Saturday, December 15, 2007

The eye of the beholder? Baloney.

Our American culture and its obsession with youthful, slender beauty has never been an environment where my appearance would be considered noteworthy. Thankfully, I have little need for that superficial stuff. I find comfort in being noted for my deeds rather than my 'do or my duds. Yet lately I've noticed some changes that make me uncomfortable. Lines on my face appear when I laugh (often) and then hang around for a while (all day). Shadowy crescents beneath my eyes used to be the result of late night frolicking, but now they're a feature of midday living. Tracks above my brow used to be an indicator of my deep thought, but now they are the permanent onramp to my thinning hair. With youth slipping away from me, this would be a crappy time to become vain.

I thought about this a great deal this week as I traveled with the loveliest onsite coordinator. She is a graceful, beautiful woman. She speaks softly, properly, clearly, and with a light feminine voice. I believe it's possible to hear the commas and the periods in her speech. She keeps her hair a golden blonde with a delicate flip at the bottom. Sparkly earrings and a fur vest were her week-long accessories. With colorful fingernails and brightly colored lips, she is a picture of the put-together woman. Pushing hard toward (or maybe past) 70, I wish I could look half as good. As we spoke I found myself thinking that she must have been a beautiful woman, back when she was young. I tried to imagine the face without the laugh lines, the eyes without the shadows, the brow without the thinking tracks, and her hands, before the fingers became twisted above the knuckles, the result of arthritis and time.

Beautiful when she was young? What the hell. She's beautiful now. And I guess that means I would be too, if I cared about that superficial stuff.



DiaBelo said...

Lines on my face used to be a Peter Frampton song.

Cora Spondence said...

That is a tight piece, especially that first part, and that last line in the first paragraph. Love how wicked smooth you bring all those elements into play.
Aging gracefully, forcefully and triumphantly is not for sissies. Strength equals beauty.

MJ said...

Yeah, this piece had good lines that carried me to the next good line so tht it was hard to isolate what made the whole thing good.

It is funny how we don't realize that we looked good when we were younger until we're older. So, I guess we should all appreciate how we look today. Tomorrow will be here soon enough and this is as good as it gets.