It is a shame that we live in a society that has so horribly misinterpreted beauty. The word has been minimized and shallowed. Common belief is that we can calculate beauty with a simple formula; create it in a lab based off of focus groups, mass-produce it, box it, tie it with a bow, and force it down the throats of the unsuspecting consumers. We have become accustomed to it. We place skinny women with symmetrical faces on podiums as models for perfection, ignoring the human inside the body. We look at art with a craving for aesthetics but dive no deeper than what is painted on the surface. We are jealous of the cute couple on social media because we assume their love is as filtered as their Instagram photos. What is abandoned is the truth: the gross, vile, disgusting, heart-wrenching, reality-altering, ugly, beautiful truth.

This consumer culture world has killed beauty. Advertising and marketing has numbed our brains. The internet age has left us addicted to instant gratification. Binge-watching leaves us seeking entrancement. We live vicariously through our social media profile. There is no longer a need for reality. It is no wonder that we threw away beauty for appeal.

The truth has been flipped completely upside down. Beauty is thought of as perfection but really it is the exact opposite of perfection. This world is much more complex and diverse than we have come to view it. To truly find beauty, you have to look for it; it is there, hidden in the nuanced pieces that compose the mosaic of our reality. It is messy and contradictory and too large in scope to completely understand. There is meaning and beauty in every detail- but the most beauty is hidden in the details we try to ignore. We need them to complete the work of art, to fulfill its purpose- but most of us would rather pretend they do not exist. I am here to tell you that this ignorance is not bliss.

This article is not meant to be pessimistic. It is meant to expose the truth- because the truth is the only means of reaching pure beauty. I want us to wake up from our trance and feel. I want us to stop living by stumbling from distraction to distraction. We have lost touch of beauty but that does not mean we cannot get it back. The first step is to acknowledge that beauty is ugly.

Beauty is not a photo shopped magazine model. Beauty is the model's flawed, makeup-less complexion. The one that tells the truth. It is the blemishes, scars, wrinkles that whisper stories. It is all the imperfections that make her who she is.

Beauty is not a colorful display of paint on a canvas. Beauty is how those brushstrokes make you sting. It is how that reflection of life hits so close to your heart that it frightens you. It is the gross truth that the artist is desperate to uncover.

Beauty is not an Instagram photo of a smiling couple. Beauty is the fights, the tears, the resilience of love. It is the struggle to accept and cope with your partner's demons. It is holding their hand through this chaotic, unfair journey towards death. Beauty- true, full, deep beauty- is the hard work and commitment it takes to love.

Life can be ugly. Accept it. Find the beauty in it. Experience- and experience with all of your being. There is nothing more fulfilling than living authentically. Let us stop running away from reality and start embracing the beautifully ugly truth.