When I was in high school I was introduced to Shakespeare - Hamlet came first. And I was totally and completely in love with the play. That love drove me to read more and more of Shakespeare. I didn't love all his plays - certainly wasn't fussy on his comedies - but the dramas caught me in the first lines spoken and held me till the last dying lines on the last page.
So I guess it isn't all that surprising that from time to time quotes from one of his plays will skitter across my consciousness. So it was this week. I kept hearing the line "vanity - thy name is woman" ............. EXCEPT.... that is not from Shakespeare.. well not really. It has been bastardized over the years. The actual line was "frailty thy name is woman" and it comes from Hamlet.
It has made me think......... could frailty and vanity be two sides of the same coin??
Could it be that vanity comes first........ and then the frailty (of standards or beliefs) follows??
I remember when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She pleaded with the doctor not to remove her breast. Vanity ...... she openly admitted it.. she could not - under any circumstances - picture her life without her breast.
I didn't understand it....... it was only a part of her body.... a part that was going to slowly kill her. She certainly didn't "need" it any longer - not really. Vanity was preventing her from ok'ing the removal of said body part. I kept thinking 'if it was me I would say take the damn thing'.
A few years ago I was faced with uterine cancer. The first words out of my mouth were "take it" ...... No vanity .. no frailty.. take the damn thing that was making me sick. They didn't and life has gone on.
Today I realize the difference is obvious. The breasts are part of how a woman looks, the uterus is part of how the woman functions. One visible - one not at all. It made sense to me .......... finally. (and yes I know .. the uterus can be tied into how a woman sees herself - but not in my case)
And now I am wondering ....... as I look in the mirror ........ if vanity is not my name too. I never ever thought I was vain. EVER. I accepted who I was....... how I looked... and damn everyone else. Which is probably the major part of my problem. I don't much care what other people think about how I look. So when friends and acquaintances lecture me that I don't look my age.......... even when my doctor tells me I have beautiful skin - with no sun damage (which apparently is rare) I don't care.
Vanity is MY name.
And I freely admit it.