Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I was born with a conjunctival nevus (birthmark) in my right eye. My father has one as well, although his is very subtle. Mine slowly grew from the back of my eye to finally positioning itself next to my iris. For the most part it does not physically bother me, but the emotional impact it once had on me left a mark.

I have been getting yearly eye exams from the Optometrist in order to measure my nevus for growth and movement. I was so self conscious as a teenager going in adulthood. There was a time when I wouldn't really look strangers in the eye for too long in case they happened to notice. A part of me always felt guilty for feeling this way as I knew that it was cosmetic and vain. Living in a photoshopped world is difficult. Anyone living outside of beauty standards feels alienated and weird, but wait isn't there an app for that? There is, now you can face tune yourself to perfection.

 As I got older I began to understand that it is part of me and I have learned to accept it. These imperfections make us unique, and we should find the beauty in them. I have always appreciated alternative beauty and gravitated towards individuals with unique characteristics. Growing up I was obsessed with fashion, movies, and music. Anytime I would see a model or an actress/actor or a musician with a unique characteristic I was automatically drawn to them. For example, I remember coming across an article on Thom Yorke in the early 2000s about his left eye. I love Radiohead, and always felt that his eye made him stand out in my mind, not in a bad way just in a memorable way. He was born with a paralyzed eye. He had multiple surgeries throughout his life, and unfortunately his final surgery was botched leaving him with a droopy eye. In this article he talked about his coming to terms with it, to his accepting it, and finally liking it. I found this very inspiring. 

‘I worked in this pub and this old woman — she was so funny — she used to come in all the time, and she was the first person who really said to me, “It’s the nicest thing about you”.’ Thom Yorke

 A very close friend of mine has a rare genetic disorder that causes serious birth defects in some. She was born with thin skin. She appears to have a birthmark that covers her entire leg when in actuality it is her blood vessels showing through her skin. She use to cover her leg with a very expensive medical concealer, similar to makeup that covers tattoos. I think this is partially why we bonded as teenagers, we both had imperfections that were next to impossible to hide. She came to accept her leg for what it is and stopped applying makeup, and of course I only ever saw her as beautiful. I found it difficult to apply that appreciation to myself for many years.

My fascination with the eye in terms of my art stems from my own personal journey with accepting my nevus as part of me. By obsessing over my eye for years, and devoting way too much time on wishing I didn’t have this marking, I naturally incorporated the eye into my jewelry designs. The human eye also bears immense historical significance in terms of the ancient evil eye symbolism. The evil eye has been worn for centuries from Greek to jewish culture, and is believed to ward off direct harmful energy. We carry such a deep rooted spiritual connection through our eyes that it is easy to see (pun intended) why so many artists are drawn to the significance of the eye.

Evil eye dangling silver earrings by kristen CollettEvil eye silver stud earrings by kristen Collett

 Having an artistic practice has been therapeutic for me, its a double win in that I get to fulfill my passion along with create wearable art to hopefully uplift others. I am drawn to objects of adornment that have a hand-crafted nature because imperfection is what it means to be human. We are not perfect, and that is what makes us unique.

 

Discover my eyes.


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