Dilapidated beauty

With my birthday just around the corner, I am more aware than normal that I am getting older. I am ageing; I am becoming more and more dilapidated as time goes by. I’m not upset about it, I’m just more aware. And, I suppose, I’m a bit wistful.

But there is beauty in the wrinkles and the deterioration. And this dilapidated beauty tells the fascinating story of my ordinary life. This dilapidated beauty is what life creates. Real, raw, true. Just life. In all of its dilapidated beauty.

It tells the story of my life of love, passion, hope, and faith. It tells my story of courage and strength; resilience and determination. It tells of a life of struggles, fights, tears, and fears; a life of lessons learned and of lessons taught.

Note: The title for this post comes from The Paperboys. Listen to the song below!

This beauty – this dilapidated beauty – tells my story.

There are scars on my flesh that serve as reminders of a life lived: One on my head from when my sister, Claudia, pushed me down the stairs; four on my abdomen from the laparoscopic removal of my spleen; countless on my knees from a childhood of fun and (mis)adventure; and a few scattered here and there that have various memories attached.

There are scars on my soul that serve as reminders of a life lived: Ones from the grief of widowhood; ones from the disappointments of life and love; and ones from the pains we live through because they’re part of the journey.

The wrinkles are slowly taking over my once smooth skin. There are grey hairs where once there were not. I am ageing. It’s a natural part of life.

Most of the time, people think I look younger than my age. Maybe that’s because I have rarely ever worn makeup. Maybe it’s because I use a lot of moisturisers. Maybe my long, more light-brown-than-grey locks act as a distraction. Maybe it’s that I dress a little on the quirky side. Or maybe it’s my slightly athletic (only slightly, mind you) runner’s frame.

And most of the time, if I’m honest, I feel that I look quite young and fresh (for a woman of my age). But sometimes, I look in the mirror and I’m confused by this old lady looking back at me. My skin is dulling; my hair is silvering; my smile is yellowing; my eyes are wrinkling.

My physical being is changing with time. I am becoming dilapidated and worn. But I can still see the beauty. It’s becoming more dilapidated with time, but it’s there. The beauty hides in the wrinkles.

I know I have a long way to go with this ageing nonsense, and I am mostly OK with the process that faces me. It’s a bit lonely going through the process alone, but I suppose that will just add a special sadness to my eyes … and that might give the dilapidated beauty just the right amount of mystery that will make me shine well into my golden years.

(And, oh, won’t I laugh at myself in another 20 years for thinking this is me ageing!)

4 Replies to “Dilapidated beauty”

  1. Really beautifully put Frances.

    There’s a Japanese concept/aesthetic “Wabi Sabi,” (not to be confused with wasabi!)which is really difficult (for me at least) to describe properly, but you’ve managed perfectly.

    If you have time, it might be worth a google.

    Leonard Cohen once said something about it I think in a song called Anthem, the chorus of which is:

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

    1. Thank you so much for that! You were right: Wabi Sabi was well-worth a Google! I have always been a fan of imperfection (in some things, not everything!) and it’s great to read up on if from a cultural point of view.

      And Leonard Cohen is always a good one!!


Join the conversation!