Variations on Beautiful.

19 Oct

What is beautiful? Is it happiness, contentment, vanity, companionship, friendship, love or the sum of all the parts? Everyone defines it differently. Throughout our lives our concept of what is beautiful will change. I look forward to that.

Today is my parent’s wedding anniversary. In 26 years there have been highs and lows but today I would say, they love each other more than ever.

In their honor, I moved up a post I was working on for a later date. What is beautiful?

Real Simple did an article a year or so back on authors describing what makes them feel beautiful. I was so moved by the above submission from acclaimed author Anne Roiphe,  that I tore it out and put it on our vision board next to Marilyn et al.

It is simply profound. Please read for yourself.

“It was mid-December of 2005. I don’t know why he said it. I don’t know if a shadow had fallen across him, something appalling he saw out of the corner of his eye. I don’t know if it was just coincidence or intuition that prompted him, but about a week before my seemingly healthy 82-year-old husband suddenly died, he emerged from the kitchen ready to go to his office, his face clean-shaven, his eyes shining, smiling shyly, holding the copy of the Anthony Trollope book he was rereading, and said to me, “You have made me very happy. You know that you have made me a happy man.” There I stood in my work outfit, blue jeans and a T-shirt. There I stood with my white hair and my wrinkles and the face I was born with, although now much creased by time, and I felt beautiful.
 
“What?” I said. I wanted him to repeat the words. “You heard me,” he said and put on his coat and drew his earmuffs out of his pocket. “Say it again,” I said. He said it again. “You’ve made me happy.” We had been married 39 years. We had held hands waiting in hospital corridors while a desperately ill child struggled to breathe and thankfully recovered. We had made financial mistakes together. We had spent hours out in fishing boats. We had raised the children and then second-guessed our choices. We had stood shoulder to shoulder at graduations and weddings and we were well-worn, but still I had made him happy, and I was proud and flushed with the warmth of his words.
 
I know I looked beautiful that morning. Perhaps not to the young man holding his toddler in his arms who rode the elevator with me; perhaps not to the friend I met for lunch, a true believer in Botox; perhaps not to passersby on the street; but I knew it for a certainty. I was beautiful.
 
I don’t believe that inner beauty is sufficient in this cruel world. That’s the pap one tells a child. I don’t believe that positive thinking improves your skin tone or that loving or being loved changes the shape of your nose or restores the thickness and color of hair, but I do know that there is a way of being beautiful, even as age takes its toll, that has something to do with the spirit filling with joy, something to do with the union with another human being, with the sense of having done well at something enormously important, like making happy a man who has made you happy often enough.
 
Ten days after that morning conversation, my husband and I returned from a concert and dinner with friends and walked down our windy block toward our apartment house when suddenly he stumbled and fell and died within minutes. As I waited for the ambulance, I remembered his words, a beauty potion I would take with me into the rest of my life.”

Those words are hard to follow but I figured why not reflect on and share what makes me feel beautiful, in the hopes it will inspire you to do the same.

Below is my list, the next time I am feeling melancholy I will revisit it and take notes.  

 

Luella says…Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.

MY HUSBAND & HIS LAUGH/SMILE

THE PERFECT DRESS & PAIR OF SHOES

  NESTLED IN READING A GREAT BOOK

TRAVELING EUROPE

ACCOMPLISHING MY GOALS/TO DO LIST

  FEELING SUNKISSED ON VACATION

 LISTENING /ABSORBING WHEN OTHERS REMIND ME

(All Images above via MEMORY BOOK  &  Krystal Muellenberg)

 

EARLY MORNINGS SPENT OUTSIDE

  DANCING – (always)

 BEING WHERE I HAVE BEEN BEFORE – WHERE PEOPLE KNOW MY NAME

 BEING INSPIRED BY HIGH FASHION & FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY

 VIEWING VINTAGE ARCHITECTURE / HOME DECOR

 EXERCISING TO GOOD MUSIC (loud)

 PARTICIPATING IN AN INTELLECTUAL CONVERSATION / DEBATE

A CLEAN & ORGANIZED HOUSE

(All images above via AN ABUNDANCE OF)

 

TIME SPENT WITH MY FAMILY

 LONG EYELASHES

MY CHILDHOOD HOME/BACKYARD

(All images above via Krystal Muellenberg)

 

COOKING A GREAT MEAL

(Image above via The City Sage) 

LIVE MUSIC

(Image above via Doublecrossed)

DECADENT WINE & DINNER PARTIES WITH MY GREAT FRIENDS

(Images above via Remodelista  &  Country Living)

 

I realized in making this list, beautiful to me means contentment and happiness. I look and feel best when I am at peace with my actions, state and surroundings.

Find your own variation of beautiful and hold onto it always.

Advertisements

5 Responses to “Variations on Beautiful.”

  1. Krystal October 19, 2010 at 9:24 PM #

    oh.my.word. what a GORGEOUS blog post. seriously. I cried. and what inspiring imagery. {and i am not talking about mine, ;)} I SO love your blog! it is definitely on my ‘must read’ list. Thank you for this!

    • Luella says October 20, 2010 at 10:19 AM #

      Krystal thank you so much! That means a lot to me. I had the same reaction when I read Anne’s article for the first time. I hope everything is going well. Hugs,

  2. Nadine October 19, 2010 at 9:37 PM #

    I LOVE IT. Reminds me of my Grandparents… they would have been married this year for 70 years.

    • Luella says October 20, 2010 at 10:20 AM #

      Aww… that is perfect. Tell her hello when you see her this weekend. xo

  3. everton terrace October 20, 2010 at 9:31 AM #

    I feel so good, warm and cozy after reading this. Beautiful post, really – bravo. That story made me weep, both thinking about her loss and the lovely lovely expression of love. Your list is wonderful. I would add when my daughter (away at school) tells me how much she misses home on a hard day and when I catch my husband looking at me and he just smiles. I agree with you, contentment is a truly beautiful thing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: