Recently, I met a woman who asked me what my novel was about. I explained it was the tale of a woman who had become disfigured after childbirth, and made a vow at a shrine, Truth for Beauty – a promise to fulfill her manifest destiny in return for an unmarked face. Her beauty is restored, but as she begins to seek a rightful path her “perfect” life falls apart. The woman’s marriage ends in a devastating divorce, and her life, she has known it, is destroyed. The novel explores her transformation as she is lured into the Montreal underground, educated by the mystics and gypsies, and through self discovery begins a dramatic transformation.
“Why should I care about a spoiled woman who gives up a perfect life, destroys a marriage, and uproots her children to seek her own selfish destiny? she replied with vehemence.
“But”, I explained, “she made a vow at St. Joseph’s Shrine, Truth for Beauty – a promise to seek her truthful destiny in return for unparalyzed face.”
The woman shook her head and looked disgusted, as though I was one of the tawdry, spoiled women the media parades out, like witches deserving a good sacrifice at the stake. Of couse, I realized she was from a country with a strong caste system and different values than my own. Yet, I knew her thoughts were shared by many, if not most women in the world To walk away from wealth and power and the oppression it carries is hard for many woman to understand, or find any degree of empathy.
In the prelude of the novel my protagonist Alexandra describes how her husband removes her long white coat and smoothes the wrinkles from her dress, a sign of control over her image. When she leaves him he uses his wealth to destroy her finacially and take their children. She eventually becomes an outcast, with no possibility of creating a new life in the old system. She has no choice but to seek the destiny she promised at the shrine, and take the heroine’s journey. There is no selfishness in her motives, rather a sacred quest to be true to herself, and by doing so help to illuminate others.
Our forefathers did the same thing, as do all revolutionaries, yet their causes are not generally deemed “selfish”. So, why then is a woman to be distained when she seeks the same kind of freedom from oppression and desire for illumination?
We must believe in freedom at any cost if we are to live in the land of the free. How can we live free is we are slaves to a man or a lifestyle, chained by money and greed. Each woman must ask the same question of herself, whether rich or poor. The blood men shed as they fight for their freedom is also shed by woman, but invisible to the eye.
Would you chose TRUTH or BEAUTY? If you answered the former you will find beauty. If you answered the latter, there will be no truth, and your beauty will fade as your destiny is lost to time.