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Reimagining Beauty – W is for Wisdom

Blogging A to Z

If you are new to this blog, welcome!

For my Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, I am writing about how storytellers, writers, parents, teachers (in other words, just about anyone) can reimagine beauty to be more inclusive. That way, people with disabilities, varying body types and racial backgrounds, etc. (in other words, anyone) can feel and be recognized by the world as the beauties they truly are.

Reimagining Beauty – W is for Wisdom

When people think of The Good Witch of the North, they immediately think of a glamorous witch called Glinda. But there is no such character in the book from whence she came – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

There is Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. Dorothy visits her at the end of the book. The woman who Dorothy encounters early on in the story, in Munchkinland, is called The Witch of the North. Her name is not Glinda, and she is not a bubble-riding glam girl. The Witch of the North is described as an ancient and wrinkled old woman.

Does this surprise you? It surprised me, growing up as I did on the movie version of the story.

Since I love to parody and fracture familiar stories, I wrote an offbeat rap of the book (puns always intended). My Witch of the North is old and wrinkly, as Baum wrote her. But I carry his idea few steps further. I describe her as an old and wise crone – and Dorothy finds her beautiful.

In my version, Dorothy recognizes the true beauty of the wonderful helper who can light her way on the path back home. That is because older eyes are beacons of understanding. Wrinkles are a road map of someone’s experience. It is a beautiful ‘ah’ moment when we encounter someone who can help us navigate a crisis. Showered with answers, we feel immense comfort and relief. Dorothy landed in the strange land of Oz and met a wisdom-bearer. Like an oracle, she was Dorothy’s salvation because she had an answer.

Wisdom is a great boon. Those who have it are fountains of sagacity. Even trickles of their wisdom can help individuals, society, and posterity. When we acknowledge the beauty in wisdom, especially in our youth-focused culture, we recognize beautiful people who are typically excluded from membership in the beauty club.

Elderhood is not the only qualification to be a wisdom-bearer. People of any age who study and practice skills can be wise about their specialties. People of any age who live with disabilities, suffer discrimination, experience hardships or wonders have knowledge that others can learn from. People of any age can have the experience and knowledge that adds up to wisdom.

Let’s be wise and remember to acknowledge beauty that is wrought from wisdom. Our mentors, our friends, our parents, our elders, our children, our teachers, and everyone carrying this beautiful and world-changing quality deserve to be recognized for their beauty.

Somewhat related – Perhaps you have seen this viral video. It shows an 80 year old woman dancing like someone one quarter her age. She does it beautifully, partly because it just is and partly because of her age. Who are the beautiful wisdom bearers you have come across in life and literature?

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Copyright 2014 The Storycrafters. All rights reserved.

Reimagining Beauty – F is for Frolicsome

Blogging A to Z

If you are new to the blog, welcome!

For my Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, I am writing about how storytellers, writers, parents, teachers (in other words, just about anyone) can reimagine beauty to be more inclusive. That way, people with disabilities, varying body types and racial backgrounds, etc.(in other words, anyone) can feel and be recognized by the world as the beauties they truly are.

Reimagining Beauty – F is for Frolicsome

The other night I attended a school dodgeball tournament that included high school teachers, sports team members, bus drivers, National Honor Society students, and school maintenance personnel. But one team, The Dodgefathers, was made up of school administrators. Costumed in black with grease markings on their cheeks, they were captained by the school superintendent. With darting, mischievous eyes and energy that filled the gym, that middle aged administrator rocked the house. And though the younger students were playful too, his frolicsome nature was particularly riveting.

Everyone knows someone who is part leprechaun, part otter, and part human. Such a frolicsome soul is a delight to be around. Full of energy and fun, a frolicsome person spices up a group, makes classes enjoyable, sparkles at meetings, and transforms a dull party into a hoot. Now that is beautiful.

This quality is one that anybody can possess. Although it is true that some people, by nature, are kitten-like while others are more Eeyore-like, everybody can have moods that include bursts of playfulness. And when such frolicsome moods break through a professional or personality veneer, it rates as a beautiful thing.

There is something else about frolicsome people. They can be any age at all. As I’m sure you realize, much of what our culture popularly sees as beauty focuses on youth. But what is wonderful is that being frolicsome actually improves with age.

We expect kittens and babies to be playful. Play has traditionally been an important part of a young child’s education. But when we witness playfulness in older people, it is even more engaging because we don’t expect it.

That is why the school superintendent was especially beautiful to watch. I expected a stodgy administrator and saw, instead, a frolicsome spirit.

Babies, middle-aged folks, elders, teens, camp directors, the young, the young at heart, disabled folk, parents, teachers, even bosses can be playful otters or fun-loving leprechauns while everyone delights in being around them. So when you think about or describe beauty in stories or conversations, consider the beauty of spirited and frolicsome souls that ignite fun and set play on fire. Just what would this world be without them?

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Copyright 2014. The Storyrafters. All rights reserved.

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