To be young is to have a clean slate. To be young and beautiful is godliness.
Yes, young and beautiful is the fantasy. The reality of inhabiting this sphere is far less mystical.
People forget that youthfulness also comes with a lack of understanding. That being so fresh and green comes with a devastating reality check when wings are unfurled and these doe-eyed innocents exit the nest. Early twenties is the first test humanity throws in its members’ faces and boy, it is a doozy.
Early twenties, this is my ode to you.
From the debut of that decade to four years deep, the metamorphosis is stark and unforgiving. Layers of idealization are stripped away, replaced by some cynical understanding of reality. The magic of seventeen seems so distant now. Lost in a storm of one existential crisis after the other.
The twenty year old mind is a wicked friend. Unforgiving with scathing criticisms about shortcomings, that inner voice boils with hatred. It matures, sure, but the tone keeps. Condescension leaks from judgments over the self, permeates into conversations about others.
That is what judgment is, really. When boiled down to the husk of whatever given opinion, the uttered phrase undeniably feels like it comes from something personal to that specific utterer. The beautiful youth nurture these methods of self-validation and grow to rely upon them as they age up.
So obvious are these insecurities in the older generations of this caste, so grim! Only material wealth and outside validation can protect the fragility of the mind from the ruthless troll lurking there.
What a silly idea.
Young twenty-somethings undergo the stripping and hosing down of their idealism to be thrown into the shark-infested waters of the real world. Often they possess little knowledge of the true and insidious nature of the society awaiting them.
Easy trust can fall to reluctance and aggression. Eyes, once open wide, turn to slits. Lips upturned, unfurl with teeth bared. The low hum of a growl rattles young throats. The world can mold these pretty muses into monsters.
Young and beautiful and crippled. Where is the salvation? For the young turn old eventually and the beauty fades to dust. What awaits those trapped in the vortex of realized realism?
Escape is hard.
The Bambis of the world turn to crones, die as bitter as they were when they first emerged from childhood naïveté. They do not wish to leave because existing on this plane is a thrill. The underbelly of the world is sacred as much as it is hellish.
Picture the extravagance, the pulsation of heaviness in the air, the slender bodies that populate dim rooms. Picture the artificial euphoria rising from glossy lips as artificial chemistry forces physical responses.
Drugs, alcohol, the touch of a hand. Expensive clothing, expensive faces, expensive rooms for play. Everyone is sizing up everyone else. Wondering if they belong.
Young, beautiful, extremely insecure. Old, refined, always second-guessing.
Humans are sad creatures. The world of beauty is testament to that. Authenticity faced extinction here long ago. Individuality is a facade; everyone wants to be a conformist, to feel they belong in this fragile social bubble.
Because that’s where the beauty lies, the youthfulness. People get older but the backdrop is always the same. Fresh meat goes rotten only to be replaced with every cycle of the sun.
Everyone trapped in this zone, regardless of their smooth skinned facial symmetry, will be chewed up and spit out the other end. The fact is accepted amongst the individuals mingling in it and not touched upon.
They would rather indulge until there was nothing left. To short circuit their happiness pathways until all that feels authentic is the sad loneliness that inevitably follows. And then death.
At least the ride is a wild one. Makes for a good story.