Beauty is symmetrical.
Beauty is healthy.
Not only does our society teach us what encompasses beauty but human nature has also ingrained us with this knowledge. Even a newborn baby will be more drawn to beauty than not. It is a necessary means to the continuation of our species to value and seek beautiful people.
We are subconsciously drawn to beautiful, symmetric people because these qualities are a strong indicator of health and increased ability to reproduce. Like every species, our unconscious will strive to keep us alive and continue our species. Through community, an individual human is more likely to survive- as a collective whole we can create easier means to food, shelter and water. It is also a necessary component to have human interaction to fulfill our basic emotional needs.
All of this equates to one thing- humans strive to be and to be around beautiful people.
Proportionate, symmetrical, healthy- beautiful people.
Stacey* is not proportionate.
Stacey is not symmetrical by any means.
Stacey has physical and intellectual disabilities- and not the hidden kind.
Her disability is clearly portrayed in slope of her unsymmetrical face and the uncontrollable tension in certain muscles- causing her body to contort.
Stacey does not appear beautiful nor healthy... But as I sit across this cafeteria table and she involuntarily thrusts her tongue (causing more food to end up on her colorful pink and yellow striped bib) as I attempt to spoon feed her...
I realize how undeniably, breathtakingly beautiful she is.
The squeal of a tennis shoe jarring against the floor pulls my head up to the present moment. I glance around this bustling cafeteria, the air seems buzzing with tension as bodies prepare to fulfill expectations- some preparing to fulfill the expectations of their rumbling bellies, some preparing to fulfill the former's expectations at the request of loved one's who entrusted them to properly care for their child or sibling.
A challenging and exhausting responsibility thrust upon their willing shoulders. Those shoulders carry more titles than most- caregiver, maid, comedian, janitor, leader and even server - Being demonstrated now as they carry trays precariously balanced on forearms, filled with countless different diets.
These unsung heroes don't have the energy or time to wipe the sweat from their brow as they fulfill the needs and desires of these lives entrusted to them- all while keeping a smile.
Chaos seems to overtake the room as one person with disabilities begins to refund their meal from a few hours prior all over the floor. Another three people need to use the restroom, like, now and the eyes of their caretakers frantically search for one free person to offer a helping hand.
No free hands can be found as meals are being dispersed, food cut, bib aprons tied, mouths being spoon-fed. Not even a single leg is without purpose as they go on drink runs, balance bottles prepared to fill G-Tubes, and follow a reluctant and defiant person with disabilities.
But just for a moment my mind hits pause...
The bread roll that just escaped the hand of a boy with intellectual disability stops mid-air.
The sound from laughter, forks and knives clinking together, the involuntary 'woop!' of someone having a behavior, fades into the distance.
The world transforms in front of me as my perspective shifts oh so slightly to reveal all the beauty surrounding me.
My breath catches in my throat and I hold it for the briefest moment before filling my lungs to max capacity.
All I see is the beauty around me.
People that society often label as 'less-than' have more beauty than words on a screen can contain.
I glance back at Stacey and again her beauty captivates me.
Her body only sporadicly, involuntarily lively, but her eyes sparkle with life.
Her deep emerald eyes tell a story that take me to worlds beyond any that Hemingway or J.K Rowling have ever inspired in my imagination.
I feel myself drawn into the light and warmth they imbue and in a moment I can feel the pure heart that resides behind those eyes.
I can feel the peaceful, unassuming and pure world that is Stacey.
With the bounce of her chair, a movement she is unable to create with her own muscles, her face brightens with a smile that could melt any heart.
Around this cafeteria room I see beauty in it's truest form-
Just as beautiful as the people with disabilities are the people sitting across from them.
The helping hand, the caretaker, the 'shoulders'- with a heart that can often be too big. Hearts on the brink of being too humble and too selfless.
People with disabilities, hidden or visible, are beautiful. They see life as it is and do not take a moment for granted.
Stacey is a pure soul and taking a moment to truly see her, to see any of these people living with more struggles than the average human can fathom, gives you a glimpse of what true beauty looks like.
They don't fret over how many likes their Facebook post received or whether they will get the new iPhone. They simply live each day and live in the moment that lies in front of them.
Hearts pure and open, they are the true representation of beauty.
The FREE email series that will teach you everything I learned about reaching my best health is in the making! I apologize it is taking so long, I am also beginning to make videos again and have been busy, busy with the website!
Caylee Shea is a regular contributer to Disabled World.
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