We used to have a pug when I was younger and still lived at home. You know, one of those dogs with the scrunched up faces who look like they walked into a wall. Repeatedly.
And I loved him. He was the wisest and kindest of beings I’ve ever met in this world. No trace of meanness in his entire chubby body.
I loved him. Even though everyone was always loving on the other pup in the house cause he was just…well…ugly.
I loved him. Even though he went a little bit mad and senile at his (very old) age, which would result in him wobbling out into the backyard and furiously barking at…well…nothing. For hours. Without a stop button. Damn trees. They deserved a good talking to, I guess.
Even though he smelled. Really really bad (I mean, those farts were out of this world nasty). And drooled. And sneezed a lot, including ample amounts of spit and snot flying everywhere. And snored like a damn sawmill.
Plus, he was a total pillow hoarder (he spent a lot of his nights perched on my pillow in bed), And he would literally SINK to the bottom of the pool if he happened to fall into it. Very inconvenient.
He was a good dog. He was the best dog. He may even have been the bestest dog.
We used to say that he (and the rest of his breed) were ‘mooi van lelijkheid‘. Something that roughly translates to ‘beautiful in it’s ugliness‘. And he truly was. And pugs truly are.
His memories have always stuck with me. As has that saying, which I’ve always strongly identified with in many ways (as someone that’s never felt particularly beautiful). It’s such a simple truth, things (and pugs AND people) CAN be beautiful, even if they’re ugly.
Beauty is such a complex concept. Convoluted. Intangible. It’s unfair in it’s ever-changing content and completely subjective interpretation. What is beautiful to one, might not be to another, while overall we still have to uphold to a general standard. We are taught to be beautiful. To aspire beauty, and set it as our goal in life. To view it as important and to adhere to it. It’s a constant fight to conform, that cant be won and will pull you down when you keep fighting it anyway. And it’s complete and utter bullshit (I say, while still conforming anyway).
But, what if instead, we would accept that truth of pugs. If we lived like Sjeng.
He never once thought he was ugly. I think, at least. I don’t speak fluent dog, yet. But I feel that his life teaches us that we are always beautiful, even if we don’t meet the standards. Even if it’s ‘mooi van lelijkheid’. The beauty is there regardless.
It feels like a much healthier philosophy. It allows us to just be ourselves, knowing that that’s enough. Or you know. We’ll end up going mad in the backyard, barking at trees. No guarantees.
So go out there.
Be like Sjeng.
Live your life vicariously (even if it’s snorting, wobbling, stinky and snoring) in the full knowledge that someone WILL appreciate you for all your beauty. Cause it’s definitely there to be found. Even if you can’t see it yourself.