Color and Light from Skin to Within

As a child, I was captivated by my father’s cherished collection of miniature porcelain figurines, tiny painted engraved boxes, and mini perfume bottles.  I marveled at their beauty,  amazed that someone could make such intricate, artistic pieces. I falsely equated their preciousness with being of high value.

More than that, the connection with my dad through these Art objects was beautiful; Vibrant and animated, he engaged me by sharing a passion and telling me stories.  Even better was when I joined my dad on excursions to hunt for treasures at antique and thrift shops. He was a strategic shopper and did his best with unassuming owners of valued knickknacks.   Furtively eyeing his prey in an encased wall of collectibles, he asked to see ten objects, of which eight held no interest. Just as we left the shop, he said, “Oh, I forgot those silver pieces; are they genuine? Determined to return to the store, he purchased the boxes quickly.; once we were out of sight, my gleeful father explained that these matching silver boxes were Russian 18th century that stored salt and sugar.  He gently lifted the lids off both boxes, and we could see a residue of oxidized salt. Those were incredible moments!

I remember the details of each excursion with joy and fondness, as they are some of the happiest memories of being with my dad. My parents live on when I show and tell my children and grandchildren their stories. These collectibles were anchors that chronicled my parent’s life.

My enjoyment of these miniature pieces narrowed to antique heirloom jewelry. I am still mesmerized with childlike wonder by the intricacy. Sometimes I purchased essentials to learn the history, historical context, and relevance to the period was sufficient for any given piece. There’s another perk of being able to wear some of them and enjoy offering them to a beloved child or grandchild for continuity. Not everything we inherit is trauma-based

My interest dovetails with generational connection and continuity more than the bling—what meets the eye and wallet. Feeling connected and rooted in a shared history is a treasure, especially when Hitler exterminated generations of innocent people

Familiar are the clichés that tout beauty is more than skin deep. Unfortunately, historically, too much of humankind has disagreed with this viewpoint.

Over the years, I have observed in friends, family, and clinical patients that we not only tolerate but appreciate, admire, and even revere the natural beauty of Earth and the many species that inhabit the planet.  Therein, we recognize the divine. However, ideals of beauty as applied to us are framed rigidly and often unforgiving.

Worse are the world’s social cataclysms resulting in the oppression and murder of innocent people and stemming from ridiculous concepts of superiority based on stereotypes of appearance-mainly skin color. Xenophobia, shallow ideas, and beauty ideals become synonymous with perceived categories of human, sub-human, or animal. Taken to the extreme form, slavery, ethnic cleansing, and ultimate murder of innocent civilians with Government sanctioned genocide

When we apply fixed cultural ideals of beauty to ourselves, we, unfortunately, get caught up in these narrow, stringent, and critical definitions that create insecurity and self-doubt. We shamelessly pick and pull ourselves and others apart, forgetting that body parts do not make a person.

Underlying the aforementioned is the envy of others when evaluated as successful and degradation when valued as a lower animal form. The false sense of security that superiority engenders is a cover-up for insecurity and the threat of annihilation.

How readily we admire beautiful species of birds, insects, marine life, and jungle animals. A bird’s unique plume colors mesmerize people such that there are professional birdwatchers. So beguiling is the prospect of seeing a blue-footed booby or an amazing peacock that some people watch birds for years, hoping to spot beauty. Imagine the allure and high scuba divers feel among the explosion of color under the sea.

A striped cobalt blue, magenta, and fluorescent green fish, complete with yellow polka dots on the gills, is fantastic. We marvel at the vast array of beauty and differences inhabiting a small fish tank in an aquarium. Yet, we condemn, oppress, enslave, torture, and murder our neighbors for having yellow, brown, red, or black skin. How is this possible? Why the different standards?

Gorgeous sea creatures and animals are foreign, have their habitat, and are so out of our purview that they don’t threaten our selfhood. They don’t inflame us by talking back. They don’t humiliate or inspire envy, so they don’t make good scapegoats. In general, insects, birds, fish, and flowers don’t threaten our existence. Many animals may threaten our safety and welfare if we encroach and hurt them, but they do not pose a humiliation risk or destroy the human spirit or emotional self. They are for scientific investigation, fascination, and use, as garments and foods. Domestic animals are wanted for their company, unconditional affection, and adoration for protection as bodyguards and trusted therapy companions.

If only we didn’t project our misery and shortcomings onto other people. If only we learned self-love and compassion and not scapegoat others.

Here’s a wishful thought:  If only we behaved like a drop of water in the warm sun. The water perfectly reflects the full spectrum of light to reveal the colors of a rainbow. Violets seamlessly bend into indigo and blues, and greens merge with clear yellows that bleed into oranges that turn red. The spectrum is all-inclusive and non-discriminatory. The raindrop functions as a perfect prism that connects sunlight’s wavelengths reflected out as explosions of color. The raindrop does not have FOMO. It is a color-blind – paragon of mother nature’s perfection-mysterious beauty beyond measure and a metaphoric template of what the human spirit should be. The light of tolerance born of trust, empathy, and love seamlessly unites humanity.