Tag Archives: beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Looking for Beautiful

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?

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In the Eye of the Beholder

In the Eye of the BeholderThe sign on the gate said Chef’s Garden. The place looked abandoned. No one was looking so she entered, and right away was drawn to a patch of blue. Fresh, frosty, mentholated blue.

Oh, that color. An icy, almost iridescent blue that could thaw into green or purple with the passing of a cloud. A blue you could fly in. Or float in. Like the color of snow at twilight, a ghostly pale blue that defied reality. And petals with ridged edges, like the gnawed ears of tomcats. Leaves that opened to the sun, yet wrapped the flower’s core tightly in shadow.

Blue roses, she thought. How beautiful. For an hour she photographed them up and down, zooming in and out.

She knew her roses. Roses were a symbol of love: Pink roses showed appreciation and gratitude. Yellow roses said Remember Me. White was the bridal rose, and orange meant excitement and desire. Peach-colored roses extended sympathy. The darkest crimson was for sorrow and grief. Over the course of her life she’d given and gotten them all.

But a blue rose. That was special. A rarity in nature, a blue rose symbolized the impossible, the unattainable. An unrealizable dream, a never-to-be-fulfilled wish. Or it could mean starting all over again but on a different path, and triumphing against all odds. A blue rose could represent immortality. Or the death of hope.

She considered her situation, her life. All the changes. The sorrows. Worries. Things she was grateful for. Things regretted. She thought of the manuscript she’d written and was returning to, her dreams of traveling, her yearning to discover who and where she was meant to be. Now, finding a whole patch of these roses, was this a blessing? Or –

Later, when she viewed all the photos she’d taken in the garden, it was the ones of the blue roses she kept coming back to. The camera had almost perfectly captured the moonshadow-blue color. Her eyes danced over each image with something like joy.

People told her, that’s just a rotting cabbage riddled with wormholes. But she knew better.


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