This Indiblogger contest was just the kick on the butt that I needed to activate myself and write out a post, and yes, the Rs 1 lakh prize money on offer was a heck of a well planted, forceful kick.
So what does real beauty mean to me? I’ve posted on this before, I think, and I have absolutely no scruples about posting on this again.
As any of you, regular readers of this blog would have gathered by now, I am the sort who fusses about her appearance. Not in the way that has me running to the salon once a week, but in the way that when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I want to feel that I please my eyes.
I was never a great beauty. In fact, through my childhood and early adolescence I huddled in corners and behind friends, acutely conscious of my avoir dupois and perceived shortcomings. I was too fat, too tanned, I had rings on my neck, I had a huge nose….the list was endless. If only I could go back to myself at that age and sit me down for a quiet heart to heart, I would tell my 16 year old self, “You, my darling, are perfect. You are as perfect as you could ever be, and you will only get better from here on.”
But, alas, since that is not to be, and here I am at 39 with one month to go before I complete my fourth decade on this planet, I look at myself with a fair degree of grace. I finally know that I am not perfect. And that is okay. I am as perfect as I need to be.
Once upon a time, I had the perfect vital statistics. The statistics that were the benchmark of the hourglass shape, and I flaunted it off with fitted tees and jeans. Then came the child and the hourglass morphed into the cello. But in the little pouch overhang of my stomach that refuses to get back into pancake flatdom is beauty. This was where my baby was, safe and growing, until he was ready to come out into this world. I bear the stretchmarks on that belly with pride, they’re reminders to me that my body grew to accommodate my baby, that he kicked in my stomach, that I nourished him. That’s the beauty of my stomach, the imperfection of it right now.
And there are the wrinkles, etching themselves deeper and deeper into my skin. Latticing into a cobweb around my eyes, furrowing between my brows. Brows that have worried about feverish nights, and stomach aches, eyes that have misted over with emotion when a first word was said, a first milestone achieved. Hair that began greying when the child had his first convulsion, which accelerated when he had his PDD/NOS diagnosed, when I stressed on whether he would ever be a regular child. I look at my face today, it may not be youthful or perfect, but it is a face that has lived, loved, and experienced. In that lived in face, there is a beauty that the young, untouched face didn’t have, could never have had.
This is a beauty that no amount of botox shots, skin peels, facials or cosmetics could infuse one with. This is beauty that comes from within. This is beauty every woman grows into. This is, to me, real beauty.