As women, we tend to notice other women more than we notice men. We are always looking to our female icons for fashion inspiration, chatting to our friends and neighbours about beauty tips. Women talk about women.
My mom and I were sitting at Vida on Sunday and looking at the diverse group of people around us. I noticed the beautiful, slim Camps Bay moms who had dragged their unimpressed toddlers into the morning mist for a social caffeine injection with the girls.
I noticed in particular one woman warmly greeting another with a warm, beautiful smile on her face, the two had a short exchange asking after each other’s husbands etcetera etcetera. The one woman gathered up her young and waved goodbye, and as soon as her back was turned, the once beautiful smile turned into a sneer that sat on her face like a scar.
I thought to myself “Jesus, was that the same woman” my mom noticed the observatory expression on my face and said “party mense is lelik as hulle ophou smile ne”.
And that got the cogs in my head turning, because not only was this woman no longer pretty, she was in fact quite ugly. It did not take rocket science to see that life had dealt her a hand of sour cards, it was written all over her face, and her snide insincere cover up face was now ugly too.
So what does it take to be stunning, to be gorgeous. In my opinion, it takes grace and hard work. See you can spend every last penny you have access to, on the most miraculous beauty serums, treatments and dopas. You can drink herbal tea and go for cellulite treatments, you can Botox the past out of your face and smother your skin in organic this and that from the top of the Himalayas to the bottom of the dead sea, but if you’re not feeling it inside, you’ll just be a an expensive mess.
Seek joy they tell us, seek inner peace. Yes, I can agree with that. Live a healthy life, stop smoking and drinking, stay out of the sun and avoid saturated fats. Doing those things will get you far I guess.
But how? That’s the part they seem to leave out.
Think of one dynamic, beautiful woman you know. For me I know a couple but Aletha Carswel springs to mind. My friend Genevieve and I often muse that “We want to be like her when we grow up” one significant thing to notice about Aletha, is that I have never been able to gauge her age. I met her when I was 17 years old, and I dare say that time has appears to have forgotten all about her! I think she has hardly changed over the last 11 years. There is a regal and eminently graceful confidence in the way she carries herself, and I know this is a petty small minded self-involved thing to say, but she still greets me, in fact she makes an effort to do so.
She makes people feel special and memorable, and if I’ve learnt one saying that will always ring true, it’s that people will forget many, many things about you, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.
You may notice, that if you don’t know who Aletha is whilst reading this article, you don’t know much about her physical attributes, but I can guarantee that the picture envisaged in your mind does not resemble a hideous witch. Aletha is beautiful and kind, she is effortless and timeless.
Now think of the nastiest person you know, and counter her looks with your feelings. Take away the way she makes you feel, and discover how much more beautiful she could have been, if only it wasn’t for the way she treated the world around her.
That brings me then to the discovery of such glowing beauty, I think it has something to do with intention, what you intend… Do you intend to be happy? Do you intend to make people around you happy? Do you intend to see only beauty and goodness in those around you and in the situations that life throws at you?
Look I’m not saying, go forth and be naïve, use your own common sense. But learn to put your own rose tinted glasses on when the world gets a bit grey, and above all if you have kids – I think you’ve got to Mary Poppins magic the crap out of them. Kids will keep you young, if you choose to play and interact with them.
I’ve since that day at Vida, tried to smile at random strangers, it’s quite hilarious the reaction of some people – I walked past a lady in Spar, our eyes met and I nodded a smile off in her direction – so shocked was she, that she turned to look behind her, only to find that I was in fact smiling at her. Not in a creepy axe murderer “you’re next” kind of way by the way… mind you.
So to be beautiful, I think you should drink lots of water, try to make someone else smile at least three times a day, get a good serum, use a good SPF for the day, eat healthy, yummy food, play with the people around you, find the fun in every situation, get enough sleep as often as you can, and be real, be sincere in your emotions, let it all hang out.
Left above: Aletha Carswel Right: Genevieve and me