Friday, January 8, 2016

A woman's beauty

There is a singular feature that men notice in a woman.

Although the curves get a lot of attention in the media and perhaps in juvenile conversation as well, there's more. There are eyes and ankles, and everything in between, all part of the picture and scoring on the scale of visual beauty.  Surprisingly, a man won't fall in love if that is all there is, even if she's a 10.

But he might fall in love if he sees that one feature that every man admires, ... and that's backbone.

She may or may not be a classic or modern beauty, a runway beauty, or a high school 'most beautiful', but if there's depth to her character, if there's courage of conviction, if there's substance to her as a person, he's impressed.  And maybe even stunned.  So much time and effort is spent on appearance and perhaps not so much on who they are, what they value, what they're willing to tackle in order to live up to their principles.

One of the more stunning young ladies I know has that quality.  She's pretty, wonderfully engaging and open, smart; okay, she's really attractive, but I don't think she knows or cares much.  What you notice when you talk with her is that she's a person of substance.  She's fought her way through school and college and graduate school, and she's on her way to Africa with the Peace Corps for two years.  She's scared, but she's going.  She wants to do something that makes a difference.  She's smart enough and has the credentials for big business and commensurate salary, but she wants substance and meaning in her life,  She's off on her adventure today.  I'm so impressed and almost jealous.  Only almost, because the next two years aren't going to be easy.    She's off to see the real world, knowing that everything she holds dear will be challenged, and she will be radically changed by her experience.

I'd tell my daughter's story which is similar, but I'm understandably prejudiced.  She was a talented ballerina, a comfortable scholar all the way through graduate school, and gorgeous, of course.  She also picked a path for her life where she could attend to things that mattered.  I remember her telling me, "I'm going to pour out my life on something, it might as well be something that makes a difference."

Crossing paths with such a person is refreshingly uplifting, encouraging in so many ways,

Women of substance, the ones who are genuinely admired, the ones who are truly beautiful people, they probably won't show up in Hollywood or on reality shows.  They live in a real world that is far above and beyond such things.  Of course.

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Memory Banda’s life took a divergent path from her sister’s. When her sister reached puberty, she was sent to a traditional “initiation camp” that teaches girls “how to sexually please a man.” She got pregnant there - at age 11.  Banda, however, refused to go. Instead, she organized others and asked her community's leader to issue a bylaw that no girl should be forced to marry before turning 18. She pushed on to the national level … with incredible results.