Thursday, June 28, 2007

You're Aging Well (Dar Williams)

M wrote some wonderfully reinforcing ideas about beauty on her pin-up blog the other day, which of course got me thinking about my own interpretation as well as my self-image - ultimately, in my opinion, it distills down to "beauty is as beauty does"...

I have had years/weeks/moments in which I felt stunning... magnetic... indestructible... at what would not be considered my ideal weight/size - however, because I felt involved (with my family and friends/my community/the world), I wasn't thinking about any perceived inadequacies. I've realized I have a talent (actually more of a *need*) to contribute, share and widen the circle - when my blinders are on, my ego gets in the way and I tend to concentrate on the trivialities.
Which is not to say I still shouldn't care about how I look and becoming more healthy (through nutrition, exercise and rest) - when it becomes an obsession such that I'm not only *not* enjoying life but completely narrowing my focus, something is wrong. People appreciate my authentic smile, my gift of listening, my love of music - they're not likely to spend time critiqueing my hips, my hair, my nails.

Our bodies were designed to age: sagging breasts, graying hair and crinkling eyelids - if we've made the most of our time on the planet, we should also be able to track incremental wisdom, peace and compassion. The purpose of skeletons, muscle and skin is really only to keep our souls, hearts and minds safely surrounded - as long as we live with purpose, enthusiasm and good will, we will remain forever young in the ways that count... and aging well in aspects that matter.

SONG: You're Aging Well by Dar Williams

BOOK: I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

POEM: Beauty by Tony Hoagland

When the medication she was taking
caused tiny vessels in her face to break,
leaving faint but permanent blue stitches in her cheeks,
my sister said she knew she would
never be beautiful again.

After all those years
of watching her reflection in the mirror,
sucking in her stomach and standing straight,
she said it was a relief,
being done with beauty,

but I could see her pause inside that moment
as the knowledge spread across her face
with a fine distress, sucking
the peach out of her lips,
making her cute nose seem, for the first time,
a little knobby.

I'm probably the only one in the whole world
who actually remembers the year in high school
she perfected the art
of being a dumb blond,

spending recess on the breezeway by the physics lab,
tossing her hair and laughing that canary trill
which was her specialty,

while some football player named Johnny
with a pained expression in his eyes
wrapped his thick finger over and over again
in the bedspring of one of those pale curls.

Or how she spent the next decade of her life
auditioning a series of tall men,
looking for just one with the kind
of attention span she could count on.

Then one day her time of prettiness
was over, done, finito,
and all those other beautiful women
in the magazines and on the streets
just kept on being beautiful
everywhere you looked,

walking in that kind of elegant, disinterested trance
in which you sense they always seem to have one hand
touching the secret place
that keeps their beauty safe,
inhaling and exhaling the perfume of it—

It was spring. Season when the young
buttercups and daisies climb up on the
mulched bodies of their forebears
to wave their flags in the parade.

My sister just stood still for thirty seconds,
amazed by what was happening,
then shrugged and tossed her shaggy head
as if she was throwing something out,

something she had carried a long ways,
but had no use for anymore,
now that it had no use for her.
That, too, was beautiful.

QUOTE: "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." ~ Helen Keller

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post, my friend. I have seen you at various body sizes but your heart & spirit have always been enormous, and that's what always shines through, the only thing that really matters.