Hidden Beauty

My favorite aunt is a woman of many talents and faces.  In her 50s she sported purple hair just because she could, in conversation you never know what she might say – which constantly bewilders her youngest son, she will dance ANYONE off the floor and who now in her 70s has developed a thing for waist beads.  On a recent trip to visit my cousin she proudly displayed her own before giving me five strands of my own.

In many African countries you will find a tradition of woman wearing waist beads.  Some for adornment, others for rites of passage, and some for healing or sexual enticement.  My aunt gave them to me to wear as a sign of feminine beauty and to guard against weight gain.  I decided to wear them as a symbol of motherhood and settled on two strands in honor of each of my daughters.

When I first put the beads on I felt kind of silly, but also exotic.  Knowing they were there under my clothes made me feel a little frisky and a lot beautiful.  When during yoga they peeked out of my waistband they empowered me and made me feel uniques.  At night snuggling with my girls my the youngest would finger them asking which was hers eyes filled with pride.  And as I lost the bloat from months on steroids they became loose letting me know I was healing and returning to my ‘old self’.

After wearing them for over a year I’ve decided to take my personal symbolism further by creating strings of strength in honor of my girls.  For my oldest I chose agate, also called warrior stone, for confidence and strength; aquamarine to reduce fears and tension; and garnet which supports creativity.  For my youngest agate as well; plus crystal for clarity of mind and thoughts, and amethyst for calming and tranquility.  I chose the stones based on what I felt they need and will make them bracelets as well.  As they grow older I will restring both the waist beads and bracelets based on their needs, hopes and desires.

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