169. Aligning Truth, Beauty

Grandparents, family elders, wear the gray hair as a gift, each one earned by the emotional ride of their lives. The sagging skin, the wrinkles, scars and creases, show the time on the planet, the exposure to the elements, pain, and the intensity of a million smiles.

As a nation, we have spent the last six months considering ourselves in comparison to truth.  What is the truth?  Is it based on science, on world view, on religious value, on surface level beliefs, on mesmerism, or historical wisdom?  Is it relative or is it universally concrete?

Whether people believe it or not, each individual has a different definition of the truth.  I find that paradoxical.  The truth is debatable. How can something that is the truth be something that is under scrutiny?  The key is comprehending that the truth is individually variable.

I was pondering my grandmothers, and beauty.  

The American standard of beauty is based on the ideal body of a fifteen year old girl.  

One day, we were washing the boat in Lake Stevens, actually in the lake.  A pair of 70 something people pulled their ski boat to the launch, zipped the sports car and trailer around in the parking lot, and pulled the sparking vessel out of the water.  I watched them, and I watched myself.  They were thin, sharp, tan, wearing clothing and sunglasses that matched the overall aesthetic.  I was repulsed.

The kids were young.  I was young.  And these were not the grandparents of my truth.  I shuddered.  These were the grandparents of the American standard.  It was not wrong. In fact, most people would admire the standard of existence of these retirees, their image, their apparent well being.  Most people would encourage the plastic surgery, the make up, the hair plugs and beauty appointments that pulled that together as a package.  “If it makes you feel good, do it.”

But I saw my own truth in that one moment.  It was so striking that the image has never left me.  Grandparents, family elders, wear the gray hair as a gift, each one earned by the emotional ride of their lives.  The sagging skin, the wrinkles, scars and creases, show the time on the planet, the exposure to the elements, pain, and the intensity of a million smiles.  The soft bellies, soft bodies, welcome the grandchildren into their laps, make cushions for the tears, speak to moments spent in endeavors of listening, support, stillness.  Their quiet motion in practical cars matches the nature of their internal peace, to the satisfaction with the moment.  

There was nothing wrong with Barbie and Ken, Grandparent Edition.  Through them, I saw my truth.  My bias.  My love.  I observed my acceptance of a process, and how my values differ.  I was thankful for my grandparents, and their presentation of a meaningful truth. 

Author: Michele Plumb Stowell

Michele Stowell was a teacher, a hand holder, and encouraging voice. Born an early Gen Xer, she has lived in Western Washington for the duration. Her children, two spectacular genetic daughters and an uncountable number of marvelous scout and school sons and daughters, shine as her biggest impact and her greatest blessing. Just before her 54th birthday, Michele was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Her writing and art work are expressions of the drama and the joy of living earth bound. On October 24, 2021, Michele was released from her physical body, transported to continue her work on other realms.

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