On ageing and beauty

Well, that is something we cannot stop...ageing I mean. Unless...

But let's dont' deviate.  I want to talk about beauty and ageing.

I was born in Venezuela, the country of the Miss Universes. Every year in my school, there was a traditional beauty context. Yes, believe me. The girls in my class had to endure having our names put on the blackboard  (that is if we were medianly pretty) and from those six or seven names, the whole classroom would vote for "the prettiest one of all". I am not taking about any other attributes. No! Just outer beauty! The Shell, the Shell, the Shell!!!! Once a girl was chosen for each form, there would be a parade on sports day  (just like in the olympics).  Each girl wore makeup and a thick ribbon across the body, exactly like they use in beauty contexts.  At the end of the sports day, the "Beauty Queen on the whole school would then be selected. I cannot tell you the sense of inadequacy that I felt every year. My name would go on the blackboard and I was never chosen. You would say, but at least you were on the list! But I wished I had not been on the list because  I would not have had to endure, how many people voted for me or not! This is something that just should not happen!

Why on earth a girl would have to grow and be submitted to that year after year?  What type of qualities were they supporting? None is the answer!

Since we are little, we are taught that we need to become something. Basically we are told what we are already is not good enough! We need to achieve this or that!  But in my country, physical beauty is so important that since early age you are brain washed to be a beauty queen. That alone, and sadly I am not joking, can truly define your destiny in Venezuela! 

I have lived in London for 21 years. Since then, the popularity of plastic surgery has grown out of proportion in many countries around the world. But in South America that has been pretty big already for many years. I fear going back to my country after 9 years because I will be shocked by seeing friends with huge lips or tense masks instead of expressive faces.

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Plastic surgery... I have that in my collective DNA. And it has taken me a lot of daily practice to be happy nowadays in my own skin. I see my hands getting older and I see lines under my eyes. I am witnessing grey hairs appear in my head and I see this in wonder. I truly do! Not that I want to be wrinkled and old looking right now, but it is happening and I am ok with it.  Just like a child changes as she grows from toddler to be a little girl and from there to be a young girl and so on, I am witnessing my ageing process with gratefulness and wonder.

I am so grateful to be alive today. To see my face in the mirror and be happy with every wrinkle. Sometimes life feels very painful and in those moments I sit with that pain for a little while. I contemplate that pain until somehow it goes.   My few grey hairs remind me that for sure the sun will shine again. And it does! What I see now on the mirror and what I see in many women my age or older is power, wisdom, beauty, camaraderie and nakedness of soul.  What a gift!