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This post comes from my wonderful reader Lucille Morgan. She is a writer, activist and free spirit. Believing that life is too short, her mission is to live creatively and joyfully. Wealth and healthy relationship building are some of the themes she waxes lyrical about on her blog. She is also a contributor at: www.pinkvox.com
You’ll find her “uncommon sense” at: www.wisdomona.blogspot.com
Beauty – everyone’s chasing it but there’s more to life. How do you convince people of that?
Over the years, I know I’ve indulged in a variety of enhancements and and aids to improve my appearance. Serums, creams, powders and potions in every texture and brand. Lip tints, eye liners, foundation, gloss and anything that rolls back the years I’ve sought after as much as the next woman. I’ve wrapped, rolled and straightened my hair with all manner of accessories to get my crowning glory into the best possible shape. I’ve pumped iron in the gym and dieted to lose a few inches but have never felt tempted to go under the knife, thankfully.
The body beautiful has long been the preoccupation of old, young, rich and poor. Some people never want to grow up or old and the quest for youth marches on from generation to generation. The mirror never lies and when you stare at your reflection daily you know that things are gradually slipping south. Healthy genes, good food and exercise are helpful but who are you behind that coffeured façade? Is your face your fortune?
One person who knows what lies beneath is Katie Piper. A young British woman, who at the age of 24, was a part-time model and TV presenter, enjoying youthful hedonism.
The world was truly at her feet as she planned her next career move, vacation and purchase of a new apartment. She was bright, popular and friendly. A whirlwind social life meant that she was in demand and was never short of admirers. There were men who had seen her on TV and at her modelling engagements and were keen to get to know her.
Her fan base was growing and she started chatting with a guy on Facebook who’d contacted her. Enjoying the attention, Katie found herself drawn to him and they started a relationship. Over the course of a few months, he started to become possessive and abusive. He often told her that if she ever left him she’d be sorry and the relationship became stormy as she tried to distance herself.
Katie was afraid but she never could have imagined how her life was about to dramatically change. After raping her in a hotel bedroom one night, he disappeared from her life, or so she thought. Until one day mysteriously a text message was sent asking her to meet him at a nearby bar. As she waited, a young guy approached her carrying a cup of what she believed to be coffee. It was a cup of acid and her boyfriend had conspired to have it thrown into her face.
The acid burned the side of her face, one ear, eye, neck and shoulders. It damaged her sight, hearing, her oesophagus and her beautiful face. What followed were months of dark and desperate days of hospitalization skin grafting and rehabilitation. She had to learn to swallow, to speak and, most of all, stem the terror that would rise up whenever she gazed at herself in the mirror. The acid had turned her lovely features into a twisted monstrosity.
This young woman who had had beauty and fame found herself in pit of despair and hopelessness. A supportive family rallied around her and a surgeon saw her shining spirit. It’s a tired phrase – “God never gives you more than you can handle” – but in the case of Katie Piper you can’t help thinking that perhaps this is an exception.
From the depth of her misery something deep inside her did ignite and, though a vital part of her body, was disfigured, her soul refused to be crushed. Slowly but surely, she came through to make a life very different from the one she had before. Starting a charity, The Katie Piper Foundation, she vowed to help other burns victims and those with facial disfigurements.
Her inspirational book, “Beautiful” details her bitter struggle but also her resilience in carving out a new life path for herself. Her perspective and values have changed and she has found kindness and love in ways she could not have imagined. Of course she mourns the loss of her former face and health but she soldiers on with new purpose and vigour.
Beauty is the feeling that comes when new life has been breathed into your tired heart. That’s how adversity becomes a step up on the ladder of spirituality. Katie’s given up the façade and concentrates on being herself – no frills attached. Selflessness is now part of her beauty regime.
Giving time and earning respect– that’s beautiful. Once you’ve been stripped of your external adornments, you’ll know that gratitude and kindness can warm the coldest day. When you see the best in human nature that’s the most beautiful thing of all. Beyond beauty and fame lies the pot of gold but only if we equip ourselves with the spirit tools to excavate the treasures within.
Beauty and fame do not make heros out of us. True heroism is quiet. True leaders are humble. Beauty is found in the ugliest of places and, perhaps more often than not, when bad things happen to good people.
Katie Piper now enjoys another kind of beauty and another kind of fame. It’s not superficial and it’s not about money. Her spirit reaches out to so many and her charity is a lifeline for those who know that hell is also a place on earth.
Just reading this book has had a profound impact on me. I can now look in the mirror at my image with unconditional love. This is a beauty lesson worth learning and I recommend it highly.
How would you feel if your face was robbed from you? How would you cope with devastation of this magnitude?