The Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary
Beauty “An assemblage of perfections through which an object is rendered pleasing to the eye; those qualities in the aggregate that give pleasure to the aesthetic sense; qualities that delight the eye, the ear, or the mind; loveliness; elegance; grace; a particular grace or ornament; that which is beautiful; a part which surpasses in beauty that with which it is united; a beautiful person, especially, a beautiful woman.”
“Beauty is but skin deep”
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness.” John Keats
What is your definition of beauty? I think that for the most part people have it all wrong. There is too great of an emphasis put on beauty and how we look. From an early age, I was told that I was pretty. Over the years, one or two have called me beautiful. Being somewhat athletic, I have naturally remained quite fit and kept a somewhat slim figure. Acne was never a problem so my complexion was clear and I always tanned easily. When I finished high school I thought I could find a career by using my looks. I was
not academical. That was when I decided to go to modeling school where I learned how to accentuate my looks even more by learning how to apply make up, how to dress, walk and better present myself.
Now I am getting older and notice the enemy of age slowly taking away the youthfulness that I once wore on my face. External beauty really is fleeting. Many celebrities and many women today have face lifts, botox and spend a great deal of money clutching to keep that eternal youth. Self inflicted or not, the pressure for a beautiful person to remain good looking is enormous. Mostly our vanity becomes an obsession that we cannot win. Some facelift results are horrific. Honestly, I rather bury my head in the sand then walk around looking like I just walked through a wind tunnel that left my face looking like a plastic bag has taken up permanent residence. I’d rather get old gracefully and accept the lines and sags as they come. Do I like the ageing process? Absolutely not! In fact as I get older, I would kind of like to escape with my husband to some deserted place where I don’t have to worry about what other people think or comment about my appearance. It would be nice to live in a place without mirrors or judgment, other people’s criticism or comments. It would be nice to not care about how I look and just enjoy who I am. For whatever reason, more often than not, we always seem to look at people and see them for what they look like externally, not the beauty that lies within.
Recently I have been looking at pictures. Don’t we always put out the best pictures of ourselves? Face it. Doesn’t it take a person who is very confident within themselves to put out a picture that is very unflattering? I guess I have thought about what true beauty is in the last few weeks.
My little sister Penny recently passed away. We had her funeral. Many people came and shared their perspectives about Penny. I must admit, I’ve done a lot of reflecting and soul searching since her death. This is not easy to confess. By appearances one might look at two sisters standing together. One sister has model like attributes while the other sister has downs syndrome attributes, one eye pointing in, short stature etc. I remember when we were young, going into stores and noticing the stares Penny would get. It was because her appearance was different.
I think of the movie Shrek. In the beginning of the movie, it shows the princess so very beautiful in appearance. A witch puts a spell on the princess and transforms her into a less attractive looking woman. In the end of the movie, everyone wants this princess to get her beauty back. The twist in the movie is that the princess actually remains in what some may consider an ugly state. It seems that it is human nature for us to always choose outward beauty before we choose the inner beauty.
I am thinking that Penny has taught me a valuable lesson since her death. In all my soul searching, looking at pictures and listening to other people who knew Penny, I have witnessed the inner beauty which exuded from her. Truthfully, I never really thought about it before. I simply never noticed a lot of things about Penny. She didn’t have a vain bone in her body. Sure she liked it when people told her she looked pretty, but for the most part Penny never concerned herself with how she looked. Penny had a freedom to be Penny. After looking through many pictures, I realize she was quite photogenic and very cute. Truly her beauty shinned through her natural smile. Penny carried within herself far more beauty than I have ever been able to obtain. When you take off the make-up and look at our spirits, perhaps Penny was far more beautiful than I or any celebrity, even with all the facelifts in California. I look at a picture of two sisters and now see that Penny was the beautiful one and I have been the ugly duckling. It is said, “True beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
I think my Pastor said it best at Penny’s funeral. “All the gold in California is not in a bank in Beverley Hills. It is right here.” The gold was shinning in that service through the life Penny lived and through all the people who shared in her beautiful life. A penny is made of copper. Our Penny was pure gold.
I love you Penny, my beautiful little sister.