And while journeys have allowed significant time for reflecting, there’s not so much time for writing. So….some favourite quotes and a photo or two – some flowers made using soothing Placid Blue and lotus buds to give the Samunnat ladies.
Over the last few days travel, I couldn’t believe how many women had obviously had plastic surgery. There is such a sameness about them all, a homogenised look, and (IMHO) it isn’t beautiful. Ursula Le Guin so wisely says:
Beauty always has rules. It’s a game. I resent the beauty game when I see it controlled by people who grab fortunes from it and don’t care who they hurt. I hate it when I see it making people so self-dissatisfied that they starve and deform and poison themselves. Most of the time I just play the game myself in a very small way, buying a new lipstick, feeling happy about a pretty new silk shirt…[or wearing really fabulous jewellery. Ed]
Maybe it was because I was going to a school reunion that this resonated:
…I look at men and women my age and older, and their scalps and knuckles and spots and bulges, though various and interesting, don’t affect what I think of them. Some of these people I consider to be very beautiful, and others I don’t. For old people, beauty doesn’t come free with the hormones, the way it does for the young. It has to do with bones. It has to do with who the person is. More and more clearly it has to do with what shines through those gnarly faces and bodies.
Resilience, authenticity, courage in a face is more beautiful to me than a fine nose or full lips.
Last week, when I tentatively practised embracing who I am right now (instead of the me I thought I was supposed to be) I could finish a task that had being hanging accusingly over my head for months. Embracing the fact that I was a passionately enthusiastic volunteer who could ask for help (yup! revolutionary idea that one!) and not waiting until I was the fabulously computer literate graphic artist I thought I should be allowed me to get the job done. It was good enough!
There is less evidence of plastic surgery in Nepal but the phenomenal sales of Fair and Lovely whitening cream suggests that the pursuit of idealised perfection is just as strong. Oh that my grand daughter could live in society where true inner beauty is valued, diversity celebrated, the weathering of age seen as signs of a long life well lived.