Beauty, though, is also a source of power. The classic example is human-rights lawyer Amal Clooney.
Now I have it, or at least enough of it. And I'm experiencing its effect on others, both men and women. Female lawyers, of any age, can learn from my experience.
At age 72, the magical "it" came together.
"It" happened over a period of about four months.
The "it" is a combination of facial features, hair styling, makeup, dress, and, of course, presence.
I knew it was happening even before a woman in my Youngstown, Ohio support group pulled me aside post-meeting. "You're beautiful," she said. "Especially your hair," she added.
No surprise, the older man in an upstairs apartment cleared the snow from my car.
A younger man blushed and asked me to Starbucks.
All this has been an unexpected development.
Toward the end of the 1960s, a Masters student in environmentalism at the University of Michigan fixed his friend in a doctoral chemistry program up with me. I had been a doctoral student in linguistics and literature.
I found out later, the briefing included, "She's not pretty."
The chemistry student and I became engaged to be married. But if you don't love yourself how can you allow anyone else to love you. That ended. I never did marry.
That's the first part of my beauty secret: Love to love yourself. It took five years of zen training and daily meditation to get a hang of that.
In addition, the miracle occurred: I found a hairdresser who understands my difficult hair. She is Lisa, the stylist at the JC Penney Salon, Austintown, Ohio.
Although Lisa could have earned a lot of money coloring my hair, she recommended I not do that. The thick white mop is, well, a stand-out.
There is also the acquisition of presence. I had to relocate from the rat race of New York Metro to the Midwest to figure out my worth. Now that I have, it shows in how I carry myself, my facial expressions, and the colors I select for clothes.
Amazingly, I calmed down about operating my communications boutique. That has resulted in record revenues for 2107. Believe in yourself, and they will come. I turn down more assignments than I accept.
Of course, the challenge is to hold on to this state of beauty. Beauty is prized because it can be fleeting.
My confidence about that comes from a conversation I had had on a bus in Paris in the beginning of the 1970s. A woman about 80 radiated beauty. "You are doing what you want," she commented to me. "I can tell," she assessed.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to hold onto that when I returned to the U.S. Now, I am wiser. Finally, at age 72, I have returned to doing what I want.
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