Gods help me, I hope I age as gracefully as my mother.
I’m pretty sure that I say that every morning when I look at my bleary-eyed self in the mirror. This morning was no exception. I roused myself out of bed and began my morning routine of trying to strike a balance between natural beauty and painted geisha. I have to admit, I try to be humble and accept my looks for what they are, but the honest truth is that I’m quite vain. I’m not trying to boast or sound prideful, but I know that I’m attractive to a certain degree. I mean, I’m no Angelina Jolie but I’m no Picasso painting either (no offense to Picasso lovers…).
However, I came to a new awareness about myself this morning. As I was on my way to work I happened to catch a glimpse of the enormous harvest moon rising over the trees, and honestly I gasped at the sheer beauty of it. The song “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey was playing over the speakers and suddenly the chorus was washing over me like a wave.
Will you still love me
When I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I’ve got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will
Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?
Is this really what I’m afraid of?
That once my looks have faded, and I’m in the winter of my life, that I will no longer be loved because I’m not the rose I once appeared to be? Do I maintain and polish my appearance because I want to be kept? Is my outer beauty so closely tied to my self confidence that I stress over how I look?
Yes. Yes, to all of it.
Now, I know that the love my partner has for me is beyond such superficial things. He’s told me as such. I mean, he notices when I make the extra effort, and compliments me – which, lets be honest, everyone likes to be complimented on their efforts – but he could care less if I wear makeup or not. I used to work at a lingerie store and often take advantage of my discount. I would ask him “do you like this?” or “is this sexy?” and he would shrug and simply say “I like naked”. Hey, saved me money in the long run even though I adore lingerie.
Looking up at the moon and hearing those lyrics just hit me a funny I guess. I’ve realized slowly but surely I have this insecurity about being abandoned, being “left” for someone prettier, better, more fit…it’s always a fear. Even when everything is going fantastic I can’t help but wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. I’ve learned to cope with these feelings but damn if it hasn’t taken me years to get to a healthier place. Yet, when I saw that moon rising, I heard that Voice singing the lyrics and not the artist. I knew that this is a reminder that I need not worry about the superficial. I need not worry about being loved and being kept. I will be.
My body will change, my looks will change, but I am and always will be young and beautiful on the inside. The moon, as a metaphor for the Goddess, changes over the course of time but still has sway over the ocean. She is still a commanding presence no matter what She looks like. Big or small, full or wane, luminous white or glowing red; She is beautiful and strong. My heart and soul are of that same substance that compels us to look at Her with awe and appreciation regardless of outward appearance. Men, and women, have always been humbled by her walk across the sky.
Everyone should feel this way, should know that they possess this beauty, and should take comfort in that knowledge. So, when I look at my bare body and see the broken veins in my legs, the ripples on my hips and thighs, and the droop of what was once firm in combination with the deepening lines, flecks of brown spots, and shining silver threads that have made their appearance in my red-brown hair, I should be proud. I look at my mother and know that I’ve always thought that she was/is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known. Not just physically but in spirit, too. Everyone should feel that they ARE beautiful and ARE loved, always.
I love the Maiden, the Mother, the Crone for what they represent. Persephone, Demeter, Hekate: we venerate all forms of the Goddess and appreciate the Divine not because of the physical form, but because they are bigger and stronger than what we can touch. That whole saying “its what on the inside that counts” is pretty damn accurate. I mean, when I think about it, some of the most beautiful people aren’t what society would consider “attractive”. They are beautiful because they are strong in their own way, they are kind and generous, they are comfortable in who they ARE.
They are, and forever will be, loved because they are young and beautiful on the inside. Let me be like that.
Gods, let me embrace that. Let me embrace the ones who need to be reminded they are drop-dead gorgeous.
Writer, Wannabe Artist, Overthinker, List-Maker, Photographer, Chronic Under-Salter