In fourth grade I found out my hair was not blonde enough. In sixth grade, I noticed my eyes were WAY too squinty. In eighth grade I looked up the term “roman nose,” after my grandfather told me I had one of those, and subsequently decided that my nose bump needed go to the TOP of my “flaws” list ASAP.
I spent 27 years thinking about those flaws. They didn’t eat me up like termites, but they tickled up my ankles like ants—itchy, not inhibiting.
As I’ve grown, matured (pronounced the annoying way), wised up a bit, gotten damaged in the tide of life, I’ve begun to realize I have even MORE flaws than I knew. Not wrinkles, a slowing metabolism or less elastic skin. Not a stray gray or sun spots or callouses on my heels that will never go away despite thousands of pedicures.
These flaws are worse. Deeper and darker.
Like, character flaws. Not my organs. My organs are probably fine (I have check ups and stuff and my doctor always offers me soothing metaphors of cancer being like shark attacks as a way to keep me off Web MD. He doesn’t know I’m also very afraid of sharks but I keep that to myself because I know the wait room gets busy in his office and I have more pressing concerns to share with him, usually).
After 27 years of wondering about the topography of my nose it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that I seldom considered the landscape of my guts. My heart and soul—the soft stuff.
Am I a kind person? Am I selfish? Am I a good friend? A good daughter? A good partner? Are my insides pretty? Full of light? Forgiveness, and patience, and white doves? Why haven’t I cared that much? Are they all rusted up from neglect? Were they previously on autopilot, leading me to mediocre levels of generosity and selflessness?
It’s one of life’s funniest little pranks isn’t it? With wisdom you realize the stupidity of fretting over physical flaws, but then you start to realize there’s all this inside stuff to concern yourself with.
Anyways, I’m downloading a meditation app and passing out Luna bars to the homeless because rusty insides are worse than nose bumps, as it turns out.