Growing up with Vanity....
Vanity is defined as taking great pride in one's appearance and accomplishments. A synonym for vanity is conceit.
For most of my life, I have been a perfectionist. To me, this is the equivalent of taking great pride in my appearance and accomplishments.
I went to grade school in the 1960s - 1970s. My classmate, Melissa, stood out to me. Today, she would very much have reminded me of Jon Bonet.
Melissa was a natural beauty, not terribly smart. I had never seen a young girl wearing nylon stockings, full make - up and the latest designer accessories with the standard, tartan plaid, Catholic school uniform. The rest of us were wearing knee socks with freshly scrubbed faces.
I grew to feel sorry for Melissa. She never smiled much. In Latin, the word vanity is translated to irritum.
Mom introduced me to literature and mythology as far back as I can remember. When we discussed Melissa, Mom read me the story of Narcissus, a perfect metaphor for vanity.
“The alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought. Leafing through the pages, he found a story about Narcissus.
"The alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned. At the spot where he fell, a flower was born, which was called the narcissus.
"But this was not how the author of the book ended the story.
"He said that when Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.
'Why do you weep?' the goddesses asked.
'I weep for Narcissus," the lake replied.
'Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus,' they said, 'for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand.'
'But... was Narcissus beautiful?' the lake asked.
'Who better than you to know that?' the goddesses asked in wonder. 'After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!'
The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:
'I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.'
'What a lovely story,' the alchemist thought.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Vanity or Insecurity...
Through my early adulthood, I was painfully shy. If someone complimented my appearance or accomplishments, I was uncomfortable.
Today, I see where introverted people can be unjustly perceived as self- absorbed, superior, even conceited.
As a Nursing Instructor, I observe students of all ages feeling very preoccupied, stressed, even self - absorbed. Both extroverts and introverts feel as though all eyes are on them. They can be unduly harsh and critical of themselves, for example with an oral presentation.
Things that are of glaring concern to others may not even be noticed by others
Vanity and Vulnerability...
In 1999, I was 37 years old. I was in great physical shape and felt comfortable in my own skin.
As a Nurse Executive, I believed that confidence was demonstrated, even if not felt, when there was not a hair out of place.
After a life - altering incident in June, 1999, I appreciated what is was like to be totally vulnerable and dependent on loved ones.
Yet, along with my vulnerability came clarity. I slowly became strong again and was finally able to shed my belief that perfection is possible or even desirable.
I know today that living every day to the fullest is my priority. Life experience, both the good and the bad, has taught me the most valuable lessons.
I know that one's appearance is a direct reflection of how they are feeling about themselves. Make - up and accouterments are no substitute for inner beauty and strength. Without a solid core that comes from within, the exterior is essentially a facade.
Vanity and Aging...
Today, I still take pride in my appearance and accomplishments.
However, I have accepted the changes to my body that comes with middle age. I also appreciate age - appropriate attire with simple, classic lines.
I wonder what makes some people try to look and dress much younger. Despite outward appearances, these individuals don't look any happier than Melissa did in grade school.
I believe that 'high maintenance' people have an increased need for 'going to the shop'. I would rather spend my precious time doing things I enjoy with family and friends.
One thing I don't enjoy when 'out and about' is our society's preoccupation with themselves - aka 'the selfie stick'.
Mind you, I've only recently learned that such an item existed. To me, the need to take non-stop pictures of oneself seems the epitome of vanity.
I recently took both a tour bus and river boat cruise guide. I look forward to sharing my grand observations in an upcoming post.
While away, I developed the skill of 'dodging the selfie stick'. These weapons of self-adulation could have inflicted some serious damage.
I got a kick out of the devil that resides in my husband. His goofy grin is no doubt on every selfie we witnessed in our vicinity. He taught me that this was the act of 'photo bombing' if you are ever so inclined... :)
"There's something ugly about a pretty boy who knows he's pretty and assumes everyone else knows it too." Nova Ren Suma
The following song is an obvious sound track for my thoughts today, Carly Simon's You're So Vain.
Hoping you enjoy the latest happenings in the rest of Weeblyville:
Until next week take good care of you and those you care about, mar
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