
The first sip of a hot cup of coffee on a brisk morning, sitting outside your tent, gazing at the mountains in the distance.
The tentative steps forward of an animal that was formerly abused, now daring to feel a human touch that doesn’t cause pain. Your falling asleep while sitting near them, in companionship, waking up to see them next to you, looking at you with what appears to be hope in their eyes. Hope that you will now become their family, their protector. Their love. Their life. And they will become yours.
Seeing the ugly or the beauty up close is a choice. A choice only you can make. I choose beauty. To choose otherwise just isn’t possible. For me.
Which do you choose?
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy these photos, shot at Elk Island National Park, just north of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
If you have liked this post and would like to read more like it, please hit the like button below or drop me a line, or even just share it with someone who you feel would also enjoy it. I’ve been starting to write more and I’m definitely feeling the creativity expand within me.