Broken Mirrors & Souvenirs

Cross posted from The Wild Wild Left

He won’t look in a mirror now. Its not just the hair loss, either. It is the way his skin sags from the weight loss, and the aging stress and pain puts in one’s eyes. I think it was always a kick for him when people never guessed he was 15 years older than I am, that his lifelong peers always ribbed him about how they were aging, and he was not. He says there is a stranger in the mirror now, some old man that doesn’t compute for him, with who he is and has always been inside. At 62, he fears that the damage will not reverse if he regains his health.

Then there is the coughing. It hasn’t been this bad since we started this journey and it was the pneumonia that made them find the cancer. Its scaring the shit out of him. He doesn’t want anyone to see him, hides under blankets and hats if anyone stops by.

The thing is? He is still beautiful to me. Beauty emanates from more than just hair, or seasonal weight gain or loss. Short, tall, weathered, youthful, black, white, skinny, heavy, or any combination thereof still all looks beautiful to me. It all emanates from within.

I have my weaknesses though. One or two, anyway.

Sure, I can be as shallow as the next girl – see a man and be stricken by one of the details of conventional standards… “jesus, look at the fine ass on that man. who knew? god, and those are great legs, I want to run my fingernails up the back of them and nibble my way up those thighs until I get to….” … but even those thoughts have to be triggered by genuine admiration of the man himself. Internal beauty.

I wax self-depreciating all the time. I laugh at myself here, talking about what I see in the mirror. But other than mourning string bikini days (not to show off, but because I hate clothes in general) and having to endure wet spandex covering me and blocking my skin from the kiss of the sun after a swim, I really am comfortable in my own skin. I walk anywhere with my head held high, and feel good about me. If they don’t like the way I look, they can look away. But most don’t look away. So I still must have something, and it must generate from within.

I never thought he would be this way, this from the man who always said with a haughty gleam in his eye, if he lost his hair he would shave it all off. Be bald, tough and beautiful. Cancer has wracked his body, but I hate what it has done to his spirit more.

I’m just venting here. I am compelled to write something every day, and these are my morning thoughts.

I want to write about Tunsia, Israel, and some overarching points about social engineering.

But right now, it pisses me off that this proud man who taught me to throw off the inhibitions of the world’s expectations of me has fallen prey to the constraints of this sick society’s obsession with youth and faux-beauty. Old is as beautiful as young. I tried to tell a writer here that once who didn’t get it either. Life leaves traces on a person that enhances their beauty, not diminishes it.

We are all beautiful.

3 comments

    • Diane G on January 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm
      Author

    • Edger on January 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    In Spite Of Ourselves

    I lost my Dad to cancer last spring, and my younger brother has according to his doctors 2-3 years max to live with his lung cancer.

    I haven’t commented much when you write about this… Be strong Diane.

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