by Larry Thompson
I have aged. My dea of beauty has changed. When I think of beauty I am reminded of my growth cycles and infatuations. When I was between the ages five and ten, I thought my mother, aunts, and teachers were the most beautiful women in my life. When I was eleven, I found a stray dog. His soft fur, that way he looked up to me, following me whenever he could, felt good. It was a beautiful feeling. But when I took him home and my mother told me I could not keep him I was shattered. I felt like she was robbing me of something beautiful. Then the next day I found out that he had been put to sleep. It was in that instant between my sobs and tears that I remember looking at my mother and feeling that she was no longer beautiful to me. I didn't know it then but I was beginning to cross over from the physical to the inner workings of what beauty meant.
When I was twelve my body started to change. The girls around me were changing. They were getting fuller and curvier. Their sweet smells pulled me to them, clustering me in cocoon softness. One girl comes to mind: Sharell Bennet. To me, she was beauty. Her skin was the color of the Sugar Daddys I loved and her breath smelled of red liquorish. Her presence meant the world to me. By the time I turned thirteen, June Green was the new intoxicating flavor. She had a walk I will never forget, a strut that could have only been taught. It was just so perfect. The ways she moved cancelled out the sweet candy smells that Sharell had hypnotized me with. Since she was the class monitor I watched her walk around the classroom with the same enthusiasm as a kid experiencing his first kiss. I was too young at the time to know that I was mesmerized by beauty.
By the time I reached high school it was the late sixties and Black had become beautiful. I wore an afro, a dashiki, Levis and white Converses. I proudly wore my black power fist made of ebony wood around my neck. Without even knowing it I, like many others, were proclaiming what they considered to be beauty or beautiful. Along with discovering physical beauty, by the time I was a grown man I was making other beautiful discoveries. I found beauty in smoking pot. There was a wild and floating ecstasy that freed me and took me places, if only in my head. Enlisting in the navy enabled me to see the beauty of team work. For eight years I experienced the beauty of serving my country.
I am now a 56-year-old man who has been married two times. Yes, two times. While I have been married to beautiful women, I have learned that external beauty and internal beauty are entirely different. Recognizing beauty and respecting beauty are very different. I am thankful to have learned this. It has been part of my healing and redemption as a compassionate and loving man. So now when I think of beauty, communication is one of the first things that come to mind. I have found that when people are willing and able to communicate, there is a beauty that comes through which can be so powerful, ultimately making them, beautiful.
Larry Thompson is a filmmaker and comedian who has appeared at The Comedy Club, The Comic Strip, and several comedy clubs in Los Angeles. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York.