Beauty & The Beast

Optical Illusion or ...?
Optical Illusion or …?

I recently finished The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and was so enraptured by it, that I also caught the movie starring Ben Barnes (Why was.HE cast??). I am still under the spell of the book – enchanted for life I think. For the uninitiated (and please change this status immediately!), the story deals with this young, beautiful man who wishes eternal youth while his magnificent painting (or rather, his soul) takes the brunt of time and age. The movie was a downer as it dealt more with the sexual debauchery that Gray descends into rather than the dwellings of mind that are so typical of Wilde.

Well… It raised a question. A very interesting question and I am hoping for varied answers.

How important is looking good and young to you personally? How much of your confidence or self-esteem is derived from your external attributes? I know, we wax poetic about our inner selves and what we feel, think and do blah blah is what counts. And I agree – in the end that is what deserves the spotlight. But isn’t there some tiny corner of our mind that really LIKES being beautiful and perfect on the outside? I know that corner very well!

I will be candid and say that I LIKE being relatively good-looking and feel lucky to have inherited the slim genes. All said and done, that bit of charm and flirting has really made life easy. Recent health issues played havoc with my face and I panicked! For the first time, I was self-conscious and lost my confidence, even though the world didn’t notice the imperfections. But I noticed! I saw every eruption and scar. And it disturbed me. Thankfully, I didn’t end up with a bunch of useless cosmetics (yay for common sense!) but I did start observing my face a lot closely and realized that this youth is temporary. Eventually, I may reach out for some magical youth serum and try to contain time. Maybe I won’t have the same paranoia about weight gain as fitness is what matters to me – diet and exercise. Again, maybe! I don’t know for sure.

Some of you may think of “how shallow!” Even I cursed myself for being affected by something external and so temporary. But it made a dent on me. I admit it. Hey! Even Beauty fell for the Prince – she was just friendly with the Beast he used to be. And then, I look around and I see inspiration. People who haven’t let their weight, their face or their bodies affect them! But I also understood that they had their moments of doubts and it was a long fight to accept themselves. Maybe one day I too will shake this self-doubt off successfully. But again, I don’t see anything WRONG in taking care of myself!

Although, I definitely won’t present my soul on the devil’s altar in exchange for eternal youth. 


So tell me, world. How important is/was your youthful perfection to you? Given a choice, would you – like Dorian – opt for eternal youth and beauty? Turn back the time for every wrinkle without affecting your experiences or is that wrinkle a souvenir of a life well lived?

My fastest ever post (eight minutes) was brought to you by Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is very/vary.

 Image Source

Taleweaver’s Prompt #30 “Pandora’s Box”

Image: Wikipedia
Image: Wikipedia

Irina was born at the hour of the wishing star. With her honeyed voice, strawberry kissed lips, and moonshine skin, her beauty was said to surpass the rising sun. Her only friend was David, a simple and hardworking lad.

Now, there was a midnight ball and Irina was resplendent in her silvery gown which had come from a spider’s silk thread. This ball was special as it was the first hour of the wishing star after Irina’s birth. She rushed out to make a wish when Victor grabbed her, “Irina, a moment.

She shrugged and hastened to the balcony fervently wishing, “I want my beauty to be immortal! Encased in a timeless capsule” She found herself holding a musical box, with an encryption not to open it lest she wished to lose her eternal beauty.

Antique Box
Image: antiques.lovetoknow.com

Time stopped for Irina, and she could not have said how many years or eons had passed. Her home, her parents and David became a lost memory as she celebrated her exquisite beauty. Knights and kings came from far lands to covet her, and lavished her with jewels, furs and rare gifts. She was promised castles and kingdoms. She was the belle of the ball and her laugh held them enchanted. Drunk on her power, she made them dance to her tunes. But every night, she slipped off her gown and slid alone between cold sheets, unwelcomed by any lover. Hours she spent gazing at the box and its secrets.

Time passed and a strange thing happened. There was a special midnight ball as after decades had the hour of the wishing star returned. But there were murmurs of a beautiful and terrible queen coming, hence Irina was shunned aside. Alone in her room, she wondered unhappily at the box – was it not working? As the clock struck midnight, the box emitted a glow and started playing music. Trapped in its enchantment she was drawn towards it, forgetting the encryption. She opened the box to reveal a kaleidoscope with a crystal hourglass attached. As she looked through the eye-piece, the music turned to tunes of her childhood.

Image: giftsonline.net
Image: giftsonline.net

She saw David grabbing her “Irina, a moment” but this time…

She stopped. She listened. She flew into his arms happily.

There was no wish, but a wedding.

There were no kings, but two tiny princesses.

There were no castles, but a cozy cottage.

There was no lone beauty, but a loving couple.

They died in happiness, holding on to each other.

The last image remained was of her crying over a kaleidoscope.

Wrecked in convulsions, Irina glanced up at her crying reflection in the mirror thinking of what she had lost. She saw the box slip from her hands and shattering into a thousand glittering pieces. As the shooting star passed her window, she dissolved into fine dust – the years trapped in the box racing and catching up.

In a sunny room, she woke up to see David holding out his hand to her. She joyfully went into his arms, thankful. Her beauty was earthy and no more ethereal, but her smile had never been so radiant.


For quite a while now, I have been thinking a lot about the pressures of beauty, to be timeless and youthful… and the price paid for it. So, written this story inspired by a beautiful prompt over at mindlovemisery’s menagerie.