I’ll try to make this quick because I have homework to get to, but first I thought I’d let you know something. Also because it’s coffee hour for me after attending college in the city all day.
“Poetic.” “Aesthete.” “Artistic.” These are the terms others have dubbed me. I get it — I am working for a degree in the humanitarian sector of the workforce. When I’m doing homework, my mind is trying to cobble up a tap dance choreography to an invigorating jig that I can perform in front of an awestruck crowd. I stare at beautiful pictures of models and actors like they’re paintings from the Louvre. I will literally stop in the middle of a walkway to observe the cherry blossoms fall above me, and I stand like that for hours. Any heartbreak takes me months to get over. And if I’m not actually writing poetry, I wax poetic to my exasperated sister on the way home from college on how my crush looked at me the wrong way today or how I’m surrounded by idiot NPCs every day who should really go to Safeway to buy ingredients for a better life, or how I sobbed my way out of my latest existential crisis or how no one likes me, or if they do, they aren’t substantial enough, or…
No, I get it. Labels are superficial, and while I don’t take them seriously, I realize this much about myself. I can’t live life without observing it through aesthetic lenses.
But what I also previously assumed about myself…is totally wrong. I used to think that aestheticism enables me to find beauty in everything. That means finding beauty inside of people, not just in obscure models whom I don’t even know personally. I thought being an aesthete would make me a good judge of personality.
I’ve noticed a pattern every time I fall in love, whether on real live people or whether it’s on models. All my objects of affection…they’re all physically beautiful in some way. Otherwise they have a tendency to look a lot like me. Ask my friends — they’ll tell you that the pictures of them stashed on my phone have the same haircut as me, same facial as me, same fashion statement etc.
That’s right — I’m a narcissistic bastard. Mum wasn’t wrong when she said she noticed a high percentage a poets she knew in her life based much of their craft on themselves.
Isn’t it ironic, then, that as much as I bemoan guys for calling me beautiful when they express their interest in me, appearance is the #1 factor for me that piques the most significant amount of interest towards someone?
And look, I’m not saying that appearance shouldn’t be an important factor in choosing your friends or life partner. It is. But when I examine my own judgements of people, I realize that I overestimate the quality of people when they’re beautiful just for being beautiful while I vastly underestimate their inner qualities. Of course, I do my best to find out who people really are inside.
But let’s be real: I have a wayyy higher favorability bias towards beautiful people at first sight than if they weren’t. Don’t even get me started on last year when I had multiple nervous breakdowns because I saw someone absolutely gorgeous on campus when I haven’t even met that person. Really wreaked havoc on my mental health. If that’s not an extreme case of bias, I don’t know what is.
Bottom line? I glorify beauty, but how much is too much? At what point does glorifying appearance became superficial, especially when my object of affection looks a lot like me?
I don’t have the answer to all these questions since I’m still figuring myself out. I just thought I’d let you know that artistry comes with a darker side. Trust me, I know. I’ve been heartbroken many more times than I could count because “aesthetically beautiful” didn’t live up to my standards. It’s common sense to not judge anyone by their looks, but why I still can’t stop lusting after physical appearances, I don’t know.
I’m not saying all aesthetes have such tendencies, or non-aesthetes aren’t going to go gaga over the next sexy lady in their frat circle. But I know who I am, and I can attest this lived experience to you.
As I like to say: want to know whether someone is a narcissist? Ask them if they’re a poet.