Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beautiful Losers and Ugly Winners

I remember in college I wrote a poem about beauty. It won 1st place in a campus poetry contest and was published in the college literary magazine.

I remember the difficult task of reading it aloud in front of my peers, made even more difficult by the fact that each line was written in a new font, with it's own particular voice and slant.

What I don't remember is the title of that stupid poem. What did I call it, for goodness sake!? I have no idea. All that comes to mind is the first line of the poem, which was one of the deepest, most original questions I'd penned to paper to that point in my life:

Why couldn't the beast just stay a beast?

That was my thought. Belle falls in love with him as a beast, not as a handsome prince charming so why bother with the whole magical transformation for the sake of a happy ending? I mean, he's gonna get all big and hairy and cranky eventually anyway.

Am I right, or am I right?

Now that I've had four children and 17 years of exposure to the Disney channel I understand that it is simply a beautiful metaphor for the transformative power of love. It is inner beauty symbolized as outer beauty. It is the ultimate reward for sacrificing yourself for another.

Yada, yada, yada.

Blah, blah, blah.

But fer reals, what's so bad about being hideously ugly, anyway? Or freakishly freaky? Or even run-of-the-mill ordinary? That's what I always say.

And now I understand why I always say it. See a few nights ago I found out who I am and where I came from.

My mom.

I found this out when my sister and I took my mom and our girls to see our adorable niece in her high school production of Beauty and the Beast. It was amazing, and wouldn't you know it, my mom fell in love with the beast. She fell so hard that her heart literally broke in two when he changed into a stinkin' hot calendar model. It just wasn't the happy ending she was looking for, I guess. But then she digs vampires and the artist formerly known as Prince.

But I dig Adrien Brody, so who's counting.

Anyway, it's what's inside that counts. That's what my MIL always says to her two shortest children, and I believe it. I would phrase it differently if I were cross stitching it on sweat shirts for my two shortest children, but whatevah.

I might say something like: It's what comes out that counts!

What good are beautiful insides if they never come out? You have do DO SOMETHING beautiful to be beautiful. That's alls I'm saying. Like apologize or say thank you or smile with your eyes or give someone a hug or a compliment or a chocolate truffle.

Or make something authentic. Even authentic emotion is beautiful, especially if it's expressed as art.

I'm getting a little side tracked, but have you guys heard of the beautiful losers? That group of D.I.Y artists who are a bit on the visually disobedient side? Meaning they don't bow to societal art norms. There's a documentary about them on Youtube that you might love if, like me, you want to be a beautiful loser when you grow up. Truthfully, I'd settle for being a semi-attractive loser.

I came across the documentary on T.V. by accident one day, and I few things were said that made me realize I had found my clan.

To go from being just a regular freak to being a cool freak. It's kinda nice. We were pretty stupid. And great. Awesomely dumb. It was full of people who were speaking a language where you didn't have to be smart to understand. All you had to do was have a heart and that was enough. I think nerds, or the dispossessed, do sort of inherit the creative earth. If you're not dispossessed, why make art? If you're not feeling pretty rejected and all that stuff you'll probably be a little more content and not have this need to save your life making something. If you really feel something, if there is something inside you, it's important, almost a duty, to tell your story in a different way.

Different way . . . diFFerent wAy . . . diffeRent waY . . .

But I digress. I was talking about the beast, who isn't a beautiful loser at all, but more of an ugly winner. Who then turns into a beautiful winner.

Hmm m m m m . . . I'm not connecting the dots very well, am I? I guess I'll just let you connect them for me then.

So the ending to this post is a little bit anti-climatic because after the show I went to a lot of trouble to arrange a meeting between the beast and my mom. For photographic evidence purposes. But the beast had this kind soul and these piercing eyes and I got nervous, and when I get nervous with a camera in my hand dumb things happen. Like the time I saw Obama at Turtle Bay and I accidentally put the camera on self timer. I just kept pushing the button over and over, but the shot didn't go off until Obama had stepped out of my viewfinder, leaving only the bathroom door which he had exited in view. It was a lovely shot of a presidential bathroom, but still!

So when I tried to shoot my mom with the beast I didn't realize I had the camera on video mode so I have no photographic evidence to tie this post together.

I do however have a photo with my adorable niece, Dani, who played every part in the play but the kitchen sink. (She would have made a lovely kitchen sink too, btw.)

Good job, Dani!

I also nabbed one more photo with my daughter's favorite character, Lumiere, who, besides Dani, stole the show!

Ain't it just like light to steal the show from beauty.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

P.S. Here is the video of my mom with the beast, but there is an error so don't get excited because you won't be able to watch it.

Trust me, my mom is positively glowing. With light and beauty.

Wow! I stand corrected!


Alice Wills Gold said...

Fiona. Maybe it's not so silly after all. Other people got it.

Stephen said...


Kazzy said...

I thought the same exact thing the very first time I watched that movie years ago. I loved the idea of the beast being misunderstood and tragic. I did not want him to be soft and pretty. Yuck!

wendy said...

ha ha , cute post. Often times the "less outwardly gorgeous" people are left alone and misunderstood as Kazzy said.
HEY...I like the SHREK there is an ugly dude that you can't help but love...right??

Scooby and Jon said...

There's an author, Robin McKinley (whom I love) who felt the same. So she kept the beast a beast. I believe the title of the book is Rose Cottage. (McKinley re-writes fairy tales so they feel like they could be fer reals).