We fail to see the beauty in function. As we recall the overwhelming complexities of our body, as we come to see and appreciate these many wonders in our reflection, there is a certain respect gained for our very presence, for the body that houses our soul. This respect in turn lends to mending struggles we have with our appearance. It reminds us we are not merely objects made up of sexualized parts. We are in fact women, human, a miracle of an amalgamation of working pieces both macroscopic and microscopic and we should marvel at the wonder of our existence.
Brothers and husbands and sisters and wives and parents, all stricken with unique physical, mental and spiritual ailments, in manifest as we grow older. All of us trailing difficult histories. And all of us clenched with particular anxieties and worries about the imminent future. And with our particular load, or perhaps in part of our individual pain, there felt a wedge, a wall around each of us, the wall pronouncing, “All of you don’t understand how hard and rough and relentless life has been for me.” Each one of us eager to feel validation for our personal life struggle.
A few months ago my 31 year old brother collapsed, without warning, and died. It was an undetected heart arrhythmia. And since then, I’ve had a paradigm shift. A huge one. His sudden departure, from this mortal phase of existence, has caused me to see life so differently. And it has especially caused me to see other’s so differently. Like I notice them more. And I feel of their malady more.
I had cared for so many of them so many times, at possibly their most vulnerable state. And now they were taking care of me. I have never forgotten the feeling of unity in that moment. A tangible sense that no matter our backgrounds, the different walks of life, and an array of struggles we can all come to each other’s aid.
One day, early in my journey and in the middle of a very ugly cry, I staggered up from the floor and stared hard into the bathroom mirror. I saw my face. I was so very tired and grief-stricken. I saw the red blotches on my skin and the mascara running wild and dark. But then I saw my eyes. And by some miracle, I saw they were still shining. I gripped the edge of the sink and leaned in close, inches from the glass. Yes, I confirmed, they were tired and wet, but they still shone with something other than grief. I saw me. I felt me.
A woman who hides in a cave does not make more sunlight available for others because she isn’t partaking herself. A woman who has cancer is not making health more available to others by being the one with cancer. A woman in a destructive relationship is not making healthy relationships more available to others because she didn’t “take” such a relationship for herself. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Good generates more good and makes more good possible for everyone around it.