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Is It OK To Be Obsessed With Beauty?

By Ellen Jenkinson , April 5, 2019

Is It OK To Be Obsessed With Beauty? Image

Yes. No? I don’t know. 

Who makes the rules anyway, who decides? Not me. I wish I did, then I could float on through all this with no slips or spills or sits when I need some air. It’d be a breeze. But then there never was much beauty in a breeze. A storm, some hail, a little rain – that feels beautiful to me. I crave beauty. Do I obsess about it? Yeah. Probably.

I went around the world. Chasing my obsessions. Chasing beauty. Chasing a me that I hadn’t ever really caught up with. A me that I think I held hands with once, briefly, but then I found something beautiful and let go and held onto it a little tighter. I leant into it too much with a grip that made my veins look like purple worms wriggling down to my fingers. I pulled that hand everywhere with me. Obsessed. I lost myself in it, let my obsessions slip away. I forgot about all the things that made me, me. I forgot I ever had things, and things to give – I forgot that I was beauty and that I was worth obsessing over. I forgot that someone might want to grip my hand a little too tight, that maybe I would choose to go limp in their grasp because I wanted to cross my arms that day. Hands were always a little clammy, a little calloused anyway.

So I found beauty in the places you’d expect. Mountains that made me feel like a pinprick in a big red balloon, plains of nothing where there was room to exhale for days. I found it in coughs of dust bowl towns and in islands that popped up out of the water like a floating thumbs up. I found this beauty there and it was a lot of things but it wasn’t everything. I was chasing more. I was chasing obsession. I think?

So I kept running around the world with the thing I thought made me beautiful, and with every new place, every beautiful moment I watched it turn a little grey, not black – it just kind of fogged over, like hot breath on a mirror. I watched finger tip messages start to appear in that dewy reflection, like notes to myself, notes about who I used to be. Notes that made me miss me, my hands – just mine. I found I wasn’t reaching for that hand so much anymore. I couldn’t really feel me in it, I couldn’t see this me in that foggy mirror, no matter how much I wiped. This grey was getting thicker. I laid next to it at night and wondered where the obsession had gone. Why did I find beauty in everything but in it? Why did I feel more beautiful now? Why was the mirror so fucking foggy?

Then, this other hand tapped me on the shoulder, it was stained but pretty and it held on to me in a way that I became obsessed with. Like there wasn’t better. Like I was clear, solid. Like I was sharp with edges, like I had claws. Like I could bite. This hand, it obsessed over me. It made me feel beautiful. And I knew that’s what I felt. But that pissed me off. Why was I putting my beauty in someone else’s eyes all the time? So I decided to stop holding hands with that too, even if my claws had already dug in a little, even if I’d taken a bite. I might pick it back up later, once I’ve held my own hand for a bit, learnt more about it. What it can do when it’s just hanging by my side. What can it reach? What can it hold on to? What can it hit?

So I came home and let go of that foggy grey, let go of the stains and I put my hands in my pockets and found this metal cloud. It was heavy, cold to touch. I flipped it around when I was nervous. I didn’t let it tell me I was beauty. It actually told me that everything else, all of it – was just fluff. I didn’t obsess over it. I just used it when I felt like it. My pocket cloud. I liked a little metal in my hand. A bit of cold to cool that clamminess.  Maybe I wasn’t obsessed with beauty? I was just tired from running around chasing it in everyone else. Maybe beauty was what I decided it was. It wasn’t in anyone else’s eyes or hands, it wasn’t in my makeup drawer, and it wasn’t in the mirror, foggy or otherwise. It was just in a walk down Smith Street on a rainy Wednesday afternoon, with my keys jingling in one pocket and my hand on my cloud in the other. Maybe I’ve never been obsessed? I’ve just been holding onto too many hands too tight? Or maybe I just have an obsessive personality, and if I had realised that sooner maybe I could have saved heaps of money and not run around the world chasing beauty and craving obsession? And maybe I should just work on that a little? I don’t know. I don’t make the rules.

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