Beauty. What is beautiful? It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is determined individually. Beauty is not universal.

Beauty captivates me. What is beautiful in my eyes are the people of this complicated world. I am enamored by their splendor that is manifest in writing and art.

I have traveled the world, through time and space, writing and art. I have seen the world: Arizona, Alaska, and Australia; I have seen - through literature - the triumph of Harry Potter, the reign of Caesar Augustus, and the tragedy of Anne Frank; I have seen - through art - the beauty of a smile, the glory of the night sky, and the magic of a brushstroke.

I am in love with beauty. It is true freedom to allow my eyes to wander an unfamiliar city and my mind to roam untethered. Time loses meaning when a story is laid before me. I read to travel, I travel to be inspired, and when I am inspired I write.

I have spent hours researching and even more practicing to develop my ability to create beauty. I am not always successful. Sometimes I finish a painting and want to burn it, sometimes I write a poem and backspace a throng of unworthy words. But sometimes...I will finish an artwork and feel inspired by my own work, sometimes...I'll complete a story and get lost in the world I created.

Creating beauty is an arduous but critical endeavor. It is necessary. What is humanity without beauty?

What am I without beauty?

Beauty is personal. Beauty is defined within me. I choose what is beautiful to me. I choose to embrace or reject anything and everything I wish as beautiful. It reveals a lot about a person, in knowing what they find beautiful.

A young boy finds his mother's smile beautiful. The smell of dirt and grass is beautiful too. He embraces a loving touch as beauty. He sings along to the radio and finds beauty in the cacophony of off-pitch voices in the car with him. What do you know about him now? What do you think about him?

A teenage girl finds her boyfriend's laugh beautiful. She admires the vivid stripes of a tiger at a zoo, and pauses in wonder at the beauty. She bites into a strawberry for the thousandth time and reaches for another beautiful taste. She looks in the mirror each morning and fixes her hair up to reach her standard of beauty, but leaves her face untouched. What do you know about her now? What do you think about her?

A father hangs up his daughter's artwork on the fridge, praising her beautiful drawing. He goes to a rock concert with his friends and shakes his head along to the beautiful sound of the guitar. He finally pays off his mortgage and sighs in relief at the beautiful freedom. He breathes in the beautiful smell of his wife's perfume as they embrace before work each morning. What do you know about him now? What do you think about him?

I see beauty in individual truth. I feel beauty in wind pushing against my face, and raindrops dripping down my arms during a thunderstorm. I touch beauty on worn pages of well-loved novels. I smell beauty in chilly mountain air, burning cinnamon candles, and homemade cookies. I taste beauty in a sigh of relief, whispered lyrics, and lifesaver mints. I am thrilled with beauty in the finishing lines of a poem and the final stroke of a paintbrush. My sister's smile fills my soul with a beautiful warmth. The most beautiful words I hear - I love you - are repeated almost too much, and sometimes I forget their beauty, but in the end, I know they will be the last beauty I'll forget.

What do you know about me now? Is it beautiful?