Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen

Museum of Rome Italy Photo: JoHanna Massey
Museum of Rome Italy Photo: JoHanna Massey

“The most beautiful people
We have known
Are those who have known defeat,
Known suffering,
Known struggle,
Known loss,
And have found their way
Out of the depths.
These persons have
An appreciation,
A sensitivity,
An understanding of life
That fills them with compassion,
And a deep loving concern.
Beautiful people
Do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Rosss




Often, and especially around the holidays, in family and social situations I can have moments when I forget that it is the sum total of all of my interests, years, knowledge, and experiences that have created this best yet beautiful version of myself.

I’ll let relatives remind me, and entertain each other,  with stories of some misstep I took in my life that occurred twenty, forty,  fifty years ago. Slices of my life that I have long ago left behind keeping only the lesson learned.  I’m so old now that most of the ones who were actually involved or alive at the time are dead, and my old sins are often recounted by someone who wasn’t in the same geography, or  not even born at the time.  The evolving versions  not even close to what actually occurred.  Instead of my wading into these tales of my life expressing the valuable lesson learned, or express that my feelings are hurt, or often that it isn’t even true and to just STOP IT….I am at risk of lowering  my shoulders, and scuttling  to the kitchen for more molasses cookies, finding  a quiet corner to read, and  be the first to leave. For most of my life, that was my response.

It is my belief that many families have someone like me. Who has filled this role since childhood, and no matter that we  walk the world with a light step, good morals, deep faith, confident, with self esteem, accomplishments,  success, adventures, and all the knowledge and wisdom acquired from living a long life,  when we step over the threshold of a relative’s home over the holidays, without vigilance we can easily become  the slumped shoulder cookie eating kid in the corner reading, brunt of every joke and example of misadventure. I write this post today for any and all of you who may recognize some version of yourself in my flaw.

My flaw is I never called it off with them until I was old.  I allowed it as a child, allowed it as a youth, and an adult.  Whether it was assigned by the tribe, or I appointed myself is lost to me at this point. I just know for certain I allowed a level of disrespect I would never accept from anyone outside of the bloodlines. This flaw has largely been set  aside by me. It is not easy, but  I retreat to the corner with a book and molasses cookies much less often now, and when I do it is usually because the Grands have worn me out and I need some respite.   We teach people how to treat us. It is the time in my life when I  share who I am with my family in all of it’s gentleness, strength, experience, adventure, and beauty. Some of them are meeting me for the first time.

This is in response to WordPress,Prompt: Flaw..What is your worst quality?

 Todays Music: Simply Red- Grandma’s Hands


51 thoughts on “Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen

    1. Oh, this form of synchronicity has happened to me several times since I began the website. Sometimes I quite by accident find myself reading an answer to some issue, whether it be using diatomaceous earth as to avoid garden pests, recipes for excellent Sunday dinner, or some sage advice on relationships.

      So glad this post of mine resonated with you. All my best. 🌵


  1. Something happened last night. I actually already have decided not to even talk about it or defend myself. But this morning as i opened my WP reader, i saw this one. Your post. Thanks you because today i will tell my side of the story . I will talk about it. I will defend myself..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yes! My family is like that but in different ways and some same ways. Your response of going somewhere to avoid them was my response. I have learned to ignore them as I could remind them of failures etc. I do avoid them and living 3000 miles away helps. Only periodical phone calls here and there. They have gotten better over the years and sometimes they are even nice lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your contribution to this essay is appreciated. I wrote it knowing that with the holidays coming there were so many people in conflict over time spent at the family gatherings for a variety of reasons.
      Sounds as though you have made your peace with yourself and them and found the geographical cure to be your excellent remedy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve just had the bizarre experience of attending a summer school at my old university in the same building I spent so much time in between the ages of 17-20. It brought back so clearly the inadequacies of my younger self and the amount of time I wasted. I just missed the point of so much that’s vital and interesting to me now. And now that I know much more about the real lives of the people who were my teachers then, and I was in awe of them, I see that they were quite screwed-up too! But I can look at all of that now without regret. It’s just life’s path. It couldn’t have been any different.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My mum constantly reminds me how inadequate I am in her life, I have held off saying what I really think. Because I don’t want to upset her, my dad thinks she does nothing wrong, unfortunately she bullies me, says negative down putting sentences even though I am and have been fighting cancer. You are helping me to put aside my overthinking and just tell the storey anyway xx thank you xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Tom. Your smart and lively pieces on such a variety of music has really been fun to follow and introduced me to artists I had not previously known. Returned some long ago favorites to my current Playlist, and gave me details of the lives and careers of musicians that always entertains and informs. Thank you so much and Happy Holidays to you.


  5. Such an honest open piece of writing. I admire your courage to recognize your past self and share it with others. Some mightn’t even be aware until they read something like this. Simply Red is soooo good, nice choice. Have a wonderful holiday season JoHanna! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was wonderful to read about you talking about olden days…..such stories can be so exciting to hear 🙂 I wish someone too told me such stories about olden days…..but yeah I love the blog, coz from here I get to learn such amazing things from such beautiful people like you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beauty is the shining of ones soul. Ones soul cannot shine unless one knows it and it is impossible to know or indeed need your soul unless you have experienced hardship.

    This is a beautiful piece of work.

    I am currently writing a book on this very theme. It’s inspiring to know that people think like me.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I see myself in your words, it is only a few years ago, maybe 2 or 3, I took my family to knock it off and let me be me. Oh boy did I awake the dragon but I struck to it and demanded that everyone treat as an adult not as a child and let me breathe. I am not perfect but no one is, it is even crazier growing up in a religious home, all that expectation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank goodness my family never brought religion into it. That brings a whole other layer of awkward to push through!
      I knew when I wrote it that there were many others out there who would recognize themselves in one of the roles that had played out in my own family.

      We are all unique and yet we are all the same. One of the fascinating aspects of doing human.

      Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the holidays.


  9. Nice piece…honest and from your heart..I can see me in your spot at most of my family gatherings…as I was always the black sheep of the family. We are the sum total of our experiences and they make us strong and wise…good thing as life is often a challenge. So often I try to provide words of support to all…with the words I always wanted to be said to me…That they would say they loved me and were proud of me…I think we all long to hear that from family…especially from our parents and kids. I always try to live by these words…not easy at times for sure.. Go forth into the world in peace
    Be of good courage
    Hold fast to that which is good
    Render to no one evil for evil
    Strengthen the fainthearted
    Support the weak
    Love and serve the Lord with gladness and joy
    Honor all people
    Laugh often!
    Fear not!

    Go forth knowing that the unconditional love of God the Father Almighty
    The Amazing Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    The fellowship, communion and the power of the Holy Spirit is with you now
    And forever and ever.
    And everyone said,
    Go get ’em” Take care… Doug

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not my intention to cause sadness. Hoping perhaps to encourage anyone who plays a similar role within their family to consider shedding it over the holidays. Thank you for stopping by. All my best to you.


  10. I want you to be able to tell the others to knock it off! I may not know you but I feel your strength through your writing. So… let them know that you are eating LESS MOLASSES COOKIES this year! (Well, hide a few to the side… as ALL Christmas Cookies give us that sense of comfort that we all need to get through all the business of Christmas!!) 😉 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know, over a lifetime I have been in many folks homes and recognized numerous variations of the gal/guy in the corner quietly eating the cookies while their family ‘talks smack’ as the young people say.

      This was once a regular holiday issue for me, and still something I must be vigilant about. My writing of it today was a hopeful idea to bolster up anyone else who shares this flaw and encourage them to not to wait until they are old to address it. We all get to tell our own stories.

      All my best to you dear girl. And you sure do have the Christmas Spirit this year. Great decorations on your beautiful website.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. In 2005 I finally tracked down my father’s family. His great-aunt was 96 years young and so very beautiful. She lived to be 101 and I’m grateful for every day I knew here. Her eyes sparkled till the end with kindness, mischief but most of all love. She was widowed during the Great Depression and not yet thirty. She had six children to raise and she did it teaching them hard work and love. Oh I wish someone had written down her stories. I’m trying to put down the ones she gave me.

    Liked by 4 people

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