Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Very Brave Woman

I saw, in passing, a very brave woman today while at lunch with friends. She came in the side door of the restaurant, and she passed by my table. I didn't bother to look up at her as she passed. I had already seen her come in the door, and, since I didn't know the woman, I had no reason to look again. Some might have, but I had no desire to embarrass her nor cause others to look at her. 

When my husband and I left, our car was parked just outside the front door of the restaurant, and there, sitting at the table by the window, the same brave woman sat with her family and looked to be enjoying their lunch. I said to my husband before we drove away, "There's a very brave woman sitting by that window; now don't stare. I saw her come into the place, and I watched as her teenage daughter followed her. With every step that the daughter took, she scoured the faces of all the people, almost daring each person to look at her mother." 

My husband had sunglasses on, so he was able to glance through the window at the brave woman who had a very disfigured face. It wasn't possible to tell if it had been a stroke or a bad burn that caused the damage, but, again, that wasn't important enough to me to think about. I was more concerned with how brave she was. She had walked in with her head held just as high as any one's.

You can ask, "Well, what's she going to do, just stay home all the time?" And I would reply, "No. But I can imagine it took time to be able to go out. Then it would still be difficult to not be self-conscious, not be embarrassed when people stared, and you know they do." No. I believe it takes a very brave woman to go out into public with such "imperfections".

What a world we live in! Everywhere we look, women are overwhelmed with advice on how to make yourself into the most beautiful creature. If you have a flaw, there's a makeup product to cover it or make it look smaller. Ask any woman you know. If you can't cover the flaw or make it look smaller, people stare at you. Children stare at you, point at you, ask their mother's about you. Women will tell you they don't care, but that's a lie. We care.

But, if you have a major disfigurement, people stare at you, and then look and stare again. Some people stare, then look away quickly, waiting for you to look away so they can stare again. Some people laugh. Some actually make faces of distaste. They call you "gross". Children stare at you, point at you, laugh at you, some cry out of fright and ask their mothers what's wrong with you.

I admired this woman who was brave and ventured out into life in a manner of which so many women refuse to do; imperfectly. This was a woman who probably realizes the inconsequence, the triviality of being physically imperfect. Sadly, her daughter has yet to understand it, though I believe her main thought was to protect someone she loves so much.

In this world of rude, crass, unkind and insecure people who make fun of those who are physically "different" for one reason or another, an otherwise very beautiful woman must be very, very brave to venture out into this cruel gauntlet of a world.


  1. What a thoughtful post. Bravery is applauded in many ways, but this is wonderful.

    Thank you,

  2. Thank you, Tim. We must see the true strength beneath the superficial in people to understand their value.