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Beauty and Being Seen

"Beauty is like an ingredient we all have. You have yours, I have mine, in different measures according to what’s treasured in our society, or what eyes are seeing us. No one else can carry your beauty. Society turns against us if we use it to our advantage, we are cunning or deceitful. Its just an asset, like any other. Assets are meant to be taken advantage of, no?

If you don’t believe that you are beautiful, I ask you how can you trust your impression of yourself? You are unable to see yourself entirely at once. You can see parts, you can see pieces in a mirror, you can see photos. How can you trust your flawed description of yourself as “not beautiful” when you can’t even look thoroughly? How can you correctly define yourself as “not beautiful” when your definition of beauty came from modeling agents, or the media, or your crush who only liked athletic blonds?

Let’s widen our definition of Beauty, shall we? Let’s define it for ourselves. Let’s divorce it from its cruel spouse: Perfection."

via Beauty Politics | The Lure of Beauty.

Tanishal, the author of the above quote doesn't identify as Feri, but this statement is very Feri, and very reminiscent of a prayer,

“Who is this flower above me and what is the work of this god? I would know myself in all my parts.”

-Traditional Feri Prayer

Considering the fact that the first Feri deity to come to me was Melek Ta'us, Who is a God that teaches us to be unafraid of being seen in all our parts and all our beauty, and even more particularly so for me because He came to me as the Peacock in His primary aspect.

I dunno if I've ever said explicitly here that I never had any interest in become a Famous Pagan, and indeed, back when I converted, I was a public school teacher in the rural South, so the broom closet was where it was at if I wanted my kid to be able to eat and have health insurance, etc. So if you'd asked me then if I could picture myself as a Pagan author, I'd have tilted my head and thought you crazy for asking.

And there are times when it is not fun to be a public anything - people gossip, or lie, or do other incomprehensible things, and you just have to take it and let it slide off of you, and not hide or retreat. You don't have to be belligerent about it, but you just have to deal, and let it go, or let people go, even when it hurts. In the case of letting people go, it always hurts, y'all.

But learning to let people see me, and even to allow them to see me being imperfect, is a Thing that Loki teaches, and that there is great beauty in imperfection, although I think He wouldn't call it "imperfection," He would call it, "reality," because as a friend once said to me, "perfection is arbitrary and as such, non-existent." She is right, and so is Loki. But the greater lesson that I've really gotten out of all of this is that in the pursuit of perfection, whatever you think that is - perfect parent, perfect child, perfect spouse, perfect employee or boss, whatever - you're wasting your damn time. What you want is not to be perfect - what you really want is to be you.

And once you can accept that, you can be seen in all your parts, in your imperfect perfect beauty.

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Lokean nun, writer, swamp witch. Heather is a Pagan monastic, writer, editor, and mother. She has written and edited for a variety of publications and social media, including science journals, romance novels, and technology blogs. She also holds degrees in education and speech-language pathology, and has a passion for historical linguistics.


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