Recently my adored friend Marga left a link to this article in a comment to a post here and I loved it so much that I feel it is too important to be left buried there:
It is reminiscences of a woman who was born into a family whose story stood on the fence between two worlds. She shares some beautiful and poignant memories of her great-grandmother and the reality creating wisdom from a royal heritage of beauty and wisdom taught by her ancestors.
Reading this story inspired me to take a little trip into my own roots and back down my own family line. The picture headlining this post is one from the time that my great-great-grandmother was crowned queen of a homemaking contest for her State earlier in this last century. And almost a hundred years later, this is her granddaughter, M, who was also crowned as a queen, homecoming queen for her high school:
I was very fortunate to attend a reasonably enlightened public school that used their fall homecoming* festivities to give their students the opportunity to learn deeper life lessons. This was a school that not only encouraged students to letter in sports, but also provided the opportunity to letter in academic achievement. Their homecoming pageant was only about popularity in that you had to be nominated to participate, but after that, there were in depth personal interviews and performance of a talent in front of the whole school and community which determined who won. Physical beauty had very little to do with who was crowned the school queen.
*(for my international readers this is an American tradition where graduates gather back to the school to touch base with old friends and their hometown).
I was very honored to have been nominated by the Key Club at my school (the oldest service club in the USA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_Club ) and when I won I was very pleased to show my school that I was still M. It was interesting however to see who did and did not treat me differently because of this honor (there were several young men who all of a sudden took an interest where there had been no interest before! I was glad to have the opportunity to lovingly rebuff :).)
Later that same year at school, I was up for a college scholarship offered by the NBA Utah Jazz team. During the interview for it’s award, one of the 15 people on the panel asked me of all the accomplishments I had listed on the application, which one was I the proudest of? I answered that it was winning the homecoming queen pageant at my school. The woman asking the question gave a sneering smile at my answer as if to say you arrogant girl (as at most schools the queen is chosen by physical beauty and popularity only.) However, I asked in response to that smile that she let me finish answering by telling her why I chose that experience. I said picked it because I got to show people that true beauty was inside me coming out first. I got to show those around me that I stayed the same M I was before I was crowned an external queen. You see, through the women in my royal line, I was taught that true and lasting beauty is always, all ways inside coming out first. Needless to say, I got the scholarship.
I am so grateful to come from a line of women who knew this about beauty and the way it works in the world around them. When I look at my royal family line, eight great-grandmother’s back I find my namesake Grandmother M living in Denmark at the end of the 1600’s. I come from a line of fierce and proud viking women whose families eventually made their way to America and who became pioneer women on the Western frontier in the 1800’s. (History of Viking women http://www.hulu.com/watch/465180#i0,p0,d1 ).
I have many women in my life who I dearly love who have yet to remember these powerful truths about true beauty in their lives. They have changed their bodies by adding and subtracting pieces and parts. They have linked their feelings of worth and beauty to what the world outside them can see, and have forgotten the stunning beauties that they always inherently are. I do not judge them for the implants, the lifts, the tucks, the skipping of desserts and their hours at the gym. But none of those things make them more beautiful to this Queen. The Homecoming Queen in me, loves and solutes the Queen in them still remembering their way home. We are all so beautiful… just as we are. We just are.
Soon I am signing off my Facebook account which is where I found these pictures stored (I had a purge with my last computer and deleted everything). To any friends and family who read this and knew the M of those pictures, this is what is my truth. Thank you for seeing and loving the real me. It makes me happy to look back at them and remember what I know and what is important to me.
And from the Yellow Woman wisdom:
- A person’s appearance and possessions did not matter as much as their behavior. A person’s value lies in how they interact with other people, how that person behaves toward the animals and with the earth.
- Everyone was a teacher, every activity had the potential to teach.
- The act of comparing one living thing to another is silly, because each being or thing is unique and therefore incomparably valuable because it is the only one of its kind.
- Beauty was manifested in behavior and in one’s relationship with other living beings; beauty was as much a feeling of harmony as it was visual.
- In this universe there is no absolute good of absolute bad; there are only balances and harmonies that ebb and flow.
- All life is precious and beautiful because without the plants, the insects and the animals, human beings living here cannot survive.
- Beauty is the passion, daring, sheer strength to act with catastrophe is imminent.
- Sometimes an individual must act despite disapproval, or concern for appearances or what others may say.