Today I watched a group of high school drummers perform using nothing but their sticks, their feet, and the chairs they were sitting in. After the performance, the audience erupted into cheers and I thought about those cheering kids. How many of them didn’t know those drummers before the performance or avoided them as “band geeks?” But judging from the applause, those boys will enjoy at least a few days of popularity after today. I saw this happen many times during my own school years. The kid everyone avoided or overlooked would perform an incredible dance and suddenly gain celebrity status. Girls were suddenly competing for the attention of a boy they’d previously ignored after hearing him sing. Boys were suddenly tripping over themselves to compliment a girl they’d previously made fun of after seeing her perform in a school play. Most everyone has had the experience of seeing someone we previously considered unattractive become attractive by virtue of their personality. Most everyone has fallen for someone so far outside their “type” their friends can’t understand what they see in them (sometimes they themselves can hardly explain it.) Why is this?
I think this is because we recognize beauty—real beauty—when we see it. I recently read Glennon Doyle’s book, Love Warrior, and came across her definition:
“Beautiful means ‘full of beauty.’ Beautiful is not about how you look on the outside. Beautiful is about what you’re made of. Beautiful people spend their time discovering what their idea of beauty on earth is. They know themselves well enough to know what they love, and they love themselves enough to fill up with a little of their particular kind of beauty each day.”
The drummers, the dancer, the singer, the actress, all spent their time filling up with what they loved. Then they shared it with the world. And we could see their beauty.