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July 28, 2011
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I remember lying in my hospital bed at the physical rehabilitation facility, far too many years ago,  staring at a picture of a little girl. Someone had brought it in for me, though I didn't remember who or why. In the picture she was wearing shorts, and leaning to feed bread to the ducks gathered around her. I stared at the little girl's legs and cried. She was beautiful.

"I broke you," I whispered to her. "I'm so sorry I broke you. I never meant to. Please, forgive me." And she did, of course. But I'm not sure if that made it better or worse.

There was a poet staying in the room next to me. He was a brain trauma patient, unlike me. For some reason they'd moved me out of the spinal cord injury section of the hospital and into brain trauma. I never actually met the man, and yet some days I can't stop thinking about him. My mother brought me a book of his poems, a little pamphlet made of thick, sturdy paper. She said she thought I would like them. And I did. They were so hopeful, so full of joy and life and wonder. The man had to be in his fifties, from what my mother could tell, and he spoke in all of his poems of the love he had not yet found, but knew he would and had great plans for, all mapped out in the beautiful, lyrical words.

"He's a great writer, but mostly he just sits with his head on his desk and cries."

To this day I can remember her saying those words, and to this day I cannot think of them without coming to tears. It was my first introduction – the first of many – to the utterly tragic unfairness of the world.

I still have the book, buried away in boxes of memories, and whenever I run across it, all the pain comes flooding back. Because I know I'm the lucky one – I was damaged only physically, not mentally; I was young, and I had found my love. This should have made me feel better, but it didn't.

If I was the lucky one, living through all that I had, what did that mean for him?

Did he ever find his love? Did he ever write again? Did he ever recapture the joy and hope so prevalent in his poetry, or is he still crying? Is he still alive?

Even at the time, I felt the bitter unfairness fall over me like a physical weight. Everything I had been blocking out, refusing to feel about my own injury – I felt it all for him. Why would such a thing happen? Why did someone so good, so joyous, so talented have to endure so much pain?

Because it is beautiful.

Beautiful in the way that wilted flowers are beautiful, and faded photographs and ancient ruins. They are more beautiful for being damaged, for being incomplete. And so am I.

I suppose it's a defense mechanism humanity has developed, to see the beauty of tragedy and pain. The same way dark humor is a defense mechanism, and I'm certainly no stranger to that either. I thrive on irony – I'd likely go mad without it.

The innocence of a child is a beautiful thing, and so is the loss of that innocence. Oh yes, I was a child. At seventeen, you both are and are not a child, and are both strongly. My innocence shattered, not on the day I learned I may never walk again, but on the day I realized no one with the power to help me cared enough to try. The people put in charge didn't see a seventeen-year-old girl whose world had just crumbled around her; they saw only a number. Or perhaps they did see me and simply didn't care. Their hearts were not stirred by the intense pain of a child, whose pain they had the means to alleviate. Nor were they moved by the determination of a child who only wanted to get better, through whatever means necessary.

They did not care about the child before them, confused and gripped constantly with fear. And so they took her innocence.

It was an odd realization – certainly I'd grown up with knowledge of the cruelty of the world. I knew that children starved and died from diseases that could be cured for the price of a soda. I knew that nurses who worked their entire lives helping people died of cancer when their insurance refused to pay for their treatments. But it was different, to see it first hand. I knew there was cruelty in the world, but I still believed that, given the chance, most people would do the right thing, would do what they could to help.

I was wrong.

Such situations are deeply ironic, and yet they are beautiful. Are they really so different?

The weakness of my body is not beautiful, the pills I must take, the mechanisms I must use every day to even stay alive are not – but the pain of it, the suffering – those make me beautiful. I am a beautiful tragedy and I'm yours to behold.

There is nothing beautiful about the struggle I put up, the throbbing ache in my legs as I trudge through the woods I once danced in and laughed. Nothing beautiful about the air that cannot find its way properly to my lungs, nothing beautiful about the black bruises that will form upon my skin when, inevitably, my strength will falter and I fall. But the pain in my heart, the fitful longing behind my eyes, for something I can never have again – therein lies the beauty.

There is no beauty in the scars that litter my body – only in the pain that they cause me, the anger at my marred existence. I am only the idea of beauty. But then, isn't everyone?

There was no beauty in the fumbling, intrusive presence of the wheelchair in my old classroom. It was ugly, and I was ugly because of it, I believed. But the horror, the overwhelming need to escape the place I could not belong, was heartbreakingly beautiful. As was the sorrow when my friends slowly discarded my presence, unable to cope – how even my cats fled from me, afraid of the strange noises and the mass of the chair; how gradually I began to withdraw, wanting nothing but the night, where there were fewer people around to stare. The way my parents looked at me, constantly on the verge of tears, and trying not to show it.

The anger and frustration every day over tedious, yet vital things, holds no poetic beauty – yet somehow I take those feelings and morph them into words that are beautiful. And in doing so, I make myself beautiful. Still tragic, yes. I will always be tragic. If nothing happens to me from this day forward but good I will never escape my beautiful tragedy.

I think back to the day, shortly after I was released from the hospital, when my father took me to the beach in a wheelchair. It was the same beach we'd been going to my entire life, every Thanksgiving, with his side of the family. I thought it would be nice, to get to see it, the place I loved so much. But I couldn't get any farther than the parking lot. My father pushed the wheelchair through the sand, and I wanted to tell him to stop, that it was pointless, that he would hurt himself. But I couldn't. He was so determined I couldn't bear to say it. It was the saddest thing I'd ever seen in my life. And had it been in a film, it would have been one of those Oscar-winning tragically beautiful scenes. But I cannot bring myself to see it as beautiful. There are some things too painful even for tragic beauty.
“I don't want to be a legend
Oh well that's a god-damned lie, I do
To say I do this for the people
I admit is hardly true
You tell me everything's all right
As though it's something you've been through
You think this torment is romantic
Well it's not, except to you”


- Emilie Autumn


For *KRaven42's I Am Beautiful contest. I took some liberties with the theme perhaps, but I found it an interesting idea to explore nonetheless.

I strongly advise anyone who knows me in real life NOT to read this, because it will probably depress the hell out of you.

:icondalinksystem: This pretty much sums up exactly how I felt in the hospital after the injury and sometimes feel even now. The look in her eyes says it all. :thumb145708081:

And this one sums up the feeling I have now, as says the artist "The anticipation while you gather dust and someday you finally wake up and shake it off."


Comments appreciated. I will answer them eventually, I assure you. :heart:

[link] Required critique for :iconthewrittenrevolution: of ~AzizrianDaoXrak's lovely Thunderstorm Physics June 21st

This morning I woke up and
wiggled my toes, as usual,
listening to the drumming sound inside my head.
By lunch I was thinking—
Good Lord, where have all the thunderstorms got to?
—normally, I could pluck them out of the air like
apples on strings.

Isaac would have been proud of me.
When cold air and hot air meet…
But no. That's thermodynamics, isn't it?

June 27th

Today Mom shattered
the vase she'd been arranging sunflowers in,
and I watched the glass pieces skitter across the floor
like rain—
it's been so long since it rained
—before I ran to put shoes on and get the vacuum.
The clouds toda


Questions for Critique:

1.) I know this is super-personal, but don't be afraid to critique it because of that. I'm nice, I swear. Is it too dramatic? Too mellowdramatic? Too much/not enough detail? Did it make sense?

2.) I've never really written any biographical emotional prose that I've been particularly proud of. I tried really, really hard with this one, and am fairly pleased with it, but I still feel out of my element. This is a rather general question but, how did I do?

3.) The usual: word choice, flow, style, clarity, etc. And any other thoughts you'd like to add. :)


:wow: HOLY. FREAKING. OH. MY. GOD. :wow: A DD? I can't believe this! Thank you, thank you, thank you =oblivion00 and ^Beccalicious, you wonderful, beautiful, amazing people, you! And thank you to all the awesome souls who read and support my writing. I love you all so much! Truly, I do. :dalove:
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-03-15
Tragic Beauty by =LadyofGaerdon ( Suggested by neurotype and Featured by Beccalicious )
:iconsilverfleckedlullaby:
Critique by silverfleckedlullaby Aug 12, 2011, 8:08:13 AM
I'm a little bit apprehensive about critiquing this piece as it's obviously very personal and deeply emotional. I don't want to critique the emotions behind this piece or the content, but since you have requested critique, I'm going to treat this as a piece of literature and focus on those aspects only, and hope I don't offend you in any way. For what it's worth, I think it takes a great deal of courage to write something like this, and I admire you very much for having that courage :heart:

The star ratings are very frustrating, and ideally they shouldn't be there at all, so I'd appreciate it if you could disregard them.

The content of this piece is obviously very moving and very powerful, but I think the organization could use a bit of work. As I see it, the main points of this piece are:
-Your loss/pain in general
-The poet at the hospital
-Injustice
-Tragic beauty
The reason why I say this piece could be organized better is simply for the sake of clarity. You start off on one of the above themes, and then expand upon another, return to the original theme, and then disprove it. Especially where the tragic beauty theme is concerned, the piece felt jumbled up because you waver between acknowledging it and denying it. Of course, to a careful reader, it's very clear what you're trying to say--that you can see it as beautiful and yet it hurts too much at times for you to call it beautiful, and for anyone else to see it that way. The emotion is palpable, and I understand what you're getting at, but I think the piece as a whole would be more effective if it were more structured.

I'd suggest you start off with the little girl's picture, and her dreams, and contrast that with the situation she's currently in, to sort of build up to the theme of injustice you bring in, because no little girl deserves what you had to go through. Then mention the poet, and allow the reader to see the parallel between your life and his, as well as the contrast. (Well done, by the way, on representing the poet's character, your description made him very real--so very human) After that, expand upon the loss of innocence and the realization of how unfair the world can be, and then, note that one of the ways human beings deal with such tragedy is by seeing beauty in it, and how at times, you can see the beauty in your suffering too, and then conclude by saying how empty that beauty can seem when the pain is so much more real, and that there really is nothing very romantic about pain when you're the one who's hurting.

Basically, when it comes to your views on tragic beauty, I would suggest you don't alternate the two viewpoints in the same paragraphs/sections, and instead give a complete argument for both in two separate sections, simply because it's slightly muddled up there and it's confusing to read it.

I think if you re-structure it, the piece will flow better as well, and not seem a bit jumbled up as it does now. I'm pretty sure that this is 'jumbled-up' (and I don't mean that as an insult) because there are so many emotions and thoughts you're trying to express, and some would say that the fact that this isn't organized makes it more real, but since the narrator of this piece is otherwise calm, collected and well, lucid, I personally feel the narrative should match those qualities.

The incident with your father on the beach was heart-breaking, and from a purely literary point of view, it gave this piece a conclusion that makes great impact (from a human point of view, :tighthug: It doesn't take words to convey how much things can hurt). Aside from that, I think that the amount of detail was fairly okay, except for some places where I think some of the information was unnecessary and didn't need to be included. But, this is a personal narrative, and no one but you has the right to judge what is and what isn't relative.

Overall, you do an excellent job of tying several complex themes together, and in terms of content this piece is clearly outstandingly powerful, and would be even more so if it were re-organized to highlight those themes.

Great job :clap:, and I hope very much this doesn't hurt you in any way. :heart:
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
69 out of 69 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

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:iconintroverted-ghost:
introverted-ghost Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Oh, gosh. This was beautiful.
Reply
:iconautumnlit:
autumnlit Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013
:blackrose: Your beautiful prose has been featured here: fav.me/d6nss4z
Reply
:iconalec4u:
Alec4U Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2013  Professional Writer
Wow.

I haven't been on deviant art for a good while and thought I would stop by to see how you are getting on. I'm not sure I was ready for this.

I'm in tears and my heart aches for you, it really does. The past few months have been a waltz through hell for me and whilst you should never compare circumstances I feel an affinity to the emotions and ideas you have expressed here. To be a writer is to know pain. You are a fantastic writer and the way you have expressed your pain is beautiful and far more eloquantly put than I can remember reading before. You definitely deserve the DD and can I just hug you already?
Reply
:iconuntamedunwanted:
UntamedUnwanted Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I can see why this recieved a DD. It is deeply personal and writing has always been about baring your soul to the world. Thank you, my lovely for sharing something so lovely, so wonderful with us. God Bless.
Reply
:iconladyneytiri:
LadyNeytiri Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Student General Artist
This is a wonderful piece!
Fantastic job!!
Such great emotions ^_^
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:iconthecheshercat:
TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
....Wow.
Reply
:iconstormbringer23:
StormBringer23 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013
"I strongly advise anyone who knows me in real life NOT to read this, because it will probably depress the hell out of you."

It made me want to know you in real life.
Reply
:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by =DailyLitDeviations in a news article that can be found here: [link] Congratulations on your DD!

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article. Keep writing and keep creating.
Reply
:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Professional Writer
:heart:
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:iconautumnlit:
autumnlit Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
"My innocence shattered, not on the day I learned I may never walk again, but on the day I realized no one with the power to help me cared enough to try."
Amazing line, and very well done story! Thank you for sharing it. ^^
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