“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”
― The Prophet
Three years ago, at a get-together of eight former classmates (and a few spouses) I met Tania Cong. Tania is married to François, not only one of the said classmates, but the one who organised our reunion. It was a wonderful happening and one that I felt extremely privileged to be a part of. You see, I only briefly hung out with but a few of them back in the school days and yet, I was included in this, what turned out to be, fortuitous event.
Class of ’81: Marc H, François, Tania (welcome intruder), Chantal, Martin, me, Sylvie. Marc G., Dany
This first get-together gave birth to a desire to keep it going and not lose touch. We have reunited, minus or plus a few, depending on people’s schedules and health, many times per year since then. François and Tania were part of quite a few of these.
You know that image of a smiling, laughing little Oriental we have been fed through TV and the movies and various other media? Well, you cannot help but add Tania to that image. Please note I am by no means denigrating this lovely lady at all when I write this. She is a beautiful woman, born in Vietnam, who has found her way into François’ heart and thereby, into our circle. And we are all blessed for it. I have yet to see a frown mar her pure face. This little video I taped in error shows that…
While I have met Tania a handful of times over the past three years, this past Saturday, at Giselle and Dany’s annual BBQ, we really got a chance to chat more than usual. Or rather, she was even more talkative than ever. It just so happened all the women were at the same end of the table and subjects morphed from one subject to another.
Sonia, Deirdre, Linda, Tania, Gisele, Caroline, Me
Other than that youn’un Sonia (who’s I think, not even forty), we are a mighty fine looking group of fifty-somethings, don’t ya think? 🙂
Talk turned to twins – Deirdre has twin girls – and we learned that Tania is a twin. She was saying they are so connected that when her sister gave birth, she felt her sister’s pain. We marvelled at that.
Talk turned to Tania’s wedding to François about ten years ago. For the first time in her life, Tania was being coerced into putting make-up on her face. We all looked at her in disbelief. No way! “Yes,” she said in her very heavily accented English. She was informed she needed to get a facial and have her brows plucked and her ‘stache waxed and for heaven’s sake, put some lipstick on! She said that stuff felt weird on her lips and she was made to feel that maybe she was not enough. And she resented that. And refused to look at herself looking like this.
She then shocked us even more. She informed us that she never looks at herself in a mirror. Ever. As a matter of fact, other than the one in the bathroom – which she won’t use – there are no mirrors in her house.
Stunned? Not strong enough to describe our reaction. Dumbfounded. Astonished. Stupified.
Surely, she was joking! She shook her head. “I don’t need to look at myself when I wash my face, brush my teeth, comb my hair. Although I wasn’t sure with that make=up on how to remove it!”
Yes, but….We clearly, all six of us, still cannot comprehend. It is beyond us to even contemplate the absence of a mirror in our lives.
“Why would I look in a mirror? What will I see? Will I find fault with my appearance? Will I think I am not good enough? Not beautiful? No. I don’t need to look in a mirror. François tells me I am beautiful. So. I believe him.”
Happy birthday, Tania! You are a beautiful light to all of us who have had the privilege of meeting you!