Week Six: Find Beauty in the Little Things

Published Tuesday, April 24, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

Forgive my lateness, as it turns out, a healthy sense of procrastination and a 10 page Sociology paper do not equal a timely blog post. In fact, they actually equal a near-panic attack, a sore back from being hunched over my laptop, and a strong sense of comraderie with my favorite classmates. I mean, Sociology majors, like misery, love company.

That being said, week six’s challenge stumbled upon me when I thought I would be doing something else. After the amount of sleep-deprivation I’ve experienced in the last 36 hours, I don’t remember exactly what that something else was. However, I know that I did not intend to appreciate random tokens of spontaneous beauty, but that’s what happened, and it was…what else? Beautiful.

Rule: Find inspiration or beauty in a natural (meaning unforced) item, scene, or moment.

Monday – The Planet Venus

Outside of my sleepy college town rests a little “lake,” which could be more accurately described as a pond. On days that are too stressful to handle, like this Monday happened to be, my friend and I decided to take a drive to the lake late in the night. It was relatively busy that night, with a small flock of geese dotting the shoreline, and a shady meeting of two cars across the water from us. However, as we sat in her car, windows half-way down, cool breeze slinking in, I began to feel the stress of the day melt away.

As the knot in my stomach loosened, I looked up at the stars — scattered across the country sky like sprinkles on a cupcake. One star, or rather planet, stood out brighter than the rest. My friend claimed that it was Venus, and with the quick assistance of Google Sky Map, we determined that she was right. Despite my gender, I’ve never necessarily felt a connection with Venus. Obviously, I’m a more of a Neptune Girl. But there was something about that bright white dot — that tiny spot that was really a rock suffocating in greenhouse gas — that just pierced through to me that night.

Maybe it was the cliche-star-realization, that I’m so small and the universe is so big. Maybe it was the fact that Venus, the planet of women, represented everything from which I wanted to escape. Maybe I just like shiny things. Regardless, she was beautiful that night.

Tuesday – Thomas’ Chirping and Daisy’s Smile

I am fortunate enough to be an object of love for dozens (literally) of animal siblings. One of which is a little white cat with gray patches and bright green eyes. His name is Thomas, and whenever I come home, he greets me with a meow and rubs against my legs. His meow is unique, it sounds less like a meow and more like the chirping of a small bird, like in the cartoons when the evil cat eats the bird, but you can still hear the bird chirping from within its belly. The other animal sibling of note is Daisy, a border collie/blue heeler mix. Daisy, like I believe all dogs do, experiences the same emotions as humans — except that Daisy knows how to smile. Whenever I come home, she greets me by pulling her lips away from her teeth and jumping up to wrap her paws around me.

Nothing makes you feel more special than being loved, especially by two intrinsically unique siblings. A friend of mine once told me a story about a little boy who believed that animals don’t live as long as humans, because the point of life is to learn how to love, and animals are already born with this knowledge. Considering the genuine, innocent love of my animal siblings, I couldn’t have put it better, myself.

Wednesday – French Skeletons

The same friend from Monday night has recently dove headfirst into the realm  of fashion. For her very first full-garment undertaking, she decided to make me a dress for my birthday. Keep in mind, the dress is custom-tailored to my exact measurements, designed with my specific style in mind, and completely 100% original (as in no pattern used — it’s all straight from her head).

The above picture shows the  back of the dress before its completion, but even at this point, I was impressed by her skill. For her first-ever dress-making attempt, I think she rocked it. The lace panels show off my tattoo, and the exposed zipper give it that rocker edge I need. But the best part? From a distance, the pattern appears to be the stereotypical French scene — farmers, villagers, and the like just mulling about. However, upon closer inspection, one can see that these people are not people, but rather, skeletons. French skeletons. How cool is that?

So the point of the Wednesday rant? I think it is a truly unique experience to have a friend that you can consider sister-material. I mean, not only does this dress boost my ego and vanity, but the hours that she spent working on it show how much she cares about me. She took the time to sketch out the design a dozen times, hand-pick every piece of material, stitch it all to perfection, and still make sure that the garment fit me, both physically and personally. That amount of care and devotion in a friendship is rare, and it is one of the “little” things in my life that I appreciated this week.

Thursday – Wind like Water

To those of you who have read my poems on this blog, it will come as no surprise that I would find beauty in a lake scene, as well as in the feeling of water. I love water for several reasons, whether they be nostalgic, symbolic, or metaphoric. But the sensation I experienced on Thursday put the concept of water in a whole new perspective.

I was walking to class, when out of no where, a breeze blew across the sidewalk, exactly perpendicular to my path. The breeze was warm and wide. It wrapped around my frame and weaved its way in between my arms and rib cage. Its motion was so fluid, yet so tangible, like I had been washed over by a great wave of water. In my head, I pictured it like a scene from Disney’s Pocahontas, the one where she sings the song about “painting with all the colors of the wind,” and swirls of colors and leaves wrap around her. Now bare with me here, it was like for that moment I was Pocahontas — traipsing through an unspoiled world, in tune with nature, and surrounded by beauty.

It’s weird how peaceful and lovely something as simple as air can be.

Friday – Tree House

At the Humanities Department picnic, two of my friends and I ventured down past the host’s pond and into an alcove of trees. In the center of this pocket was a large tree, complete with a rather large tree house. Obviously, we couldn’t pass this up. We climbed up the rickety metal ladder and into the wooden refuge. The tree house was rectangular in shape, with about sa ix-foot high ceiling, and four windows, two of which contained glass and screens. It even had a balcony with a trap door, so that you could shut out the outside world and then peer down at it regally from your fortress.

Aesthetically speaking, the tree was beautiful, with its wide, long branches — the kind on which you want to stretch out and read a novel. The tree house, not so much. It was more like a giant wooden box. However, there was something so joyous in discovering this little haven and reveling in the memories of childhood, the fear of heights, the seclusion of nature, for just a few moments. As I’m sure William Wordsworth would concur, there is just something beautiful about rejoining the natural world and rediscovering, if only for a moment, that childlike innocence we all lose too quickly.

Saturday – The Swirl of a Full Skirt

One of my best friends and I decided to be quirky and wear matching dresses to my sorority’s Formal on Saturday. While this in itself was fantastic, one of the best parts about the evening was twirling in my dress. It has an A-line skirt with just the right amount of fullness. When I spin just right, the skirt billows out around me, like a blooming flower, but retains enough of its shape to also retain my propriety. I don’t know what it is about a properly-swooshing skirt, but nothing boosts your confidence like taking a spin on the dance floor and watching your dress soar away from your body. It’s like having wings, wings that are spreading out, ready to zip you into the sky at a moment’s notice.

Sunday – Breathing

No, not my breathing. Although, after taking a deep inhale right now, I must admit that feeling my lungs fill with air is probably the best sensation in the world. But no, what I noticed Sunday was not my own breath, but that of my favorite lead singer’s in between lyrics during one of my favorite band’s songs. Of course, by these favorites, I mean Gerard Way and My Chemical Romance — there’s no use in hiding my devotion now. It would literally take a full-length novel to describe exactly why I love this band. And it would take another novel entirely to describe exactly why I admire Gerard Way so damn much. But in the particular instance of breath, I can sum it up for you rather quickly.

For music lovers, at least my kind of music lovers, the music of our favorite bands becomes a kind of religion. When you truly connect with a band, and I mean in the deepest regions of your soul, to the point where you can no longer remember your life without their music, something changes in your perception of the band. At some point, the individual instruments get lost, mixed up and scattered through your blood stream. The individual members become a kind of collective consciousness, like a troop of Jiminy Crickets chirping in your brain.

But when you step away from their music and manage to separate it from your being, you begin to hear the little complexities again. This is what happened to me on Sunday. For a moment, my mind left my body, and I was able to separate myself from My Chemical Romance. In this moment, I heard all of the individual instruments again, but most clearly, I heard the subtle inhales that Gerard takes in between lyrics. Breathing is the one thing that unites every single living animal: we all must breathe, until we no longer can.

By hearing my lead singer breathe, I was not only reminded of his humanity (thus knocking him off of his pedastal for a moment), but also of the one, actual, tangible connection that I have with my band: we all breathe.

Week Seven: I’m thinking “No Complaining.” I need to take the blame away from the outside world for a while.

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