Tag Archives: beauty

senseless beauty

A friend sent a flash mob video of a group singing in a mall. Flash mob stuff usually makes me cry. It’s because of the expressions on the faces of the watchers: surprised and perplexed to begin and then a growing joyfulness as the performance continues and the watchers realize it is a performance. There is something about seeing performance live–music, singing, dancing, acting–that can’t be felt across TV or internet. It’s a special kind of energy, an immediate giving from the performers of their talents and an amazed receiving from the watchers. It reminds me of that saying that was all the rage a few years ago: practice random acts of kindness and senseless beauty. That’s what flash mob performance is to me: senseless beauty. In this busy, often manic world of ours where connections are done remotely, the immediacy of a flash mob performance is reflected on the watchers’ faces. Their faces reflect joy.

So, something for 2011: a revival of the practice of random acts of kindness and senseless beauty. And if you get a chance, join a flash mob! Why not?

The video my friend sent is in the hot words in this blog, as are some other flash mob performances. Joy to the world, all the boys and girls. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me.

unlined

I wrote a few blogs ago about crones and crone energy. One of my questions was why the word was so scary? I didn’t get many answers, but one of the reasons I see is loss of youthful beauty. I’ve been thinking about power lately. A friend gave a talk to some high schoolers about Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. What is a heroine’s journey, I wondered? Now we can live the life of men because we can keep from having children. But all women I know, married, single, widowed, divorced, crave connection, are often connected with friends and relatives in a way men aren’t, though gay men come close. And what if our heroine has a child? Without a partner, even with one? What, then, happens to her journey? It’s no longer straightforward. There are sacrifices and guilts if pursuing a career. If single, there are struggles and compromises so immense that they can’t be overstated. And what about beauty? What does that do to a heroine’s journey, for a beautiful woman is pleasing, and there is huge power in that. What does that do to her path, to her integrity? There’s great seduction in being pretty or more, in seeing men attracted like metal to a magnet. But in a savage, warrior culture, like the streets, a beautiful woman is captured early by a man, or she’s taken against her will. Her beauty is both power and a snare in which she’s caught. Youthful beauty is also a double-edged sword because it fades. I’m thinking now of Elizabeth Taylor, the great beauty of the 20th century, encased in the brown amber of plastic surgery and botox in an attempt to look 50 when she is close to 80. What if she, the most beautiful woman of her age, had let the hair grey, the pounds accumulate, the wrinkles place themselves on her face, so that along with the wisdom and strength she often displays, the deep marks life makes would show outside as well as inside? She was afraid of looking the crone is one of my guesses. Cronedom is a foreshadow of the dark side, and I don’t mean witchcraft. I mean death. The crone so clearly is walking toward death. But why are we more fearful of those marks on women than on men? And why is beauty thought of as unlined? Is it fear of death again? I don’t understand…..

dichotomy

A friend and I were talking about the word “crone” the other day. When did there get to be such a dichotomy? she asked, spreading her arms wide. On one side is the kindly white-haired wise woman. On the other side is the witch hag. Thinking about myself, the truth is, I can be either. There is a stone hardness in me that was never there when I was younger. It isn’t bitterness that I am no longer what I was. It’s more of a sizing up of those around me, an unwillingness to put up with too much nonsense. Stop it, I say inside. No manipulation. Just truth. We can deal from truth, no matter how difficult. I had a friend once who made a group of woman laugh when she assured us that her husband would never leave her for a younger woman. He couldn’t go through menopause again, she explained. We roared in a bawdy, loud, oh-don’t-we know-it-way. There is a poem I love by Hyacinthe Hill. She tries to soothe her lover, who is noticing her aging. I‘ve sacrificed the fat, and froth, and fur of youth to walk through fire, swim inward rivers, pray at the wailing wall, Hill says. You mourn like a child over a broken doll. Only the core of this crone was ever real. Well….yeah.

Does the word crone scare you? Why?