I’ve never known what this means, sure I know what the words mean but I have never been all that sure whether this is a compliment or an accusation…maybe it’s a little of both. But it is the thing I most hear from others when they are talking about me. I always sit there and smile, search their face for more information but in the end I end up letting it slip away as quickly as it was uttered and giving it just as much thought as it was delivered with, not much. Always kind of struck me as the anti “If you don’t have anything nice to say” like they are trying to think of something nice but nothing really stands out.
Maybe I’ve been lucky to avoid the constraints of traditional beauty; it was never going to be me so I never really spent much time thinking about it or trying to be. I went from being the ugly girl that was taunted by my brother’s father, to being told I was “unusual looking” which when you’re sixteen means freakish to being whatever it is I look like, or people read or see in my face and my body now. I learned long ago to not put much validity into what is basically the luck of genetics……..and has a shelf life. I’ll take interesting, funny, sweet or even annoying over pretty any day, those things are more real and sustainable…to me anyway.
There are times when I feel beautiful but again, probably not in the traditional sense. I was alone this afternoon, the hubby off cleaning out a storage unit full of dusty bits of a life that we had both packed up, affixed a lock on and pretty much forgotten about for years. Old books, games, pieces of my mother’s furniture, Jeremy’s old bookcase and boxes and boxes of old papers. When my husband first asked what I wanted to do with it all the first thing I said was, “Toss it. We haven’t even thought about that stuff in years” I think we were both a bit taken aback by my willingness to just throw away or give away those bits of my history but I’m just not nostalgic or romantic in that way. My life, my mother’s life, they don’t live with those dusty and broken bits of furniture, not in faded art projects or yearbooks. Our life, our history is beneath the skin of anyone we were or are able to touch, move or make feel loved.
My son, my Amy, my sister, the people that still tell me how much they loved my mother, all you people that find something compelling in my words. These things are the things of true value and far too powerful to pack away in a box and be tossed in a storage unit. I feel something when I see that some sentence I strung together, some story I shared, some expression of passion for wine…something I said spoke to someone enough to make them leave a comment or has them coming back over and over again to read more. To know that my words, my fingertips, my thoughts….my heart, my life…when I share them they seem to matter to some of you. That, well that makes me feel more beautiful than any genetic jackpot ever could.
My idea of beauty has always been more of a feeling then something I see or something that is detectable right away. Maybe I am just to protective of my heart but I just never have my head spun by “Hot” or “Pretty” it takes more than flash to make my heart thump and my girlie parts tingle…substance is beauty, a story is beauty, selflessness is beauty…courage, resolve, talent these things make my heart pound, make my eyes water and inspire my want.
A perfect rendition of Someone to Watch Over Me, a voice that grabs at my heart, makes me feel like I am being lifted off the ground…..pulled in and feeling her ache…. There’s a somebody I am longing to see I hope that he Turns out to be Someone to watch Over me
Fills my eyes with tears for her as her voice, her desire, her need to be cared for fall upon my ears…make me visit that secret spot inside of me where I too am wishing for someone to watch over me. Crisp and clean like Alison Krauss or raw and soulful like Lauren Hill, (Never heard either of them sing this particular song but it is the stuff of my dreams) doesn’t matter…a pure expression of femininity that is truly beautiful to me. Fuck Beyonce and her, “If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it”….it?! If you are willing to reduce your importance or worth to “it” you are so missing the point and your shelf live is showing.
Stepping out of Wrigley Field on a steamy September afternoon and hearing the “thump-thump thump-crack-one-two-three” and having my eyes fall upon a group of kids across the street. All black males sitting on and banging away on five gallon plastic cans…except for one. My eyes landed upon a man…a young man, maybe nineteen or twenty years old that was not sitting on one of the plastic cans and wore the face of a lifetime of hardship. He was sitting in a wheelchair, missing a leg and his dark black skin that was stretched across his high cheekbones and broad nose, bore these little skips….these raised glossy scars that assured me that this young man had suffered a multitude of hardships, the likes of which I could not possibly fathom. But there he was drumsticks firing away in perfect unison…big grin on his face, making my whole body vibrate. The thumping, the scars, the missing leg…the flailing arms, his music moving my feet, my hips, my shoulders…my heart. He was truly beautiful in a way I shall never forget.
Watching a man kiss his son. A man willing to drop the bullshit “be a man” crap and give himself over to true love in its purest form. Putting his big man lips on the face of his little man. Beautiful.
Smelling history in a glass. To feel where a wine came from, who it came from and the year it came from…feel it all through my nose and tongue. To taste the aroma of a specific place in a glass, to feel a winemaker’s shyness or larger than life personality and to taste what each year bestowed upon the vines…good or bad, in each glass, fucking beautiful. I think those that proclaim vintage superiority or deficiency are also missing the point. Missing the point and missing out on the beauty that is a hand crafted expression of each harvest. I don’t think any vintage should be affixed with a lock and forgotten about, each one should be celebrated for the bits of history they hold…beautiful.