Tag Archives: truth

10 Universal Truths (about wearing red lipstick)

There are some things that red-lipstick-wearers know to be true:

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  1. The search for that perfect shade is a Grail Quest that will last a lifetime.
    And as soon as you find it, they’ll discontinue it. In the meantime, you just walk around the drug store like this:
    IMG_5186
  2. Technique. It’s a killer.
    IMG_5979 Ok, so first foundation, then powder, lip liner, stain, and finally lipstick? But not from the tube. Has to be applied with a brush. Wait, was the powder supposed to come before your first application, or after? And then blott? I don’t even know anymore.

  3. Perfection is the only acceptable paradigm.
    IMG_4340
    Nothing has the potential to look messier than red lip color.

  4. Whiten those pearly whites.
    IMG_5982
    Red lipstick does not make your teeth look whiter. Every minute stain left from coffee, tea, or your long-gone smoking habit will be heinously highlighted. You have been warned.

  5. Every water bottle you own is gonna look like this:
    IMG_5452No matter how many times goes through the dishwasher or soaks in the sink.

  6. Contouring.
    IMG_5980What is this witchcraft?!

  7. One is never enough.
    sephora I have an entire make-up bag of red lipstick, lip liners, and stains. And I’m not sorry.

  8. Friends, family, and lovers BEWARE.
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    My kiss is deadly! Uh, well, I mean, not deadly, but definitely long-lasting.
  9. And your average make-up remover? HA!
    IMG_4985Try a sand-blaster, my friend. That shit is never coming all the way off. Doubly true if you touch or wipe your mouth by accident. “Oh this? Yeah, I’m just not responsible enough to wear lipstick without getting it all over myself.”

  10. In the end, it’s all worth it to apply that liquid confidence and strut your stuff.
    Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.41.15 AM No matter if your battle armor is applied out of a tube — you rock that mutha-f*cka.

    IMG_4516
    Ohhh yeeeah.
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A perfect storm

Actor Robin Williams took his own life today. By all accounts an extremely funny, extremely intelligent person, he lost a battle with depression. I’m probably more upset by this than I have any right to be — Mr. Williams being an actor and a public figure whom I enjoyed does not mean that he belongs to me in any sense. It doesn’t seem right to eulogize someone I have never, and now will never, meet, despite his featuring prominently in the entertainment landscape of my childhood. Maybe it’s just that his humor resonated with me, because I see similarities to my own sense of humor… and maybe because his actions today resonate with me, also.

Seems to me that it goes something like this: A good sense of humor is an indication of intelligence. Intelligence is a predisposing factor to depression and mental illness. People who are depressed are also more likely to be humorous, probably as a result of their higher intelligence and perhaps as a result of coping mechanisms developed to mitigate their depression.

Smart people are also marginalized in our society. Those who suffer with depression and other mental illnesses are likewise stigmatized. We use humor to deflect and cover up our wounds, and then we suffer quietly. Alone. As we spend more time alone, we are observed to be introverted. People who are introverted, on the whole, seem to be less desirable companions and are therefore sought out less by their peers. In the end, you get a bunch of smart, suffering, funny people with no close friends.

And then we kill ourselves because human beings aren’t meant to be islands (Bon Jovi had that right) but what choice does a person have when their territory is being colonized by naysayers and doubters and people who, in general, just want to make you feel bad for being who you are and enjoying what you like.

Seriously. Fuck those people.

This is what being a Stigma Fighter is about. Standing up to the unenlightened masses who would prefer to see a greatly homogenized culture instead of embracing and celebrating our differences, mental illness included. I wonder if Mr. Williams, had he known about our mission, would have joined us. Something tells me he might have done just that.

Writing through the fear

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If I weren’t afraid, what would I write about?

Creative people sacrifice a great deal of themselves for their craft. It takes a lot of energy and confidence to take an idea, put your force of will behind it, give it lift, give it traction, and make it a reality. And sometimes we don’t have the freedom to tell our stories as we see fit. After all, we aren’t the only characters in our tales — there were other people there, too. Perhaps the artist doesn’t feel the need for self-preservation, but their loved ones do. How will they feel about their story being told alongside yours? I’ve struggled with this often.

We want to fight against the institution of stigma, but have to confront that the wardens of that institution are often those people who profess to love us the most: mothers, fathers, siblings, or friends. Perhaps their unconditional love and support doesn’t cover our attempts to feed our souls through our creativity. To surrender ourselves to living in silence or conducting part of our journey in secret protects their feelings, but also relegates us to living a half-life, unactualized and bifurcated by fear: truth on one side, peace-keeping on the other.

It’s important to recognize just how much power you give to others and if they are using it responsibly. There are those emotional tyrants who would rather you continue to live on the fringes, just so they can save face. They have robbed you of the rights to your own story, merely because they played a part in it and are ashamed of their conduct. And because you are caring, self-sacrificing, and willing, you will allow them to dictate how you live your life and what stories you will tell.

I have been in some abusive relationships. The militant part of me has welled up with righteous anger and the need to strike back, but I have always held myself back. I don’t want to hurt or offend with my writing — I write to feed my soul, and no nourishment is found in words that harm. But it’s more than that — I hold back because my love for these tyrants, regardless of their warped thinking, asks me to be kind. Asks me to put their need for under-rug-swept before my need for transparency. I think that most victims of emotional abuse, even physical abuse, face a similar quandary: how to do free yourself from the stigma of illness and abuse when doing so would harm your abuser, whom you love?

If I were unafraid, what stories would I tell?

All of them.


The quote pictured above was taken from author, Rachel Thompson, from a Facebook status made in June 2014. I invite you to check out more from Rachel here and here.