Definition of Beauty:
“When I was a little girl, I counted on my knee socks. I knew that if I had impeccable knee socks (meaning, they didn’t sag, they stayed up), I would be okay. You see I ran with a little flock of superficial girls who prided each other on their knees socks, their carefully pressed collars, their straight noses, their ability to play Jacks and get past the onesies. In short, I was destined to fail. But, as all little girls who are destined to fail, I tried my damndest not to. I followed their every lead. (Yes, there was a ring-leader. Yes, there were the followers). We were not unlike ducks, paddling, blinking, our little downy feathers scrappy and soft. We were, all of us beautiful, in our own duckling way. My mother read to me “The Ugly Duckling”, probably sensing the inherent problem, but not sure how to help me understand. Though she assured me that I was loved exactly the way I was, those girls insisted differently. I had to dresslikethemsmilelikethemlaughlikethemsitlikethem. In short, I became them. If my hair was messy when I woke up and was swooshed out the door with all six of my brothers and sisters, I made sure to rush to the bathroom at school and comb it down perfectly before I was seen by the other girls. If I laughed too hard and too long, I made sure to apologize and “pipe down”. If I did not have the cutest skirt in the best color on the most perfect day, I vowed to do better. Though my seamstress mother made me gorgeous dresses and play suits, I wanted what the other girls had. I wanted knee socks that stayed up like magic. Worse, I had no idea the power of their idea of beauty had over me. I became defined by them. I became faceless and a part of some whole. I lost my identity before it was born. Beauty meant I had to belong. I wanted nothing more than to belong because I equated this with being accepted, being OK. And to not be accepted was to be left out, abandoned. Impossible.”
“Here’s what I learned, some 43 years later: beauty is about being “left out”. And being left out is actually a good thing. You get the chance to be very different. You get the right to pave a new way, think new thoughts, and suddenly it’s called “originality”. It means your knee socks fall down and sag miserably. It means you cannot play Jacks well at all. It means when you laugh loudly, your laugh rings so true that people will not soon forget it. They may stare at you. It means standing up for what you believe in. It means ditching those pressed collars and straight noses and doing your own thing. It means having your own thoughts, especially. It means being an individual, far different from the others. And as luck would have it, the ugly duckling becomes a beautiful black swan in the end.”
*Join Angela’s Workshop and Find Your Tribe*
Many writers work in quiet isolation, continuing to develop their craft. Others have perhaps lost their way with words and would like a good path back. Feet to the Fire Writers’ Workshops provides a circle of men and women from all corners of life who meet during a weekly, salon-style group in a real living room, not a typical classroom with desks! Through the careful direction of veteran writer and teacher, Angela Burton, writers are encouraged to actively put words to the page, and share their unique perspective in a safe, comfortable zone. All genres are explored, including poetry, fiction, memoir and essay. And writers find hope in this deliberate community of those who share their passion for written expression.