Not Just Words to Make You Feel Good
There is something about camping in nature that brings out the I-don’t-care-but-I’m-not-wearing-makeup in me. I go to an inner place in which I accept myself regardless of clean, squeaky hair and grimy hands from building a fire. This place is one of absolute, total judgement free zone. It is a place where I really love myself and don’t care what others think about me. It is a place in which I am comfortable in my own skin and who I am. No pretense, no masks – just me and nature and my fellow campers.
I just came in from a camping trip today. The trip lasted for 3 nights and 4 days and was located in a beautiful campground I visit often. On the Northern California coastline, where I love to go is home to the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds – Bodega Bay. The campground has bathrooms and showers, so there are amenities, but something about camping just brings out the natural woman in me.
What I mean is that when I am in nature, I feel alive, relaxed, at peace. I don’t worry if my hair isn’t smooth. I don’t worry if my makeup is non-existent. I don’t worry if I’m wearing sweatpants and an oversized sweatshirt. I don’t worry about what others think. You know why? Everyone else is the same – messy hair, no make-up, no fashionistas, no worries. The only possible concern is building that fire because it’s cold. Oh, and making sure the tent is secure in the Northern California coastal winds.
It is too bad that upon arrival back in my “habitat” everything changed. I find it frustrating that judgement seems to be a huge part of the human existence. Oh, I have heard all the rhetoric behind “accepting yourself” and “you’re beautiful just as you are.” Quite frankly, often it seems just words that come from those very people that society dictates as the beautiful people – those that meet what “they” say is beautiful and attractive. (Sidenote – just who are “they” and why does their opinion matter anyway?)
Have you ever felt that? That those words are just that – words? I know I have. Yep, I admit it! You see, I am at a certain age that is too young to be called old, but too old to be considered “in the running.” And, here’s another confession-flash. When I look in the mirror at myself, I wonder who the hell is that woman and what is she doing in my body? Because you see, I don’t feel my age at all! Yep, I have hit that “mature woman” age.
Now I am not sure exactly when a human gets to that point that another person’s judgement doesn’t matter. I know I’m not there yet, but when I’m camping? It’s the best feeling. And you know what? As I socialized with my camping neighbors, I had a few that flirted with me and watched me with that “look.” I thought to myself, “Wow! I still got it!” And I felt better about myself and my Beingness.
I had a conversation with one couple there. They were both in their 70s, and this was their second go around. Both were very forthcoming about their lives. The main point I gained from our conversation was that when he first looked at her, he thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She, on the other hand, pointed out that they met camping. She had no make-up on, her hair was a grimy mess (her words), and her clothes were a mess from fire building. She wasn’t drop dead gorgeous, and had quite a few wrinkles. She was overweight and certainly did not possess a “hard body.” But she had eyes that shined brightly, and a smile that lit up her face. She said she hadn’t felt beautiful at all, but he saw her heart in her eyes and heard her heart in her voice. That stuck with me.
Isn’t that what it’s really about? Just being ourselves and accepting that we may not be perfect according to society, but each of us has beauty inside us? Oh, I don’t mean that physical image of beauty or that intangible concept of inner beauty. What I mean is the beauty of being able to be ourselves and know that if some cannot accept us as we are, there will be someone who will. I mean the beauty of being open to what comes to us and accepting of others for who they are without judgements and with openness. That, in my mind, is real beauty.
My goal now is to just bring that camping attitude home with me and make it a part of my own “come-from.” In my determination to do just that, I tested myself. When I looked in the mirror after my post-camping shower at home, I saw a woman who may not be as young and beautiful as she once was, but she is something else still. And she has a lot to give in her heart. And isn’t that what really counts? Giving from the heart? That my friends, is where our beauty lies. And these aren’t just words to make you feel good!