I choose to be beautiful

I choose to be beautiful.

Charis Hill image
Charis Hill image

I choose to have conversations with people who sit on street corners with signs that say, “homeless, hungry, please help.” Because, as J.K. Rowling says, through Dumbledore, “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

I choose to look into someone’s eyes even when I’m having a bad day because I know what it feels to have someone take the effort to look into my eyes when my world is shallow and cold.

I choose to co-exist in my travels with others who have road rage, not responding with rage but with calm, because dousing flames with fuel only ignites my own rage.

I choose to love those who hurt me, because I know that causing them pain and acting in hatred in return will only harden their hearts and create an environment of fear.

I choose to be beautiful.

I choose to call out those who bully, I choose to ask them why. I choose to speak out when people hurt when I know my voice can make a difference. Because not talking about our problems creates dormant vitriol.

Image by Mel Melvin, edited by Charis Hill
Image by Mel Melvin, edited by Charis Hill

I choose to talk about difficult things like poverty, race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion because I believe in a just and equal world that celebrates and embraces (rather than condemns, silences, and judges) differences as gems of individualism as well as of culture and tradition.

I choose to create open space for people to approach me because it’s what I want, too.

I choose to watch children play. I choose to allow them to teach me even when it hurts to be reminded that I have lost elements of innocence and curiosity, and especially because I need to be reminded to reclaim innocence and curiosity.

I choose to fall in love even though I know I will get hurt, because it’s more dangerous to live without love than to love as a way of living.

I choose to be beautiful.

I choose to give when I have none because I know it is in giving that we receive more valuable gifts than we could ever imagine existed.  Gifts of community, of Ubuntu, of sharing. Of love.

I choose to be lesser than, to listen to, to struggle with, to care for, to hold and be held by those who are hurt, because they need it. We need it.

I choose to speak out about my own pain when I know my words are powerful and can change the world, because the world needs knowledge and awareness of all our struggles in order to take care of her children.

I choose to cry. I choose to laugh.  I choose to grieve, to mourn, to rejoice, to feel.  To feel.  Because I cannot be a rock or an island, I cannot be a wall. I cannot live in a prison of my own creation.

Greeting the sun on a rooftop in San Francisco, Labor Day Weekend 2015
Greeting the sun on a rooftop in San Francisco, Labor Day Weekend 2015

What we do that isn’t noticed is the doorway into what we do that is. Darkness gives us opportunity to create light, as it did in the beginning. I choose these actions, these thoughts, these feelings, because they shine through me and become beauty. 

I choose to be beautiful.

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