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Broken Wings

Updated: Feb 11

Illusion of Perfection

Friday, May 26th, 2023


Is a butterfly any less beautiful with a broken wing? I think not, but nature seems to beg to differ. The reality is, a broken-winged butterfly will not pass on its genes because of its dissymmetry, or will be eaten, or will starve since it cannot fly, or will die simply from the pain. Such a pity, then, that nature cannot marvel at its own creation, even at the imperfect and unsymmetrical.

Maybe ‘marvel’ is the incorrect word to describe this pity, but ‘be merciful’ would fit better. “Such a pity, then, that nature cannot be merciful on its own creation, especially on the imperfect and unsymmetrical.”

I watch closely the people whose lives seem perfect. They appear to glide so easily through the world as if it were built for them and only them. All the good gravitates toward them, and there’s not a moment when their wants are not quenched.

They’re so strange to watch as social norms seem to waver around them like what you might expect a summer haze in the distance to do. I’ve noticed they’re often beautiful and not in an artistic, nuanced sort of way, but an appearance-based, attractive one.

I’ve recognized, for example, one of these people as a woman might never have to worry about the concept of loneliness as she would have scores of people who beg for her attention just to preen her pride. One of these people as a man would not be so different. Instead of him buying drinks for women, for instance, the women would buy drinks for him. While excuses might not be made for someone more "common," these people are for whom excuses are cascaded. They seem to achieve anything they've ever wanted, whether that's the company of certain people or the social validation of constant compliments.

I do wonder how effortless it would be to traverse through the world if I were similar. I also wonder if they can perceive the ease that’s been thrust upon them by nothing but traits and genes, things of which act like a lottery, and do not correspond with things along the lines of talent, skill, potential, or ambition, but simply luck.

However, if I were similar, I can’t help but think I’d be boring and uncharacteristically small just like them, doomed to coast across the seas of life without any consideration of haste or ambition, but only of validation and gratification. And I sincerely doubt they perceive that ease draping about them, so it’s not as if any appreciation toward the wonderful life that’s been given to us would come of it. So, either way, pointless.

I’m also not that naïve. If any one of us were to take a good look at anyone else, the likelihood of an invisible trouble tightening around all of our throats is demonstrably high; perhaps not just demonstrably, but also frighteningly.

We all have our problems, sure, but I still find myself envious. You see, I look into the mirror, and I don’t recognize the man staring back at me. For them, though, I’ve no doubt of their vanity when they look into one. How gratifying that must be …

I don’t think butterflies are any less beautiful with broken wings, but I suspect other people might think otherwise. Maybe all of us can be compared to butterflies to some degree. Maybe some of us are perfect and symmetrical and beautiful with nature bestowing gifts upon them simply because of beauty. And maybe, like me, others have torn wings, doomed into solitude, to suffer, or to starve.

Translation I: Perfection does not exist, only the illusion of it.

Translation II: While the lives of others may seem better and more beautiful, be careful comparing your life to theirs as it may not truly be what it seems.
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