I have to write this article on beauty, so I have some confessions:
I have worn make-up only twice in the last 7 weeks.
I have not plucked my eyebrows in over a month.
I don’t dye my hair.
I don’t feel beautiful, not even in the slightest, and when I look in the mirror (I have recently noticed that we have way too many of them in my house) I am taken aback. Truly. I’m kind of shocked. I think I look tired, fraught… blech.
I could write about the beauty of the moments I seeing passing before us – the quarantined family dinners, the neighbors and friends checking in on each other, the essential workers’ true and unwavering bravery- all these moments that I hope I will remember when this is over.
I could write about the beauty of the sunsets I now have time to take in, how the hummingbirds in our yard seem to have increased in the past month, or how some poppies have made their way into our potted plants and wave up at us every morning in bright orange.
I walk past a mirror and stop.
I stare at my face. For a good 5 minutes. Huh. Look at that. I am absorbed. I stop judging and I see…me.
I have so many lines now… many of them from laughing. I laugh a lot. I have laughed so hard I have cried- with my husband, my kids, Jean, Kathlene, Linda, so many funny wonderful people. I just did it the other day on the phone with my friend Penny about a man trying to fly using a fire extinguisher. Yes. It’s a real video. People are great and weird… but, you know, don’t try it at home.
I have an “11” between my brows. I frown and there they are … two lines… deep, concerned… I suddenly remember seeing myself in the reflection of a school bus seat on my way to the first day of third grade. There was that same “11”. That same thoughtfulness.
I see grey hairs. One growing shock full at my temple. It looks like my mom’s hair. My mom. I love her. I miss her. She was one-of-a-kind. I’m sure lots of people think like that about their mom. And that’s good.
I see the scar from when I was attacked in NYC years ago in a dark alleyway and the man who did it and how I got away and how now I can look at that scar and feel neutral and the work that went into feeling strong again. All that in one tiny scar.
I look into my eyes.
My eyes. I am suddenly overtaken with the understanding that these are the same eyes I have looked at and through my entire life. They have witnessed when I got the giant Winnie the Pooh doll during a childhood Christmas, when my grandma took my hand in hers as she pressed down the edges of her homemade raviolis, when I got my acceptance letter to Boston College, when my father was in the hospital, when I first saw my husband, when the doctor held up our children in the delivery room, when we signed the papers to buy our house, 9/11, when my mother passed away with me there holding her hand, when our children graduated – all the moments that make up a life.
I see the past and my parents and my grandparents and my kids and the future and the endless connections in these eyes.
True Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
I see someone who is going through a global pandemic… as best she can…
And I blink back a small well of tears that are almost ready to tip onto my cheeks. And I thank myself for this moment when I saw the true beauty in my face.
Aging. Ahhh, the word that seems to impact each of us somehow. My usual approach to this topic has been embrace it, accept it, honor it, be one with it, but sometimes it isn’t that easy… READ IT HERE
By ALISON MARTIN
Alison Martin -- wife, mom, Emmy-award winning actress, writer, chocoholic. Bronx Italian, daughter of Pultizer Prize winning reporters, who also identifies as L.A. Irish. Shout outs: Dan, Em, Brady, pooches - LuLu & Ted, friends, Mother Earth, serendipity, peace, VIPHS, living life like your socks feel real good.
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