She's a beautiful woman. She's amazing. She's the kind of mother-superwoman, whom, in our hearts, many of us would aspire to become. She's the president of the PTSA, she's a diplomat, she speaks before the board, serves on every committee, knows many of the students by their name and has carried this role to passionately make our problem-plagued school system the best it can be from the time her children entered elementary school through high school. When I took her picture at a party, she smiled and then instantly criticized how she'd look with the crinkles around her eyes. The beautiful, slim, blonde with runner's legs, this woman of poise, confidence and skill said that. I looked at her a bit stunned. She said this in the presence of her beautiful daughter who had the poise of a 34 year-old instead of a 16-year-old. I turned back for a moment to the focal point of the party, a sweet young woman who was having a baby. T., I said turning back to her, pausing briefly, "You're beautiful." She quickly quipped that her wrinkles just meant that she had a few more years on herself and she wouldn't want to be expressionless would she? The reference, of course to the beauty torture treatment du jour of smoothing skin with needles and insertion of toxins. Later, I told the daughter: "Your mother's is a very special woman." She nodded and smiled.
After the party was over and I returned home, I looked within. What did this bring up in me? A stab to my spirit. Pain to see the beauty of this woman, her aura and presence marred by a put down from her own lips. An insult based on how society says beauty must look.
Listen up, women!: We can't give in to this. We are aging. And almost all of us once we hit 30 know that something more powerful than the woos of our exterior sheath is going down in our insides. Read this post by my friend, blogger Brigid Nagle Day, about the relief and inner-knowing-strength of turning 40.
C'mon. Age is good. Think fine wine. We've endured the battle scars of souls that have served to make us stronger. We know more. We can better discern what matters. But, we forget. We deflate our spirits in the mirror of society. But, we can choose a different mirror. We can. We have one within. The one where our inner compass operates. One that tells us it's about the inside, the inner journey. It knows. It knows that we are beautiful because we are beings, spirits living a human life. And, that is the most beautiful thing of all, embracing all our years lived for what they have taught us, knowing that our exterior is not as elastic, taut or flawless as it was once upon a time. But being okay with that in the end.
You are beautiful, woman. Women...Know it. Own it. The numbers, too.
Today I'm 52-- as of June 10--and loving it. Join me on the quest to celebrate the joy, wisdom and the beauty that comes with escalating digits. Won't you?