Shakespeare Totally Knew The Beauty of a Woman

boaw-2013

As some of you know, the gorgeous August McLaughlin threw a fabulous party last year called, appropriately, The Beauty of a Woman Blogfest. Well, I missed it and was super bummed, so when she offered up the blogfest this year, I jumped at the chance to join.

Be sure to check out her blog tomorrow for all the links to the participants. Their stories will inspire you, make you laugh, and maybe even draw a tear or two.

It wasn’t hard for me to come up with my post for today. Last weekend I attended a writer’s conference and spent far too much time in the bar, surrounded by beautiful women as varied as the tropical fish in the hotel’s enormous tank. We laughed, we drank, we told stories about things as wide ranging as goat herding to hipster music.

The guys who joined us talked mostly about sex. Namely, whether or not they could have sex with one or the other of the women at the table. Some day I might post about the misogynistic men, but not today. Because, as I sat there listening to their posturing, it made me think of my husband and what an amazing man he is.

He truly loves me for who I am. Intelligent, quirky, spontaneous, overweight, outlandish, a bit too sparkly at times, but a damn fine woman.

And because my brain works in strange loops, his love for me made me think of Shakespeare’s sonnet.

I’ll bet you’re thinking of this one…

SONNET 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

But I meant this one…

SONNET 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

In the first sonnet, Shakespeare is saying that beauty is fleeting and everyone grows old. He then gets a bit narcissistic and says that the woman in question’s beauty and fame are only relevant because he wrote about her. Her beauty will fade, but his words will live on. Nice guy, right?

Now the second sonnet ~ that’s where Shakespeare shows he’s capable of true love. He basically says, “Look, I know you’re going to get old and skanky, your hair will be like a bristle brush and your breath will totally stink, but I love you, Baby!”

I ask you… which would you like your true love to quote to you on a romantic evening? Okay, to be fair, most of us would like the pretty sonnet, but really we want to know that we’re accepted for who and what we are. Right?

Being loved, truly loved despite all my blemishes and faults, makes me feel beautiful. And because my husband loves me unconditionally, I’m finally able to view myself through his eyes and love myself truly, madly, deeply.

There isn’t anything more beautiful than that. Not even a Shakespearean sonnet.

Celebrate the women in your life. Let them know how beautiful they are. A kind word costs nothing, but it pays dividends for life.

What makes you feel beautiful? Is there a special song or poem that makes you feel special?

Make sure you visit August’s blog on Friday, February 22nd for all the links to this year’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest! Just click here to be magically teleported to her site.

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55 thoughts on “Shakespeare Totally Knew The Beauty of a Woman

  1. Amen, sister. I love the idea of this Blogfest! Thanks for sharing it — and the idea for the party. August must indeed be one amazing woman ๐Ÿ˜‰ Of course, so be thee, and I’d like to add that all those who love us for ourselves help us to see that beautiful woman smiling back in the mirror. That you’ve found such a soul in a daily partner is indeed a blessing. But I suspect you have such a soul inside you as well…he’s a lucky man.

    I adore #130, and have to add its natural companion, #116, my favorite sonnet on the topic, which I think should replace the standard wedding vows:

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved

    • Aw, Mel I love that one, too! Shakespeare just has a way with words, doesn’t he? Thank you for the super sweet words. You are a blessing in this word, to be sure. You’d love August ~ in fact you’ve probably met her! She goes to Newport every now and again.

      I sure missed you last weekend. It’s just not the same without your smiling face behind the check in table, but I made sure to make Laura feel at home. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I love that you posted those two sonnets! Two different images of beauty written in verse, and I certainly agree with you that the second is almost more pure and meaningful. To be loved in spite of all the fadings of life… what joy!

    • Thanks Lissa! Very different images of beauty. I love the one Melanie posted above, too. Indeed, to be loved in spite of the fadings of life is a joy. One that took me quite a while to find, but that I will cherish until my last breath. Thanks for stopping in to say hello. You are a very beautiful woman!

    • Thank my darling. Sonnet 130 isn’t as well known, probably because it isn’t ‘pretty’. I like to read through the sonnets and guess who Shakespeare wrote the about. It’s such a fun/nerdy game. So glad I could introduce you to something new.

      • I have a big brick of a book containing (or at least it claims to) everything Shakespeare has ever written. I remember lugging it to my lectures back in college. I really should take it out some time and read through it for pleasure.
        I want to try your fun/nerdy game. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Me too! It’s the Riverside Shakespeare. I love that book and have marked up many pages with notes and doodles. Give the game a try, you’ll like it. Some of the sonnets are supposedly written about men. Oooh, salacious!

  3. Ha! What a great description of the men insinuating themselves at your group’s tank table. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love both those sonnets, but the second is more true-to-life, for sure. When, eventually, I find the mate for me, I would very much like for him to have your husband’s fine sensibilities.

    The song “I’m Here” from the Broadway musical The Color Purple is my theme song. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Ellen! I had to check out the song on youtube and dang! You should’ve warned me. Brought a few tears to my eyes. I’m posting the link here in case anyone else wants to check it out. What a powerful song. Thank you so much for sharing.

      I have no doubt you’ll find the mate for you and when you do, he’ll cherish you.

  4. That Shapkespeare – what did he know?

    I love the second sonnet! And the reason I love it is because it’s true. Truth is beautiful.

    I love the BOAW blogfest! So glad you participated.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

      • Truth IS beautiful! That’s a great phrase/mantra. I’m so glad I participated too, Patricia. I actually had another post I was thinking of writing, but this just felt right. I’ll put up the other one in the next few weeks. Keep The Beauty of a Woman blogfest rolling into next year!

        I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s entries tomorrow.

  5. Aw. I love this post! I wish you could teach me all about Shakespeareโ€”every story broken down in terrific Tameri speak. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also love the fact that those lackluster guys made you think of how lucky you are to have your husband (and vice versa!).

    Thanks so much for participating in the fest, beauty. That b-word suits you like nobody’s business!

    • Thank you so much, August for having the BOAW blogfest. What a fabulous way to inspire, appreciate, love, and honor women. You are seriously one of the most beautiful women I know from deep down in your core all the way out to your gorgeous smile. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I am so blessed to have you in my life.

      You know, at first I was a little ticked that they weren’t swooning over me, but then I realized that I didn’t need their cheap affection. I had pure gold at home and I was on damn lucky lady. After that, they became kind of comical in their efforts to impress the ladies. Ah, I love being loved by a fantastic man!

  6. I am LOVING reading all these fabulous posts for the BOAW Fest! I just got mine up there. (If you I know what I mean.) And as a former English Prof, i love me some Shakespeare. Le sigh. I think I just feel beautiful when I’m dancing. I used to be a pretty serious dancer, and I can still rock it pretty hard. I’m grateful that my body still lets me get down and get funky. I hope my badonkadonk never lets me down. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I know, they’ve been so inspiring! I still have a dozen to get to, but I’ll make my way through all of them!

      Dancing? That’s awesome. I wish I could dance. When I went on Let’s Make a Deal, they have you dance for commercial breaks and I kept thinking, ‘How would Ellen dance?’. What a dork I am. But hey, it got me through the shows. Thank you, Ellen Degeneres.

  7. Such a beautiful post, my friend. I’m sad that I didn’t participate in BOAW this year. But I’m glad that it brought this opportunity for you to create this wonderful piece. Thank you for sharing Shakespeare with me. You can educate me any day. When do I feel beautiful? Believe it or not when I’m sweating it to my tunes in the midst of my workout. Maybe that will help me stay with it.

    • Thanks so much! Next year you’ll have something. It’s been great and very empowering. I can just imagine you getting funky like Renรฉe! You two inspire me to want to get down with my bad self more often.

  8. Pingback: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest II! | August McLaughlin's Blog

  9. Tameri!! Sonnet 130 is one of my absolute FAVORITES! (145 also ranks highly, but that’s another story).

    I love the way he ends it.

    AHHH. I just love this so much I don’t even know that to comment.

    So, I’ll just leave this here for you…

  10. Pingback: The Beauty of a Woman | J. Keller Ford ~ Author

  11. โ€œLook, I know youโ€™re going to get old and skanky, your hair will be like a bristle brush and your breath will totally stink, but I love you, Baby!โ€ <– Best quote ever.

    You truly do have an amazing husband. And how could he NOT love and cherish you? You are so beautiful inside and out you practically glow! I totally dig you, woman, and am so thankful to have you in my life ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Pingback: Beauty of A Woman BlogFest: Lessons from Grandma H | Kourtney Heintz's Journal

  13. Clever and beautiful – Shakespeare’s sonnets and you! What fun to read all of these fabulous blogs and see the different perspectives expressed in such a literary feast. It’s just an honour to be part of it with spectacular people like you … great to see some men here too. Maybe next year you can convince your beautiful husband to share some thoughts too. Living with you he will have some wonderful insights!

    • You flatter me! Thanks so much, Patricia! I am loving all the blogs and how we each interpret beauty. It’s been an uplifting weekend, to be sure. Ooh, getting David to participate, that would be fun. I’ll have to do that!

    • Isn’t it amazing when you’re able to see yourself the way another sees you? Getting to unconditional love was a journey, but well worth the price of the trip. I’m so happy you’ve found it. Your husband must be super amazing, like you.

  14. I prefer the honesty and the acceptance of Sonnet 130. The first one is way to hard to ever live up to. It would be exhausting to be loved so conditionally. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post and wonderful addition to BOAW BlogFest! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Exactly! Can you imagine always having to be a beautiful as a perfect summer’s day? Ugh. Thanks for stopping by to comment, Kourtney! It’s been great reading all these posts ~ and very inspiring. I hope to finish them all by the end of today.

  15. Hah, finally read your post! I know what you mean about being confident having the love of a good man. Back around the time when I started to realize I didn’t want to wear make-up regularly, I worked up the courage to ask hubby how he felt about it.

    I was thrilled when he said “Honestly? I don’t recognize you when you have make-up on. You don’t look like you.”

    The feeling of knowing that he loved ME, the real me, was a thrill. It didn’t matter if I was having a bad breakout that day, or if I was exhausted and had dark circles under my eyes. He could still recognize me then, which meant my confidence was there without the make-up.

    Yes, the second sonnet you posted is the far better one to hear. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • That is such a sweet story. I love reading it. I was reading the comments on your post and they got me thinking about my 14 year-old and what he thinks of girls who wear make up. He said he doesn’t mind, but thinks they’re prettier without it. Yay! Then he said the same about me. Awww! Our guys are so awesome.

  16. Oh, I LOVE Sonnet 130 so much. It’s the references to black hair and skin that doesn’t flush that always makes me happy, ’cause it reminds me of myself. My eyes are bugging out about the misogynistic men you make reference to (although I’m not surprised, which should make me angry/frustrated/sad)… but beyond that, I will just leave this here. David Tennant is wonderful, but IMO, Alan Rickman has everyone beat. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Wonderful post, Tameri!

  17. Awesome post, Tameri – and you can always count me in when Shakespeare is around! I’m way behind in reading but hope to eventually read through all the post on August’s BOAW Blogfest! What an awesome idea; perhaps I might join in next year! Loved reading all the comments, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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