Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

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When I saw the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore, my thoughts were not on flowers. I was thinking about the series of comments I had shared with Bob. Who is Bob? you might be wondering. Bob is the creator of Lovewillbringustogether’s Weblog and is a fine citizen of Australia. I mentioned to Bob how sometimes I wish I could wake up in the morning and find I have miraculously turned into a supermodel and that I had inherited a few millions. I suggested that would give me the confidence to tell Goldfinch I am not happy about he and I living on opposite sides of the planet. Sigh!

coupleAfterwards, I felt bad. I hoped it didn’t sound as if Goldfinch is shallow. He is lovely and he has only ever been gorgeous in the way he treats me…which is why I am sacrificing so much to be able to visit him. I know my faults and what I lack…but he has never made me feel inadequate. However…there is something about me that I think is more of an issue. I often feel I am just not very exciting. I might be nice, but I lack that element of pizzazz, mysteriousness, an exotic quality that makes a man change their plans and fall head over heels with a girl, recognising her as the woman of his dreams. Maybe it is all in my head..let me explain.

Olivia1I had a friend who I occasionally worked with named Olivia. Olivia was from New York and she was full of character. She loved salsa parties and was a brilliant dancer. She was loud and boisterous, fun-loving and very funny. She knew every cocktail and all sorts of music we had never heard before. She had so much confidence and knew so many people. I liked her a lot. She was always such exuberant company. I thought Olivia was awesome. She was one of the most exciting people I knew. Lots of both guys and girls wanted to be on the party list at one of the events Olivia arranged. She was highly social. My best friends Marta and Suzie were a bit more cautious about her. I think she had stepped on their toes a few times, so they were less enthusiastic. But it’s almost impossible for someone to irk me, unless they deliberately run over my toes with a steam-roller, so I was still very much charmed by and in awe of Olivia.

meOne day she said to me, “Mel, you are the quintessential English rose.” I laughed and asked her why she had said that. She said some nice things to me about the way I looked and the way I behaved. She praised my diplomacy and tact, how sweet and mild I was. (To explain the context, she had been complaining about people. I had been trying to reason with her about why these people may have acted the way they had and said the things that had provoked her. I am very mild-tempered and forgiving, I do tend to try to avoid overreacting to people who appear to have been ill-mannered.)

jane.jpgI did not disagree. People have said that to me for many years. When I was sixteen I remember visiting the family home of one of my friends, and her mother grabbed my face and said I was a perfect English rose. I was a bit embarrassed because I was not sure what that meant. But she explained that I reminded her of one of the characters from a Jane Austin novel. Ever since then, people have made similar comments over the years.

Olivia.jpgI asked Olivia, if I was an English rose, what kind of flower was she? She threw her arms above her head in a pose and said she was some kind of rare exotic flower that only grows in the jungle like a bird of paradise. I laughed. But she was right in many ways.

The two of us were quite a contrast in many ways. Olivia had dark beautiful tresses, whereas I was a honey caramel blonde. All our Spanish speaking friends wanted my hair colour. Olivia always made a big impression everywhere she went. I was very sociable but had a softer personality. Olivia said and did things which sometimes shocked people, some found her outrageous. I loved having fun, but I could never offend anyone, and am uber-considerate and thoughtful.

argueBut here were Olivia and I…together again. Olivia had been having health problems. She was in a lot of pain. I was helping her out. Olivia was also becoming bitter about some people who she had fallen out with. She had a fiery character and seemed to often clash with others. I was here trying to empathise with Olivia yet at the same time help her see why people may have reacted that way, but with the most beautiful kindly words I could. I did not want to hurt my gorgeous friend Olivia. She appreciated it, she knew I was genuinely fond of her and was trying to help her see why she was having challenges with people, but in a tactful way.

Although Olivia and I were not the obvious two people to spend time together, I realized that I had become an invaluable friend to her and I loved her company. A blonde and a brunette…the quintessential English rose with an exotic beauty. My only regret about my friendship with Olivia is that she decided to get involved in the Jack situation…which he did not like at all!!! Olivia Santos had more followers on Facebook than even Jack. She had more celebrity friends, went to more parties, and was on stage and television more than Jack. So he was not happy about Olivia meddling and telling him what to do. But that is another story.

olivia2My point is…Olivia was someone who attracted lots of attention. Some men were a bit intimidated by her, but they all fancied the pants of her. Beautiful, confidant, assertive, fiery at times, a trend setter, exuberant, passionate, dramatic…she turned heads wherever she went. She is a bombshell and a firecracker! She is the type of woman that makes other women jealous and that drives men crazy. Sometimes I wish there was more of Olivia in me.

flowers.jpgBut, I am softer. I just am. I can be attractive but I am no great beauty. I am secure in myself, but I am mild and don’t draw attention to myself. I am level-headed, calm, tactful, eloquent, empathetic, diplomatic, graceful, and kind. Women are not jealous of me, they know I am like a loyal sister to them. And men are drawn to me because they don’t fear rejection because they see me as the girl next door. I love people like Olivia – I love their company, they are very exciting to me. And I find I have a number of friends just as feisty and fantastic as Olivia who value my friendship because they know I am loyal and will only ever be lovely to them.

But I admit, I am more the English rose than the Bird of Paradise. I have a lot of friends who are like Birds of parades or tiger lilies, or rare orchids, and I know I don’t stand out as much as they do. I might be the more familiar and perhaps ordinary English rose, but I like who I am. At times, I do wonder if perhaps that means I am less attractive, less memorable, less alluring, less enchanting than someone like Olivia. And that makes me worry. I sometimes feel as if nice, though I may be, it will never be enough to intoxicate the man that I love so much. It shouldn’t matter. But these things weigh upon your mind when you are in love.

But Goldfinch is very fond of me. And for that I am grateful and will be content. I can’t wait to behold him again. And I hope that he is pleased when he beholds me.

Beauty... you know…is all in the eyes of the beholder.

This was my post in response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore:

Writing Prompt #18

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38 thoughts on “Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

  1. Thank you for the compliment, Mel! 🙂

    You’re quite right.. it should not matter… but it does weigh on the mind when you are in the early stages of love and feeling very vulnerable.

    If i might make (yet another) suggestion?

    Remember that there is someone who’s opinion (and Love) of you is more important than ANY other.

    He loves you unconditionally (as True Love should always be) and he loves you as you are, with all your faults and all your fine qualities – the whole package.

    It is not fair to any man to compare their love for you to His, but it is a pretty good guide to go by if you want a love that will stand the test of time and not just flare brightly, shine briefly and then burn out.

    I guess it comes down to just what sort of love are you really looking for?

    Maybe you have to try a few kinds to better understand what love really is all about and which one you prefer? I’m not recommending any one way, my choices might not be those you will make for yourself or would be ‘right’ for you. Each one of us is an individual and have our own paths to walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bob…
      I don’t doubt in any way how loving our Creator is. But I would not expect unconditional love if I deliberately did things I knew were wrong. But with regards my imperfections and weaknesses, I know that just like any loving father, He cares for me, wants me to learn, and to succeed – to be as happy and healthy as possible. I have no doubt that He knows me inside out.

      With regards to romantic love – well I am no expert. I was courted by a lovely young man (my teenage sweetheart) for a number of years. He was handsome, clean-cut, he didn’t swear, drink, smoke. He had sparkly teeth. He was very clever and talented. He applied himself to his studies and quickly progressed career wise. He spent a lot of his spare time volunteering (that’s how I met him) and I always remember that as well as doing work (he was involved in construction) he would always stay late to help clear up and leave things tidy. His parents were very warm and friendly but also very proper. I learnt so much from him, he had a huge influence on me.When I was 24, I ended the courtship. I love him very much, so I don’t want to give a bad impression of him…but essentially it is because I had for some time noticed he was becoming a bit superior and saying unkind things about others who fell short of his standards. He was in some ways a perfectionist, like his parents – and they did seem almost perfect. But I couldn’t bear unkindness and it started to upset me to hear him poking fun at others. Also…he was so physically good-looking, and I (through no fault of his) started to pressure myself to attain a shape that is not naturally mine. I have always been strong, athletic and curvy. I went through a couple of years were I was hardly eating and exercising excessively to be slimmer. I became so run down that I started to have one infection after another. I was becoming more and more unhappy. He was never unkind to me, but I started to realize that the sarcastic way he spoke about others, would eventually be directed to me. I would not be able to cope with that. Everyone thought we would marry. I felt trapped. I spoke to my parents about my feelings. I made the decision to end the courtship because I was dreading being with him. I was heart-broken because I loved him, but I am convinced it was absolutely the right decision. He was shocked. But a few years later we ended up living round the corner from each other in London. He was now married. I was living with friends. I still saw him (and his wife) a couple of times a week. We went to a number of the same social events. I even had a couple of dances with him. We had a chance to talk a bit about the past. He and his wife were very kind and helpful to me, I remember especially when I had to have some surgery, they were very concerned and helped me out a lot.

      After I ended the courtship with him, I was a little lost. All the nice men I met were married. The single ones, a lot of them swore, smoked, drank excessively, and were more interested in sport than anything else. I went out with a few men, but even the nicest turned out to be chronic couch potatoes who only talked about television, or were heavily in debt, or just too happy as bachelors enjoying dating as many women they wanted but with no plans to settle. There were also a number of men who would have been content to marry me and let me cook and clean and launder for them and do some work to bring some money in. None of them appealed to me. I loved working as a volunteer. I like to keep life simple and uncluttered. I did not want to clean and tidy a house full of junk and waste money on more junk.

      Lots of friends mentioned Jack to me. I realized later lots of friends had told Jack about me. He and I did hit it off immediately. I think we both knew we were two peas in a pod, a perfect match on paper. I could provide endless examples of how alike we were and how we matched each other, but you will just have to take my word for it. But it all went terribly wrong. Too much interest from others in what was going on between Jack and I before we had chance to figure it out. Too little communication between he and I. It all went terribly wrong and we hurt each other a lot. My biggest regret. Jack seems afraid of women now. Lots of my friends have told me how nervous he has become around women because he is shocked by the damage that was inflicted on me. Jack attracts women Bob, but Jack is fussy. He cares a lot about the work he does with charities and he is appalled by the behaviour and materialism of many women – I know him well. He can be very unfriendly towards women he does not approve of.

      Anyway…forgetting Jack…after what happened to me, I spent a year recovering from my injuries and thankfully my single male friends all backed off. But when I came back to London there were a couple of guys who were quick to start drawing close to me. One I was close to emotionally, but he was up to his eyeballs with stress (debt, parents who were ill) and I realized I was more likely to be a burden than a blessing to him and it was good that it ended. Another male friend, who has an excess of money took me to lots of nice places, he liked treating me and I could tell he was hoping for something to develop – the problem was he was the polar opposite to me when it came to money. He loves it and the things it buys. He loves luxury, expensive holidays, having a flutter on the races. I don’t. I have been devoted to my life as a volunteer and I am thrifty and detest the commercial world. There were a number of occasions when I felt uncomfortable. And he also had very erotic ideas…I was still struggling after I was attacked and I just did not like the way he looked at me and the way he touched me. It was not going to work.

      I had another male friend who was more down to earth and was passionate about the environment and had some interests that fascinated me. I loved talking with him. He was still getting over a ten year relationship that had ended. But he messed me around, and I eventually realized he was drinking excessively and that he was really messed up in his head. It was a relief when he did something so stupid, it ended my connection with him.

      The same weekend that happened, I met Goldfinch. I still can’t put my finger on exactly what it was about him…but everything felt right, and I ended up holding hands with him the first night we met. It’s been wonderful to spend time with him and I have felt so happy.

      Well…that is my history Bob. I have known and worked with many men. In general the nicest men are married. Of those who are not…I have met all sorts, the good, the bad and the ugly. I have met hardworking men, lazy men. Shy men, bullish men. Self-righteous proud men, men with absolutely no principles. Men who were just lonely, men who just wanted sex. Men who are impossible to get to know because they are like closed books and won’t reveal anything about the way they think and feel, men who have all sorts of baggage and expect me to be their counsellor and want me to comfort them and console them for all the hurt they have been through in the past.

      I think there are only three men that have had any lasting impact on me – my teenage sweetheart, Jack and Goldfinch. It was absolutely the right decision to end the courtship with my teenage sweetheart, but he will always be special to me. I met Jack my perfect match, and he almost destroyed me and we are both still recovering. I met Goldfinch, someone wild and free compared to me, and he has brought me great happiness.

      Aaaaah – I feel weary!! I am going to go and have a cup of tea.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If i may suggest? there is a lot of personal information here and while i’m sure you do not mind your friends knowing all this your blog is open to anyone to read and i would not like people who may seek to gain advantage over you knowing so much of your personal life story. Not everyone on eht ent ( or people you meet are nice kind or considerate of others, people. 😦

        If it is ok with you, after i digest all you have mentioned i would prefer replying to your Gmail address of your blog?

        Hope you understand? 🙂

        Deleting this response might be safest?

        Your choice of course. 🙂

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        1. I am ok with it Bob – I have mentioned a lot of this in posts I have already published.

          I hardly ever look at my inbox…there are thousands of posts in there. I used it for the Bake-Off, but have not looked at it since.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I had over 9000 mails in mine – i’m trying to cull a few. 😉

            I just would not like the thought of someone with ulterior motives knowing so much about you is all.

            Better safe than sorry – right? (Unless it is with the man you love!) 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The thing about anyone with ulterior motives is – that I have no money, so they won;t get a dime out of me, neither do I own a car or any property. Most of my clothes are from charity shops.

              And if anyone had any other plans for me…well, the moment anyone suggested anything that made me anxious or a threat to my security I would just discontinue communication with them and mark them as a spammer. I would run a mile from anyone I perceived as a threat. And I am not sentimental, I wont be taken advantage of emotionally because I am more ruled by my head than my heart – especially now.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. When it comes to ‘affairs’ of the Heart, love can make fools of even the wisest of us.

                But it relieves me a little to know you are being somewhat careful! 🙂

                I would like to ask about something that i saw in your Eye of the beholder post -but i’d feel better doing it in a short email, would that be OK? it has to do with CC and G.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I would say this Bob. I just do not know. I am not sure of what your question is. But I do not know is the answer.

                  He is still a mystery to me. My head knows that there is no future there. But I love him, and as long as he allows that, I will make the most of every moment.

                  I am going to enjoy my trip and then I will come back to England and carry on with my life.

                  Liked by 1 person

                    1. Bob…after the crime I was victim of, I hated men. That is a strong word, but I did. It took a considerable amount of time for those feelings to lessen. They lessened because there were some men who genuinely seemed to care about me. They were very careful. But it just did not work. Even when I tried, I could not get past the barrier to trust that had gone up in my heart, and I did not feel comfortable with physical contact. Goldfinch is the first man that did not make me recoil when he showed interest. I fell into his arms and loved it there.

                      I am still taking one day at a time. I don’t have a big plan. I am just so grateful to have met him.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Your resilience and ability to get close to another man truly astounds me Mel – i would say you are bordering on the Unique. 🙂

                      I understand a bit better now regarding the current relationship you have. I was concerned for you that what had happened previously might affect all relationships including this one and did not want to see you either hurt or to lose something that could be exactly what you want – or need?

                      I felt that the situation with jack could have been handled so differently and with different outcomes and did not wish to see similar things going wrong this time. 🙂

                      Like

                    3. Goldfinch is aware of what has happened to me. I told him all about it pretty early on. But at the time, it mattered not, because he was only going to be in England for three or four months. I just wanted him to be aware of why I might struggle at times with physical contact.

                      But we have not had any issues. And in the end I had thirteen wonderful months with him and now love him being my penpal.

                      As for my needs and wants…I thrive on all the people in my life. People provide me with lots of love and lots of chances to show love. Having a romantic love in my life is a wonderful bonus. Of course living on opposite sides of the planet is a major inconvenience. I am settled in myself, that I do not need a romantic connection in order to be truly happy. Happiness comes from other sources. But Goldfinch has made me very happy and has helped me tremendously.

                      The situation with Jack – well…I could say lots of things in hindsight…but at the time, it was like being in a kiln. All three of them are wonderful men Bob – including Jack. I think highly of him, but there is a lot of pain there.

                      I do not think Goldfinch is likely to caus that pain. Unlike Jack, Goldfinch will say if something is bothering him. He is very easy-going though. He has not left me baffled like Jack did. Goldfinch is a happy person and would not invite trouble into his life that would disturb either his own or anyone else’s peace of mind.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. You have mail!…

                      But it might be superfluous given all the above. 🙂

                      So, in a nutshell, your’e basically happy right now.

                      There have been major highs and major lows in your life so far, but all-in-all you’ve got this far and you have a pretty fair idea of what you like and what you want in and out of life. There are some things you would like to understand better and maybe some things you need to work out or try to sort out, but that is not stopping you from living a good and reasonably happy life in the here and now. What happens in the future will work itself out in good time.

                      Is that a fair assessment? 🙂

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                    5. You may understand better than I do.

                      When I was five, I thought I would grow up to be a farmer’s wife. I thought it would just happen. I did not realize that this world does not allow us all to be farmers and farmer’s wives.

                      My Dad and my teenage sweetheart were very similar – hardworking, conscientious, reliable, punctual, clean, healthy habits, good communicators, and lots of other good things. But something went wrong with my relationship with him, and it was right to end it. It was hard to find someone I respected as much as him. Jack was amazing. But it went very wrong. Then I had a major event knock the stuffing out of me. Then I met Goldfinch, and happiness crept over me.

                      But besides all that, I have had a very interesting, purposeful, active life full of people, places and events. Far more joy than sad times.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. Then i think you are luckier than many, if not most in this world we live in today!

                      The world has always held it’s share of confusion and uncertainty. Humans try to cling on to the things we ‘know’ and feel comfortable with and hope some of them never change… but we change as we grow up and learn new things, about the world and about ourselves.

                      Hopefully it helps us make good decisions in our life and lets us find the happiness we all deserve. (well many deserve… it takes, and there are, ALL kinds in this world. Some we are better off not knowing. 😉 )

                      If i would offer some advice? Try not to let the ‘negative’ things in your life prevent you from trusting that there is still a lot of good in the world, and in people.

                      Don’t build a future from the effects of the bad things you have experienced; build it upon the things you know are true and decent and are worth fighting for -whatever you believe in your heart that may be. And on that note i will bid you Adieu, for this night (Afternoon for some!) 🙂

                      I an honoured that you shared so much personal feeling with me here, and i hope i may have given you something to think about?

                      ‘Night Mel. 🙂 😉

                      Like

                    7. I just read your e-mail Bob.
                      I can choose to describe my own feelings and the way I way they move me to act. But I do not presume to go too far with regards the feelings of others.
                      The L-word is one that many people interpret differently.
                      To me it is a positive warm feeling that is expressed with tender and thoughtful words and gestures and prompts unselfish actions and lasting qualities like loyalty and genuine kindness.
                      I know what I mean by the L-word so I use it liberally.

                      But as I am sure you know and have seen from what I have written myself – the L-word is overused. We use it of ice-cream and songs, our favourite socks and all manner of other things.

                      I hesitate to use the L-word to describe someone else’s feelings towards me…even if I know they have warm positive feelings and express them with tender and thoughtful words and deeds towards me. Because for me real love is more. The degree of loyalty, commitment, and unselfishness I feel qualify real love…it requires considerable time to assess whether someone else has cultivated the capacity for that kind of love in their heart and whether they truly want to make you the object of it.

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        1. This is what I have found helpful about having the Crushed Caramel blog Bob – I can write about some of the things that have happened and in some ways it has helped me make sense of things.

          I never use real names of the people I write about. Neither do I mention specific places – I mention London because it is a very big city, but not exact locations.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I thought your writing would be cathartic for you and it definitely can help some of us putting things down ‘on paper’ to see things more clearly. 🙂

            You have met all kinds of people in real life and know there are both good and bad sorts (even if the latter don’t always reveal themselves at first!)

            But the internet seems to bring out the very worst in some people and certain types ‘prowl’ the net looking for their next victims.. i would hate for you to be one of them!

            Just saying. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes, it is good to be cautious. I have written a lot about what has happened in my life.
              I am only guessing that you are referring to a prowler who would either try to piece together information from my blog to try to find me in real life – in which case, I think that because I have been so cautious with specifics it would mislead them. But I have nothing for them to steal, so the only intent on their part would be physical harm. That is of course something I am wary of. In this world there are some warped people. I have already been the victim of serious crime. I would not wish to be a victim again. But in the end, I do believe those who are wicked will cease to exist, whereas those who are peace-loving will exist forever.
              Or someone who would try to befriend me on line and try to win my trust. I have set rules for myself with regards the internet and one of them is that the strangers I chat with will always remain strangers. So if anyone was trying to convince me to runaway into the sunset with them, I would act decisively and cut off communication.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Those are the sort of people i mean!

                I have been on-line in various ways basically since ‘the beginning of the ‘net. I have made as sure as i can not to give those people things that they would find of any value. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a thought provoking post. Plus I read your exchange with Bob. It’s a tough one Mel. It’s a mad old world where you are far too often a round shape being forced into a square hole. For whatever reason every so often you bump into someone who can make you feel like you fit. They will see beauty. Two people will see different pictures. One will see the rose the other will see the rare flower. No idea what Im wittering on about. I hope you are smiling and Im off to the mirror to see if George Clooney is looking back at me – suspect it will shatter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Attraction can be hard to comprehend.

      I do think I pick up on someone’s qualities rather than their looks. But at the end of the day, I would probably not make it clear I liked someone until they were making it clear they liked me. It’s when someone treats me like a flower they have become enchanted by that I start to bloom!

      But I would just curl up and hide within my petals if someone was the kind of person I don’t want to be.

      I am not sure Bob and I are 100% on the same page, but it has been very interesting chatting with him about it all.

      Like

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