Sometimes we know who we are
by the words of others important to us.
Sometimes our sense of self
seem unrelated to how we look.
Take Ursula K. Le Guin's take on the temperaments of her favorite pets:
"Dogs don’t know what they look like.
Dogs don’t even know what size they are.
No doubt it’s our fault, for breeding them into such weird shapes and sizes.
My brother’s dachshund, standing tall at eight inches,
would attack a Great Dane in the full conviction that she could tear it apart.
When a little dog is assaulting its ankles the big dog often stands there looking confused:
“Should I eat it? Will it eat me? I am bigger than it, aren’t I?”
But then the Great Dane will come and try to sit in your lap and mash you flat,
under the impression that it is a Peke-a-poo."
" Cats know exactly where they begin and end.
When they walk slowly out the door that you are holding open for them,
leaving their tail just an inch or two inside the door, they know it.
They know you have to keep holding the door open.
That is why their tail is there.
It is a cat’s way of maintaining a relationship.
Housecats know that they are small, and that it matters.
When a cat meets a threatening dog and can’t make either a horizontal or a vertical escape,
it’ll suddenly triple its size, inflating itself into a sort of weird fur blowfish
and it may work, because the dog gets confused again:
'I thought that was a cat. Aren’t I bigger than cats? Will it eat me?”
But do pets know they are beautiful?
And what is beauty anyway?
Ursula K. Le Guin had thoughts on beauty as well:
"I think of when I was in high school in the 1940s:
the white girls got their hair crinkled up by chemicals and heat so it would curl,
and the black girls got their hair mashed flat by chemicals and heat so it wouldn’t curl.
Home perms hadn’t been invented yet,
and a lot of kids couldn’t afford these expensive treatments,
so they were wretched because they couldn’t follow the rules,
the rules of beauty.
Beauty always has rules. It’s a game.
I resent the beauty game when I see it controlled by people who grab fortunes from it
and don’t care who they hurt.
I hate it when I see it making people so self-dissatisfied that they starve and deform and poison themselves."
What do you think
when you see the bloated faces
of movie and music stars
who have used Botox
and surgical attempts
to cling to what they see as Beauty?
How do you define Beauty?