Archive | 11:25 PM

Day 268: you look just like gwyneth paltrow! what does that really mean?

25 Sep

Do you look like someone famous?

I heard this revelation from at least four different people on Friday:
“You look just like Gwyneth Paltrow!” 

It happens so often that I can sense the line before it ever rolls off their tongues.

Here’s how it generally goes:
First, an eye squint.
A look of confusion as the head cocks to the side.
And then, just as the bright light bulb goes off, Gwyneth’s name is spit up and out with sheer exuberance.

And, just what does one say to that?
Well, for starters, a big, huge, and humble THANK YOU.  It’s quite a complement and I take it in with open arms and much appreciation.

But, on the other hand, it’s invokes fear inside me.
So much so, it makes me hope Gwyneth never commits some awful crime or media blunder.  Because, right now while it may be more than acceptable to look like Gwyneth, I shudder at the thought of her doing something so terrible that it would be unrecoverable —  for both her and me.  Not that I think she would… but hey, just saying.

Really, Gwyneth, I’m serious, if you’re reading this, please take my plea to heart:  Don’t do anything stupid.

Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to be associated with someone considered so beautiful, especially for me — someone who started out in this world with coke bottle glasses, stringy hair and hovered a good foot above all the boys.

Here’s the real meat and potatoes of this topic:
Nobody EVER told me I was beautiful.  Well, my parents did, they were required, comes with the job, standard operating procedure.  Beauty was never something I associated with myself, because it was never something I was told, or felt.  Far from it actually.

I had pretty friends. They got a lot of attention for being pretty. I got a lot of attention for other things, like playing basketball or running for student government, or making people feel good, or having cancer.  And, let me tell you, nobody really gushes about your looks when your hair is falling out.

So, I must admit, it catches me off-guard when somebody says something so absurd as “you look just like Gwyneth Paltrow, the movie star.”

And, really none of that matters.

I firmly believe beauty comes from a different place.
A place so deep within each of us, only we ourselves can touch it or control it.  And, it is certainly not what we look like, or wear, or how we style our hair, makeup or wardrobe — rather, it is what we do.

And, I have proof.

I thought my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world.
And, not because she had movie star looks (I already shared her father’s painful words: it’s a good thing you’re so sweet on the inside because you’re so homely on the outside).

I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world because she was closer to Mother Theresa.  Not that she didn’t care about style or fashion.  She did.  Together, we had many mother-daughter magical shopping spree moments.

But, I saw the beauty she exuded in a different light.
She treated everyone the same way, with love, laughter and a hug.  You couldn’t get out of our house without a hug from Mama Sling.  Wasn’t possible.  Not happening.

I saw her do so many beautiful things.
Like never leave my side when I had surgery — she slept on a tiny hospital chair next to me for a week.  Or, like writing sentences for my friend Kari — when Kari was given an assignment that was too much for her to handle alone, Mama Sling picked up a pen and started writing out sentences too, filling the empty pages, matching Kari’s handwriting so no one would know the difference.

There were many little things my mother did without hesitation, everyday, for everyone she loved.

So, sure, it happens that people think I look like Gwyneth Paltrow.
But, the biggest and best complement I get is when someone points out that I act just like my mother.

Because, whether you’re famous or floundering, fixed or even forgotten, shopping or not shopping, beauty comes from a deep reservoir, a place we all control —  within.

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