I read in an article somewhere that people who think they are not beautiful tend to mistakenly believe that the declared beauties (or the conventionally beautiful people) of the world are unconditionally happy and at peace with themselves. I too had believed the same about beauty being the ultimate immunity from melancholy and insulation from mental unrest until I started recognizing my own beauty as conventional and explicit.
I remember reading that article with a sort of sympathetic feeling towards the lot of people who are resigned to the belief that they are not born beautiful, and subsequently believe that there is a higher level of happiness which is forever inaccessible to them. That is to say, I did believe then that I would’ve been not as happy as I was had I been (or considered myself) a little less beautiful than I thought I was. I was passively vain: if not about being pretty exactly, then at least about having no explicit ugliness in my appearance.
And, by the time I came to write this poem titled ‘Just a pretty face’ in 2012, I think the notion that it’s more important to be happy than to be beautiful had became strongly rooted in my heart. Also, maybe I was striving philosophically to feel happy while disassociating with the idea that I was beautiful/pretty, as a clear differentiation was being made in mind between ‘believing one is beautiful and deriving happiness out of it’ and ‘believing one’s happiness is not bounded by one’s idea of one’s beauty’.
‘Just a pretty face’ is a short verse that I wrote about two years back for posting in a website (hellopoetry.com). It was a spontaneous effort to translate into words an idea that crossed my head that day (March 22, 2012). I think it’s a great translation, by my standards, because it makes perfect sense to me even today and it brings back a picture of what my sentiments and my idea of beauty might have been that had propelled me to write about ‘misplaced sentiments’ in the tone I used in the poem.
If misplaced sentiments were like pimples
on odd places of the face
then I’d pop each and every one of them
until my face hurt, bled, and got mutilated.
With one of those pimples would go
the sentiments attached
to my otherwise pretty face.
I’d be a happier person.