Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I need to up my game and here’s why. I took this picture several blocks from my house in Oregon. I almost walked right by it but fortunately, I stopped and looked left. There they were, these bright fuchsia-colored berries, all unassuming, just hanging there.
Also known as Callicarpa bodinier, the shrub can grow from 6 to 10 feet tall!
“Callicarpa, is Greek and means beautiful fruit. The species name, bodinieri, is named after Emile Maire Bodinier. She was a French missionary and botanist in China in the 19th century.”
Does Everyone See Beauty In these Berries?
I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty or more specifically, about what makes something appealing or attractive. I am aware that culture, family, and tradition all play an important part in the way people think, that a certain person or piece of art or food, is pleasing.
I am interested in why, in my country, those whose facial features are symmetrical and who generally weigh “less” (whatever less is!), are seen as ‘better than’ those who do not have these characteristics.
It’s entirely possible that there’s a culture where the color of these berries is associated with something negative. I can’t imagine it but that doesn’t mean this bias doesn’t exist. And there’s the rub, I can’t imagine it.
Stop Judging Debbie!
The lesson I am taking away for 2022 is that it is my learned prejudices that create barriers between me and what other people consider beautiful. I don’t need to beat myself up or claim everything is beautiful! But I can be more aware, that many things that are considered unattractive to our society, are, in fact, exquisite in their own way.
If I can only take off my blinders and look at the art, the body type, the color, the music… from the point of view of the person creating it and it’s cultural origin, I hope I can appreciate it’s unique grace and allure.
This way, I can appreciate the world and maybe even see it, for what it is; exquisitely human. It’s not the packaging that matters, it’s what’s inside.
Judgement is easy, integrity is hard.