Beauty Lost


Frances Robertson, Writer

It feels like all my life I’ve been trying to figure out what beauty really is. Of course, I’ve always known what beauty isn’t. But if I had tried to ask a group of people to define what it is, I would just hear a lot of isn’ts – “Beauty isn’t one standard” or “Beauty isn’t skin deep.” I know beauty isn’t what social media pushes it to be – a mascara or a new Botox technique or a filter. Almost everyone in my life has made sure to tell me, starting from a very young age, not to be fooled by society’s corrupted translation of this one word. “Everyone is beautiful in their own way” has been force fed into my brain since before I could talk. But all of these ideas and phrases are so vague. People fear true beauty, so we throw around inspirational quotes and slogans to promote self-love, hoping we can make each other feel better about ourselves. But when it comes down to it, beauty isn’t even about people. Beauty is the before.

Before humans, stars lit up the night sky. Forests were silent, rid of the sounds of snapping, sawing, trees falling. Fish swam, not noticing any nets in their way, because there weren’t any to notice. The sound of birds woke up the world, not that of coffee machines or lawn mowers. There were no magazines or advertisements. No jobs or careers to follow, only instinct. Everything breathed together, everything worked together, everything played a part in the original circle of life. Beauty was left undefined and it didn’t need to be a reminder or a reassurance. It was subtle, unspoken, there.

Beauty was true to itself. Even now, we see small glimpses of how it all used to be. Looking at a sunset, we know it has never tried to be beautiful; it just is. But this effortlessness of nature, before the infestation of modern mankind, is crumbling little by little each year. Every next generation has seen less and less of our natural world. Now, our senses can only drink in the watered down sludge that once was the sweet syrup of this Earth. All because we got smart enough to become ugly. 

Our ugliness stems from how we have exploited and continue to exploit – how we have concealed this exploitation under the veil of “improving” this society. It seems that people strive to improve everything under them, even when our drive to make things faster, stronger, “more beautiful” is proven to be doing us more harm than good. Under the careful watch and instruction of humankind, our planet has been stripped and left to bleed. How is that beautiful?

Maybe a thousand years from now, this planet will have gotten rid of us. Maybe every last piece of evidence that we were even here will be long disintegrated – bits of plastics and cloth finally wiped clean from the dirt and sea. But when our stay on Earth is over and our universal landlord has kicked us out for good, who will be there to see the redefined beauty? It will be the hidden creatures sneaking up from the earth and the limbs of trees finally clawing at fresh air. It will be the sun’s rays hitting a newly untouched world and the plants that will stretch their roots as far as they can go.