Skin Deep

Is beauty really only skin deep or does it go all the way to the soul? What is beauty and is it really in the eye of the beholder? If someone beautiful is in the forest and no one is around to see them, are they still beautiful? Is a forest beautiful if you can’t see it for all the trees? Why are we so consumed with beauty? Can I ask any more questions?????

From the ages of 16 through 17, I was being treated for a blood disorder. I was given massive doses of prednisone. I don’t know the exact dose, but at one point I was taking 35 little pills a day over the two year span.

This drug has many side effects which can vary from person to person and none of them good. In my case I did get some facial puffiness but no hair loss. Instead long black hair grew on my arms, chest and face. I looked like an ape for a few months.

The drug also caused serious acne which ended up leaving some scaring and red surface veins on and around my cheeks. Lovely visual, right?

I was 16 babysitting for my 5 little cousins and reading them a bed time story. They were all cuddled quietly around me in my Aunt and Uncle’s bed when the 5 year old girl casually noted:

“Gee, you’re ugly.” I looked at them and realized they were all staring at my face and not listening to the story. My feelings were so hurt and I was humiliated. The youngest boy, who was two, was petting the long black hair on my arm. The 4 year old quickly piped in:

“But you didn’t used to be!” she smiled, proud of herself for noticing that.

“That’s not very nice.” The 7 year old warned. “That’s mean.”

“What? I said she didn’t use to be!” replied the 4 year old.

But the eldest was speaking to the 5 year old who replied:

“It’s true. She doesn’t look good anymore.” Just a casual observation.

I wanted to cry as the drugs also made me moody as if being a teen wasn’t hard enough on a body.

In this case, the judgment of beauty came down to a bunch of kids 7 and under. I explained to them what was going on with me and that the drugs were causing this reaction and once I was off this medication the hair and face would clear up.

“See! I told you!” said the 4 year old.

Now let’s jump forward many years when I was discussing “life” with my 7 year old grandson. We’re sitting by our pool and he’s watching my face intently but before I could finish my sentence he asked:

“Nana, why is your face sometimes brown?”

I burst into laughter as this reminded me of my cousins. He seldom sees me with makeup except this day when I was wearing face power that was a bit darker than my normal skin. So I told him I like to protect my face from the sun. That worked because he stopped looking at my face, shrugged it off and dove into the pool to retrieve a floating leaf. At least I didn’t have any long black arm hair for him to pet.

Kids are honest and pure. The can see through ugly most of the time, but they are also literal and depending on their age there is no concept of hurting someone’s feelings. They just blurt out what’s on their mind and we, as adults, have to deal with it.

Beauty bothers me more than it used to and probably due to me being 60ish and more concerned about my own beauty. Was I ever beautiful and if so, am I still? And if not when did I lose my beauty? But if I was never beautiful then it’s a moot point isn’t it? My parents never told me I was beautiful and only one 14 year old boy told me, but we all know what he wanted.

Right now I’m going through my old, fat, ugly stage. But what cracks me up is that my husband is constantly telling me how beautiful I am. Jokingly, I usually turn around to see who he’s speaking to. Then I question his eye site. But I take a deep breath and think…wow…after 44 years I’m still beautiful to him, and I’m thankful for that.

So I guess that’s all that counts. I must be that tree in the forest. You can’t see my beauty for all the other trees around.



2 thoughts on “Skin Deep

  1. Mona, I like your very open writing about your young angst. For being closedmouth, I thought it was very open. Keep writing. Ruth

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