One of my favourite bloggers wrote today about an upsetting comment she received about her appearance. It got me thinking about how, despite the saying 'beauty comes from inside', we are still judged by others, and we still rate ourselves, on our exteriors. It shouldn't matter what we look like, but quite patently it does.
Even from childhood, we are praised for looking pretty or handsome. Then in our teens and early adult lives, we seek partners, and are often initially attracted by outward appearances (deciding to stick around if the person actually turns out to be nice as well as sexy!). And it's a powerful thing - this 'rating' of our own visual attractiveness. Maybe some of you can remember being taunted about some body part or another - I can recall unfavourable comments being made by parents' friends, schoolmates, fellow Uni students, my father, and my sister... remarks made about my nose, thighs, bottom and freckles and ears! (did they miss any body part there?!)
By the time I'd reached the age of 30, though, I was feeling quite comfortable in my own skin. I had accepted how I looked, and decided I was an attractive enough person as a whole. Fatty always treated me as if I was a beauty queen (believe me, when they say love is blind, they're not lying) - and he still does - so that helped.
But now... some years down the track... gravity and age are beginning to work on me. Dammit, I was just becoming content with this face and figure, and now they are both creasing and sagging and puckering before my very eyes! And I know that I am more than my external apperance, I know it is shallow and silly and vain to worry about such things when there are wars and famines and terrible things happening to innocent people worldwide, but does anyone know of a miracle anti-ageing pill? Because I want one.
Ahhh, I'm exaggerating a little. I know that there are many advantages to growing older. I also know that there will be a lot more wrinkles and other physical changes yet to come, and that this is just the beginning of watching my reflection age. I guess I'm just at that point where I realise that youth cannot go on forever, as you somehow believe it will when you are 20. And soon I suppose males will cease to 'check me out' in the street - not that this is an important part of my
life by anymeans! - but still I have noticed the decline. I have heard older women talking about becoming 'invisible' as they approached and progressed through menopause.... now I have begun to understand this concept.
So what's the solution to this unhealthy concern about aesthetics? I don't know (but I might try this one - mutter to self, 'at least you have 2 arms and 2 legs', and 'there are starving children in China' and 'beauty comes from within'). Any other suggestions?!