Grow your own Gorgeousness (now on Amazon)
A gorgeous review of a truly awesome book by a truly wonderful lady.
I’m a bit jaded when it comes to books. I don’t get a thrill any more out of that whole sensuous thrill of the new book smell and the crackle of paper. It might say something that the only books I truly enjoy buying these days are empty journals with fabulous covers and a wide expanse of empty clean pages just waiting for something profound and wonderful to be written down on them. I have enough of these stacked up to prove my liking is growing into an obsession and yes, most of them remain unsullied by my pen and remain as beautiful voids.
I used to be a real book lover, believing that a book is something sacred. In recent years I came to revise that thought and believe them to be simply vessels for information alone, whether it is for stories or for more prosaic use like recipe books. The book had for me ceased to be something to be cherished as a sacred thing.
Until a few weeks ago, that is.
On to my door mat there flopped a parcel containing a book that redeemed book-kind from the mundane, paper and ink containers they had become.
At first I gazed at the hand-painted cover and didn’t dare open it. It was bigger than I expected, heavier and somehow, dare I say it, weightier. I felt like a neophyte at the temple, watching the priestess at her work and sneaking a peek into the Holy Book.
Opening it, I began to read and felt a tiny sea-change in my psyche just by the process of reading. You know the magic books read in The Mummy movies? Like that but good… I can’t explain it easily but there was real earthy raw magic in this book, the kind that gives your spine a little tingle and gives you butterflies in the tummy when you thought you were too old for that kind of thing.
The premise for the book is that we are being diddled out of our true beauty and life-force by what author and artist Bethan Stritton calls The Dangling Carrot of Ideal Beauty and we deny our own unique and very special beauty because of it. And make ourselves very miserable into the bargain.
“If I could only get into a size 8 jeans….”
“If only I had perfect skin…”
“If only my hair weren’t so unruly/fine/thick/grey….”
“If only I were taller/shorter….”
I bet you all have a few of these wails you have said at some time or other. I have. I do, daily.
But this marvellous book is not a self help guide or a fitness get-into-those-size-8-jeans guide. Nor is it a Chicken Soup for the soul style book. It’s a book that defies category or genre or type or anything but one word:
It doesn’t tell you How to, or should or must or any of that stuff we’re all sick of. I’ve read and thrown away a dozen books of that sort. I never even look at them now because I feel it’s probably hopeless and I’m a lost cause. In essence Grow your own Gorgeousness simply tells you this:
You are beautiful.
See it, accept it.
And with the words(which are handwritten and smudged in places) and the hand drawn illustrations), comes something I didn’t think was possible:
It’s a very tiny hope, I admit. For three days after I first read it, I managed to look in the bathroom mirror without loathing myself quite so much. I’m a tough case and it’s going to take a while but while I have this book on my knee now, I can feel that hope seeping back into me and maybe, I will begin to accept myself and love myself.
This is a book for anyone who doesn’t feel quite as they would like to about themselves. It’d be a good book for a new mum, who is worrying that her stretch marks. Or for your mother when she’s feeling that while grey might be the new black, it just isn’t what she wants. Or for yourself for those dark days when you feel that there are slugs who are more lovely than you are.
My husband took it to show the women he works with and they were all blown away by it and all want to buy copies and give them to sisters and best friends as Christmas presents.
“Throw away your scales and snuggle up in an armchair by the window instead. We are bright, inquisitive, powerful women. We can choose to turn away from the Dangling Carrot of Ideal Beauty and get some peace..or just a cup of tea.”
This is NOT a book for the nit-pickers, the spotters of lint and dandruff on the collars of others, or those with manicured nails who look down on those of us with clipped nails and rough palms or those who like their books glossy and perfect and homogenised and STANDARD. It’s raw and earthy and imperfect but all at the same time it is complete and itself and astonishingly attractive both in its sensuality as a book and the philosophy is expounds.
It’s simply Gorgeous….