I am addicted to beauty. Does this sound strange? This addiction’s impact on me has some expected outcomes, but there are aspects of my life that seem contrary to expectations. Like many addictions, I am both served and hindered by the monkey of beauty. I suspect this is a lifelong addiction, and for the most part I am glad of this.
What is this thing called beauty? An internet definition says that beauty is “a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight”. This sounds typical. An element of the definition is missing! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is not the same as perfection. In fact, beauty can be terribly messy.
My personal addiction to beauty drives me to pursue and appreciate those things that I find to be beautiful. I seek out external and internal beauty. I enjoy visual and audio beauty. I also have very personal tastes in beauty. Sometimes these tastes align with the majority. Other times I am on my own in my appreciation. I enjoy complimenting people when I see them expressing beauty. I think this is terribly important. For reasons I will share later, I believe that it is critical that beauty should be recognized and shared.
How does my addition to beauty reflect in my life? This is where I had some real surprises. While I do primp, and have a personal style, I am also incredibly sloppy in areas of my life. Some of this has to do with self-image. I have some big self-love issues. The sloppiness in my life would be incredibly disheartening if I didn’t realize that beauty was not the same thing as perfection. I also don’t attempt to embody the things that I find to be beautiful. An example would be that I find redheads to be divine, but I don’t dye my hair red. Lastly, I only have so much time and energy, so I don’t personify everything I find to be beautiful. I enjoy and treasure beauty that is not outwardly demonstrated in my own life.
A dark side of my beauty addiction is prejudicial judgment of non-beauty. I must constantly remind myself that surface beauty does not equal actual beauty. I address this when I remember that beauty is not the same as perfection. A photograph can be incredibly beautiful while still being flawed by dictatorial measurements of composition. I strive to take beautiful pictures of all kinds of people. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. I push myself to photograph the beauty in everyone, and in doing so, I defeat the inherent prejudices of beauty addiction.
Another dark side is that I am intimidated by beauty. This touches back to self-image challenges. A manifestation is that I find it very difficult to ask some beautiful people to dance. The mantra “I’m not worthy” comes to mind. Additionally, while I engage in some amount of sloppiness in my personal life, I also beat myself up for not being thin enough, handsome enough, suave enough, chatty enough, and so on. The bottom line is that addiction of beauty can blind me to hidden beauty and this includes my own beauty.
I believe that my addiction of beauty serves me in my artistic pursuits and my self-image. There is salvation from the dark side of beauty addiction. I don’t claim to be a fashion or boudoir photographer, but I do think I have an eye for beautiful composition. I don’t do model photography. This may be rectified one day. Instead I do event photography, specifically dance photography. Dancers embody so many aspects of beauty. My breath is taken away by the beauty of dancers. My addiction is sated. I also enjoy dancing with my fellow beautiful dancers. Associating with beautiful people helps me feel more beautiful. Documenting beauty, and dancing arm-in-arm with beauty, enriches my art and my self-image.
Addictions serve and punish the afflicted. My addition to beauty informs my artistic pursuits. Beauty brings pleasure to my life and makes me feel better. My appreciation of beauty prompts me to share beauty and this enriches other peoples’ lives. These pluses are contrasted with the negative of being blind to a larger world of beauty. Does this mean I should wean myself from my addiction? I don’t think so. While I am a victim of sorts, I am more served by my addiction than I am hindered. This addiction will drive me to find beauty where I may not see it today. My challenge is to embrace my addiction in healthy ways, and in doing so, I will become the master of my addiction to beauty.