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Saturday, April 27, 2013

THAT BEAUTIFUL THING...



          Today I've had a writer’s day.  For you “non writers”  that is a day when beauty goes out the window, housework is put on the back burner, and eating healthy seems a bit lower on the noble list of priorities.  The passion in you drives you with a focus that is all but impossible to break.  You are like a laser – or like a race horse with blinders on – nothing else matters than letting those ideas give birth to words on a page that are meant to take wings and fly.  If any one of you were to show up at my door, honestly I might not answer. Not because I don’t want you to break my concentration but the “southern belle” in me wouldn't dare allow you to see me in such a “disheveled” state!  Now I don’t have to be “dressed to the nines” by any means.  If I had shorts and tee on with my hair in a pony tail it would be fine as long as I had my “beautiful face” on and some sweet smelling perfume. 

          It’s hard to be seen in our “natural state” isn’t it?  Not just in the way we look, what we wear, but sometimes in our thoughts, our attitudes, or words.  Like most other writers, I find it imperative to be transparent with my thoughts so that my words ring of authenticity, but even still it is a challenge.  We aren’t any different than anyone else.  Sometimes we are afraid to face some of our own emotions or thoughts, so we fight not to gauge our words when sharing some of the deepest expressions of the heart.  But the thing is, if we can’t express those things, then the readers certainly won’t gain much from what we write other than superficial entertainment.  But I stray from my point.  The point is each of us has a need to feel beautiful/handsome, to be perceived as beautiful/handsome inside and out.  So why is it on days such as my writer’s day, or a day when we are sad or angry or hurt or irritable we feel less than beautiful/handsome?  Is it because of others’ perception or our own? 

          I have a two fold answer to that in the form of a couple of stories.  First I want you to look at the caption picture in today’s blog.  That is my cousin Tiffany.  She is six months pregnant and was out working in her yard with her sweet husband Trent.  She felt confident to show everyone her less than perfect self.  Why?  Because she is happy with her life, with whom she is and even more she has a man that adores her and loves her even on “digging in the dirt” days.  Tiffany and I have had some similar life experiences so I totally understand her lovely, peaceful, happy and beautiful heart and outlook.  She is adorable!

          Several years ago I faced a difficult time of illness.  During that time some nerves along the right side of my body were affected.  Among other things, my right eye began to cross and over a period of a couple of years was severely crossed.  Prior to that time, I had worked long and hard to build my self-esteem and finally felt “beautiful” inside and out.  But that one physical flaw caused me to face internal demons all over again. They were self esteem demons that had haunted me through the years due to a time of abuse in my marriage years prior.  It’s funny because those close to me and even people I didn't really know seemed to think I was beautiful.  I didn't have problems dating or relating to people in business or even social environments; but every once in awhile I would look in the mirror and be less than happy with the woman I saw. When I had pictures taken of myself I would cover that right eye that had crossed.  It made me feel safe and happy.  I was covering a “flaw” that cut at me like a knife.  When I was in a store or in public somewhere I never could look people in the eye.  Last November, I had the opportunity to get surgery on that eye that not only corrected the issue but actually improved my vision greatly.  I had lost much of that vision as a child with a childhood injury.  The day of the surgery a close male friend of mine asked if he could be the one to take me to the hospital.  I wanted him there.  I needed him close.  Over the years he had told me how beautiful I was, how amazing I was.  Still, on the day of the surgery I felt so insecure, so vulnerable.  I wasn't allowed to wear any makeup that day and he would see me “warts and all” as they say!  So when he picked me up I let him in but would not even look him in the eye.  As soon as we got to the front door I put on sunglasses.  Even as we sat in the hospital waiting, I kept the glasses on part time.  When I was taken back and put in a hospital bed, he came back and kissed me on the cheek and told me everything would be okay. 

If I thought I had looked less than perfect before the surgery, after the surgery trumped that by a long shot.  I had this blood red eye that looked like Frankenstein’s sister!  Days and weeks passed however and my eye healed.  It was straight!  As I began to truly look at myself in the mirror I also began to “see” myself.  I faced some internal things that had been tucked so far down in my heart and soul that it took an emotional crow bar to pry them loose.  But little by little, day by day I began to give myself genuine love and acceptance.  One day I was talking to my friend.  He loves to compliment me on my beauty.  He had seen a picture of me in my Sunday finest.  He said “you have that beautiful thing going on.”  But then he clarified and said “ I've seen you all dolled up on Sunday, fixed up for a date, hanging out at home, hair all tousled and a mess or slicked back in a ponytail, makeup worn off at the end of a day and even no makeup the day of your surgery and in every case you had that beautiful thing going on.” He was right.  He had seen me in all those states, but had also seen me in all of my emotional states as well – happy, sad, fearful, peaceful, loving, callous, angry, joyful, laughing, crying… As we were talking, I was actually standing in the bathroom and looking at myself in the mirror.  You know, for the first time truly and completely I agreed with him.  Not because of what I saw, but what I felt and knew.  I had found the capacity to both love and be loved; to give acceptance knowing that I was accepted.  I realized more than ever that beauty was more than a painted on smile; it was a glow from deep in my heart.  Yes he was right I did have “that beautiful thing” going on!  So do you.  Take some time today to look in the mirror!