Real Deal

Spring is going to mean a little more to Austinites this year, because for once it actually feels like we had a winter.

I have been layered in monochromatic colors long enough; it’s time to kick off my boots and wiggle my painted toes into some strappy shoes. Heck, I’m even ready to switch gears from cedar allergies to pollen, just to change things up.

This is the time of year when nature goes through a transformation, breaking out of dormancy and bursting into color and new life. The air smells different. The light looks different, and green returns. The season tastes different, with new spring foods coming along. The world sounds different in the mornings, too, when we wake up to the chatter of the early birds again.

It’s time to stretch and shake off the winter, come out of hibernation and renew ourselves inside and out. Spring is a wake-up call to remember what it means to feel beautiful and fully alive.

But there is no amount of style that can make a woman lovely on the outside when she doesn’t feel loved and lovely on the inside. There is no dress that can make us confident. No manicure color that can make love ooze out of our hands when we touch the lives of our people. No shoes that can make us walk the walk or truly stand tall. No wrap can cover us from the chill of loneliness when our heart is running on fumes. No sunglasses can cut the glare of selfishness and help us really see people. No lipstick can make our smile real, our words kind, or our laughter contagious. No watch can keep us from wasting precious time by not being present and authentic. No lingerie is as sexy as genuine generosity, loyalty, and warmth. No earrings can sparkle the way a woman does when she really listens. No handbag is big enough for the woman who refuses to shed her baggage and travel light.

What I’m saying is this: we spend time and money making the outside pretty, and that’s not a bad thing. But what if this spring we spent some time (and maybe money?) making the inside fresh and absolutely gorgeous. I know some women who are good-looking people, but nowhere near beautiful because their hearts aren’t right. I also know some average-looking gals who are stunning, gorgeous and a magnet to men, women, children, and dogs everywhere they go—because they radiate beauty from heart center.

I have a hard enough time understanding and applying this wisdom to myself, let alone translating it to my daughters as they walk the bouncy rope bridge between girls and women. But I try to convey the absolute necessity of being our real selves. I tell them that being free, open, and at ease in our own skin is the best outfit. I try to explain that we get more beautiful when we seek what is beautiful—when we do what we love, when we see the humor, when we embrace the light in ourselves and in one another. I tell my girls that when we stare at oceans, mountains, trails, sunrises, sunsets, stars, flowers, fireworks, and tables at farmers’ markets, we can’t help but absorb all of that beauty in our bones. I explain that of all the things you do to get ready to face the world, the most important thing is to brush your teeth, because a smile is the finest accessory of all.

Being really beautiful—I mean being an absolute stunner, an eye-popper, a neck-twister, a knockout, a perfect ten—is well within the reach of every woman. Because the secret (shhhh!) of beauty is not the thing you think people remember about you. Beauty is a little bit about what you look like, but it’s everything about the way you make people feel.


Illustration by Joy Gallagher

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