‘Good morning, beautiful,’ he said.

Other people’s words about … being called beautiful

All that week, this man [a friend of my mother’s, old enough to be my father] will pay for my taxi ride from school to the hotel. And I’ll ride in it, lipstick matching my nail polish, bra matching my underwear, feeling like a girl in a movie until I get there and then when I get there, see him waving at me by the entrance, ready to pay the driver, I will not feel like that anymore. You look nice, he’ll say in the elevator on the way up, if we are alone. Nice, not beautiful. Never will this man or any man call me beautiful, not for a long, long time.

from ’13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl’
Mona Awad

As much as possible, I try to keep my personal life out of this blog, at least in as far as the people I’m close to are concerned. So I will just say here that when I read the passage above, it brought tears to my eyes.

I live now with the first man who truly called me beautiful. We have been together for nearly twenty years, and he still makes me feel beautiful, inside and out.

(Because that’s the thing about beauty, anyway, right? It isn’t just about the way you look. That’s why You look nice will never cut it.)

Oh, and in case you hadn’t gathered already, we spend time together, the two of us, in beautiful spots, too, as the photos accompanying today’s post demonstrate …

Soup for the soul

Soup from my father’s kitchen

During winter, my father cooks up a weekly batch of vegetable soup,
which he and my mother eat for lunch each day.
The soup flavours vary —
pumpkin one week, tomato the next, broccoli and green bean the next.
And he always sets aside some for me.
Winter’s well behind us now, of course.
(In the first week of October,
the temperatures soared over 30 degrees Celsius.)
But I’m still enjoying my father’s soup,
which is tasty, warming and good …
… and which he makes, always, with love.


Other people’s words – Part III

A word in your ear about the Brontes …

Lena has brought Wuthering Heights with her. It’s one of her favorites; she’s read it six times. Aviva borrowed it from her once but found Heathcliff repellent, Catherine incomprehensible. The characters gnashed their teeth, shrieked, struck their heads on hard objects until they bled. Everyone sneered and was agitated. Aviva doesn’t understand what Lena finds so compelling.
“It’s the way Heathcliff can’t think about anything but her,” says Lena. “The way he would rather be damned to hell — and they really believed in hell back then — than be separated from her.”
“I wouldn’t want him to think about me even for a minute,” says Aviva. “Him and those dogs? Please.”

from ‘The Virgins’
by Pamela Erens.

I’ve never been a fan of the Brontes. (Jane and Rochester? Please.)
It appears I’m in good company!

Other people’s words – Part II

Emetophobia has governed my life, with a fluctuating intensity of tyranny, for some thirty-five years. Nothing — not the thousands of psychotherapy appointments I’ve sat through, not the dozens of medications I’ve taken, not the hypnosis I underwent when I was eighteen, not the stomach viruses I’ve contracted and withstood without vomiting — has succeeded in stamping it out … 

From ‘My age of anxiety’
by Scott Stossel

Sometimes, no cure exists for our ills.

We learn — slowly, painfully — to co-exist with them:

We learn to strive for grace.

Note: Click on the following link if you want to know more about emetophobia. And for a review of the book I’ve quoted from, and more insight into anxiety as well as emetophobia, see Sally Satel’s article  from The Millions.