Writing about beauty in a city of plastic perfection is a bit of an oxymoron. I know. Here in L.A. we love ourselves some plastic surgery, eating disorders, dyed hair, hand-detailed sports cars, manicured mansions and impossibly perfect lives.
But it’s not all like that.
I was born and raised in this city and while there is definitely the spectacle of it all (if you seek that out) there are also many of us here looking for and expressing a different kind of beauty.
Years ago I read a small book on Wabi Sabi which is the Japanese idea of beauty in the imperfect. The worn plank of wood. The fray at the end of a slip of linen. The hairline crack in your favorite porcelain teacup.
I seek these things out and find immense beauty and teachings in them. Yes, even in a city of plastic perfection.
I suppose that’s because for me, and I know for many others, one of the main roots of beauty is…Truth.
There is immense beauty in anything that is truthful, real, authentic. Even the parts that are not classically so pretty – the age lines, the scars. They take on a realism that doesn’t have to be either hidden or exalted. It just is, and there is trust and truth in that.
I see these pieces everywhere. On people’s faces, in the garden (like my tomatoes that just won’t take this year) and especially in hearts – my own and others’.
To be able to say, embrace and honor the fact that I will not always look perfect, be perfect, say the perfect thing or have the perfect reaction makes me – and anyone else – more beautiful, because there is a willingness to play with the ‘shadow’ pieces. My yoga teacher taught me about taking that which is ‘dark’ or uncomfortable and using it like compost to fertilize a garden.
Rather than turning away, or pretending they aren’t there, looking at and working with these ‘less than perfect’ pieces is something to actually be honored and appreciated. This is because it’s a chance to foster even more growth inside yourself and make your life even more beautiful, even if at first the opposite seems to be true.
Yes, beautiful truth in the oxymoron.