There is something extraordinarily beautiful about a woman in full bloom. My sister is this woman. Last night I went to a little tea shop in Chamblee to see my big sister sing. I've known her all my life; 54 years. We humans are creatures of perception, and I have always experienced her as a tightly wound individual, rigid in many ways. And I am compassionately grateful for this, because I know she developed this particular self for survival. Being born into the role of Hero, she was 'Good Girl', got high grades in school, parent to her four younger sisters, and thereby robbed of her childhood. I watched during those years in the late 60's and 70's, her "friends" were cruel and two-faced. High school was a time of trying to fit in, hoping desperately to be accepted into one of the popular groups. One of my memories from that time is how important it was to have a particular designer clothing. A Villager or Lady Bug tag in your clothing or on your accessories was a ticket "in". Rumor was in high school they checked, actually pulled back the collar of your clothing to see, and then followed with ridicule if you did not measure up. I remember my sister's high school experience as cruel, and wounding. Unfortunately, this is true for many of us.
She went away to college and wanted to become a doctor for our father, an absent father who travelled a lot and never gave her the approval and acceptance she so longed for and needed. Like most women I know, when we are girls, there is nothing we want more than our father's approval and acceptance. She ended up in Pharmacy school. I lived with her my final year of college. I don't remember her then, nor any time really, as a joyful person.
Today, her life is quite new, quite different. Recently divorced, or in the process of it, she has found a little apartment off the square in Marietta. It's in a old building, with lots of history. Just the kind of thing I remember her loving. She may use her skill and knowledge from Pharmacy school to pay the bills, but she is fearlessly and unabashedly exploring her creative side. In this transition, she is dancing, singing, developing stage characters, and even bought a new guitar she delightedly refers to as her "boyfriend".
So, I went to see her sing and play guitar at Zen Tea last night. She was radiant, spilling over with joy, a woman comfortable in her own skin. And not just comfortable, she was at home in her own skin. I don't think I've ever seen her that way. She was, and is, a woman in full bloom. It is beautiful to behold. In fact, it brought tears to my eyes. There are no words adequate to describe how happy I am for her. She deserves to be this alive and loving it. All of us do. Thank you, Dona, for your engaging radiance. You are truly beautiful.