Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Beauty Walls

Of late, I have been contemplating beauty. I observe others, quietly listen to what is being displayed as beauty, what is noticed as beauty. Does this ring true for me? Well, some of it, yes. Some of it, not really. Most of the ideals of beauty out there, to me, look like various riffs on Hallmark Card themes.
 Beauty has been asking me what I think of her, and I must say that I feel a little self-conscious about my feelings for beauty. For I often think my idea of beauty is not what anyone else's idea of beauty is. It seems there are so many walls built around Beauty, to hem her in and make her fit in little boxes. This adherence to ideals creates also a picture of perfection, a perfect lining up of elements, a fitting into boxes, a wall of appearance. In the presence of such a beauty wall, I have been known to compare. I have been known to drag out every insecurity I have and I have been known to despair that my own self and life could never quite measure up. (which, in itself is beautiful because it sometimes motivates me to make positive changes!)
I must remind myself that many times, the lining up of elements, that synergy, is creatively hard-won and longed for and sincerely earned. I, too, have worked for such things. They seem elusive and fleeting for me, but nonetheless they are there.
I must remind myself that I cannot naively believe everything I read on the internet and what is presented on blogs. We are all real mothers making real progress and real mistakes.
I just want to make meaning of the whole, because there is more to Beauty than what is widely accepted as beautiful. We see this in the way women have been handed warped cultural perceptions of what their bodies should look like. We have also been handed other warped perceptions of beauty....that of a perfectly clean house, always-smiling mother, financially secure man taking care of the household, everyone always fulfilled all of the time.
It is also beautiful when one encounters the first flutterings of a midlife crisis.
it is beautiful when one walks through a dilapidated house and only sees the potential.
it is beautiful to struggle with a friend, grow angry, then feel safe, and forgive and repair.
it is beautiful to sit in  therapist's office, after having dug up the dirtiest, messiest issues imaginable, and wring them out in a clean tissue, with a clean pain.
it is beautiful to hold your firstborn and think you will stay forever with her dad.
it is beautiful to have dirt under your fingernails
it is beautiful to hold a sick baby, and feel so tired, and ignore the state of your house
it is beautiful to lose your cool every once in awhile, and be met with total compassion
(and so much more)

There is so much beauty in the not-beautiful if we only dare look....
What if we were suddenly able to see the big picture...the beauty of the lessons learned, the gorgeousness of hindsight?
I don't want to place the whole of my life in boxes labeled "good stuff" and "bad stuff". Surely there is meaning and beauty to be found in all of it. That is how we hope...how we keep going....how we put faith into practice.

“A conversation is interesting to me when people are being genuine, when they’re more concerned with sharing difficult truths than with showing off… we’re all in the same boat. mysterious flesh-and-blood creatures, radiant and broken – and of course the boat is sinking, but there’s still time to share a story or two as the night comes on.” ~ Sy Safransky. The Sun Magazine


  1. Your words are beautiful, beauty I feel comes from your soul,your light shines out and it gives people warmth.I think it is like you are standing in a forest,a ray of light shines down on you, you are centered on the forest floor, you are a beautiful flower,one of a kind, radiating light. cheers Marie

  2. I really enjoyed this post. I especially thought that last quote from "The Sun" was particularly apt.

  3. Thanks for sharing these beautiful sentiments...about something most of us "discuss" only internally.
    P.S. The Sun is one of my favorite magazines!

  4. Wow! Don't we have a lot in common. And LOOK you have me on your list. *wink*

  5. What beautiful words. Life is beautiful. Strong emotions are life affirming. The experiences you mentioned are life affirming. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Lovely post. There is beauty in so much that we fail to recognize. We had things as if they are ugly. Sure parts are, but the human experience is beauty.... it is.

  7. The beauty of struggling with a friend and then feeling safe and forgiving and repairing....that shoots straight through my soul. You have a way of getting to the truth of things so beautifully. The aftermath of an argument with my husband always feels like this.

  8. Wonderful wisdom. I love find beauty in the unexpected, in the mundane. Such is art, or so I think :). Since having given birth, I can appreciate the beauty in so much more. I think becoming more aware of life's natural cycle -- of life and death -- does that for us. It helps us to appreciate and revel in it all.


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