I’m in Norway today.
I knew this country was beautiful. But knowing isn't really knowing until it’s embodied. And like with most things, I didn’t fully understand until I was in the middle of it.
Before today, I hated red. Holiday cups and stop signs and college sweatshirts and sports cars and cardboard valentines and the color my cheeks turned when I didn’t know the answer in class. And then, just this afternoon, driving west on these wet and winding Norwegian roads, I saw all these little red houses and cabins, nestled into the base of magnificent mountains, dotting the endless coastline. Deep bluey reds. Moody, cold reds. Icy reds, like they had been dunked in the frosty fjord and left to dry in the nordic air. Thirty years on this planet and thousands of miles away from home, I discover a new color. A new color! Norwegian House Red. I love it. I feel glad to know it exists.
Growing up, its easy to think beauty looks like one thing.
Flat. On a page. Glossy. Airbrushed. Perfect.
But then you get older and realize what you thought was true wasn’t actually the truest thing.
You live and you learn and you realize that glamour is not beauty.
Fashion is not beauty.
A red lip or a stained cheek is not beauty.
Not on their own, anyway.
Perfection is not beauty.
Real beauty is alive.
Raw and wild and true.
It’s moving and changing.
Like the seasons and the wind.
Like the deepening flush of your cheeks when someone says something that makes you feel something.
Or when someone says zero things and you still feel something.
Beauty is the way silence fills spaces.
The way words sink under skin.
It’s this fresh snow, light and bright and clean, falling all around me. It's this perfectly proportioned drinking glass sitting to my left. It’s also this fire, snapping and cracking and making my gray wool sweater smell like winter as I write a letter you wont read for another decade.
The grass, the buildings, the trees, how they bend. Your Gram-Gram sitting in her chair, the same one she’s sat in every evening for so many years. Sad eyes. Knowing grins. Messy post-nap hair - yours, mine, theirs. Sunrise. Sunset. Sun at 3pm on a Tuesday. Sleet. Rain. Laughs. Cries. Kisses. Touches.
Beauty is every day, everywhere. And it's free. The only trick is remembering to keep your eyes open. I didn’t know this – didn’t really know this – until recently. Everything is different now. More alive. Better.
Beauty is in you, too. Of course. It’s been there since you were born. In your bones, in your skin, in the way you move and think and love. The only upkeep required is that you stay open and curious. And then, just be.
I love you, fierce beautiful one.