I offer my reflections as part of August McLaughlin’s Beauty of A Woman Blogfest. Go here to read other posts in the blogfest and a chance to win exciting prizes.
A few weeks ago, I found my passport picture from college. I will admit that my first reaction was dismay at the changes I saw in the mirror. My second reaction was how much I dislike people immediately judging others by their appearance. I have endeavored not to do so in my life, but realized I was judging myself harshly. Today, I stood before the mirror and wrote my acceptance of one of my “flaws.”
Today I looked at you without allowing my eyes to glide past you, as I so often do when checking my makeup or brushing my hair. I looked at you with loving acceptance. First I noticed my eyes. I will not call you crows-feet, you wrinkles at the corners of my eyes, as you do not remind me of crows, but of the years of smiles given my parents, siblings, husband, children, grandchildren, friends, and strangers. You provide the context, the setting, through which my spirit shines.
Next I noticed you, wrinkles bracketing my mouth, serving as a reminder of the polarity of life, the tension between happiness and anxiety, both mirrored in your folds. You are a testament to the pleasure and closeness of shared laughter and smiles. However, when I crease my face with worry, you are a visible admonition to release what I cannot control. I gradually feel the effort of contracting those muscles, and force myself to breathe, to relax, to let go.
A few years ago, I saw a college classmate whose face was bare of wrinkles, her flesh stretched over her cheekbones as if she were twenty-five, not twice that age. I realized then that you, my dearest wrinkles, carry the character of a person. You are part of me as much as my brown eyes or short stature. You are my history, carved visibly in my flesh, the official documents of my life more than any birth or marriage certificates set down on paper. How could I not love you?
With all my heart,