I'm sitting at a table with five Girl Scouts and the troop leader. I'm the assistant troop leader to this group of girls; all five are twelve years old, and bright shining points in my life. They're working towards finishing their Journey booklet, and the journey they chose to embark upon was examining beauty. Beauty in society, beauty in life, beauty in the media, beauty inside every person. They were almost done with their last requirement for the book, and today's discussion was how they all perceived beauty.
It amazed me what these girls were coming up with, all of them, at only twelve years old, had better developed ideas of what they thought beauty was then I had at sixteen years old. Their thoughts about beauty were deep, and although their words were not eloquent, their ideas were not complete, I could see the beauty in every word they said.
After the meeting, I looked back over the notes I had taken during the meeting, and what caught my eye was the fact that I had written down what every girl had said beauty was. So I closed my eyes to imagine what they saw, to see the beauty that they all could see.
Veronica had said that beauty was strength, and she likened that strength to a horse. She rode several times a week, so that didn't surprise me when she started in about how powerful the muscles in a horse's legs were, how smooth their canters were. I could see it. I could see that large thoroughbred that Veronica had been talking about, it's powerful hind legs pushing into the crumbling dirt as it leapt ahead. Sweat glistened down it's back, it's powerful muscles twitched at the slightest provocation. It's hair was done up in fancy show ribbons, a calm blue that complimented the horse's coloring.
Suddenly in my vision, with the addition of the ribbons, the horse became a show horse. It was no longer just running freely, it's ankles were wrapped in the same shade of blue as the ribbon, a handsome saddle and tack appearing.
Veronica also appeared, riding the powerful horse, wearing a smart outfit and a blue helmet. Her hair was also done up in braids with blue ribbon, and the horse and Veronica moved together as one entity. Together they raced, bounding with apparent ease through the ranks of other horses. I imagined them doing jumps together, I could imagine it all. It was beauty.
Emily was a dancer. Six nights a week she spent at a dance studio, doing jazz, combo, and ballet. But her real forte was ballet; and most nights were spent with her ballet shoes on, a tutu was donned for every performance the studio had. At twelve, she was in the most advanced group she could be in at such a young age, and for a few years now she had been dancing on point. I also danced at this studio, but no where near as well, so I almost expected Emily's answer to beauty.
"Beauty is lines, being set in your perfect box. The continuance." She said. Every other girl in the troop was giving blank looks at her, but I understood what she meant. Every ballet dancer had a specific square that they were supposed to keep their body aligned in; their left hip should stay parallel to their left shoulder. The same is repeated for the right, leaving the dancer with a perfect rectangle between their shoulders and hips. If this rectangle was never moved, the lines never changed, the dancer was in their perfect box. This was what the ballet teachers taught as beauty, the perfect box and the continuance of your arms and legs, a line that goes on forever.
Onstage, this box and these lines are what makes the dancer beautiful to the audience. The audience expects to see these things when the see a ballet, without ever realizing it, and the tutu only serves to enhance this perfection.
When a ballerina floats across the stage, it's the perfect idea that they could just keep going forever, that they are a force never-ending that makes them so beautiful. Beautiful.
Sophia spoke next, and was by far the most confident and loud in her answer.
"True beauty is being unique, and not hiding your true self." She said, giving a huge smile to us all after she was done.
By that definition then, Sophia was stunningly beautiful. Sophia is never afraid to give her own opinion, never afraid to share her thoughts of an idea. When the troop leader asks a question, Sophia is the first with her hand in the air, the one shouting out the answer. Most meetings, she has to be asked to quiet down.
She's never afraid to volunteer for anything, and perfectly content to help any person she comes across.
And she always looks happiest when she shows up places wearing a sweatshirt and just a pair of shorts. Every person is most beautiful when they are comfortable with themselves, according to the philosophy of Sophia.
Kim, my sister, was the next to answer, and even though she was surrounded by some of her closest friends, she still faltered a bit, lacked a bit of the confidence Sophia had had.
"True beauty is a happy personality. Loving who you are?" Her voice wavered a bit as she said this, biting her lip the whole time. But I believe she said the most important words that whole day.
How can a person be beautiful if they don't love who they are? If a person isn't happy, how can anyone decide that they are beautiful? Or more importantly, how can they call themselves beautiful if they don't love themselves?
I found myself agreeing with Kim's view most of all, that a person was beautiful only if they loved themselves. True beauty isn't found in how a person looks, it's found with how beautiful they perceive they are. Yes, maybe I was predisposed to agree with Kim most, since she's my sister, but I tried to keep an open mind with what true beauty was. Maybe I agreed with her most because we were raised the same way. Or maybe she had just found the words no one else had.
Leena spoke last, which was unsurprising. Leena always spent the most time on art projects, the longest time writing down her answers, the longest time deciding on her answer.
"I believe that beauty is like it is in nature, with the vibrant colors and the intricate designs."
I smiled at her answer, because it was just so Leena-like as an answer. Leena would spend hours on art projects, not because she was slow, but because when she was done, she would have the prettiest work done. Her work was intricate, with designs that would flow into one another perfectly, and the exact colors needed to produce the right result. Perfection, that was a big thing that Leena worked for. I once saw her spend nearly twenty minutes just writing the word 'What' in bubble letters on a poster.
But I understood what Leena meant. I knew that she worked for the little veins in the sun streaked leaves of a plant. I knew that she was thinking of the individual blades of grass, dusted with sparkling dew. The hum of a bee of the brightest yellow landing on a perfectly pink flower, each petal the exact size to lay next to its neighbor. Perfection in nature, the intricacies every painter, photographer, poet, artist, musician, and storybook tried to capture.
Beauty in anything delicate enough to be thrust onto this green Earth.
These girls are only twelve, all of them just coming out of sixth grade. But they thought of beauty in so many ways that they could see the beauty in every day life, appreciate things that most adults couldn't.
Maybe that's something that just happens when a person grows older, they just see less beauty in life. But that should be something we all strive for; to see beauty in everyday life.
Because beauty can exist in all shapes and forms, a person just has to know how to look for it.
AN: This girl scout meeting is what has inspired this whole series of stories. This will eventually be an entire collection of stories, all based on the question 'What is true beauty?' that the troop leader asked that one day. So for anyone reviewing: What do you think is true beauty? Which girl's version of beauty do you agree most with?
I'll have the next chapter up as soon as I have internet again, which should be by Thursday.