Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.

18 Nov

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

I was never beautiful.

I can stare at pictures of then, of before, and I see awkward. I see half a foot too tall and 3 dress sizes too big. I see myself lurching over my friends, eyes downcast, ashamed of who I was, who I could not help but be.

I see a creature unable to find her womanhood, so cast off it had become. Calloused to insult, to ignorance, to the odd yet simply fact that she couldn’t possibly be sexual, or loved, or wanted.

My youth was never wonderful in that way. I never flowered or blossomed underneath someone, convinced anyone who did show interest would eventually come to mock me. I rarely held the power in my hand, except for a brief few months when I was 17, and on a manic rampage of sorts. I stared wistfully at the pretty girls, the skinny girls, and observed the control they held, the magnificence they grasped for their time in the sun.

I would never be pretty. No one would call me beautiful, not ever. My only power came from knowing such things were fleeting, and in time, pointless.

Not that it helped then, or now. Even the ugly duckling eventually grew wings.

(Quadelle had a fab idea to do a series of posts based on phrases from Mary Schmich’s commencement address . [You may remember it better as a “song” by Baz Luhrmann] I thought it was a great idea, so, I stole it. Or copied. Whatever. Imitation is the soul of wit. Or brevity. Or both. :P )



5 Responses to “Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.”

  1. wn November 18, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    Funny….nor was I…and it taken me to my thirties…to finally accept this.

    Wings grew for me (and are still growing)…when I realized that even though I was not the prettiest (or even close), not the smartest and nowhere near the funniest….I had my own unique qualities that made me…ME…and that those were JUST as valuable as beauty, humor and intelligence….and would not fade or become wrinkly.

    I can’t model…but I can write (on some days)

    I can’t finish a crossword puzzle…but I can take a decent picture (on some days)

    I can’t steal the show on a dancefloor…but I can be a friend, a good friend…when it matters.

    I don’t know you well….but I know a few things about you….that are really quite beautiful….those things will never fade.

  2. Bon November 18, 2009 at 8:45 pm #

    i only heard the sunscreen address once – in a friend’s car, a younger, hipper friend who then introduced me to the R & J remake.

    this quote made me smile. yes, i suppose. i guess i’m one of the people she’s supposedly talking to, who’s supposed to look back and say man, i wish i could have THAT back. but i don’t. i look back and i don’t see the ugliness that i was sure was visible…but i still see the shame and all that made me so unsure. people only ever started calling me beautiful AFTER i grew into myself, became sure i was lovable for other reasons. dunno what to make of that. doubt it was b/c they started seeing my inner beauty. would like to believe it was b/c they started seeing something, but it may be just that i started packaging myself differently. ouch. there’s a thought to chew on, for me.

    i am curious now, to know the rest of the sunscreen piece, but i’d rather read it through you & Quadelle’s eyes than look it up, i think.

  3. BHJ November 19, 2009 at 11:55 pm #

    This fucked me up a little.

  4. Lori November 22, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    “I would never be pretty. No one would call me beautiful, not ever. My only power came from knowing such things were fleeting, and in time, pointless.”

    It was painful for me to look back on high school and remember feeling….all those things that you describe so fully, with such raw, piercing clarity. But…thank you for taking me back there.

    It still pains me to look in the mirror. But when I write…I look into the mirror of my words and see something entirely different from the image in the mirror. I see…the REAL me. And she is not awkward or plain, a nerd, a “four-eyed freak,” or any name anyone ever called me. She….SHE….is lovely and full of love. SHE is capable of great beauty. And HER beauty comes from within. It’s not borne of cheerleading pompoms, too short skirts, and a football player’s approving eye. It’s not painted on with makeup and wrapped around her like a too tight cashmere sweater on a cold day. HER beauty is REAL.

    Thank you. Please don’t stop writing.

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