The Beauty of Your Patina

While writing to an old friend the other day via email, I had originally intended to give thoughts of support and comfort about his youngest leaving home for Europe. A gifted musician going over seas to follow a dream and make his way in the world. I was thinking about how wonderful youth is, how fleeting it is and what a fantastic adventure/opportunity this will be for his son.
Something very strange happened; the following words flowed without effort, without thought, without original intent:
“Many years ago when I was with Tim and had started to realize that I was not in a good relationship, I used to take the longer way home to put off just a bit longer, having to walk into the home I had helped create and loved. Inside that dwelling was a man whom I no longer loved, who was verbally and emotionally abusive and who, slowly over the years made me believe I was nothing without him, couldn’t survive on my own, “would never make it” alone. I used to listen to Springsteen in the car, his music was a comfort and provided me the gentle rocking of my heart, his lyrics gave me something to hold on to and something to look forward to. I would tell myself over and over “this is only temporary” life is temporary. I would take myself through the phases of my life, to back up my theory. It was all temporary life events. I look back over time and realize its really quite true; no matter how long a part of your life is, it still changes. It grows a patina of sorts, layer by layer the patina covers the innocence, the free spirit and sparkle of youth. Patina can be seen as a good protection, and just for the sheer fact that it is patina – slow layers of time, aged, seen as beautiful, respected for its ability to take something once shiny and bright and turn it into a treasured piece of history. The question is; do you get out the polish and buff it away or do you enjoy it’s years of work knowing that what lies underneath still beholds the same beautiful luster that once was? I chose to leave the patina and Tim. That decision came with many blessings and many hardships. Do I have regrets? Absolutely. I regret I wasn’t strong enough to fight for what was mine, what I had worked for, put up with. I regret my fear of him and my inability to see more clearly and make better choices during the process. Yes I have regrets BUT one thing I have never regretted was leaving him.
Remarkably, since leaving him, I found a tiny little crack in the patina. Over the years I have managed to creep under its layers and find the very things I thought were gone forever. I think I’ve even been able to embrace the hardships with a new sense of strength and gratefulness for their effects on who I am today. There were and still are many melancholy moments – sometimes sad, sometimes glad but they always remind me of how far I’ve come. Underneath the layers of my patina I feel the happy little girl with the cowboy-girl boots on Christmas morning, the humor I seem to be able to come up with out of nowhere, the love and compassion I feel for the world and it’s people and pets. I don’t see my patina as armor but more as a cloak that adds a layer of strength and beauty with each passing of my life’s time.”
When the writing stopped and I read back what I had written, I found a great sense of relief about myself. There have been other men in my life since then, none of which I chose correctly and I am quite happy to say I enjoy being single. It has its bad points but the good outweigh them most of the time. I’ve found peace in the fact that I am who I am because of ME, my strengths, my qualities and my resilience and resourcefulness. Though I am posting about this more as an overall feeling rather than a love perspective. It’s just to say that if you take your Patina and cherish its beauty you will see you still are who you were with layers upon layers of life to add to your beauty. Your Patina enhances you, your sense of worth, your personal feelings of goodness and history. Each layer adds to the wonderful person you are and have been.
Wear your Patina proudly.
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8 Responses to The Beauty of Your Patina

  1. Mike says:

    There is a line you wrote; “layer by layer, the patina covers the innocence, the free spirit and sparkle of youth.”

    From a little different angle, I have been struggling with a feeling resulting from seeing my wife’s childhood photos over the holidays. Hundreds of them. The innocence is what struck me-an innocence I never knew. We were in our twenties when we met and have been married over thirty years. There is a speck of guilt for not having protected it-a bit of a desire to bring it back.

    Your line, though it makes a different point, at least refers to the exact thing I am wrestling with. It was too perfect not to comment on.

  2. Mike,
    The thing I find interesting, and touching, is that even after the many years of marriage you both want to protect her and have seen something new about her. That innocent, free and sparkly little girl is under her Patina and now you’ve had a glimpse through the cracks.
    I am glad that something I wrote touched you.

  3. Mike says:

    “That innocent free and sparkly little girl is under her Patina and now you’ve had glimpse through the cracks.”

    I like the way you put that. I can tell you understood clearly what I was trying to say.

  4. Mike says:

    Not sure if you would notice a post on my main blog site (hungerandthirst), but this Sunday I will post the poem I had been working on regarding the thoughts I expressed here. It might interest you because you helped me with the ending.

    • I will be sure to look Mike. Wow, I’m honored to know that I had a small part in it’s completion!
      This is one of the reasons I like blogging, I get to meet so many wonderful people with various ideas and backgrounds, talents, interests and offerings. They would never have come in to my life otherwise. And may I add; from all corners of the globe as well. It makes my world a happier place.

  5. clinock says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with such honesty and sensitivity. The border between armor and patina can be a tenuous one sometimes – one I personally have trouble discriminating. I admire your courage and self worth MG….

  6. Marlene says:

    This was amazing Gypsy. You could have been talking about me! I love the way you put this together. I’m going to dwell on this a while.

    • Thanks Marlene, it just sort of flowed out of my head/heart one morning. My friend and I go way back (40 years) but we have not seen or spoken to each other until recently reconnecting. It got me thinking back to when he and I were much younger than his son and what our hopes and dreams were compared to what our lives are now. It’s been a great re-friendship.

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