Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for You (Psst... You're Beautiful)

Being a tremendously passionate person, I see beauty everywhere I go - including in the people who share my world. You could be my nemesis and tell everyone who will listen how much you hate me and I could still list a half-dozen wonderful things about you off of the top of my head. It's not flattery. It's truly how I see you. And if you're someone that I consider even "just a friend"... well... let's just say that I'm a little bit in awe of the people in my world.

And yes, that means you.

If I could open my heart to you, I'd welcome you into my most vulnerable spaces, the places where it would cost me the most, those places beyond all of my defenses, and I'd let you see yourself through my eyes for even a single moment. Where you see flaws, I see the courage to grow. Where you see wounds, I see someone who loves enough to reach through the pain, even though they're afraid they'll just be hurt again. Where you see short-comings, I see how far you've grown. Where you see something ugly, I see the beauty in you.

Your wrinkles remind me of the way you laugh or the bittersweet beauty of knowing you're capable of loving enough to have your heart truly broken. That you tend to respond harshly when you're feeling vulnerable is just an echo of how much love you're capable of feeling. When you're hard on yourself, it brings to mind how much you value the gift of yourself and you want that gift to be its very best. Everything you see as a short-coming in your world is a reflection of something beautiful when seen through my eyes.

If you're someone I talk to (even just in passing), if you're someone that I drop an email to every now and then (even if ridiculously long periods of time pass), you have a very special place reserved in my heart, just for you. Things change. Dynamics shift. Geographic distance grows and fades. Time passes. But part of being such a passionate person is that I'm incapable of renting space in my heart. I give those pieces away, forever, for you to keep. That part of my soul that you held, even for a moment? Look in your pocket, in the back of the junk drawer in the kitchen, or on the top shelf of your closet. I never took it back. It's yours to keep. Forever. If you ever want to find it, all you have to do is look. It's there.

When my daughter was born and I became a father, I didn't stop loving the people in my world so I could love her in their place. My heart simply grew a little bigger to encompass everything that I felt for her. When my son was born, I didn't love my daughter less - my heart simply expanded once more. In the same way, I never stopped loving you. I never stopped cherishing you. I never stopped seeing the beauty in you.

While I can't show you my heart, I can show you how I see the world. I see beauty everywhere I go. A manhole cover. Spilled oil. A concrete wall. A pile of dead leaves. To other people, they're garbage. To other people, they're missed and overlooked in the flow of their everyday world. But they catch my eye. I don't go looking for them. They jump out and say, "I'm beautiful." And I answer, "You're absolutely right. Hold on a moment. Would you mind if I took your picture?" There are days when I see so much beauty that it's almost overwhelming, when my camera is more of a defense than a tool, an instrument that takes the edge off of the wonder around me and turns the volume of the world down just a little.

If those everyday things are beautiful to me, then you, you are simply awe-inspiring. You are breathtaking. When I'm near you, you regularly leave me in awe. You make me feel lucky just to know you. We may not always agree or always get along, but that doesn't lessen the beauty of you even the tiniest amount, not even for a fraction of a moment. It's just my overly passionate, tremendously emotional self that gets in the way. I realize that it's the price of admission into my world. But it's also what allows me to love you as much as I do.

And I do love you. Even the parts you think are unlovable. Even those, to me, are beautiful.

With all my heart,


A rainy mud puddle

A concrete wall

A sewer cover

A manhole cover

Spilled oil

Paint flaking on a wall

A concrete barrier

An old warehouse door

A train car



  1. Sitting here with tears in my eyes, love in my heart and only two words....Thank you!

  2. I got nothin'. I love you too, Brother.

  3. Tears streaming down my face. I love you, too!!

  4. @Raven, Spider, Lori, and Paul This is really how I see the people in my world (which includes all of you.) :)

  5. Well dang. I am going to be selfish for just a minute, 'cause I'm a brat that way, and pretend you wrote this just for me:) I'm gonna ignore all those other dear folks who posted ahead of me. LOL! I must say I love it!! AND I love you too, brother! ROCK ON!!

  6. Wonderful post Jeffery and much needed in my world today. I love you too /huggles -=)

  7. This was so very wonderfully beautiful !!! Love to you!!!

  8. I think you need to take over from the man on the Most Interesting Man In The World beer commercials! You really know how to make everyone feel special! You truly are a very special person yourself, and I'm so glad I met you through A-Z! Julie

  9. Wow. Most people are afraid to reveal themselves, even to the people closest to them. We usually try to keep a little something in reserve to protect our most vulnerable places. But not you. You lead with your chin and look life right in the eyes, and say, "Here I am, world!" Good for you. The world could use more people like that.

  10. Jeffrey, this is a nice introduction to you. You sound like you have the heart and soul of a poet. Interesting, the way you made the pictures so intense.

  11. I'm just going to dump all you "old timers" into one group hug and pull JL into it as well. :)

    @Renne You know I love YOU and you're stuck with me in the offline world.

    @Mammo You're very welcome

    @Suziq Thank you! Love to you too!

    @Julie You can kind of guess how well-adjusted and confident our kids are... ;) I truly see the beauty in everyone. It's just "there." :)

    Susan: Which would explain all my scrapes and scars. LOL They're a very small price to pay to have the freedom to just be... I don't know what to call it, "fully alive?" The road to learn to be this way sucked, but I'm pretty happy with the results - even if they are a little bizarre in our culture. ;)

    JL: Thank you! And welcome to the blog. :)

  12. This is exactly what I hear in my head with every hug we've shared.
    (I now fully understand why they're so addicting!)

    (I'm still meaning to get a copy of the spilled oil shot to frame. It's still a favorite. Soon.) =)

  13. Beautiful... and I just second Julie in saying that you really do know how to make everyone feel special.

    You mean everything with your whole heart and you're so incredibly passionate that it would be cripplingly hard to not get caught up in it (from my own point of view).

    THANK YOU for being You and for sharing with us all! :D

    ((btw... the Concrete Barrier is my favorite of those! Love seeing plants grow in odd places...))

  14. that was, wow (blushing) those pictures are great, I take a ton of random shots that no one else looks at. GREAT post

  15. That was beautiful, the people you love are very lucky.

  16. What a lovely post! And your pictures are absolutely beautiful.

  17. @Melissa That's EXACTLY what those hugs say! Thank you for noticing. :)

    @Becky You caught me! Thank you for noticing. (I think you're pretty dang special yourself.) And thanks for the tip on what kind of photos you like... I have a few to share with you as time allows. :)

    @Baygirl Thank you. It's one of the things I love about digital cameras - you have the freedom to take pictures of everything without worrying about the cost of film.

    @Memiki Hang around even the edges of my world and you get pulled into that love. I loves me lots o' people! :)

    @CR Thank you. I tend to carry my camera with me everywhere I go and I try not to miss to many opportunities. :)