What makes something beautiful?

To answer your question — I think it depends on our subjective definition of what it means for something to be beautiful. Often times people associate beauty with perfection. If I were to pick out some of the beautiful times in my life, it would probably be the years I devoted to playing the violin, my transition in and out of multiple countries, and the time I spent on my writing. Perhaps the end product of those times are considered polished and “immaculately beautiful” — a performance with the school orchestra, a cosmopolitan ability to adapt, and my profound love for English and literature. But the process, at the time, was frustratingly far from the beautiful perfection I had in mind. I remember locking my bedroom door and slamming the bow on my violin repeatedly because I could not play a Bach passage. I remember the tears and fear I felt with every dreadful flight, leaving behind everything I knew about the place — its currency, the best restaurants, the language, the people. And I remember all harsh comments from my middle school English teacher, slashing out paragraphs in criticizing red….

These times, with elementary, near-sighted perspective, were some of my ugliest years. But they are also beautiful, because of the ugliness, and because of how they contributed to who I am now, and what it has made me capable of. The end product may never be perfect, but the realizations you make about yourself in the process, I think, is what makes something beautiful.