Allow me to preface this by saying that I LOVE lipstick, and makeup in general. It’s fun for me. It’s like art for your face. It’s really not about impressing anyone…it’s not for anyone else but me for that matter…but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, I use to wear makeup for other people because I thought I wasn’t “pretty” without it…I thought…I HAVE to look “beautiful” or…(or what?)…and I was pretty damn proud of myself for getting over that shit. For no longer feeling “unpretty” or “not enough” without makeup. For knowing my beautiful worth.
In fact, in the past 3-4 years, I have done a lot of intense healing in terms of my self-worth and have started FINALLY stepping hardcore into my authenticity + true expression. I freaking LOVE me, with AND without makeup, and I will never apologize for walking out of the house with a naked face again. I will also never feel the need to justify or defend my feminine power/feminist/femmefluence/strong womanhood/etc…for enjoying painting my face for my own special funzies, because it’s my face, my body, and my JAM.
Recently, though, I realized that even though I have worked through the “I need makeup to be attractive” monster, and despite my journey back into my authentic voice and owning my unicorn-y goodness, I was duping myself in a very subtle way.
It was deliciously sneaky and I have to give those mind trolls major kudos, because they were really sly about it.
So what caused this massive moment of epiphany? Lipstick.
Yep, that’s right…LIPSTICK.
So, here’s the scoop. I went to Target to stock up on some “health + beauty” (what an asinine name for a category) products, which, is like…a religious experience for me, no joke. I wondered into the makeup section to stock up on some of my old stand by basics which were running low, and there it was. Standing in front of me…just like last time, and the time before that…and the many times before that: NYX Liquid Suede lipstick in Amethyst. It’s this rich, deep, BRIGHT, gorgeous shade of purple and it was calling my name…loudly (maybe it was just my imagination, but it may have been dancing).
I will own that I was probably having a major Ally McBeal moment with that lipstick, but that is neither here nor there.
Back to the point! I had stood in this same exact spot on multiple occasions, wanting that lipstick, yet always always always leaving without it. I would spend 15 minutes or even more, standing there, wrestling with it. Putting it in my basket, taking it out, putting it back, grabbing it again. One time I got all the way to the register with it and convinced myself to put it back because it wasn’t necessary. Save money, right? Makeup is EXPENSIVE!
My logic was being, well, logical…I didn’t NEED it, it was an unnecessary expense from something I wasn’t sure I would like (best to stick with what I know works), I would probably never use it, it might not look good one me, I should probably just stick to “normal” colors like pink and maybe red, etc… yada yada. Logical.
But as I stood there for the 897th time, staring at this violet tube of awesome, doing my coy little dance between simple joy and rationality, I said, “The hell with this!” (out loud…a lady looked at me weird) and I put it in my basket and pinkie-swore myself to walk out of that store with the damn lipstick…no take-backs.
And I did. (I paid for it first…I’m not that much of a rebel).
As I walked out of the store with my daughter, my husband and my little Target bag carrying my beautiful purple cosmetic confection, I smiled wide and like a little kid with a new toy, I couldn’t wait to get home and try it out.
And then I waited 4 DAYS before I even took it out of the bag.
It was like a forbidden fruit. Dare I?
I spent 4 DAYS hemming and hawing…did I make a mistake? Was I irresponsible? What if I hate it…can I return it? SHOULD I return it without even trying it? Where will I ever wear it? WHEN will I wear it? What if people stare at me like I’m a nut? Who even wears bright crayola-purple lipstick except for on Halloween? I went round and round and then finally I figured, oh well…I bought it…damage done, I might as well try it out. So I put it on, and I instantly loved it…I mean I LOVED IT. I felt BADASS.
And then just as quick I went back to my previous line of thinking….
And it was in THAT moment that I had my epiphany…
Those EFFING mind trolls…sneaky bastards that they are…had me convinced that even though it was affordable…even though it was beautiful, colorful, fun, unique and pretty….even though it TOTALLY spoke to me and fit my personal style, preferences and expression perfectly…even though it resonated with me and felt 100% authentic to ME…that even though it actually did look QUITE good on me…and even though it made my heart and soul do a happy, sparkly shimmy-shake dance all over the place like a drunken squirrel… that somehow, what was MORE important was that others might look at me and think I’m a total weirdo freak, not normal, and probably a serial killer…let alone what kind of mother I must be, because moms shouldn’t be loud or colorful or different. I felt BAD for feeling awesomely myself and expressing myself outwardly in a way that I personally enjoyed…that felt real and authentic…but was not the norm.
All this inner tug-of-war, because of a lipstick.
WHAT THE HELL? How did THAT get in there, and how on EARTH was that hiding?
Now, maybe y’all don’t deal with this kind of thing and maybe I’m a hot mess, I don’t know…but what I have found is that this is a pretty common struggle with everyone, but especially with creatives. And maybe for you it isn’t lipstick…maybe it’s a hair style, or the way you dress. Maybe you don’t struggle with self-expression in those ways at all. Maybe you could give a hoot and a half what people think of you in terms of whether or not you break traditional molds. Maybe for you…it’s your verbal or written expression…maybe it’s how you talk (or don’t talk) to/with others. Maybe for you it’s more about what you create…your art, your music, your whatever. Maybe it’s that you love differently. Maybe you feel stuck in a gender identity that doesn’t fit. (By the way this is in no way meant to compare gender identity and sexual orientation struggles to choosing a lipstick…but the underlying issue with being outside of society’s definition of “normal” and compromising our authenticity is the same, whether on a very small or very large scale).
Regardless of where your mind trolls kick your booty concerning your self-expression + identity, isn’t it CRAZYPANTS the way that they can make us hide behind “normal”? The way that they can keep us stuck, watered down, diluted, small…skirting on the periphery of our authenticity, one foot in and one foot out…committed in our head, our heart and our spirit to who we are, how we see ourselves, how we feel and how we want to express ourselves to the world, but too afraid to manifest it completely. We commit lie after lie against ourselves…who we are and what our hearts want + need because of this one tiny phrase:
What will they think?
Will they still accept me? Will they still love me? Will how they look at me change? Will they take me seriously?
As I sit here, happily + proudly wearing my Amethyst lipstick for the 3rd day in a row…i can honestly say I don’t give a flying flamingo. I like it. In fact, I LOVE IT.
It’s fun and it brings me joy and that’s that.
So I want to leave you with this though, beautiful. soul…
Don’t be afraid to add a little color to your life.
Wear that purple lipstick.
Dye your hair green.
Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, fabulous or rock & roll.
Speak your mind, stand in your truth (disclaimer…not an excuse for cruelty – be kind peeps, your truth shouldn’t be about bringing anyone else down…but lifting YOU up)
Love whoever you want…period.
Write that book about sex or harpsichords…paint that picture of a landscape or a monster…dance that dance…sing that song….follow that dream
Do it even if you think others will look at you weird, or it won’t sell, or it’s not what people expect from you…
Step up. Be Brave.
SHINE ——> DO IT FOR YOU.
Stop hiding behind “normal”…
…Because #Truthbomb: It’s YOUR life + You get to define YOUR normal.