Finding Comfort in Beauty

The last blog on the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium is, of course, the hardest to write.

I wish that every woman and child had the chance to be in the womb-like support of this enclave of women just being.. being real, being strong, being sad, being brave, being broken, being beautiful.

This year at the symposium we had a masquerade. I wore my mask with a gorgeous red leather corset, vintage sheer black tiered skirt and knee high black suede lattice boots. I walked out of my tepee feeling relatively pretty, but was in no way prepared for the attention I received.

To begin with, I was the first to be in costume. Most ladies were still dust clad from the day of camping. And the second thing that made the experience truly surreal was that no one could see my face. My mask covered every expression. So as women stared at my statuesque appearance, I could not engage them with a smile because the beads that draped like a skirt from the top of my cheekbones to my chin hid my mouth from view. So many people from a tow-headed toddler to the sage women stopped to admire my beauty. (Jeez I cannot even believe I just wrote that)

I felt alienated – separated from the camaraderie and protection of the pack. I could blame it on living in OC and feeling forever in competition with other women over our biological advantage to attract mates (aka our hotness factor) or simply perhaps it has to do with a woman not feeling comfortable in her own skin or in celebration of her own beauty.

The best advice I received that weekend came from my friend Li who suggested I acknowledge the compliment with the reply, “Thank you for helping me touch my beauty.” Did she say touch or experience or feel? I can’t quite remember.  But just yesterday I spoke to a burgeoning writer about the process of writing through fears.

I said I follow the advice my 11th grade teacher gave me. I always start every book or big writing project with the 1, 2,3 2,3,4 outline. Topic sentence (1). Supporting sentence (2), Example (3), Supporting sentence (2), Example (3), etc.,  Concluding Sentence (4). The point where you can get stuck as a writer is not in the examples or stories, but how do you wrap it up in a neat bow.

And sometimes, all you can say is.. That’s all folks…

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