Life is Beautiful

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

May 30, 2024

beau·ty: a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

After reading the above definition to my fellow aphantasic friend, Mac Bogart, he didn’t agree. He shared with me that everything can be beautiful. It didn’t matter what it looked like. Then I reminded him of the subjective nature of the definition. He was right, everything can be beautiful. But as the definition stands, things need only be pleasing to any of our individual aesthetic senses. Sounds can be beautiful. Words can be beautiful. Nature can be beautiful. And above all else life can be beautiful.

His response was, “You are delightfully analytical.”


I don’t think I’ve appreciated a compliment as much as the one Mac gave me. You don’t often hear those two words used in the same small sentence. And to me, they encompass the meaning of beauty.

Aphantasia is an inability to visualize or to form mental images in the mind. Since finding out, from Mac, that it was even a thing – and that I had the same inability – the world opened to me in new ways. If I close my eyes and think of my children, I cannot see their faces. But I can feel their hugs. I can recall the sensation of rocking them as babies and of holding their warm human bodies in my arms. I can feel my heart expand. I feel oxytocin begin to secrete into my bloodstream. I don’t need to see the image of their faces to feel the love we share. And I can promise you, without sight, it’s a beautiful feeling. A feeling I’m grateful for at any moment.

When I type the words, “Life is beautiful.” I don’t merely mean it’s a pleasing sight to my eyes. There is beauty in the sounds of birds chirping. There is beauty in the way another person can inspire and challenge me. There is beauty in the sound of a specific voice as it subconsciously triggers a release of dopamine. And there is beauty in the wonder of the night sky as I lay on my hammock observing the stars as they slowly reveal themselves.

Life is beautiful. I’m grateful for the experience thus far. And I look forward to all of my delightfully analytical days ahead.