It is frequently the case that the tearful woman who comes to see me for her first appointment has lost her strength and self-confidence. As her case progresses, however, the client undergoes a transformation. She begins to reassert herself and resumes control of her future.
Years later, I can bump into the same client and barely recognise the energetic, self-assured woman who stands before me. We women are far stronger than we know. Some of us only realise this strength after years of conditioning and low self-esteem. Others are strong inside and out – and they have always known it.
I was musing upon this recently, after I ended up sitting next to two fashionably dressed men at the recent Selfridges sale in London. (Sat next to? During a sale? Yes. The only way to shop the Selfridges sale is to fight your way through the massive front doors, check out the crowds, immediately admit defeat, head straight for the champagne bar, order a glass of pink champagne and unwind while watching the throng do battle. I also recommend finding some stylish company with whom to share the moment!)
All three of us watched, open-mouthed in admiration, as the woman on the television screen above our heads made her recorded appearance at Selfridges. The singer Grace Jones emerged from a Range Rover, dressed in gold, and stood on the bonnet of the car waving to the crowds. She looked amazing.
Known for her striking appearance, strong voice, extraordinary hairstyle, modelling, film appearances and larger than life temperament, Grace Jones has dared to appear on stage with live lions and tigers. She currently appears in concert wearing only a series of fantastic jackets, hats and a thong. Once, during a well reported altercation – and there have been many – she is alleged to have described herself as “Queen Bitch Jungle Mother of New York”. She certainly makes life interesting for us!
I am in awe of these strong women who choose to live life their own way. They may begin with very little, but they seize upon all that they have been blessed with. They do it themselves. They don’t need or depend upon men or other women. Versatile and determined, they make the most of their own abilities and talents. Their inner tigers have been unleashed.
Strong women are not clingy and do not prolong doomed relationships simply to feel secure. Neither do they seek out relationships because they feel lonely, nor endeavour to always have a relationship on the go. They respect themselves and have confidence in themselves and their own lives, without the need for a prop.
Strong women do not wallow in self-pity – or if they do, they never let the public see them cry. Publicly, they aren’t afraid to make mistakes. They expect to trip up. Whenever they fall off the merry-go-round called Life – as, inevitably, all of us do – they pick themselves up and step back on it again. They don’t worry about what others think of them. They aren’t perfect – but so what? They don’t care.
Have you heard Grace Jones sing La Vie en Rose? If you haven’t, I’ve attached a clip (below) for you to enjoy. If you have, I’m sure you will want to listen to it again.
Edith Piaf, who wrote the words to this famous love song, had a tragic, passionate and complicated life. She was named La Mome (“Little Sparrow”) because of her waif-like looks. In her version of La Vie en Rose she is clearly affected by her own experiences. She sings of her love for a man by whom she is overwhelmed, life becoming suddenly “in the pink”. Her rendition, because of the way she lived her life and accompanied as the song is by the unspoken thought that it is doomed, is accepted as the most romantic. At the same time it is, for me, the most tragic way of delivering this beautiful love song.
Grace Jones has a very different style, and her version has become an upbeat sophisticated, iconic cult song for fashionistas worldwide. Last year a specially produced version played at several top fashion shows, as models sashayed down the catwalk to her extraordinary voice.
In her version of La Vie en Rose, Grace Jones celebrates love her way. She is a woman who is enjoying being in love. She is not dependent on her lover, she is not needy of him and there is no unspoken fear that he will leave her. She shares with us only her passion, her feelings and sensations of being in love. She celebrates that love unequivocally and – most importantly, from my point of view – without asking anything of her lover in return.
Strong women are their own women. They live life and they enjoy love – but they enjoy it their way.
By the way, if you still don’t believe me about the benefits of a lifetime of workouts, check out some of the more recent pictures of the Coolest Woman on the Planet still looking fabulously toned, lithe and strong. She will be 62 this year.