When I was younger I failed to appreciate the value of freckles, and instead coveted the peaches and cream complexions of some of my school chums. Come to think of it, I also coveted their layers of insulation- being somewhat of a scrawny looking scarecrow of a child. All I could see was the packaging- what appeared to be beautiful, desirable, and pleasing to the eye. For example, my older sister was white blond until the age of 6, while I had mousy brown hair, brown eyes, and a face full of freckles. My mother used to say “freckles are a sign of beauty”, but at the time, all I could think of was how nice it would be to have rosy cheeks and blonde hair. Once I even (shudder) scrubbed my face with an SOS pad to try and make my cheeks red. They wound up first raw, and then scabby. My foray into realm of blond-dom (through the workings of ‘lemon-go-lightly’) left me with orange streaks at the age of 12- and an aunt who kept saying “if the good Lord wanted your hair to be blond, you would have been born blond”. Heaven forbid that I should have fiddled with the will and workings of the Almighty. I just wanted to be beautiful, popular- to feel wanted and accepted within the bosom of friends and family. I now know that such acceptance- on the basis of external appearance- is fickle, and subject to the whims and fancies of those who would capitalize on the insecurity of the human heart. Those of us who have been blessed by imperfection have had to develop compassion for ourselves, and for the majority who wrestle with fractured reflections from the mirror. And herein lies the real beauty- in a thousand wrinkles of delight, in the shared laughter and transparency of honest friends, and the joining of hands in a dance without faces.