Colors of Compassion

I find myself obsessed with makeup as a distraction from what’s going on in America–and from what’s going on in my own life.

I don’t think it’s right that people claim the word trauma has been misused to refer to things that aren’t traumatic.

Only the person that’s the victim gets to decide the level of intensity of what they’ve experienced.

Ibram X. Kendi in a Twitter post stated that how Mr. Toupee interacted with LL Cool Joe at the debate could be traumatizing to viewers who have been victims of abuse or violence or other hardship.

I have gotten flak for talking about beauty and fashion in Left of the Dial. Critics railed against how I turned to a clothes rack to cope when I had an illness in my twenties.

Yet today as then I find myself running to open my closet doors to choose outfits when I’m outraged.

I spend an hour on the Sephora website viewing eye shadow palettes. Nothing catches my eye.

The point is that a person should believe in themselves when no one else does. And when self-esteem is hard to come by–either by looking in the mirror or because you don’t see yourself reflected in institutions of power–it’s time to give yourself love.

I say: do what’s healthy that makes you feel good. Stay away from energy vampires that suck the life out of you.

In the current climate you can’t read a social media feed or lift a fork at a table without people getting into a war of contempt with each other.

In fact this can be traumatizing. There’s a crisis of compassion going on.

This is why I believe in beauty: my mother takes off her mask and I see she’s been wearing lipstick under her face covering.

No one can see it yet she knows it’s there. It must cheer her up.

My Th(ink) eyeliner givers me the power to draw a line.

Think–I would tell anyone–think before you speak.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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