Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where's Your Swagger?

"the female... and this is pure science – heats up… slowly over a low heat, like a tasty stew.”
- From the novel The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

It takes time to develop swagger - it takes time to turn it on, and get that fire blazing. 

I define swagger as the certain je ne sais quoi that makes heads turn when you pass by. It’s your sex appeal, your inner hotness, and your confidence. And I’m certain everyone has it… but it takes time to build, especially if it has been shattered. 

How can you recognize swagger? For a woman, it's the shimmy in the hips when you’re walking with purpose. It’s the batting of eyelashes when you like what you see – even if you don’t realize you’re doing it.

It’s the toss of your hair that makes you look like you’re in a shampoo commercial when you’re just trying to wash the dishes. It’s the biting of the lip when you’re working a sudoku puzzle.  It’s in the way your face lights up when you laugh because of the joke your enamored made. Swagger.

If you’ve been juggling quite a plate, or have been though a divorce or a break up, you may not be aware of your swagger. You may think you’ve lost it. You may think you’re a walking ice cooler.

In the middle of being superwoman, managing a home, endless hours at work, a hell of a commute, and a cyclical rotation of the same daily, it's easy to think you’ve lost your swagger. It's easy to forget yourself. We’ve all been there. But you’ve still got it. It may not be readily apparent at the flick of a switch, but it's in there.

A friend of mine who went through a horrendous break up swore to me she didn’t have any swagger. She thought she had no hips to switch, eyelashes that were too short to bat, not enough hair to toss, and her lips were chapped from obsessive biting. My poor mess of a heart broken friend was wrong.
She found it! While on her daily commute she realized how unapproachable she was because she had a constant angry New Yorker look on her face (it’s kind of like what your face would contort to when the sun glare is in your eyes). Then she thought of what her face would look like if she were on vacation with the sun gently beaming on a white sandy beach. Then suddenly, she took a breath, relaxed and smiled her famous smile. Enter Swagger. 

If a smile on your face is not a high enough dose of swagger for you, try some at-home remedies allow that swagger to shine through. Take a bubble bath. Try to shave your legs more than once this week (um, or this month). Wear sexy underwear. Get all dolled up and then go out. Even if you have no one to go with, go home to, or if you only go to CVS, it will do some good. Playing dress up as a little girl made us feel all grown-up and beautiful. Playing dress up as a woman, well, it has the same effect.

What is the point of all this? When you cook a meal, you put lots of love into it – and you know love is the best recipe of all. Putting in some effort to invest in YOU will be enough to bring out that natural swagger. Just a dash of love. Besides, it takes time to make a tasty stew. 

This is an edited version of an article I wrote that was published on the girlygazette in 2010.