What is Beauty?
The truth is I have lived my whole life with pretty privileges – you know, the kind that open doors and make strangers a little nicer. The kind that make job interviews more successful, being single less lonely, and parties more fun.
So as I approach my 36th birthday, as I see little lines coming across my face while living in the youth-centric city of Los Angeles, my exploration of my feelings about Botox and other cosmetic procedures have come to the forefront.
I come from a long line of women who have been celebrated for their physical appearance. My mother being a hybrid of Sophia Lauren and Elizabeth Taylor still turns heads at almost 70 years old. “Your mom is so beautiful,” and “Your mom is gorgeous,” are still dropped daily. Truth be told, when looking at pictures of her younger self, she admits that she had no idea how truly beautiful she was.
Every woman in my family (matching society’s description of beauty), my mother, all of her sisters and my grandmother have had a facelift at age 50, followed up by a second facelift 10 to 20 years later and lots of procedures, injectables, permanent makeup tattoos, and Botox to maintain the illustrious beauty they once possessed in their younger years. After all, it appears that a great deal of trust in one’s inner light is required to give up the pretty privileges.
So here I am, the next generation. I am committed to unplugging from unconscious collective agreements and choosing love in each and every moment. I am in love with my life and my opportunity to serve. Every day, I am granted the honor of guiding women into the truth and heart of their own beauty and feminine expression.
I know I must have other choices than those of my mothers. I don’t know if I am strong enough to resist the urge to maintain my youthful appearance. The truth is, even though I am today, I don’t know what it will feel like 10, 15, or 20 years from now.
So this brings me to the question, what is beauty? I don’t mean artificial, drugstore-purchased, imitation beauty. I mean real beauty that cracks your heart wide open to what’s possible. I am talking about the kind of beauty that humbles you for you know the ability to witness its existence is pure privilege.
The beauty of nature, when you stand only 20 feet away from a wolf in its natural habitat. The beauty you experience looking into the eyes of a newborn baby. I am talking about the beauty that leaves you awe-stricken and trembling in the best way.
How do we embody this kind of beauty? Beauty that is not synonymous with youth, but is a feeling and a light that moves your heart and soul and is an agent of healing on the planet. I do not have the answers, but I feel called to engage in a conversation, for I feel the willingness to engage might perhaps lend a helping hand in undoing the chains that bind.
To me, some of the most beautiful women I have known are the ones with cascading silver hair and lines on their faces, whose inner light outshines the sun – women whose lines are more beautiful than the smooth skin of a 20-year-old, because I can feel the life they have lived and the story of their soul as it dances across their untouched faces.
But if I am being honest, I don’t experience this in all older women who have chosen to stay natural. So what is the difference? What makes these women so beautiful? If it is not just the lines or the silver hair, then it must be the light shining through as the their absolute willingness to be with what is. It must be a profound ability to flow with life, to witness themselves change, and stay present to the sheer beauty of being alive.
So then, the question isn’t “To Botox or not to Botox?”
It seems the question is: Will I be able to be present to life’s changes and remain in my heart with all of it?
Will I choose to open to love in every moment and with every action?
Will I trust that my inner beauty is, by far, the most magnetizing aspect of my being and is cultivated through my ability to remain present?
At least, these are the questions for me at this time. It is not lost on me that staying present means I get to stop worrying about what I will do 10 or 20 years from now.
So for today I choose love. And for today this means no Botox for this gal.
“What am I? Am I the bulb that carries the light? Or am I the light for which the bulb is a vehicle?” ~ Joseph Campbell on aging