Some years ago I was browsing in Barnes and Nobel – one of my favorite pastimes – and I found a book of poetry titled, I Am Becoming the Woman I Wanted. I took it, together with several other selection (mainly on self-improvement), to the cafe, got a cup of coffee mocha and sat down to enjoy the coffee and the books. I had seen a number of clients who felt they were not “good enough” and now and then that thought nibbled at my own being.
I especially loved the book of poetry and the poem, Finding Her Here was mind grabbing. Past my middle years and certainly no no longer beautiful by contemporary standards, I was deeply moved when I read:
Finding Her Here
by Jayne Relaford Brown
I am becoming the woman I wanted,
Grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s known bitter
but, past it, got better
knows she’s a survivor –
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep weathered basket.
I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing up daughter
who blushes surprises.
I am becoming full moons and sunrises.
I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
but knows she’s not scarce –
who knows she is plenty, plenty to share.
There is something so tremendously comforting about this poem. It bypasses obsessing about further self improvement and says it’s o.k. not to look like I did at 21 with a slender body, soft, smooth skin and energy to work all day and play most of the night. It says I’m not just o.k. but better than o.k. I’m weathered. I’m a survivor. I made it through all kinds of troubles that would have stopped others. I birthed and raised sons pretty much as a single mother because my husband was pursuing his career. I survived a divorce. I survived the death of my beloved. I’ve provided for myself all these years. I’ve grown intellectually and spiritually. I’ve come to a place now that I have my own thoughts and beliefs and don’t depend on anyone else to suppy them for me. It took most of my life to discover who I am and come to love who I have become. My self esteem in intact.
I find, as I look at other older women and men that there is beauty in wrinkles and, knowing that each one has it’s own story to tell of hardship and survivor-ship, I see value in those wrinkles. A face pulled taut and looking tortured by numerous plastic surgeries seems to have lost its character and tells a sad story of never feeling “good enough.”
This poem is like the icing on the cake for me. It says, “I may not look like much, but WOW, I made it. I’m o.k. I survived the storms and now I can enjoy the victories.” I know where I’m going and I travel with passion.
What about you?
“Finding Her Here,” by Jane Relaford Brown. I Am Becoming the Woman I’ve Wanted, an anthology by Sandra Haldeman Martz. Paper-Mache Press. Watsonville CA., 1994.