Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spotlight on Amanda Gowin: real beauty

Summer has been a slow blur so far. It feels like it has been more than 2 weeks, but also those two weeks have just evaporated into the ether without much to show for it. I have a few other excuses for not blogging, but the short of it is, I am scared.

I have put off this spotlight because, mostly, I am so intimidated by Amanda Gowin I don't know that I could fully explain her in a way that would do her justice. And that isn't fair. So, I'm just starting with an apology. I wish I could do this better! And I promise to do my best.

First off, I think the first interaction I had with this girl is what defined her, for me. Amanda is a writer, so already I am in awe because I know that takes mental stamina that I just don't seem to have. Back to first impression. I noticed Amanda had posted a picture of herself with her hair shaved and I think I commented that she has a really nice shaped head, and probably (making it about me) I said something about how I could never rock a shaved head because my head is flat in the back. I'm vain. In my younger, less experienced days I used to think if I got cancer I would forgo chemotherapy because I wouldn't want to lose my hair. Because I would be ugly? That was before I had kids. Anyway, this girl-- Amanda, replied that a cousin (I believe) of hers was, in fact, battling cancer and that she had shaved her head in support. I think Amanda said something like, "I wanted to make the point that it's only hair." It's only hair. That idea stopped me dead in my tracks. First of all, the gesture... It was just so beautiful. And second of all, I'm not sure I have progressed so far as a human that I have that kind of perspective. I should be. I "met" Amanda after BJay died. So I should have known already that nothing in the world matters more than life. More than health. That baubles and things, and hair, are just not that big of a deal. Things can be replaced, hair grows back. But life is right now, and it is all that really matters, it is all we really have of value.

So, as the kind of person who has this vital perspective at such a young age, Amanda is one of those women you admire. But not in a petty, female way. People like her. And not because she is pretty, not necessarily because she is one of those super fun moms who makes the job look glamorous. And probably not even because she seems to be one of those super cool wives who doesn't seem to take for granted how fortunate she is to have found and nourished love. I'm pretty sure it is because she may have been born fully-formed as a woman who emerged from the ocean with a complete understanding of her place in the universe. I'm kidding. Sort of. I really think what makes Amanda so likable is that she is a little bit too wise. It seems to me that she's comfortable in her own skin, that somehow she holds the reigns to her own insecurities. And having that kind of hold on herself, she's able to lift other people up. That is the kind of strength that drives our species forward. That is real beauty.