I used to feel beautiful in the morning, innocense restored and lines smoothed out on my face.
Now the lines seem deeper and there is no such thing as innocence anymore.
Now I’m only tired and my tissues know it, losing their grip on my bones and sinking like my heart to the bottom of the sea.
I used to be filled with tenacity and awe, chasing down strange lights in case they were kin.
Now resilience is a bane and it’s running out of stores like my dreams losing their shape and fading into the endless abyss of what could have been but never was.
I used to be a seeker of grace and stories, like those of the aging keepers with their regal statures and their soft steps, reciting tales as if they’re a part of them,
miraculously contained like a bowl for the ocean, but never breaking walls, revealing secret passageways so nothing has to break at all.
I never saw what it took to gain a story believed because it was lived. The power of feeling a word spoken or the worlds in someone’s eyes.
The opening on a breath exposing alternate skies. The pallet earned:
Scarlet of my blood and lavender years.
Magenta of my youth,
and teal of my truth and tears.
Veridian green of all my eyes have seen.
Purple of my ancient heart
full of scars so dark the color has changed.
Opal of my soul who knew before I came what it would cost to live, yet embarked all the same.
We think before we’ve truly lived that to be young is to have won the contest of who is best suited to rule.
We believe the helm is to be held by the newer age defining what it means to be beautiful.
The vital glow under the skin of growing children, the coveted light.
The spark of wonder in wide eyes, the hunted shine.
I used to think my battles were a badge of honor that made me special and worthy to be heard.
Now I know to be exceptional is to come to see yourself as part of the whole, and the rite of passage hurts like hell, like losing a limb or a piece of your soul.
And lessons learned are wrinkles earned.
A weathered face is a sign of grace and real stories live in a heart that gives the gems of experience to the next generation of questing spirits.
To arm them with open hearts and eyes.
To shield them from becoming a prize to any other than themselves.
And even though illusionists say it’s time I let go of the stage, I’ve learned there was never a lime light to crave.
We only have a glimpse at what life is like for those who climb their entire lives.
I’ve had my own mountains to contend with and their shadows now live in my soul.
My glimmer is fading as I grow closer to the dark. I have only one song to impart while I remain.
To love myself through the pain so I can love all. For this is the true beauty worth the fall.
Copyright © Sheyorah Naify, 2021
Author’s Note: This piece was written in the days leading up to my marriage on May 23rd, which brought up various levels of self-acceptance still needed within me. I’ve been processing getting older for a couple of years, and what that means. The transition is harder than I believe it ought to be, for me and for our culture as a whole, for reasons I may continue to discuss here. This is not the first piece I’ve written with this topic on my heart, and will not likely be the last. Thought it may not be relatable for the younger generations, I hope this discussion brings value to some. Thank you for reading.