It was a Friday evening. My children and I were walking down a busy city street to get something for dinner. I’d just come straight from work, so wasn’t especially ‘made up’ to go out; just relaxed and feeling a little tired from a busy week.
As I walked along I noticed a lady pushing a pram coming towards me.
Her head was hung low and she looked very despondent. I kept my gaze on her and began to smile; very soon she raised her head and we locked eyes. I broadened my smile and felt I was beaming from every pore in me. I did not do what I sometimes can do and make it a fleeting smile – I continued to hold the lady in my gaze and felt I was almost having a conversation with her – it felt amazing. Her face responded immediately and lit up in a glorious smile too – her whole face and body seemed to transform.
This moment seemed to last an eternity as we continued to walk towards each other, locked in each other’s gaze.
Women – Are we living in a man’s world? We all know about boys having to be tough – “Boys don’t cry”, boys get given toys to confirm their future roles – trucks, footballs, fiction-hero’s, games of war….
We women may feel that we have to compete in this competitive male world, and many of us have tried to create an even playing field in our pursuit of equality for women – with the fight for the right to work, equal pay in the workforce, day-care for young children, female cricket and footy teams, promotions, baby bonuses and more. At the same time we have found ourselves often comparing with each other with regard to academic achievement, ideals of beauty, having more money or a successful career, being in relationships versus being single, and having kids.
Have we lost the precious qualities of true beauty and fragility in this battle for equality and respect?
I suppose that almost every woman has to criticize something about herself: her legs, her bum, her breasts, her hair, her nose – sad but true.
For a long time for me it was my lips.
I really did not like my lips. They were small and slim, had no true colour and they felt hard. I felt there was no point in giving them any attention, other than some light, almost colourless lip-gloss sometimes.
One day a friend of mine, while we were sharing with other friends what kind and colours of lipsticks we use, said to me: “I think that a warm deep red would suit you very well!”
“Whaat?“ I said. There’s no way I would wear a darker colour and especially not red! My lips are small and in no way beautiful enough for the colour red!
Over the next two days she ‘haunted’ me with the red lipstick. Every time I saw her she said smilingly, ‘red lipstick!’ and I’d start to run….
For many years, practising as a Professional Make-up Artist and more recently advising and offering Inner Image Consultations, I’ve noticed that as women we’re still apologising for the way we look. Why do we resist accepting and embracing our own true beauty?
The most beautiful make-up of a woman is the love that she is.
Until we truly claim the woman within, we will continue to mask and hide our Divine Beauty underneath layers of protection that no amount of make-up can penetrate.
All my life I have been the typical ‘no fuss’ woman who ‘put my face on in 5 minutes’! Then all this changed, I felt that standing up to do my morning beauty routine just wasn’t cutting it anymore, so I decided to pull up a chair, a simple act that led to a miracle!
Unusual beauty tip you might say, but for me it has made a huge difference in how I feel about myself throughout the day.
Image is huge in our society, with a constant bombardment of what you should look like from all sides in media and social media. Thankfully, as a society we are starting to become more aware of how the images we see everyday affect us and especially influence our younger generation.
Recent studies show that the impact of early exposure of sexuality to a girl’s development is indeed very harmful. A report by the American Psychological Association task force (APA, 2007), found that girls who are exposed to sexual messages from popular culture are more likely to have depression, low self esteem and to suffer from eating disorders. Unfortunately, we are only currently seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the devastating effects of over sexualizing our young girls, especially with the advent of social media. Continue reading “The Effects of Image in Media – Not so Sexy for Young Women”→
Really loving my body shape and how I feel versus how I look is a recent new awareness for me. Lately I’ve been feeling so great and really enjoying feeling how my body feels whenever I walk or move, so much so it often makes me smile to myself, even in public!
Going back 10 years, my focus was never on how I felt but always on how I looked. Sure I would eat when hungry, or sleep when tired. Actually as I write that, I realise I didn’t eat when hungry –
I ate all the time to deal with how anxious I was feeling and used food to comfort me if I was feeling emotional, and didn’t want to deal with difficult or hurtful situations.
Sleep when tired? Actually I was exhausted, but would push myself to stay up late at nights and drive myself hard because I felt a stigma attached to being a single parent and wanted to prove to the world I could ‘do it all’. I wasn’t going to be on benefits and a drain on society: instead I was going to be a great mum, a hard worker, a sociable hostess and later when I got married, a house-proud wife!
I often contemplate what it means to be female and middle aged these days. I recently saw a documentary that featured an American actress of great skill and immense beauty, who had disappeared quietly from the acting scene in the mid ‘90s whilst at the height of her career. So there she suddenly was, looking every inch her natural 59 years, but totally in her skin, untouched by the modern plague of scalpels, fillers and injections. It was beautiful to see and inspiring that for a change, a woman had allowed herself the grace to age naturally.
It got me thinking about why it is we want to lie about our age, by lying about how we look and the self-mutilation some are prepared to sanction let alone fund, to maintain that lie. Well the obvious answer is because our society tends to judge on immediate appearance in a split second. Society last century turned its back on wisdom in favour of youth and so today’s prevailing consciousness carries an aim to beat the system and linger in youth, long past its sell-by date.
Why so? Is it possible that we have an inherent lack of self-confidence in our appearance or a need for recognition, approval and acceptance by this thing called society that we let judge us on the basis of how young or old we look? Perhaps, but a peek under the bonnet might also suggest that it starts with us not accepting who we truly are, our inner beauty, our natural essence and the unique value these bring to everyone we meet, regardless of our age and appearance. Continue reading “Ageing Naturally – The Elephant in the Room with the Emperor’s New Clothes”→