Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mortals


I have been thinking a lot lately about beauty. It is subjective and ephemeral. Part of the reason a rose is so achingly lovely is that it is temporary. Even as we bask in the color, scent, and silken texture of it, it is dying. Children are beautiful because this glowing moment of bright eyes, perfect skin, and rounded cheeks is a moment in time. Enjoyable as it is to look at something that is beautiful, I think it is important to be clear on something. Beauty has no intrinsic value.
I think it is important to state this because as I read articles, news stories, blogs and editorials that this absolute truth has been completely obscured. Plastic surgery, botox, little girls dressing like pop stars, pop stars dressing like strippers, and an entire culture of people whose self-worth is completely valued on what they perceive other people's opinions of their looks to be. Don't get me wrong. I am not immune. I have been dieting on and off since I was a teenager. I own make-up, and enjoy looking nice. What bothers me is the idea of passing these very skewed cultural values on to my children.
I have come to the conclusion that plastic surgery should be considered some kind of scam. Barring plastic surgery for people who are actually deformed through birth defect, illness or injury it is simply preying on vulnerable people. In what world do larger breasts make anyone truly happy? It just feeds into the idea that your body is the only thing you have of value. The money would be much better spent on therapy, while you volunteered to help the sick or poor and connected to what it really is like to be a human.
The body is a shell, a home if you will. Keep it healthy and in good repair, by all means. However, do not mutilate it into something inhuman. Would you risk your life for new curtains for your home? Then why take the genuine risk of death for a tummy tuck? I'm sorry to have to break the news, but humans are mortal. We age and die. It is a fact and always has been. There is nothing shameful about this. Let's stop being ashamed of aging. Age never stopped anyone from being amazing. Wrinkles do not prevent sexiness. Younth is nice, but it is not important and is not the only way to be beautiful. You can be lovely at 60 and make no attempt to look younger.
Okay, so you expect me to end with "True Beauty Come From Within". Well, no. Beauty is just one thing. Your worth and value come from within, and from what you create in the world. I know some will say that is just something unattractive people say. I have had my shining moments, and my husband still finds me very attractive. However, my self-worth is not based on my physical person. I love the body that carried twins, that kisses my husband, and that luxuriates on the clean sheets. It is only part of what my life is though, and most of the people who truly value you will not rank your appearance in your top ten traits.

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