Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I am beautiful

The Mister and i watched Ladies in Lavender the other night. The movie was pretty good, as in it held our (notoriously short) attention. It had Maggie Smith and Judi Dench in it, so the acting was spectacular.

As i was watching these two ladies, i was thinking about how beautiful they are. Not the young and dewy beauty of the young and dewy beautiful, but an interesting lined beauty that sparks with their individual personalities. It felt good to see their beauty as i watch my own face soften and grow lined. If i can see their beauty, surely i can see my own.

The face i see in the mirror is changing into that of my mother, with some differences of course, but we do look much alike. Although it’s hard for me to see, my mother is a nice looking woman. (And i will not add “for her age”, even though i did.) Why then, do i have to fight the feeling of horror when i catch a glimpse of myself?

Part of it has to do with not wanting to believe that i am like my mother in any way, even this superficial one, the other part is the fear of old age, illness and death.

But i want to die knowing that i am beautiful, and so i shall.


Re: The election last night. Whew! I am glad that it's over and that it is safe to watch TV and go to my mailbox again. And yes, i voted.


Anonymous said...

This is another one of those topics that makes me wonder what's "wrong" with me - I just can't understand why actresses are "washed up" after a certain age. I feel that of course a woman is still beautiful, even if there are wrinkles.

Lynnea said...

I find it easier to see beauty in other women who have passed that age that media at large now make it seem unbeautiful. But I still look in horror when I pass the mirror. I don't know exactly why, but I think it may have something to do with the fact that my body and face were pretty much the same for years and then BAM! within the space of a year and a half, it all changed. It was just too quick for me.
But I like your take on it. I think with more time I will be able to stop having a shocked, horrified expression in front of a mirror.

Anonymous said...

In the last couple of years I've noticed that I'm looking more and more like my mother too. I love my mother, but she's just not a pretty woman. Her features are man-ish and extremely plain.

I used to think I was a little bit cute. Now I feel very ugly all the time. I hate it. And I hate that I feel that way.

I'm not one to worry about appearances in general, but when I'm around men (which I am all day at work) I can't help but feel totally unattractive. Ugh.

Princess in Galoshes said...

I'm turning in to my mom, too. Which has led me on a crusade to "fix up" my own, darling mother, what with her first facial, massage, makeup (eee gads, put down the blue eyeshadow, already)and hair dryer, and really, she's quite a beautiful person, both on the inside and outside, without very much fussing at all. There's hope for me, yet.

meno said...

de, nothing is wrong with you, you are just smarter than most of the rest of us.

maggie, i too find it easier to see the beauty in others. And on the body/face changing thing, just wait until you are 45.

greent, not to depress you further, but after you reach, say 40 or so, you become invisible to many young men, absolutely invisible. It's the weirdest thing.

princess, so is your mom the queen? It helps that you so obviously like your mother. But try to keep her away from the blue eye shadow.

Anonymous said...

When I watch Tommy Lee Jones, all his wrinkles are part of the appeal. A wrinkled face is a marvelously expressive instrument. The wrinkles frame emotion. They also extend it.

I turned 50 this summer and shrugged. My only concession was finally letting my hair grow silver, which required a good whacking. Now that it's short, it might never be long again.

Youth is beauty, but beauty ain't everything. Whose face would you rather watch?

Tommy Lee Jones or Britney Spears?

Of course, it isn't Jones's wrinkles alone that beguile us: it's his brain and verve and command of his face.

I once asked a once beautiful woman if there was a moment when she realized that she'd lost her beauty.

She said, "Yes."

I asked her how that felt.

She said, "I loved it. All my life, people looked at me. I finally got my chance to look at them."

thailandchani said...

There is something about the face of an older woman or an older man that is very appealing! Maybe it's the wisdom and life experience that etches itself in the lines of our faces. It's the rounded edges. It's not giving a damn any longer what anyone else thinks of our shape or size. Older women are beautiful ~ and remember, too, that you have earned every grey hair and every line you might develope. As you get older, you will age into a beauty all your own.

Relax. :)


Thailand Gal

Lucia said...

Like others, I'm turning into my mom too, which I always told myself I wouldn't do, but then, when it comes down to it, genetics take over. I wish I could see more beauty in aging like you and TG. I'm still in the fighting stage.

sari said...

I was at my son's preschool today at the local university. There's nothing like the fluorescent lights of a women's university bathroom to show all they grey hairs you normally don't see.

My solution? Leave the bathroom, ha ha.

I read an interview with actress Tea Leoni once and she said she and her best friend weren't going to ever have plastic surgery, because when they were older, they'd be the only ones who looked normal.

And they're right!

Anonymous said...

I'm not worried about inheriting my mom's face. It's the, um, other end that concerns me.

Mignon said...

Oh man, Nancy - I was feeling all good about myself because my mom gets better looking each day... but I know I'm gonna get my dad's big round ass.

On the bright side, however, my face is starting to show some wear and tear, but like my mom and her mom, the lines fall right in the places that they should for a great big grin. I'd hate to grow old with frown lines.

amusing said...

My hands are getting older -- they look like they know a thing or two. Can fix things, make things, be comforting. I like my hands as they age.

Debbie said...

tv! mailbox! yeah!

and, oh, lordy - do I ever get you about the similarity-to-mom and how that makes my insides resemble badly-made jello issue.

sigh. however, WOOH!

Andrea Frazer said...

i am leaving this comment here because i'm too ashamed to post it anywhere else okay here it goes... i didn't vote. i suck. I just... didn't.

Dick said...

As I got older I noticed that the range of ages of ladies that look good also got broader. When you are 20, someone who is 50 looks kind of old. But when you yourself are 50 or 60, then someone who is 50 or 60 no longer seems old. It is all in where you are looking at it from. And so, as you age, the pool of people who are fun to people watch gets much bigger. That is a fun thing.

karmic said...

Loved your post and also what Holly said about Tommy Lee Jones.

And I agree with what Dick said. Would it surprise you that I love Diane Keaton and Sissy Spacek? I am amazed how they have aged, I hope *A* gorws old like them.

As for me I have had some grey since my 30s. I have noticed wrinkles where there were not any a few yrs ago. Otherwise I am fine. I think I want to be physically in good condition as I get older in terms of fitness. I don't care much about the grey and the wrinkles. Not sure who I am aging like my mom or dad?

Anonymous said...

Harold and Maude. You know the scene in the field of daisies? i was reminded of that by reading your post. My favorite uncle was blind and quite the philosopher. He always marvelled at the amount of energy we expend at modifying our appearence. Though i enjoy looking at beautiful people I always try to go beyond that, as if I were blind. I try to notice the person's voice, her smile, her body language. Human beings are fascinating in all the shapes and forms in wich they present themselves. Thanks Meno.

Josephine said...

Of course, all that jazz about how American culture focuses entirely upon youthful beauty and makes all of us women afraid of aging because we are then invisible and our husbands (wives) will leave us for younger, softer women who have less opinions.

The whole topic makes me tremble in fear because I know how neurotic I am and how hard I already am on my appearance.

But I am totally hot for Susan Sarandon and Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton. God in heaven, that is the most inherently arousing and consuming kind of beauty to me.

amusing said...

Caro: Love the story about your blind uncle and the energy we waste.

Though Josephine is right in noting that so many of us worry abou the men in our lives and what they feel about our appearance. I also know (too well) the feeling that your husband has perhaps left you for someone who looks more beautiful, younger, whatever. The key is to find a whole person with whom you have a link that goes deeper. Now I know a wonderful man who sends me a text mail each morning and calls me beautiful and I swoon, because I know he means so much more than what I look like!

Mignon said...

Yeah, Caro - that was excellent. I've always been attracted to men with deep voices, regardless of their appearance, and I have noticed a few of my friends, while not conventionally pretty are so appealing, but I've not taken the time to figure out why. I think it's time I start listening more. Today I'll start with body language.

meno said...

holly, Tommy Lee is a great example! Did you see that wonderful movie he starred in earlier this year The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada . Great stuff. Or more accurate than comparing TL to Britney, would be to compare him to Joan Collins. *Shudder* Once you have short hair, it's so hard to go back because it's so much easier. Nice comment!

thailand gal, i am relaxing, because other than to become Joan Rivers, whom i do NOT find beautiful, there ain't nothing i can do about it. And i love my grey hairs, i think they're pretty.

lucia, You can fight, but you will lose. Or else become a plastic surgery nightmare, and i can't see you doing that.

sari, those lights are pretty harsh! And i'm with Tea.

nancy, :) i hear you!

mignon, smile lines are nice. And as for the other end, just keep on moving!

amusing, my hands really look like my mother's, but for some reason they don't bother me a bit.

lildb, for me, the resembling my mom thing is scary because my mom is not really a good person. Not when you are in her power anyway. I suspect if i liked her, growing to look more like her would be less creepy.

mamap, you know, there have been times when i didn't make it either. So no sucking, of yourself i mean. I recommend going to the bother of getting an absentee ballot. I did that for the first time this election, and i loved it!

dick, that's a lovely thought!

sanjay, thank you, and holly often has great things to say. Those two women are a great example of beauty. I'll keep them in mind. Oh, and keep on moving and you'll stay in great shape.

caro, a great movie. I have it on order at Netflix so i can watch it with Em. It is true that if i like someone, they are beautiful to me, and if i don't care for them, all their looks will leave me cold.

josephine, yep, my husband tried it (leaving me for someone younger) but in the end he discovered that she really wasn't very beautiful after all. A VERY painful lesson for us all. And i have noticed that you are hard on everything about yourself, not just your appearance. Those woman are hot. I think i'll post pictures of THEM on my fridge.

amusing, i can't tell you how much fun it is to see (read) you so happy.

mignon, Vin Deisel can whisper in my ear any day. Or Sean Connery, or James Earl Jones, or Gregory Peck. Mmmmmm I like a deep voice too.

urban-urchin said...

You are beautiful. I think so and I've never met you in person. But you make me laugh, you're fiercely loyal, confident and always have something interesting and insightful to say- who gives a damn what you look like mama- you've already got the full package.

In terms of seeing someone you're romantically interested in and thinking of them as beautiful or not is a tricky thing. I for one, need to be physically attracted to someone to date them. My husband is handsome but not in a super Dudley Dooright dimpled chin way. He has beautiful eyes (see my kids) and he makes me howl with laughter. He's also the smartest person I have ever met. These things in combination made me run off and marry him after 3 weeks of dating. On the other hand I have dated some BEAUTIFUL men and I mean BEAUTIFUL- think Jude Law, etc. who I actually said- shhh- let's just not talk because they were so dull. One expressed total disbelief that I would break up with him... Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Bob said...

When I was younger (teen years & 20's) I was attracted to older women. I was 17 when I met my first "true love" who was 31. We dated for a little over a year. (my wife, whom I met at 21 is 3 years younger than I am!) As I have grown older (I am 44) I find women my age and older the most attractive. The lines around the eyes and mouth are a sign of experience, of life lived. I also "love" women's hands. Hands that have raised kids and loved and worked and played - and show it. I don't understand the obsession with youth in our culture. I am attracted to intellegence, but also experience. I'm not coordinating my thoughts here very well.

It is easier to see the beauty in others than it is to see it in ourselves. It is easier for those people who like themselves to accept the aging process and find the beauty in whatever state their age has reached or in what life has made of them. True beauty starts with the person within and shines out.