I have a friend who said to me recently that she’s never felt beautiful. Actually, I’ve had a couple of friends who have said that, and it makes me so incredibly sad. These women are, objectively, lovely. I’m an artist, so I get to pretend to be an expert on these things. And when you get the chance to know the women who have told me this, they become even more beautiful. It’s unbelievable that no one has told them just how lovely they are in a way that convinces them. We all have our doubts about our own beauty. The media preys on that insecurity, and even the most gorgeous among us will obsess over her “flaws.” It claims to know the true definition of beauty and insists that we agree, even if we don’t fit into the current beauty fads.
But even with that knowledge, it’s been seriously bothering me that my one friend, in particular, doesn’t know what a beauty she is. There’s a line in an Ani Difranco song, Evolve, that says,
“it took me too long to realize
that i don’t take good pictures
cuz i have the kind of beauty
I think that’s true for so many of us. Ours is a beauty that moves. It is in our laugh, or in our look of love. It’s in the kindness and joy and sadness and vulnerability that shine from our eyes. This beauty is not static, or easy to catch and capture. It flies, it runs, it does somersaults. Our beauty does not sit and wait for a photographer to tell us how to pose.
My friend is actually a photographer herself. It’s her job to make other people see their inherent beauty. She brings out the best in her subjects. And it’s high time someone did that for her. So I took a photo from her Facebook page and created a painting of her as I see her. It’s still not as beautiful as she is, but I feel it captures at least a hint of this beauty of hers that refuses to sit still.