Friday, February 16, 2007

facing facts

I truly believe that appearance is largely irrelevant, but with a caveat: only when referring to everyone else. I can wax lyrical about inner beauty, but somehow I'm still watching the lines etch themselves on my face with growing alarm.

I told a couple of my closest friends of my silly dissatisfaction. I was aware of how stupid it sounded - to worry over wrinkles when people are starving, ill, at war. Yet, knowing how trivial my concerns were did not allay them. The knowledge of my own vanity simply made me guilty. And still horrified by the advancing signs of ageing.

I think part of the problem is - I have never been conventionally beautiful. As a girl I was awkward, freckled, angular. I grew into a more graceful, freckled, pretty-enough young woman. After realising that there certainly were some men who were drawn to pale, freckly and slightly pear-shaped women, I gained confidence in my appearance, and in myself. I knew I was no stunner, but what I lacked in classic good looks, I could make up for by being funny, or cheeky, or smart, or interesting. I made peace with my flaws, and decided I was satisfactory, just the way I was.

Then came gravity, holding hands with time, accompanied by child-bearing. Just when I was content with face and body, everything started to change. ('Wait! Come back, body! I was kinda getting used to you! Hey, face! Don't go changing like that. You were not so bad... I didn't mind you, just as you were.') So I realise now that I'll have to watch everything change, change and change some more (yes, strange that I didn't predict this, right? I must have had some delusion about never ageing!)- and still somehow retain confidence in my appearance. Or perhaps that is not the answer at all. Perhaps the answer lies in re-defining what makes me an attractive person. Perhaps I need to gaze again upon the pink-cheeked face of my grandmother, now 90 years of age, and one of the most beautiful women I know.

One friend told me that when she looked at me, she saw the face of someone who smiled often and frowned rarely. That pleased me. Because if you must have grooves, it's good to have happy grooves, right?!

Another friend simply sent me the card you can see above. I like the sentiment. I want to grow old with those I love. However, I may be compelled to ditch any friends who show signs of ageing too gracefully - too smooth-facedly, too pert breastedly, too taut-thighedly. That can not be tolerated.

When I say I want to grow old with my loved ones, I expect them to keep up.


Heather said...

You're beautiful, inside and out. I am a very smart person. You should listen to me.

Motherkitty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Motherkitty said...

Beauty is all relative. Occasionally I will see someone who looks absolutely grotesque. Grotesque not because they have aged badly, but because they have gone through countless plastic surgeries to allay the march of time. I see women and men who dye their hair. I see men and women who diet until they are skeletons. I see skin that looks leathery because they chase the sun.

I believe in grey hair, wrinkles, sagging breasts, bottoms, and bellies, laugh lines, frown lines, and whatever else comes along with aging.

As a child I used to stare into the mirror -- as if to say, mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all -- and all I heard was derision. Not you, says the mirror. So, who cares. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Jelly, you are beautiful even if I have never seen your face, just your reflection in a puddle on your green steps. Don't ever change.

Kerri said...

Beauty comes from within...of course! The most attractive person is not beautiful at all if they are ugly on the inside.
Jelly, you're very beautiful. I'm convinced of it!
Thanks for sharing your musings. They're always interesting and very thought-provoking....and generally amusing too :) You got it all girl! :)

T. said...

Beautiful Jelly. Just like you, I'm sure.

But I hear you on the wrinkle bit. I want my friends to age with me, not reflect the fact that I am the one aging!

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I wouldn't worry about it too much until you approach a mirror and scare yourself. hehehe. I'm just teasing, but I used to scare myself and wonder who that person was staring back at me from the mirror. I finally got used to her being around.

I agree with everyone else's comments and true beauty is within and I know that you are a beautiful person.

thisisme said...

I hope that all your friends are aging as gracefully as you. I keep telling myself these new things on my face are signs of a live well lived, with loving and laughter. I know that is the case for you.

mackeydoodle said...

I hear ya on the wrinkle & line situation. I look at my face some days & go "who the heck are YOU?"
Oh well I's better than the alternative:)

Remiman said...

I barely know you. I've never seen you:-( Well, except one time when you were dressed in a crash helmut and wrapped in a dune buggy, (you looked good then!).
I know this; When you write I read. You write beautifully. If some day we meet, and you refrain from laughing at this old man's wrinkled countenance, white too thin hair, toothless smile, and cataract clouded eyes; I will take your hand while we sit on the park bench and I will close my eyes and ask you to tell me a story, and I will see your beauty. ;-)

shellyC said...

Oh Jelly - what a fantastic post!!! I think you and I are similar ages and I think we could be great friends because honey I am sagging and wrinkling with you!!! Oh how I wish I had spent my early 20's (except for the stint in England where the pounds were piled on!!) running around naked yelling "Look at me, look at my gorgeous trim body!!"
Actually another aging friend and I were talking the other day and came to the conclusion that beauty is also acceptance of what we have!
I am sure you are gorgeous on the outside Jelly but I know you are simple stunning on the inside!!!!

Anonymous said...

ahh... sometimes I look in the mirror and say who the hell is that???

meggie said...

Thankyou for the birthday wishes!
And, Gee, do I relate to this post!

You said it all beautifully.
I keep telling myself when I accidentally look in the mirror-
"Oh well, it is better than it will be next year!"

islandarts said...

Great post!
my first time here to your blog and I definitely enjoyed myself.

velvet girl said...

I hear you on the aging thing! I always said that it wouldn't bother me, but that's before aging started showing up on my face and elsewhere.

At least it's good to have laugh lines, though, becuase they'll speak volumes about who you are some day. :)