Irrepressible

Again a fashion magazine has offered wit and wisdom from the mouth of a beauty. In the October InStyle Cynthia Erivo is featured.

She is co-leading a GoFundMe for DRK Beauty: “A digital community that supports free therapy for women of color.”

Erivo is quoted:

“I have never put limits on what I want to wear and what I want to look like.”

Cynthia Erivo is a soulful vocalist. The actor won a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy.

I’m impressed because though I used to like to sing I’m no vocalist. People are stunned at this. They think that because I have an expressive commanding speaking voice that I also have a beautiful singing voice.

Not so. I tried out for the Glee Club in high school. I had to sing “Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah” so the director could hear how I sounded. My voice came out twisted like “Ha ha ha ha ha.” Of course I wasn’t chosen.

Erivo’s creative chops are destined to become iconic.

She is an inspiration to me for commingling art and activism.

We should all take a tip from Cynthia Erivo:

Be your irrepressible self. Be you-tiful.

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.

Sephora Showdown

A new Sephora opened in town.

It was worth it to wait on line outside the store for 35 minutes to gain entrance on the opening day.

The people-watching couldn’t be beat.

A microcosm of American women waited to get in. Ladies in hijabs. A teen in blue jeans texting while on line. A woman with a neon-pink headscarf.

I have altered a few details to protect confidentiality.

The point is women of all colors and creeds shop at Sephora. The desire to use makeup to brighten our faces and to feel good unites us.

Once inside I zoomed in on the $14 mascara I wanted to buy.

Waiting on line I heard the woman standing behind me complain:
“This line is taking too long. That woman at the register shouldn’t be taking all that time. Using those teenagers to get discounts.”

Lady shut up I wanted to say. You can afford to shop in Sephora so zip your lip.

Time’s up on acting entitled. It’s time to show privilege the door.

The cashiers were just doing their job. They’re not paid enough to have to put up with this noxious noise.

It took 10 minutes for me to get served. When I’m grateful to be alive and can walk down the street without getting shot at I’m not going to complain about anything.

My goal is to act bolder. I told a friend I wanted to act more assertive. To this he said: “You already are assertive.”

I encourage all women whether younger or older to make a statement. To not be afraid to speak out.

To stand for something as well as standing in line at Sephora.

More Myself

I checked this book out of the library.

You should buy the book to read and read again. There are gems of sentences that light up the narrative.

“More Myself” could describe my own journey towards Chris.

Keys on page 41 tells it like it is: “And often, the only way forward is through an exit door.”

This sums up leaving behind the person you used to be and the life you thought you should have.

After living indoors for over 5 months because of the pandemic I have come to see that going back to the way my life used to be isn’t an option.

The trademark I’ve claimed is the term “Left of the Dial.”

The bold act of cutting off my hair was the defining rebel yell:

“Here I am. I exist. Get over it.”

The freedom to be myself and the freedom to be yourself should not be watered down or sold to the highest bidder that wants to make us over into an acceptable version.

My Avant-garde haircut is uncommon. I won’t see myself walking down the street everywhere I go.

In her memoir the cover photo is the only photo of Alicia Keys. In her freestyle curly hair.

She calls her type of fashion “‘hood hippie”–a little boho; a little soul.

I take inspiration from reading More Myself. I dare say this is an odyssey that a lot of women go on in our lives.

Keys traveled to Egypt and Italy [she’s part Italian] after having a meltdown–a kind of existential crisis.

In her book she talks about her own #NoMakeup campaign that resonated with women everywhere.

Go on–buy More Myself and get ready to go on your own journey.

I’m glad I did.

Getting a Haircut During COVID-19

This is the best selfie I’ve ever taken. Which is a miracle as whenever I’ve taken selfies before I always look like a deer in headlights.

The genius who thought taking selfies was a good idea–what were they thinking?

The shampoo girl–an older woman–checked my temperature upon arrival.

The mask I wore was too big. The loops had to be criss-crossed to be snug around my ears.

So the hairdresser could cut around the ears I had to unloop the mask and hold it against my face.

Might it not be advisable to get a new haircut during the COVID-19 outbreak?

I showed the stylist a photo of the haircut I wanted to get.

The haircut will grow in longer which will be good.

I have given up on keeping my hair curly. It had gotten frizzy all this summer. Owing to wearing a face covering I wasn’t motivated to do anything to style my hair. Until now.

This is not a long sultry tresses goddess haircut.

It’s a haircut that makes a statement.

The statement is: “I’m a fan of the Cure and it’s 1987.”

Screw it–I decided–get a new style even though it might repel a man.

A woman should have fun with her hair.

Facing Our Faces

Magazine articles talk about how the use of filters on selfies has altered how women view themselves.

Seeking perfection is a myth because it implies there can be no growth. Achieving a perfect state there would be no higher you could go.

I’m doing things differently today to dismantle perfectionism.

The idea of not using a filter to change the appearance of my face and body appeals to me.

It’s a radical risk to go outside with your hair undone or your face without makeup. Mostly because women are held to and buy into a higher standard of what’s right.

The part of me that resists want to disrupt the traditional notion of what’s acceptable beauty.

At 55 years old I no longer cover applying a full face of makeup.
Those Sephora makeovers were gorgeous yet impossible to maintain day in and day out.

As well getting dolled up that way in my OKCupid photos did nothing to entrance men to send me messages.

It is in the imperfect where everyone shines as human beings who are our authentic selves.

Now I’m owed a free Sephora makeover. This time I will get one with a twist: to tell the makeup artist to use only 5 products. To design a look I can recreate on my own.

Today I think it’s time to celebrate differentness.

Glossy and stylized images aren’t real.

After the pandemic is over I intend to experiment with makeup in a subtle way.

Bravery is called for no matter how old a woman is.

The daring to look in the mirror and shout:

“I see you. I celebrate you.”

Real beauty is what’s on the inside. Expressing the inner outwardly is the goal. This is when a person is most beautiful:

Not being afraid to express themselves.

In the coming blog entry I talk about my experience getting a haircut during the pandemic. The photo of my haircut is unretouched. Without using a filter. In it I used only foundation blush mascara and lipstick.

You could call this approach a makeunder instead of a makeover.

There’s a thin line between art and artifice.

It’s time to get real. Some of us are getting depressed seeing photo-perfect images on Instagram.

My hope is to empower blog readers to do your own thing not what society tells you to do.

Dressing Your Truth

I want to talk about a system that I was skeptical about until I read about it in detail.

The personal stylist I talked with referred to the fact that I must be a Type 4 in the Dressing Your Truth system.

Would it be possible not to buy things on impulse that wind up shoved in the closet and unworn?

This I wondered about. How could a person’s facial features and body movement determine the clothes they should wear?

It seemed astounding and then I was astonished. So I bought the Style Kit for $59. There’s a private Facebook page for each of the four types. The women on the Facebook pages are encouraging and wonderful toward each other.

This might seem frivolous. Yet I’m all for anything that can give a person joy and hope in the time of the pandemic and beyond.

On the Style Kit envelope this message sums it up:

“The greatest thing you can do today is be your true self. When you are confident about who you are, opportunities open. When you live authentically, you inspire others to do the same.”

Optimism is called for. Change must happen if you ask me. I believe today is the day that change is possible.

In the next blog entry I’m going to quote Alicia Keys from her July 2020 InStyle interview.

She echoes what I’ve written in here before: see who a person is not who you think they are.

I find Dressing Your Truth and the corresponding book It’s Just My Nature! to be a fascinating study of what makes people tick.

Dressing Your Truth website.

Celebrate Instead of Tolerate

On the radio last week a therapist talked about celebrating others in the culture instead of only tolerating or accepting them.

I didn’t ever like the word tolerance precisely because I thought merely tolerating someone’s difference didn’t go far enough.

I have been turned off interacting with a man who turned out to be homophobic.

In my future OKCupid profile I’m going to list open-mindedness as one of the 6 Things I Can’t Live Without.

As I referred to recently in a blog entry here I have been writing about the beauty of individuality for years now.

Friday, June 19 is Juneteenth–the day of Freedom for African Americans in our history.

For awhile now I haven’t liked to celebrate the Fourth of July.

No only do I detest sitting around a patio table at a barbecue.

It has always rubbed me the wrong way that we were celebrating a holiday that didn’t guarantee every American their freedom.

And I don’t eat hot dogs or burgers–yet that’s another story.

We need to celebrate each other every day.

We should take joy and pride in everyone’s true nature.

We should hold in high esteem the culture they come from.

I have a couple of fashion binders and a beauty binder.

In the beauty binder I insert pages with tips on makeup taken from magazines.

In the beauty binder I insert photos of women of all colors.

I like to look through the photos for inspiration.

Everyone being ourselves makes the world wonderful.

I think every person living on earth is beautiful.

That a lot of people don’t view others this way is sad.

In coming blog entries I’m going to talk about what I think in more detail.

I’ll talk soon about a remarkable discovery I made two weeks ago. And about one of my earliest experiences in life as a teenager.

By telling my stories I hope to give others permission to tell their stories.

The Circle of Life

What I’ve been thinking about:

In the time of the pandemic where a lot of people struggle with food insecurity I have a well-stocked refrigerator bursting with food.

When you have plenty what else could you need or want?

My goal when I’m able to get a FreshDirect time slot for food delivery is to use the link on that website to donate money to the Common Pantry in New York City.

I’ve become grateful today for the only thing that counts to me in this time: the grocery deliveries coming every week.

It’s not the Caudalie face scrub I bought that I really care about.

My thoughts go out to people who are  unable to get food.

The New York City government has been delivering food boxes to anyone who needs food in the time of the pandemic.

Like Lyn Slater the Accidental Icon I’ve come to question the things I took for granted on an ordinary pandemic-free day.

As I’ve always thought those of us who are fortunate should be doing everything we can to help others who aren’t fortunate.

Now more than ever being grateful for your fortune in life should be the rule not the exception in how people think.

This is the circle of life: giving back what you have been given.

I will always talk about clothes and makeup in here. To cheer up readers. To make readers feel good. To spread joy.

Perhaps a spoon full of this sugar can make the medicine go down like Mary Poppins sang in the 1970s movie.

The fact is in America people are going hungry.

Actress Viola Davis revealed that she battled childhood hunger.

She has championed the Hunger Is campaign for No Kid Hungry.

In my view even donating canned goods like soup and vegetables to your local food pantry is a valid form of charity when you can’t do anything else.

My goal when I retire from my library job is to volunteer my time and money to social causes more so than I do today.

Hunger. It’s a real issue. No one should go hungry.

In America The Fruited Plain food should be plentiful. The fact that it’s not is a shame.

Conscious Chic in a Crisis

Yes–I’ve been thinking about what I termed Conscious Chic in a blog category.

The Accidental Icon Lyn Slater talks about this in her latest blog post [see below].

Who needs 10 pairs of the exact same pants?

Who needs a bursting closet and overstuffed dresser drawers?

The manufacturing process of garments has long been a destroyer of our natural world.

It’s time to act in a considered fashion like Lyn Slater believes.

Though I’ve bought an eye shadow compact I intend for this to be the only beauty buy for the foreseeable future.

As well I have the intention to dress in the clothes hanging out in my wardrobe today.

I’m not a Green saint as far as this goes.  Like Lyn Slater I’ve been thinking about this.

She talked of being creative.

Acting creative can do a world of good in transforming a simple wardrobe of clothes and collection of makeup into a stunning reflection of individuality.

You don’t have to be rich or thin to express yourself through beauty and fashion.

You can trust that you’ll look good without needing a trust fund.

Read the Lyn Slater Accidental Icon blog entry here.