Minutes after I posted Tuesday’s blog, That Outfit Makes me Look Fat, I received two emails in my inbox. The first was an incredible video interview women about their feelings on aging – That is what she said-Women and Death. The second, was an email from our family photographer. The subject line read: I hope I don’t get in trouble. In the email our photographer began his note with… “Not that any touch ups are necessary – I tried to smooth out some signs of age. As I said above, I hope this don’t upset you.”
The thing that interested me the most about the email from our photographer is that he didn’t take it upon himself to change my husband’s pictures. He didn’t smooth any wrinkles or color the gray out of my husband’s hair.
But before I decided to throw my photographer under the bus or vow never to hire him again, I have to think about who is responsible for creating the culture norm that women must stay ageless and beautiful to maintain their worth. There are many places of blame but today, I blame myself.
I blame myself for finding my worth in how I look, dress or compare myself to others. I blame myself for succumbing to social norms that insist women should be “touched up” and picture perfect. I blame myself for devaluing the human aging process, feeling that as I age I will be discarded and the doors to my purpose will be closed to me. I blame myself for not appreciating and embracing the gifts of aging, the seasons of life and the wisdom that come with both.
In the video, That is what she said-Women and Death one of the woman who was interviewed reminds me that those laugh lines and crow’s feet around my eyes are a testimony of the many smiles that have crossed my face as I experienced the joys and goodness of life.
Other reminders of where true beauty comes from – One of my favorite quotes about beauty is, “Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic” by Rosalind Russell. Proverbs 16:31 (NIV) says, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.”
It is true that loving is the biggest challenge we will ever face in this life. The first task is that we would love ourselves and accept nothing less than the truth of who we are in the eyes of our Creator who says, “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you” Song of Solomon 4:7 (NIV).. That is when the world will change.
Are you with me?