The most beautiful person I have ever met as a child and up to this day is my sister Rose.
Even in our youth, she effortlessly embodied the delicate symbolism of her name.
When I became conscious of the distinguishing veil of beauty, I looked up to her luscious tree of burgeoning physical attributes with childish longing and admiration (but mostly longing!).
Her soft blond hair seemed to shame my cropped french-style brown bob. Her lovely svelte bubble of a body eclipsed my athletic (read “plank”-ish) attributes. And her quiet serenity deafened my endless chatter.
But above anything, it’s her greyish-blue eyes that got me sighing admiringly. The most beautiful thing about them was their changing nature… how depending on the mood of the day, they would sway away from the seas of blue and merge into fields of green and skies of grey.
These youthful and irrational yearnings for beauty not our own are some of the themes explored in another book that I cherish greatly – The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison.
The Bluest Eye focuses on timeless and cross-cultural themes such as family, race, violence, innocence, society and class.
The themes may be universal, yet the story is painfully unique.
Pecola, a young African-American girl growing up in post-depression US, is chipping away at the struggle that is her life. We bear uncomfortable witness to her increasing self-loathing and descent into darkness exacerbated by a confusing episode of violence at the hands of a family member.
This heart-breaking desire of a child to mask her attributes with the colours of another ultimately exposes our own distorted view of who we think we are and wish to be. Yet in the end, just like the changing hues of those greyish-blue eyes, we are all beautifully complex and individual beings.
Signed – A brown-eyed girl.
Here is a colourful representation of Toni Morrison. And thank you for reading!