Why You’re Beautiful
You’re beautiful because you’re stronger than anyone thought. I didn’t think you were at first. I expected the pain of your wrecked relationship to eat you alive. I expected you to burst into tears spontaneously every day for the next decade, stop washing your hair and only smile faintly when someone asked how you were doing. I thought you would still be wearing the ring alone in your apartment, self-medicating to the point where it was no longer a #whitegirlproblem but an actual problem. But you pushed through it. You’re happy and healthy now, and you refer to yourself as “I” rather than “we.” I couldn’t be prouder of you.
You’re beautiful because you take risks. You substituted “who cares” for “what if” and stopped talking into your beer about how you were going to do it and actually did it. You weren’t afraid to take a crazy stupid chance on your crazy stupid dreams, kind of like that chick in Eat Pray Love except you didn’t have to become an ashram-cleaning cliché to find yourself and didn’t leave me with popcorned fingers and a diminishing sense of pre-packaged optimism. You’re an inspiration and you’re real.
You’re beautiful because you just don’t give a damn. You don’t need everyone to like you, agree with you or approve of you to feel good about yourself. You know that “good enough” is subjective, and that more often than not the subject doesn’t really matter anyway. I know you’ll never wake up suddenly 45 and nowhere, half your time and potential wasted on following someone else’s idiot advice. That’s the kind of thing that gives me hope for myself.
You’re beautiful because you taught me something invaluable that I would never have come to know on my own. You taught me that there are some things love does not conquer — that you can love someone with all your heart and skin and organs and it will change completely nothing. You gave me a practical lesson: that a relationship cannot be carried by only one of its halves. You made me realize I am not special, and that’s important because I spent a good part of my life thinking I was. Assuming Keats was right and beauty is truth, you are beautiful.
You’re beautiful because you take pride in ironically showcasing that you’re not. You laugh at the silly standards of conventional beauty and elevate armpit hair, blue-veined pallor and Chucks held together by luck alone to a whole new level. You will never be the one to drop six grand on an anti-aging cream made from red algae and gorilla spit because when you’re eighty, you will be proud of the history that gave you those wrinkles. The thing is, you are absolutely stunning.
You’re beautiful because you’re brave. You know there’s more to life than measuring how long you have — you came face to face with your own mortality and turned to look the other way. Everyone knows cancer is a big deal but somehow it’s an even bigger deal when someone close to you gets it. You’re the one with the cancer but for some reason you still hold me when I cry. How you still manage to look miles better than most “healthy” people is beyond me.
You’re beautiful because you believe in things. Even when it’s easier to be cynical, skeptical, hyper-rational, you keep believing because you know believing in things is what makes them real. You’re beautiful for that reason, because you can do something lots of people can’t. I know I can’t. I admire you and sometimes I’m jealous.
You’re beautiful and you shouldn’t wait for someone else to tell you. You already know it, just see it.
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.