I wanted to be beautiful. It was a dream I had, all my life. It was a stupid dream. However, facing the loss of it, along with the loss of my youth and self-identity, makes me want to smash mirrors and rip up photos.
Aging does not look or feel pretty. It’s bad enough, the tired-looking eyes, wrinkles, graying hair, sagging skin, yellowed teeth… to top it all off, now there are eyeglasses. I always hated wearing or carrying anything extra. Like hats, jewelry, handbags, sunglasses, or makeup…. All nuisances. I want to be fast, light. Unencumbered. Mostly, though, I still want to feel beautiful. As far as I could see, there was nothing beautiful about glasses. Several of my friends look great with them. But me, I slip my bifocals out of sight when anyone comes near. Glasses do not fit in with my perception of myself. Even though I fish them out of purses and pockets a few hundred times a day, and the number of things I need them for keeps growing. Like being able to see photos of my friends’ grandbabies, doing Photoshop or anything on the computer, texting my son, chopping vegetables, driving…. To function or to feel beautiful? That is the question. It may be time to plant eyeglasses on my face for good.
Wearing glasses isn’t the only issue barring my path to beauty. From the beginning of my obsession to play the bugle, I knew that scrunching my lips and spitting into a horn was not going to be attractive. But I didn’t know I’d have to bloat my stomach out to its capacity with each inhale of air in order to play.
“I’ve been trying to hold in my gut for decades, so I could look beautiful,” I told my baby-faced music teacher, hoping he’d skip all the breath exercises.
“Focus on breathing and making a beautiful sound,” he said.
So here I am, encouraging my beer-belly to blossom, sporting my new specs, and trying to make beautiful noise. And trying to groove in my new self-image. It sure is great to be able to identify the food on my dinner plate again, and to recognize approaching friends. I’m going to have to revise my idea of beautiful though. If beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, I should be able to see it a lot more clearly now.
So, what is beauty anyway?