Hello my lovely readers....are you full of love this wondrous day?
No, I haven't dipped into the kids meds - after this past weekend - there isn't any left. *eye roll*

Welcome to Tuesday Coffee Chat.   Much love and thanks to all who linked up last week and brought the giggles.   And I trust we all have a little something sweet to go with our java this morning?    Any holiday that allows me to have chocolate kisses, peanut butter cups and candy conversation hearts for breakfast; that's a good day to me.

I wish I could say I am picky about my chocolate, but really, I am just a typical cocoa ditch pig:   I'll wallow in whatever ya got.    Many have more refined tastes, and to each his own. 

Which conveniently, but not quite deftly, segues to our topic this week.   You may see my cheap hunk of Walmart confection and say "blah!....gimme 80% dark and nothing less."    You may think subjecting such delicacy to the nuker is sacrilegious:  "good heavens child, they make double-boilers for that!"   Well, sometimes, the strawberry just can't wait.  You know?

Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder.
Isn't it?

What is Real Beauty, or rather What Really Is Beautiful?

Is it merely a conclusion based on the visual aspect, or impact of a subject?
No, that can be right.   I use the word beautiful to describe many things:   a sunset, a piece of music, the decadent smoothness of Lindt Truffles, the smell of a newborn snuggled close, the soft feel of cashmere.   Thus beauty is not just confined to our eyes - our entire senses intake, reflect and report back.   For this chat however, we will concentrate on the collective visual census of beauty.

Our interpretation of reality is based largely on the physical realm, although we do often attribute beauty to both tangibles and intangibles.   Are we hardwired towards a specific ideal?  I think we can safely say that what we interpret as beautiful is largely based upon our initial reaction to that subject.   If we experience any measure of delight or goodness, it is reasonable to conclude that we find it appealing.  While any negative or adverse feelings quickly causes us to turn away in distaste.  We either dismiss or reject such ugliness from our presence. 

They did a study with babies where they were shown images of what we generally perceive to be attractive and  unattractive people.   The babies stared longer at the faces considered to be beautiful, and actually turned their heads away from those images labelled as ugly.    This fascinates me.   It seems to suggest that Yes - we are hard wired in some biological way to respond to a measured quality of beauty.   Still I wonder:  a young baby has no outside influence, no frame of reference; so what is that response based upon, and can it be influenced?

Babies eventually grow up to be subjected to all manner of stimulation that could possibly alter their perception.    As babes, their reaction was purely innate, but as a 13 year old boy who has found daddy's Playboy???   What becomes of his perception of beauty now?

Or a 6 year old girl waiting patiently in her inappropriate ball gown/candy stripper/Lady Gaga mock up while mama curls her hair, eyelashes and "coaches" her on her routine.   What message is she receiving about beauty?   And more importantly, how is her own self worth determined by such a shallow definition?
(I know, judge not....but OMG I hate that show with a passion.   You love it?   Ah, nice.....so did the pedophiles in the prison I worked in.   Might want to think about that a moment.)

As our world shrinks ever smaller, it seems that we are heading towards a more global view of beauty.   If I could trust the world to focus on qualities not found on the cover of a magazine,  determined by some reality show, or half starved vacant eyed starlet who'd attend the opening of a paper bag:   I might have some small measure of confidence in this global ideal of beauty.

But sadly, I know this ideal will be determined not by where our innate goodness resides, or by any desire for a mutually loving, respect for humanity; it will be determined by where we lay our wallets.   It is judged based upon what we stare at in that 52" Plasma box.   And it will focus on telling us what image we must obtain in order to be loved and adored, and not actually how to love and adore ourselves.

But you know, I get it.  I like pretty things too.   Sometimes I even covet them.   I dye my hair.   I want this baby weight gone - and if money were no object, I'd be the first hypocrite prone on the tummy tuck table.   Despite what the beauty industry lists as the necessary arsenal of a 40ish woman such as myself, to achieve that overall younger, toner, tanner, taller, slimmer and sexier look:  I just gotta say "Whoa!"   Enough: I am buying OUT of that message.   I will not put my Left Brain's hard earned money towards your so called miracle wrinkle cream.   I will not rub that caffeine laced lotion onto my arse for the rest of my life to keep cellulite at bay.  I prefer my caffeine strong and in my favourite mug.   I have a more pressing need to keep the crankies at bay.

Yes, I too have weaknesses - and I could go on - but I don't.  Why?  Because upon reaching the big 4-0, I have realized something.   This strict definition of beauty that would have me feel bad about myself actually attacks what is most precious to me!

I have 3 beautiful children that are the world to me, and my body did that.  This body - the one that would never, ever grace the cover of a magazine.  Yea, it did that.   IT IS wonderfully made.   Respect y'all!

My age.  I can diet, get a tummy tuck, boob job, or work out more often....but kinda can't stop the aging process.   Why should I feel bad about that?  I have lived 40 wonderful, amazing years.   Experienced many joys, many sorrows, many victories and many failures and my body is the road map which records that history.   Don't be hating. 

My life.   No dressing up in gems and finery and hitting the most happening parties.  Pretty much same old, same old around here.  I am only growing people and futures you know.  What do I need fancy shoes for that?  (okay, a few would be okay - we do attend church after all.)   With this beaten up and gray around the temples body has come a little wisdom my friends.   There is  beauty to be found in the mundane.  Yes, even here among the night nose bleeds and puking toddlers:  this life that I give my all to every day; indeed that I have been called to!  This noble pursuit of raising children - there is beauty in that.   You just have to know where to look. 

And therein lies the problem.   The world doesn't want to look anymore.  We've accepted that strict definition of beauty thrust upon us; and now caught and bound we twist in misery as it inevitably slips from our aging grasp.   No, just no.
I have two little girls watching everything I do.  I do not want them to grow up with a distorted perception that the only valuable quality of themselves, is the external one.  It starts with me.   I can choose to be the one who teaches my daughters to find beauty within themselves and every living thing.   To teach them it's okay to have a little glitter and a little gold; but never lose sight of the difference.   Imagine that they could be loving and accepting of their own unique beauty, and be confident and comfortable in their own skin:   long before the age of 40.

That would be a beautiful thing.

NEXT WEEK: Coffee Chat will not occur next week as it is a Family Holiday on the Monday, and Left Brain's birthday that week too.  Busy Mama. If anyone is interested in hosting/doing a Guest Post for the chat, feel free to contact me.

warm wishes sign