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Jolie Laide: The Ugliest Vase
The Tale of The Ugliest Vase and Why It Matters
By Ghia Vitale
Once upon a time, one of my aunt’s pupils presented her with a gift. Since the carefully-wrapped package contained some token of appreciation, she was all the more ready to curl her lips into a smile and coo some expression of gratitude. After all, it was the very last day of school and this student cared enough to buy a gift for her, the elementary school teacher who had mentored him for a whole school year. The timing itself indicated that there was no undertone of obligation, nor was the child brown-nosing his way into a better grade.
Despite her readiness to rejoice at the sight of the gift, my aunt was stunned by what she saw. It took every morsel of will to keep her face from contorting in disgust and feign admiration for an item that would become iconic in our family: The Ugliest Vase. It wasn’t just any ordinary vase, either. It was, in my aunt’s own words, “The ugliest vase to ever have the nerve to exist." My aunt, with all her infinite grace, was most likely able to swallow the vomit crawling up her throat, but that didn’t change the fact that she now possessed the most grotesque ceramic vessel in the entirety of existence.
That unseemly day revolutionized Christmas gift-giving in a way that my other aunts and grandparents had never anticipated. Alongside some fake moldy peaches, The Ugliest Vase would remain clandestine among an assortment of other wrapped boxes and stuffed bags until its predestined recipient finally uncovered it. For the record, my aunt is highly allergic to peaches. It remained in the same box in which she had received it, the same one in which it was purchased. The black box read “VASE” across the front of the box, as though the pictures of it on the front were not obvious enough to convey its “species” to prospective customers. On the side of the box, the words “HIGH QUALITY” and “HAND PAINTED” were printed in a fashion so conspicuous, it was as though the manufacturer was aware of its aesthetic deficiency and trying to will potential buyers into thinking otherwise. Somehow, The Ugliest Vase was lost for a short time, but my cousins and I knew what it was when the heirloom reappeared and elicited a cacophony of ecstatic yowls from our elders.
By looking at the next photo, you relieve me of all rights and responsibility for your health in the aftermath of your speculation. Beware and behold the abomination that has haunted the outskirts of my family's Christmas trees for decades:
For my cousins and I, the return of The Ugliest Vase was anti-climactic. At best, I would have described this vase as non-descript. The worst thing that I could say about the vase is that it is unremarkable. If I were to pass the vase by in any context or place, it would not have captured even a particle of my attention, let alone would it move me with its grotesquery. Nonetheless, my elders still revere it as “The Ugliest Vase” and it remains a running joke in our family.
After my encounter with the notorious vase, I couldn’t help but contemplate the virtues of confidence and self-esteem. Marcus Garvey once said, “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” His statement demonstrates the importance of confidence. You are the only person who will always be with you, so you might as well be your own best friend. Confidence derives from a genuine love for yourself. It doesn’t come from self-aggrandizement, but rather acceptance of your full personage, blemishes and all. Having spent your entire life with yourself, you are the only person who can truly know your character and strengths better than anyone else.
At some point, someone designed The Ugliest Vase, painted it by hand and distributed it because they thought it would sell well. Another person saw the vase and thought it would make a lovely parting gift for his teacher. If that vase were a sentient being, it might’ve recoiled or defended itself, perhaps citing our own imperfections because the vase didn’t choose to look that way. You must treat yourself with unconditional love and recognize your worth because assigning that job to external sources of validation is to surrender yourself to the merciless perceptions of others. By acknowledging and truly believing in your worthiness of respect, you will exude the confidence that convinces others that you are worthy.
#Real #Confidence #SelfEsteem #WhatYouBelieve #BelieveInYourself #PositiveThoughts #UglyGifts #UglyStuff
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wonderful,funny & thought provoking story!
7/10/2014 10:13:00 am
Awesome storytelling! Maybe someday the vase will be passed on to your generation!
7/10/2014 10:34:56 am
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