This I Believe

Anne Marie - Centerville, Ohio
Entered on February 11, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe that lipstick can transform a day. I believe that the simple application of color to your lips can turn the hopelessness of any moment into a promise of newness, at least for a brief time. Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and seen the lines of worry, the dark circles of weariness, the paleness of fatigue, or the puffiness of cried out eyes? Who among us has been exempt from that moment of “oh no” followed by the heaviest of sighs. “Where do I go from here?” you might think. Yet the much needed transformation can begin simply with the swipe and smack of your lipstick which is likely just a fingertip away waiting in your handbag.

I remember a time when my daughter called me from college, her first year away from home trying to make her way in this new place of self discovery. She was learning to stand up straight in her life, and often the challenge of standing up straight to reach for new heights was preceded and or followed by a falling down which inevitably hurt; and sometimes hurt deeply. One particular time, our long distance space was filled with the sound of sobs being poured from her young heart. I heard them clearly, and the sounds of her heart purging were embraced by this mother’s heart breaking for the despair that was so evident. I listened and I listened knowing that my tenure of fixing was behind both of us. After a while, I heard the sobs turn to sighs, and eventually there was the BIG sigh which signaled to me that she was just plain cried out. I could have, in that moment used a plethora of words to instruct, advise, educate, or counsel her; yet in that instant, there was nothing else to say other than, “I think it is now time to go put on some lipstick.”

Any of us can imagine what a bit of “Garnet Frost” can do. Does that not bring a smile and sense of “otherness” to your rhythm? And it is that brightening power that can potentially bring the change in direction to your day. Lipstick can make us feel powerful, it can make us feel strong, and it can often say to the world, “I am ready for you”. I always make sure I have my complete collection of colors at hand so that I can tend to my lips with whatever is required at that moment. Perhaps some Stiletto Red” is needed to instill confidence, or maybe a smudge of “pink shimmer” can remind us that we are indeed attractive and charming. Sometimes I even apply two colors for those occasions when one just doesn’t seem enough.

Of course, I am not implying that something as superficial as lipstick can be a solution to the varied problems that life offers us. Living a connected life brings the widest range of challenges; from happiness to despair, and everything imaginable that falls between such a continuum. Often, such challenge requires us to dig our heels into the dirt below us and find a way to put one boot in front of the other as we slowly and sometimes painfully trudge our way through such uninvited mud. Imagine choosing something like “Coral Blossom” as you put on your boots. Other times, our hearts are so filled with hope and joy and we have to remind ourselves that we are indeed present within life’s abundant bouquet. Regardless of how we are present to life, applying lipstick can provide whimsical and fresh relief that can either lift you or sustain you in your current day. There have been many times when the awareness of what lipstick can do has been empowering and bright. So I encourage you to appreciate your lip colors. Perhaps you can treat yourself to a new shade. My guess is that when you become aware of the power of lipstick, you will never again leave your lips neglected and void of the delightful presence of color. And then perhaps you can share those wise words with another friend, sister, mother or daughter….”It is now time to go and put on some lipstick”.