I remember the first time I asked my mother about being pretty. I don’t remember the exact conversation we had verbatim or how I started that conversation but the gist of what transpired was that I was having an ugly duckling life. I wanted to know if I was pretty. If I couldn’t know that I was pretty, or at least attractive, then I wanted something to make me feel better so that I could live with the alternative. I hoped by asking the question, I would hear a response that would make me feel okay about myself.

In my mind, a female was not worth much nor did she get much attention unless she was attractive. In short, boys were not going to give me special valentines in grade school and when I got old enough, they were not going to date me. If I were attractive, I thought, people would like me more, smile at me more, include me in their circle, tolerate me more,and in general be more open to me. I wanted all that. I wanted to pound on that three-foot thick glass wall between where I was and where I wanted to be until I smashed it into a million pieces. What I wanted, no, what I thought I needed, was so close I could see it but I could not reach it through that wall.

I remember that Mama gave me the most over-used, but tried-and-true answer to that question. What else could she say to me, an awkward, shy, lonely little girl, accept that real beauty is inside? Today I know that beauty really is inside and that this beauty is pure love. Back then what I was really seeking was love, not physical beauty, but I didn’t know that. I thought physical beauty would bring me love and I would feel good about myself. I though if I were being sought after, admired, accepted or invited into the inside group, or was popular I would be okay. At that time I thought this would be proof to me that I was loved or worthy of love – that I was okay and normal. It was a matter of my chasing my own tail so to speak. It got me nowhere. I didn’t know until much later in life, that once I found that love inside of myself and learned to be okay with me, that I didn’t need the other things. I could feel love and be love with or without them. I could be thankful for all things but I already had what I needed, what I had searched for all my life.

I can not say that I never feel that I am not okay or good enough. Old habits and feelings can sneak up on me, on any human being, from time to time because these habits and feelings become so ingrained, so habitual. What I can say is that Love never leaves me. I can lose consciousness of it but I can never lose it. It nourishes me and fulfills me because that is all I wanted all along.

Am I beautiful? Yes I am. And so are you. How did I get to that place?  That is a subject for another chapter.


I rattle on and on about positive thoughts, positive thinking, being grateful, and all that good stuff and smugly think that I don’t fail to do those things. Ha! That’s funny. I caught myself this morning realizing that I am age-conscious and not happy about my aging body. I look in the mirror and see that everything has gone South  (dipping-almost-below-the-equator-South). I see rivers and valleys etched upon my face and if I dare take a closer look at my skin I see pits and scales and rolls. Scales are okay for fish and rolls are a nice compliment to a dinner but not on my body please.

A closer look at the face and eye lids are beginning to droop. A glance in the mirror at my entire body shows that while my body has thinned more  making my bathroom scales seem less frightening,  my hair has been busy loosing numbers and thickness as well . How in the world can I feel so young inside and yet find that I am living in my grandmother’s body? Granted my body looks a whole lot younger and attractive than a grandmother used to look back in her day.  Still I cannot help but yearn for that firmer, softer-skinned, lovely girl I once was.

I would consider a face lift but then I have an aversion to pain and bruising, not to mention to the cutting and stitching of skin.  Besides,  that would not be my real face would it?   I can seek to understand  why I am so bothered by looking like the aging woman I am.   Perhaps it would be better for me  to just look at the love shining through me, the smile on my face, and the fact that I am still alive and doing pretty well for an “old” lady.

Winking at myself in the mirror I can say, “You are one hot Grandma!”  Hugging my body, I say thank you for continuing to get me from point “A” to point “B”.   I’m loving this body.


Many of you are familiar with the story of the ugly duckling who looked nothing like his brothers and sisters. He didn’t act exactly like them. He didn’t fit in but was trying with all his might to act like a duck. Mother duck took care of him just like the other ducks but all the ducks thought he was so ugly and didn’t fit in. They made fun of him. After a while the ducklings grew into young adults. Out on the pond was all these beautiful ducks being ducks and they were amazed because in their midst was a beautiful, dazzling, graceful, pure white swan. The swan could stop being what he was not. He was not a duck. There is nothing wrong with a duck. They have their own beauty, abilities, and purpose but the swan also has his/her own beauty, ability and purpose. Nothing is ugly. Everything and everyone is just being what they were born to be.

That was just an illustrative story but in real life as we know it as humans, we all know that when someone doesn’t look like you or act like you or believe as you do, you think they are odd. You think they are ugly. You call them misfits. You don’t give them credit for being different. If the difference you experience is unbearable it is your choice to not hang out with them. It is also you choice to love them or not anyway. You can love people you don’t fit in with or who don’t fit in with you. It is possible. You have the power to decide to accept or not accept them for who they are. In the story, once the ducks saw the beauty in the swan they stopped rejecting him and ridiculing him. They accepted him for who and what he was in his own way.

It is not your job to change someone into you. It is not their job to change you into them. It is your honor and privilege as well as theirs to each respect the other person’s gifts, talents, and quirks. Does this mean that you allow someone to disrespect you, trample upon you? No. Just try to remove yourself from them because they are not yet grown enough to be able to give love, respect, and honor. You can still send them love and a desire for them to find their own beauty so that they can see it in others.

Love should not hurt if it is absolute and pure. Love understands. Love spreads its wings over the wounded, clasps the wounded to its breast and tenderly heals. It brings out the “swan” in all creation.



Facing the truth about something and yet keeping your “sunny side up” is a juggling act that is well worth the learning. I can’t say I have gotten there yet but I am working on it. For example, next month I have a birthday coming up. I love birthdays, don’t get me wrong and I appreciate the fact that I am still around on planet earth to celebrate another one. I am thankful for that because I still have a lot of living to do. I don’t mean just breathing in and out but gathering as many more people into my heart and life as I can; going places; doing things; having new experiences – in other words, not just watching the “cruise ship” leave the harbor but be on it. 

On the other hand, I look at my skin and my face and I see a woman past her physical prime. I used to turn heads when I was younger. Wolf whistles were not uncommon. I saw the appreciation in the eyes of men who looked my way. I grew up being taught that a woman is nothing if she doesn’t look good and draw the admiring eyes of the opposite sex. That is so ingrained in me (my human side) that letting go of being attractive in that sense calls for me to look at myself differently and to be satisfied with that. It is a time for me to remind myself that I have a beauty within that surpasses any physical beauty I could ever have had. But more importantly it is time I dropped this unimportant and ridiculous belief I have because it dampens my enjoyment of life a bit more than it should. Some women never have this particular problem I seem to have but trust me, there is something else they are in need of dumping. I don’t mean to leave men out. They have there own set of ideals as men.

As I age i find that there are a lot of physical, emotional, and idealistic clutter in my life. The more I let go of these, the better off I am. There should be some sort of ritual that one can go through that celebrates the shedding of things that belong to past chapters of one’s life and celebrates the different but good that is yet to come. I think I will get to work on that.