Iman - Houston, Texas
Entered on December 16, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

What is beauty? Is it being 6 feet tall with big muscles and rock hard abs? Is beauty the skinny supermodel gracing the cover of magazines? Is beauty a butterfly fluttering in the breeze or a breathtaking mountain view? Does beauty even exist? How can we as people define beauty? Can we put a label on something and say “this is beauty” or “this is hideous”? I believe that beauty lies deeper rooted than anything that can be held visually.

I believe that beauty lies in having those that love you and care for you around you. It doesn’t matter who you are with or what you look like, it is about having a fun time and making memories that you will treasure for a lifetime. Beauty is knowing that someone will be with you no matter what. Will still want to talk to you when you are at your worst, who won’t care if you spend a whole day pouting; they still will want to be with you.

A couple of weeks ago, for a school project, I has to blindfold myself and walk around an entire day at school blind, unable to see. Upon hearing this assignment I grew excited. A typical project consists of writing long, tiring essays or making posters and doing hours of research and analysis. But this project was different, the only preparation on my part involved bring a blindfold to school.

On that Tuesday, I went and met up with my friend, Anna and America, who were both to escort me to my classes throughout the day at different times. I could barely stand still as America carefully fastened the blindfold over my eyes, shutting out the light that streamed through a courtyard full of tired teenagers.

America and Anna both grabbed one of my arms and we slowly navigated through the courtyard, their gentle touches calming my fear of smacking my face on something. Carefully, we walked up the stairs, their soothing voices in my ears as we laughed together at all of the possibilities that would happen if they were to leave me alone. However, the warmth and security of their arms stayed linked with mine.

We walked through the halls together and I could feel the burning glazes of people looking at me and wondering why on earth I was wearing a blindfold .As we walked into my first class, Anna made sure I didn’t bump into any desks and then guided me to my own desk with expert precision. She carefully made sure I was situated into my own seat and then she hurried to her own class before she was late. At that point Yasmin, another friend, got all of my school materials out and placed them on my desk. I felt stupid talking to people I could not see. The classroom seemed much louder than normal. When I inquired about this, Yasmin explained to me that I was the only one being louder than normal, and I quickly lowered my voice.

The teacher then set us to start writing our paper and I felt a rush of panic constricting my breathing. How was I supposed to write something when I could not see where I was writing? I took a meditative breath and then I put my hand on my paper and began to write. It felt odd, and I could feel my letters forming different shapes then I my normal handwriting yet I still plunged on. Every time I moved my arm and I needed to find my spot again, Yasmin would patiently guide my hand back to my writing spot. I felt grateful for her help, because if she had not been there by my side helping me I would have almost certainly done an awful job.

Finally class was over and I was extremely thirsty. Slowly Yasmin guided my arm to the fountain. I felt it pushing up against my stomach so I held the bar down and leaned over to catch the water droplets in my waiting mouth. However, I searched and I searched, but I couldn’t find that trickle of water that I so desperately needed. The next second I someone grabbed my head gently and steered me toward the directly of the water. Upon discovering it, I drank thirstily until my belly was full. During lunch Anna carefully unwrapped my sandwich and placed it in my hands. For the full hour, Anna and America never left my side, making sure that I was safe and comfortable.

In a word where beauty is primarily visual, how do the visually impaired find beauty in their lives? This was why I agreed to put on a blindfold for a day and stumble around among my classmates. Even though one of my senses was gone, my others sharpened up. My fingers felt every surface with increased delicacy, my hearing and smelling were much sharper, and tastes from my lunch were much more intense. I was only blind for approximately eight hours, yet I had experienced enough to answer my question. In a world with no sight, you can find beauty in the comforting arms of family and friends. Those people are there for you no matter what, and are more than willing to help you out when you need it. Also, the sounds of voices and laughter are beautiful; they embody all the purity and goodness in a world where disease and war are rampant in some parts.