Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

I almost hit someone this week, my Gentle Penguin.

I had pulled into a parking spot at a popular lunch venue near my client while I finished a conversation with my daughter who had just finished taking the PSAT.  We were discussing her morning and the logistics of the rest of the day—a day filled to overflowing for me.  In fact, it was already close to 2pm, and I was just then finding a moment to break for a quick lunch, a lunch I wouldn’t get to take as I noticed the clock moving quickly toward my next meeting time.

We finished our conversation, and I hung up, put the phone down and checked my rear-view mirror for cars.  Despite the late lunch hour, there was still a steady stream of traffic flowing through the parking lot.  However, after about four cars, I saw a break and began to back up.

It only took a moment for the rear alarm to sound and for the woman’s yellow sweater to come into my line of vision.  I hit my brakes hard but was sure before they finished their job I would hit her.

Somehow I didn’t.

She sort of gasped and kept walking at her normal speed while two or three of her friends hurried up to make sure she was alright.  One of them, a short man, glared at me.  And I sat perfectly still wondering, quite honestly, how I had not hit her.  But that was Wednesday.  It’s now Friday morning and I’m still thinking about that moment…after I had not hit her, after she had gasped, after her friend glared at me.  And I wonder.  No one said a word.  Neither she nor her friends yelled at me, nor apologized, nor did anything out of the ordinary after that brief moment of concern.  Likewise, I didn’t apologize, nor check to make sure she was okay, nor do anything out of the ordinary.  In fact, I went about my day with the motions as if nothing had happened.

True, nothing HAD happened.  But still, it had.  It was one of those rare moments when I realized just how much every choice, even every movement can result in change, how even the most insignificant reflex could cause significant consequences.  And that revelation weighed heavy on me the rest of the day…well, truth be told, it still does.

But it seems, I wasn’t to bear this revelation .  There’s a flip side to that coin, and I found myself staring at it only four short hours later.  A woman sat in a room filled with a bunch of other men and women and admitted she was self-conscious of her smile.  She hated her smile.  In fact, she hated it so much that she went to great lengths to keep from smiling.  That’s when the woman sitting next to her giggled and patted her on the arm.  “OH!” she exclaimed, “that’s why you always seem like you’re angry.”

“What?” said the woman who hated her smile.  “You think I seem angry?  I’m not angry.  I just have an awful smile.”

“Let me see,” said the second woman.

The first woman obliged and smiled so genuinely that we were all taken aback by how much the smile changed her appearance…from old to young, from severe to lively, from someone to be avoided to someone we’d want to talk to.

“Wow!,” said the second woman, “You have a great smile!”  Everyone chimed in in agreement, even as the first woman’s protests grew—how crooked her teeth were, how dingy they were, how her lips were too thin and uneven and how wrinkles deepened in her cheeks and neck when she smiled.  We didn’t see any of that.  And we told her so.

Finally, the second woman laid her hand on the first woman’s arm and said gently, “when you smile, I want to give you not only a job; I want to give you everything, including my friendship.”

We were stunned.  The first woman was stunned.  Then she asked the question that must be asked, “does something so small as a smile really make that much difference?”

The answer is an unequivocal “yes!”

I was still thinking of the woman I had almost hit during that conversation, and even yet still two hours later when the woman who hated to smile came back into the meeting room where I was tidying up, preparing to leave.  She had been there that evening to learn networking tips in preparation for a series of high-powered networking events starting that very evening after my presentation to this group.  She was there because she needed a job and was trying.  And she was smiling.

“Pardon me,” she said a little shyly, “I feel like I must tell you something.”  I smiled my public speaking smile full of wattage and sparkle and nodded to encourage her to continue.  “During your presentation you said something about moving around the room hoping to bump into someone.  Well, I couldn’t stop thinking about something my dad used to say to me.  ‘If you don’t want to change, don’t move.  If you don’t want to grow, stand still.  But sooner or later something or someone will probably bump into you and change will happen anyway.’  Who knew something so small as a smile would be the bump I needed.”

Perhaps my almost bumping a woman in a parking lot at a popular luncheon venue on a busy day was a bump really meant for me.

Even now, early squirrely Friday morning, I am haunted by that thought…as I hear my new neighbor’s car door shut and think still of a woman I almost hit, as the wind rattles my window pane and I think of the crazy fast pace of my days of late, as my dog snuggles closer to me after I shift under the covers and I think of how a smile can change a life.  So many bumps in my night, so many bumps in my life.  And my life goes on…changing.

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One of my dear friends just received the most gorgeous diamond ring from her soul mate.  And I realized on Day Eighteen that I hadn’t had a chance to stare at it long enough yet, though admittedly after a while the glare could begin to affect my vision.  It was a risk I was willing to take.

So Sunday when she suggested a shopping excursion, it only took the promise of some tea to spur me there.

We met, me in a carefully constructed casual feminine outfit that said sexy, and she in her casually thrown on casual, but completely exotic summer dress.  Not to mention the ring.

I admire her style and aspire to the casualness with which she uses it.  Perhaps some of it would rub off on me.

The topic of conversation, of course, began with her ring before meandering through men, plans for the future, jobs, families and friends.   Meanwhile, we meandered through the lingerie store.  I merely looked as I had no pressing need for anything.  But I toyed with the notion that  desires in this store had direct impact on ability to invoke desires elsewhere.

However, nearly half an hour later we both emerged with pink striped bags filled with lace and tissue paper, and mischief in our eyes.  It’s difficult to not feel mischieveous when you’re walking around with lace at your fingertips.

On to the next!  The makeup store was two doors down, and I needed a new lipstick.  My friend needed a perfume.

The saleswoman found me pondering color choices, flavors and texture.  “Let me help you find the perfect shade.”  I like this…someone to point me honestly in the right direction when I don’t understand all my options.  And someone who gives me honest feedback from a place of knowledge and good standing.  You see, it turns out that orange and brown tones, which I always thought looked good on me, are absolutely horrid.  I do much better with rich plums or light pinks.

Minus several dollars later, we emerged again, purchases tucked in another beautiful bag.  It was time to just walk around.  We did, noticing that we were being noticed and feeling more feminine for the knowledge of what was in our bags.

It’s true what they say, you know–confidence and beauty are sometimes a state of attitude…brought on by lacy underwear and lipstick.

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