There was an older girl in my primary school whom I adored when I was little.
I thought she was the coolest, funniest and most beautiful girl I had ever met and I wanted to be just like her. She wore the best clothes, was bright as a button and had a nonchalance about her which was remarkable. Whatever that infamous ‘it’ is, boy did she have it.
I would watch her, from a distance, as she sauntered around the school, envious of her carefree attitude and incredible confidence. Damn it, I didn’t just want to be like her. I wanted to be her. Natalie had it all.
My next girl crush happened when I was 16. We worked together as waitresses at a local family restaurant. A few years older than me, Helen was kind, intelligent, vivacious and incredibly attractive. People loved her and as we became friends, I could only hope that some of her sparkle would rub off on me.
Over the years there have been many times when I’ve felt in awe of other women or been envious of their beauty. I think probably most of us have felt this way at some time or another, haven’t we? But I mention these two instances, because I now understand what made these women so special in my eyes. Why they had the power to turn heads in a noisy school playground or in a heaving restaurant. Quite simply, they were remarkable because – and this is the crucial bit – they believed in their own beauty.
They walked tall and proud, their confidence evident for all to see. They dazzled, not because they were better, but because in a world in which we are continually programmed to be made to feel inferior or not good enough, they unapologetically dared to love and be themselves.
Everywhere I go, I see and meet incredibly beautiful women and I’m not just talking appearance wise, but something more. Something deeper. Yet these beautiful women appear to have no idea just how special they are, so oblivious they are to their own beauty.
Have you ever noticed how often women hide themselves? Or make themselves less?
If you look, you’ll find women are doing it everywhere. You may even be doing it yourself. Covering up in baggy clothes or dressing only in drab colours. Walking quickly, head down or remaining quiet in meetings. Wearing unremarkable outfits instead of something more special.
Women are afraid to be seen.
Fearful of who we are, anxious about how we come across, decades of conditioning by a society that judges women on everything, has stopped us from stepping into our own limelight. Prevented us from taking centre stage.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. No longer do we have to be anything we are told to be, we just have to be ourselves. When I think back to my memories of Natalie and Helen and how magnificent they were, it really is that simple. Surrounded by people who disliked themselves in some way or form, these too lovely females shone because they did the opposite.
We have to stop comparing and stop wishing we could be different. Accept our flaws and learn to love them.
It really shouldn’t be so hard to see our own beauty. In fact, if we only opened our eyes, we’ll see that it’s been staring us right in the face all along.