It grows on you.
How much do you think beauty matters, and why? —Violet, 14, Los Angeles
Do you mean aesthetic beauty in general? Like, the beauty of art, or music, or lovahs? That kind of beauty matters A LOT to me, because when I see, hear, or smell something that I consider beautiful, it makes me feel good—a little happier at the very least, like when someone posts really pretty nail art on Instagram, and nearly orgasmic at most, like when I take myself out to a gorgeous, heartbreaking movie (something like Moon or Melancholia) and I don’t have to share the amazing highs and lows of the experience with anyone—it’s all mine to revel in.
There’s a big reason these beautiful pleasures are so vital to me: I’m super afraid of death. Always have been. I don’t fear the actual moment of dying, or the pain—that part might be a breeze, for all I know!—but the everlasting nothingness. The going to sleep and never dreaming but also never waking up, for all of time, infinitely. I panic about death whenever it pops into my head, which is often—at least daily, in fact.
But from time to time, just by being alive and not doing anything special, I get to experience beautiful things, and they make me less afraid. I’m thinking of a beach I love in Michigan, or hearing this song for the first time, or lying in bed with a nice naked person. In those beautiful moments, I have actually caught myself thinking, Kill me now! I want to go out with this smile on my face!—which is as close as I’ve ever gotten to being at peace with the inevitable. In that regard, beauty is very important. That’s why there are museums where you can just stare at paintings or arboretums where wild peacocks walk around among the people like, “NBD.”
Some truly amazing FX shots from The Great Gatsby (2013).
"The bracelet is infused with elements sourced from the highest and lowest points on Earth. The white ball, carrying water from Mt. Everest, and the black ball, holding mud from the Dead Sea, exist on opposite ends. A string of clear beads link the two, signifying that throughout life’s circular journey, your path is your own."