coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Sunday, June 9, 2019

I was never beautiful, but still I mourn the loss

I was never beautiful, although I think there were times in my life when I was reasonably attractive. If not attractive because of beauty, then at least attractive by the strength of my will, or the intensity of my stare. I mourn the loss of youth because, as they say, there is beauty in youth. It is hard to say goodbye to all that when your concept of beauty is limited to cultural norms.

Is there also beauty in aging? I think so, if we can only get over our fear of death and our revulsion over the aging process. Wrinkles, gray hair and all the rest less obvious trappings of age are confusing. The changes that aging bring are horrifying only sometimes, but always astounding in their creeping permanency. Still, the older women I have loved always seemed beautiful to me.

I'm inclined to let age have its way with me. I would put my energy elsewhere, because this is a fight I cannot win.

My maternal grandmother.  I didn't know her but I love the children she raised so I guess I love her, too.

My paternal grandmother, one of the best people who has ever walked this earth

My sweet mother (big sigh)

29 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Many thanks. They were beautiful inside and out. Like so many woman are.

      Delete
  2. Your mom looks like a spitfire. Aging is relentless and I'm trying to go along with the whole thing. Not like I really have a choice. Early death? That's passed already:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mom was a feisty little thing. Yeah, there's no escape.

      Delete
  3. I do think there is Beauty in Aging. One of my Fav Quotes hangs in my Kitchen: Everything has Beauty but not Everyone sees it. Confucius

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, I too think it's best to grow old with what we have. There is no return to our youth, nor would we want to go back, even for the body. Although, all our crumbling rights as women and equal citizens would still be in place. But would we take any better care of them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, good question! If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I would fight twice as hard.

      Delete
    2. And you are quite right that most of us would not want to go back. Too much pain in living those years. I quite like where I'm at right now. I would never give up knowledge or wisdom for beauty.

      Delete
  5. If the women in your family are any indication you must be an extremely attractive woman. I am in my early 70's. I inherited genes that allow me to look younger and my coloring is still good. I have few wrinkles and my hair is more dark than gray although that i changing quickly. I see such beauty in people who allow themselves to age naturally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you about the beauty in aging naturally.

      Delete
  6. Of course, you're the last person to judge. Too much involved, too partial. And in any case there is a world of difference between "good looking" and "beautiful", the former being limited to certain conventional ideas about symmetry, texture and expression, the latter hinging on deeper less definable qualities like character, behaviour and - from time to time - intelligence. It's only my opinion but Marilyn Monroe was good-looking whereas Susan Sarandon is beautiful.

    Many would say that comparison was crass but there's another factor involved. Our appearance is related to our evolutionary roots. Our ability to attract the opposite sex and thus perpetuate our dynastic line. Thus appearance is more than superficial it is a tool for living.

    And thus....

    Yeah, it's going to sound horribly controversial but the only people who can judge a woman's appearance in a meaningful way are men. Take heart, though, with men it's women. And this leads to some wonderfully fruitful scenes if you're into writing fiction. Asked to define a typically marriageable male, men make regular hilarious mistakes - some sort of muscular jock with curly brown hair who's batting .300. Whereas women tend to favour long-nosed, horse-faced viscountesses whose main asset is their dignity. The men having inconveniently forgotten that some women think Henry Fonda is sexy; the women, in their turn, forget the men who raved about Brigitte Bardot. Sorry about these aged comparisons, I'm old you know.

    For what it's worth, thoughout my incredibly prolonged adolescence (which ended at about age 45, though I may be optimistic there) I was convinced I emitted a feebleness of spirit which repelled women. Later, as the lines in my face deepened I saw a gauntness (think Lee Marvin) which I felt might pass for looks. Much, much later - and, of course, only from within - when I sang Schubert's Der Lindenbaum note perfect, I believed, for a few nanoseconds, I was beautiful.

    But as I said, our self-judgments are mostly delusional.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoyed this male perspective very much, especially because your comments are always chock full of interesting tidbits. I think heterosexual men think only they can judge a woman's appearance because they are limited by their experience of themselves. If you were an older woman, I think you would be surprised how expansive our sense of physical human beauty is. And that is why most straight women dress and make themselves up for other women to see, in addition to attracting men. I would venture to say that men can only see through their own perspective, but women can see through both a man and a woman's eye. Why? Because we have had to in order to navigate the world safely.

      Brigitte Bardot was absolutely beautiful. As a young girl I used to stare at her picture. I never really found Henry Fonda sexy, tho. Too safe and clean. But Marlon Brando!

      Delete
  7. Oh this one hits home Colette. I’m still trying to reconcile and make friends with it. To find beauty in the soft folded skin and the spots that weren’t there yesterday. I’m doing better but it’s an uphill battle.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Replies
    1. Thank you, my dear friend. I rather think they would also be a little shocked by me. Well, not my Mom. She only died in 2015. She was way beyond being shocked by me. Ha.

      Delete
  9. I thought my mother was beautiful till the day she died at 85. Beauty isn’t always about smooth skin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it sure isn't. And our lives and vision of others are enhanced by allowing ourselves to see it.

      Delete
  10. I love these photos of the beautiful women who have been in your life. I have let my hair go completely gray. I dyed it once when I was in my early 40s and going gray so young seemed crazy. But I let it go gray and started to love it. I cannot tell you the number of times people have stopped me to tell me how much they love my long gray hair. Our aging bodies are poems of our endurance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that "Our aging bodies are poems of our endurance."

      Delete
  11. This is so beautiful. We need to look beyond the stereotypes and we can discover graceful beauty, strong beauty that has nothing to do with superficial appearances, cosmetics or hair colour.
    I had a long talk recently with my daughter about beauty and the impossible task of looking at yourself as a woman - at any age - and seeing beauty. I had such hopes raising a daughter that somehow I would make a difference. Well, she said that "in your eyes I am always beautiful and that makes me feel good". At least that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least that. The thing is, when we look back at pictures of ourselves when we were younger we are always surprised how beautiful we look. So, she'll see it eventually.

      Delete
  12. I have always thought that beauty is measured by the ability to see and appreciate beauty in others.

    Still, as a friend of mine used to say,"I wouldn't mind being reupholstered."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I must admit if I had a lot of money I'd get my neck "reupholstered."

      Delete
  13. Beautiful post, you beautiful woman !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Takes one to know one. It always makes me happy to hear from you, Liv. I hope all is well.

      Delete
  14. I could so identify with this post because aging becomes less an issue over time and there is nothing to be done, but to enjoy life. My late mother passed away 4 years ago at age 93 and hopefully I’ve inherited that longevity trait, sadly also premature graying...but there’s ways to “fix” that. The women in your family are lovely.

    ReplyDelete

So, whadayathink?