Oh beauty, we have lost our way.
We have forgotten what you truly are.
We have become shallow, judgemental and blind.
We have failed to truly see you, Oh Beauty.
Painting: Naissance de Venus by Alexandre Cabanel
I started writing this chapter after coming home from my overseas adventure with my boy. It spurred me on to look at how we as women see each other and ourselves. I was further spurred on to continue the chapter on Beauty after attending our local celebration of International Women’s Day 2017.
Why? Because we watched a wonderful film. It was the documentary, called Embrace, which I would really, really love all women to watch. And the reason is because it touches on an important issue. And that issue is the way we, particularly women, see ourselves, the pressure we have put on ourselves to ‘look’ right and the pressure we feel others put on us And how we feel we need to be perfect on the outside.
I remember the first time I went to the National Gallery of Victoria to view an exhibition. It was the first time I had also seen this type of art face to face. The whole experience was mind blowing! I can remember standing in front of this painting of a pine tree with glistening drops of melting snow and being amazed. It introduced me to the world of art and painting, drawing and being more creative. I was moved, changed and excited to explore this world of art and all that it had to offer. I was excited and spurred on to paint, draw, sew and just do creative stuff.
I have recently had another art inspired moment that has changed the way I feel about myself.
Just over a year ago now we went on a wonderful trip overseas. Five weeks travelling around Jerusalem and Europe having my senses invigorated and enlivened. Not only visually but through sounds and touch and of course taste.
It got me thinking about how we are bombarded in our western culture with images of what is to be the ‘perfect’ woman. Slim, sometimes overly, pretty and always dressed to perfection, perfect makeup and beautiful skin. It has left me looking at myself in the mirror and feeling not up to scratch, too lumpy, too short, too frecklely, basically just ‘not quite right ‘looking (unless your particular ‘look’ aka freckles, gappie teeth or large eyebrows happens to be acceptable ‘look’ at the moment). Europe, Thank you, has changed all that. And it , romantically, all came together in Paris.
We had gone to many Art Galleries. I had wandered through looking at painting after painting, sculpture after sculpture. It was wonderful. I had to have time out a few times to give my overloaded senses a breather!
Many of the paintings and sculptures were of women. I stood gazing for ages at them, they looked so comfortable with themselves. Many of these women were naked and you know what? They were not super slim, you couldn’t see ribs or hip bones. There was no makeup or correct posture. They were voluptuous, they were curvey. They were comfortable with themselves, standing, sitting, lounging, or just plain ‘being’ in the middle of a painting.
Gradually I began feeling different about me. I walked out feeling a sense of beauty from seeing beauty. I felt good about me, my imperfections and ‘not quite rightness’ and began to understand that how I am is not ‘not quite right’. How I am is womanly, is lovely and is about being healthy, happy and loving.
I arrived back home walking a little taller.
I am beautiful.
ps If you get a chance watch the trailer of ‘Embrace the Documentary’