Proud of ‘medals’ of having lived

I think we can agree that there is a load of the ridiculous that gets posted on Facebook.
And when I say ridiculous, I don’t mean those postings that make us giggle or laugh right out loud, or our hearts to ache, but those postings that have the descriptor stupid and insensitive and cruel and pointless buried in them.
Some of that ridiculous nonsense becomes visible to me without my bidding–and last week one of those ridiculous posts passed over the line from stupid into the category of harmfully annoying. As a result, I was tempted to drag my laptop through the wet heavy snow that fell overnight, right before the freezing rain, and toss said laptop into the river.
But that merely would be shooting the messenger and I need my laptop for my work, so I resisted that particular urge and instead exited from Facebook after finding a way to block such posts from my future.
The post was a grouping of photos of beautiful female actresses who no longer are beautiful, according to this site’s standards, due to the affects of aging. And I found that very upsetting–not because age has changed (and is changing) my appearance, but because it is such a shallow evaluation of who we are, based on a society that gives more credit to what we see on the outside of an individual, what designer labels they are wearing, than the real value of what lives inside.
Posts such as this perpetuate that madness and we start (or continue) to judge more on how we look and pay little notice to our actions–actions that speaks to the very core of who we are.
And, I might add, there were no men in this particular grouping of faces, though I think judgment isn’t always gender-specific.
I have a friend who recently celebrated her 90th birthday. I have seen photos of this person from her younger days and, yes, she was beautiful. But she is far more beautiful now. Her life experiences have lined wisdom into her face, have softened her opinions, and her eyes carry the memories of loss, of celebration, of sadness, and joy.
Her laugh is unencumbered, passed freely and willing to be shared. There is no veneer, no presumptions. She is the whole package.
I remember holding my mother’s hand moments before I bid her farewell, and that hand was lovely and precious and beautiful beyond measure because of what that hand had done–the tears it had wiped, the lessons it had taught at the front of a classroom with chalk in hand, the music those hands produced on the piano.
My mother’s hand was wrinkled, the skin almost paper thin, and oh so beautiful.
Many hands don’t get the chance to change with time; hands slipping from ours all too soon. The accordion of skin that gathers at our neck and elbows is the very evidence we have prevailed; that we have the great fortune of carrying on.
I shall wear my wrinkles and drooping body parts as a badge of honour–my medals of having lived.
I was here.