In the eye of the beholder

 

Sometimes life throws us lessons so powerful we need to take a moment.

Last night Kevin and I were watching a documentary on the Discovery Health channel about man with facial tumors covering more than half his face. It was fascinating and heartbreaking to watch the interview. I’ve never seen anything like it: massive tumors taking over the landscape of someone’s face. One of his eyes looked like it was welded shut and his mouth was so distorted it looked like it was painful to speak.

As doctors worked on removing the tumors, I started to cry. It made me think of the countless surgeries I’ve had on my skin and how I felt each time the bandages came off. How my scars would never be completely removed. Watching this man’s face bandaged up as he looked in the mirror was moving on so many levels. The end result was less than perfect but he was so grateful and happy with the results.

The documentary continued as his wife and children were interviewed. My first thought was wow – he was able to accept his flaws and find love. His dynamic personality was also impressive. I was in awe.

If you’ve ever watched The Real Housewives’ of Beverly Hills or Orange County (where I live) and thought some of the women were a little over the top – you aren’t alone. It’s an amusing thing to live so close to people who think beauty equates to money, a certain dress size or how much Botox you have. Not everyone is caught in the Beauty-Trap here, but you will find women like that in these neighborhoods.

And then you have this man. This man who embraces his life and feels grateful for his family and health. He jokes with his daughter about being on a Top 100 Most Handsome Man list. He knows what real beauty is and through his interview, reminded me of it too.

After the show, I looked at Kevin and wiped tears from my cheeks.

“Wow. That really puts things in to perspective.”

We all must live with the cards we were dealt. Why not embrace our differences and learn to accept one another as unique beauties in our own right? Thanks to this documentary, I am learning to do that just a little more.

So tell me: what is your definition of beauty?

Christine Macdonald