At Myrtle Beach, in the shallow water that rhythmically washes up the shore and back into the ocean, up and back, there stand 200 seagulls. From a distance, every one of them appears exactly the same as its neighbor. Upon walking closer to the mass of birds, though, there is an obvious distinction between them.
The majority of these seagulls are the typical white-feathered, dirty-beaked annoying things we’ve grown to despise. They dive at the sight of food, leave droppings on your beach towel, screech over your conversations, etc. Basically, they’re everywhere; only the few kooks out there that purposely feed them actually enjoy them. Moving on.
Beside the “normal” seagulls are some type of look-alike which I have never seen before. They are whiter, fluffier and shorter than the average seagull. They have neon orange beaks. They appear to be the alpha-beach-bird, until they open their shiny bright mouths to speak. Instead of the already piercing squawk of bird number one, this bright-beaked bird squeals. Its voice shakes and cracks, screams and howls all in one breath. It was the prettiest one until it opened its mouth to talk (maybe these are the dumb, rich housewives of seagullville).
I don’t pity them, because although they sound terrible, the five or six birds in the number two group are still fancily gorgeous, considering they are seagulls, and none are really that pretty.
The ones that actually gave me a gut-wrenching feeling today (probably for no real reason) were the spotted, rough-feathered ugly ones. As I walked past them, I noticed they were separated from the other birds. Instead of standing in the water, they were all the way up on the other side of the walking path, close to all the hotels and beach shops. Why?
Spots on their feathers and brown legs made them look dirty, almost rabid. I made the mistake of influencing my younger siblings by being the first to say, “Look! They’re the leaper seagulls!” Immediately, both of them came up with something terrible to say about these poor isolated birds.
Forgetting momentarily that birds don’t have feelings, I started to pity these so-named leaper birds. I wondered what they thought about what I said, what my siblings said. I wondered, How would I feel if someone said that about me and my family? How do these things feel about what they just heard all of us say?
I tried to see the beauty in them. There was none.
It was a strange and semi-depressing way to start my day, understanding that I’m that person who no matter what must be able to find something nice, something beautiful about every sad little thing I come across. I feel bad for things that are struggling, lonely, different or ridiculed. It was my mission, then, to find something about these seagulls that would help them to prevail among the vast group they were excluded from this morning.
Struggle. Their beauty lies in their struggle to fit in. Even after having to hear all the mean things people probably say to them, they stay with the swarm. They carry themselves with a confidence not many humans actually have when faced with such ridicule and harsh thoughts from strangers. Maybe we as fully-functioning people should take a hint from these…things…and learn to appreciate ourselves for who we are. The fact that we are all unique is what compels us to be beautiful.
We need to appreciate that.