“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” This old adage is ever so true, yet somewhat oversimplified. What the eyes see as beautiful is often largely shaped by the culture in which they have been socialized. In popular culture, “beauty is skin-deep”, to cite yet another old saying, one of which I beg to differ. Beauty takes a on a much deeper existence than that which lies only on the surface, that which the culture fashions into its own “American idol”. We are led to worship the shallowest semblance of beauty and shun any deviation from the mainstream’s preordained archetype. Beauty encompasses the seen as well as the unseen, transcending the limitations of the beholder’s ‘near-sightedness’.
The depth of true beauty lies deep within a woman emanating outwardly from her very soul. Life and love temper her by the experiences and subsequent lessons she learns from them, many of which change her from within. Reflections of change manifest themselves both inwardly and even outwardly altering the perception of beauty as seen through a now damaged lens. Failed relationships, troubled parental relationships, and other traumatic experiences cause internal damage that readjusts the lens by which many women view themselves. They are labeled ‘damaged goods’ when the bruises and blemishes, dealt to them by an unkind past, leaves its marks. The experiences gained from the relationships that end unfavorably can wound deeply. The damages endured become a part of you, molding and shaping you into the person you will become in the aftermath. How you respond to those experiences matters greatly. The choice of who you become is a very difficult choice, but a choice all the same.
For the sake of illustration, please allow me the liberty to paint a mental picture on the canvas of your mind that I hope will add color to the ‘black and white’ imagery of this writing. Imagine a woman’s life is like the transformation of a beautiful piece of wood into a masterful work of art, a fine wooden sculpture if you will. Its course begins with it as simply a beautiful piece of wood in its natural state, untouched other than by the hands of nature and time. There is a process that transforms the wood from one state of beauty into another. During its transformation, the wood must endure various stages of damage (chopping, cutting, burning, staining, etc.). The damage is necessary to bring about the changes that result in the end product. At any time during this process, if it were to end, the once beautiful piece of wood would just be a damaged throw-away. It’s only after the work is completed that the process of its transformation can be fully appreciated. It is changed, but yet retains its beauty in the end. The same is true of a woman.
To be very clear, in no way am I relegating a woman’s value to a piece of wood, however stunning its appearance may be. A woman is infinitely more beautiful and valuable. Neither do I intend to suggest that that which causes damage to any woman is ever good. It is not. The unfortunate truth is that damage is inescapable in this life. Damage comes at the hands of ‘liked ones’ and loved ones alike whether by intention, neglect, accident, incident, circumstance or otherwise. The pain is the same. The good news is that this is not the end unless you choose this as your conclusion. You don’t have to and you won’t. This is only the setting of the stage for a new beginning to another chapter in your wonderful life. Live and be well.