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Renata Helfman

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The Power of Pretty

Posted: 05/30/2012 4:12 pm

Pretty is such a well, "pretty" word. I find myself saying it all the time, especially when I'm doing makeup. It is a gentle and feminine word that actually yields a lot of power and emotion and unlike its grown up counterpart "beautiful" it somehow seems less serious, less complimentary, or maybe it just sounds, well... pretty.

I heard this word in a whole different context today in the volunteer work I do at the hospital. Recently, I created a non profit organization, www.lipstickangels.org. In a nutshell, I enlist make-up artists like myself to visit very ill patients in the hospital and make them feel "pretty." Oh, there's that word again.

Today my patient (I like to think of them as clients) was 20 years old. She was escorted into my room by her entire family. She was too devastated and debilitated physically and emotionally to really even make eye contact with me. When we finally got her IV machine situated and had made her somewhat comfy in my makeup chair, her emotions finally got the best of her and she burst into tears. I took her release as my cue to get started on my best work. I told her George Clooney was coming by (we wished) and we better start getting her makeup on! We talked about how she had virtually no pores, perfectly arched eyebrows and the loveliest smile that could light up any room. As the mood in the room lightened and the jokes got passed around from Dad to Mom and her gorgeous sister (who by the way has been slumbering on a cot in her room ) I watched how this young girl blossomed. Even as she sat completely silent, I could feel her mood and spirit elevate .

As I passed her the mirror so she could see her face, all the colors and the luminous shine in her cheeks she wept again, but this time the tears were different. She cried out with all her strength, "I LOOK PRETTY!!"

So I ponder this word today because now it feels different and from this point on, always will. It feels significant and necessary. I learned today pretty is really a state of mind, not the way you look. It's about being cherished, cared for, noticed and most of all, being loved. I love what I do and often find that even the right shade of lipstick can make a girl's day. But my true work is in connecting and breaking through so when the mirror goes up, I see a girl who feels pretty.

 
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