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Beautifulness

Text by: Christine Pethel

A few years ago, I made up a word. Well, I like to think I can take credit for its re-emergence into the English language, because I haven't really ever heard any person other than myself use it. This word, my special word, just sort of popped into my head one day and stuck. It became special to me, because it seemed to describe everything that was going on in my life, and it was a word I needed at that time.

It happened the first time I had been learning how to download music onto a compact disc, an activity that had just been introduced into my semi-technologically savvy world. Originally, I had only anticipated being able to put ten songs into a playlist, because up until then, the only way we could make a mix tape was to record songs onto a 30-minute cassette tape that hardly had room for seven or eight songs. Then I discovered tapes that were labeled "60" or "120" where I could, at the most, record 15 songs onto the tape. So, for my CD, I had carefully weeded out any songs that simply were not the best. Little by little, however, I was pleasantly surprised that I could actually fit 25 whole songs onto a CD. So as I dragged each song to my CD playlist, I was sure at any moment a pop-up message would inform me that I had no more room and needed to stop. But after the revelation that I, in fact, had much more room to add more songs, I went searching for new downloads rather than bringing back the ones I had earlier discarded. The new songs I found were like little, lavish presents to myself. With each new song came a tiny burst of happy.

This was coming at a time in my life when I was beginning to slowly "find" myself after some pretty rough struggles. As part of my healing, I was on a mission to find the little things that made me happy, almost like a knight on a quest, or a pirate on a treasure hunt. One of my new discoveries was falling head over heels for a first love I had lost touch with many years ago. Its name was "music," something that had always been a part of me, my childhood, and even my youth. But somewhere along the way, I took a different path and left music behind. Over time, I started to forget how the sound of rich vocal harmonies blending into one made me feel whole, or how the fingers on a piano playing a melodious, love song or a classical tragedy seemed to give my life meaning. I could guess the name of a song on the radio within the first three notes and could organize a proper show lineup in a matter of minutes. I had forgotten all of these things. What I didn't realize was that I was slowly losing a piece of myself the further away I got from music.

The computer beeped at me. That joyous tone that alerts you when a burning project is finished, when your new creation is ready for your easy listening or some rockin' out. But what should I name this new CD that the computer just opened its drawer to deliver to me? Every CD must be named.

One word popped into my mind, and it just fit perfectly. It was one word.

Beautifulness, I thought.

That was the word. I knew it wasn't really a word, but at that moment, it described everything for me. And it was the perfect word to entitle the masterpiece of emotional songs I was holding in my hand that illustrated my life and spoke the words I couldn't have formed any more perfectly.

And it was my word. I was keeping it.

I still have that CD I made some ten years ago. It's tucked away in a memory box somewhere, and will probably never be thrown away. I tried naming subsequent objects of affection with the same name, hoping it would someday catch on and make it into the Webster's Dictionary, but alas, 'twas only I whom could relate to this word.

I still hold that word close to my heart to describe the beauty around me, and that which sends my heart a'flutter and causes my blood to rush. It was only fitting, then, when I received a document circulating the Internet about all things beautiful, but sans title, to rename with my special word. I swiftly copied the text of this e-mail into a blank document, quickly and proudly typed "Beautifulness" in big, bold letters at the top, and then hit the print button. It's been hanging above my desk ever since.

I don't use the word "beautifulness" as often as I used to, but I now try to find beauty in more of the things around me. In fact, my favorite word is "beautiful." I use it so often that I have to frequent my online thesaurus to find different word choices to store in my mental vocabulary.

We all see beauty differently. Try for one day to see beauty in everything you do. What sends your heart a'flutter or causes your blood to rush? What can you describe with "beautifulness"?