The thing about beauty

lola

The thing about beauty is that actually it doesn´t have much to do with looks at all. It´s not about the colour of your hair, or your size, or your shape. It´s all in here.´She tapped her head.

“… `I hated school´, she told me yesterday. `I hated the kids and the teachers too. All those people who thought I was a freak, and who wouldn´t sit with me because of the herbs and stuff Mum used to put into my pockets. Asfoetida  -God, that´s Rank- and patchouli because it´s supposed to be spiritual, and dragon´s blood, that gets everywhere and leaves these red stains- And so the other kids used to laugh at me, and say I´d got nits, and say I smelt. And even the teachers got drawn in, and one woman  -Mrs. Fuller, she was called-  gave me a talk about personal higiene…´

`That´s rotten!´

She grinned. `I paid them back´

`How?´

`Another time, perharps. The point is, Nanou, that for a long time I thought it was my fault. That I really was a freak, and I´d never amount to anything.´

`But you´re so clever -and besides, you´re gorgeous.´

`I didn´t feel clever or gorgeous then. I never felt good enough, or clean enough, or nice enough for them. I never bothered to do any work. I just assumed everyone was better than me. I talked to Mindly all the time-´

She stopped talking, and I looked at her, trying to imagine her in those days. Trying to imagine her without her confidence, her beauty, her style…

`The thing about beauty,´Zozie said, `is that actually it doesn´t have much to do with looks at all. It´s not about the color of your hair, or your size, or your shape. It´s all in here.´She tapped her head. `It´s how you Walk, and talk, and think -and whether you Walk about like this-´

lol

`Call it attitude, if you like. Call it carisma, or chutzpah, or glamour, or charm. Because basically it´s just about standing straight, looking people in the eye, shooting them a killer smile and saying, fuck off, I´m fabulous.´

And then suddenly she did something that really startled me. She changed her face. Not like pulling a face, or anything; but her shoulders slumped, and she turned her eyes away, and her mouth drooped somehow, and she made her hair into a limp kind of curtain, and suddenly she was someone else, someone else un Zozie´s chothes, not ugly, not quite, but someone you wouldn´t turn round to see twice, someone you´d forget as soon as they´d gone.

`-or like this, ´she said, and she shook her hair and straightened up and just like that she was Zozie again, brilliant Zozie with her jingling bangles and her black-and-yellow peasant skirt and her pink-streaked hair and bright-yellow patent platform shoes that would have just looked weird on anyone else, but on Zozie they looked terrific, because she was Zozie, and everything does.

`Wow,´I said. `Could you teach me that?´

`I just did,´she said, laughing.

`It looked like -magic,´I said.

`Then call it something else.´She shrugged. `Call it attitude, if you like. Call it charisma, or chutzpah, or glamour, or charm. Because basically it´s just about standing straight, looking people in the eye, shooting them a killer smile and saying, fuck off, I´m fabulous.´

grafitti

Well, most magic really is that simple.

I laughed at that, and not just because Zozie had said the f-Word. `I wish I could do that,´I said.

`Try it,´said Zozie. `You might be surprised.´

Of course I was lucky. Today was exceptional. Even Zozie couldn´t have known. But I did feel different, somehow; more alive, as if the wind had changed.

First there was Zozie´s whole attitude thing. I´d promised her I´d try it, and so I did, feeling just a bit self-conscious this morning with my hair just washed and a Little of Zozie´s rose perfurm on, as I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and practised my killer smile.

I have to say, it didn´t look bad. Not perfect, of course, but really, it makes a world of difference if you stand up straight and say the words (even if it´s only in your head).

 

Fuente: Joanne Harris, The Lollipop Shoes, Chapter 5

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