Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

To be truly beautiful.

“I have never felt so beautiful as I did when I was in Italy last summer on a writing fellowship.”  Don’t get excited.  That woman speaking is not me.  It’s from an article written by some woman for a beauty campaign where the company touts a true women/true beauty ideal.  And, while I seriously love this product line and their good intentions to make every women feel beautiful, no matter size, color, age and whatnot – this article made me frown.  Frowning gives me wrinkles.  An abundance of products will be needed to fix these wrinkles.  Perhaps it’s all part of their evil plan.  Well-played, beauty people, well-played.


In the article, this woman who felt so beautiful in Italy raved about how she delighted in the local culture, food and atmosphere.  Since she mentioned a fellowship, it’s safe to assume she was there on somebody else’s dime — doing nothing but the things she “loves most all day” like writereadwritereadyogawritewalkwriteread.  She wrapped up the article bubbling over about how she believes women feel most beautiful and happy when they’re “operating at that sweet spot where their passions, gifts and well-being intersect.”  Pardon me, as this may be overstating the obvious, but no shock, Sherlock.


There was also some mention about giving the world the best of oneself and really enjoying the fruits of that giving, or some carboloaded gnocchi, high-on-serotonin talk.  Somewhere in the middle of all of the scenic narrative about hiking amongst wild flowers watching lizards cavort and the gorgeous views of one of the deepest lakes in Europe — my brain choked up.  You see, it was difficult for me to suss out why anyone would be surprised at the notion of feeling beautiful while in Italy.  Not just Italy: Lake Como, where George Clooney is your neighbor – yet our maiden in mostaccioli mentioned she went without makeup every day, rarely even plucking her eyebrows.  Wha…?  Why, I wouldn’t even go to the gardening shed without lipstick knowing who might drop by for a cup of sugar.  Or cannelloni.


Before you turn your pitchfork on me, calling me a green-eyed monster, know that I have no animosity toward the young woman who discovered her beauty while her big toe was soaking in it.  It’s just that I think everyone, male or female, probably feels at their best when they have the good fortune to meld passion, talent and the opportunity to take an uninterrupted breath now and again.  You don’t need a passport for that, but you just might need to put your foot down for the whole moment(s) to one’s self business.  Because life sometimes gets in the way of living, doesn’t it?  Pursuing a paycheck or giving of yourself 24/7 in the name of caregiving (either children or loved ones), often leaves a person depleted and too tired to pick any gratification fruit from a job well done.  You can be standing on the most idyllic land or lake in the world, but if your mind is saturated with stress or hardship, it can be almost impossible to appreciate the splendor that surrounds you.  A stomach full of fine food is known to bring about a sense of contentment, but scrambling like Mother Hubbard to keep the pantry stocked with pasta and peanut butter makes it hard to conjure up peace of mind.  I don’t know about you, but my mirror isn’t handing out Fairest of ‘em All tickets right and left, most days.


I’ve come up with a do-able plan for what I believe might make us all more beautiful, no passport, no cold cream, no malaria shots needed.  Ready?  Adding a few more items to your To Do List.  Hear me out.  Tucked in among the laundry, shopping, schlepping, cooking, cleaning and whatever work you do during the week, I’d like you to pen in (not pencil.  I want you to commit here, people) some things you truly like, maybe even love, to do.  Give yourself permission to schedule some time — 10 to 30 minutes one day (or more, if you can) — to engage in something you haven’t done in a while, or enough of.  Read, write, garden, prepare food (not microwave), sketch, crochet, sing, dance or passionately kiss someone you care about.  When you’re finished, walk over to the nearest mirror and see if your reflection isn’t smiling back at you (and that is a beautiful sight, indeed).

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