More Inspiring Stories

This is a photo of Joan Smalls the fashion model who is highly coveted on the runway:

joan smalls

I use her photo to illustrate that beauty comes on the inside too. Her inspiring story was used along with other fashion models’ stories on the Allure magazine website a couple of weeks ago. Their stories were part of the “Beauty and Diversity” feature.

Reading the fashion models’ stories empowered me to have no fear. I thought: If those beautiful women can face down their detractors and be victorious, I can carry my head high too.

Joan Smalls’ quote was the most inspiring: “If someone else doesn’t like me that’s their problem not mine.” Mental health peers should take this tip from her as regards so-called stigma.

I’ll be 52 in three weeks. Soon I’ll have been in recovery 30 years. This month I want to write a blog carnival about the beauty of getting older and the beauty of individuality.

Having lived in recovery 30 years I know that for too long mental health peers have internalized shame about having a diagnosis, as if our illness is transparent for others to see. We’ve given up on ourselves because other people gave up on us.

Though it seems unrelated, the Joan Smalls’ quote inspires me now to take this stand: “The diagnosis is on the table. Take it or leave.”

The gloves are coming off by necessity. It’s because turning 50 is one thing. Turning 52 is an entirely different, bigger thing. I realize now that my time on earth is getting shorter–so what do I want to achieve in the time that’s left?

At mid life another quote sums up perfectly what the fashion model alluded to:

“The only power a person has over you is the power you give them.”

Right–absolutely right. All of a sudden I’ve been buying fashion magazines and obsessively poring over the photos of the models in clothes. Who knew they weren’t just pretty faces?

Yes, reading the Allure Beauty and Diversity feature empowered me to have no fear in going after what I want.

I’ll end here with this: it’s high time to not only honor “diversity” it’s time to embrace “individuality.”

In the next blog entry I’ll talk about a recent experience that changed forever in me the notion of judging a person by their appearance.



Makeup Haul

I wanted to write about beauty and style again. I’ve been on this kick lately.

You should dress to please yourself first of all. If you ask me “Dressing well is the best revenge.” When life throws you a curve why not hit it out of the ballpark in style?

In October I’ll have been in recovery 30 years–I’ll have taken medication for 30 years with no ill health nor lasting side effects.

My love of makeup and clothes has definitely been a key factor in my success. A couple of reviewers of Left of the Dial pooh-poohed this connection. Yet I stand by my assertion that dressing in your own style works wonders.

Yes: wearing subtle beautiful makeup and dressing in your own style can be a form of mental health treatment–as an adjunct to your regular treatment.

You should absolutely dress well and wear subtle beautiful makeup if you want to feel good about your self when your circumstance in life is less than ideal.

Read the Visual Therapy book Life in Color and take the Visual Therapy Style Type Quiz. I’m a Star Chic by the way–a Star ColorType because of my black hair and pale cool skin and dark brown eyes. The book is a shortcut to finding the clothes and makeup that suit you best.

Knowing your Color and Style Types can prevent you from making costly mistakes when buying things.

I’m so over impulse shopping…and I’ve finally curbed my wandering in drugstores aimlessly buying any old makeup on a whim only to take it home and discover an hour later that it doesn’t work with my complexion.

I wanted to post a photo here of my makeup haul because I’m here to say that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to look good…so I wanted to feature my edited selection. A disclaimer: some of the lipstick comes from Sephora–I can’t resist the allure of that store.

This is all makeup suitable for a Winter season / Star ColorType.



NARS – Rosecliff, MUFE – C211 Rose Wood, NARS – Red Lizard, Maybelline – Smoking Red, Maybelline – Blissful Berry, Maybelline – Pretty in Plum

Eye shadows:

CoverGirl – Not Just Nudes Roses, NARS (not shown) – Nepal (cocoa-rose), Maybelline – Silken Taupe, L’Oreal – Petit Perle, L’Oreal – Violet Beaute


L’Oreal Infallible – Charcoal, Sephora – Tiramisu (espresso brown)


Clinique – Cream Chamois


NARS (not shown) – Torrid (coral pink), Beauty Salon – Primrose (nude)

(The MUFE translucent powder I don’t even wear anymore.)


twinkling starlight

Cristina Carlino founded philosophy–the women’s beauty product company.

Carlino has a Visionary archetype and she has since moved on to create the Archetypes website. There you can take the quiz to find your Top 3 Archetypes.

A woman gave me a gift. Inside the package was a bottle of philosophy twinkling starlight shampoo. The message on the bottle reads:

philosophy: our delightful differences are what makes us all unique. it’s wonderful when you think about it; out of the millions on earth, there’s only one you. like snowflakes, no two are the same. we each have our own brilliance that shines in life’s diverse galaxy where every body is a star.

Yes–you got that right. Read it again.

A percentage of the philosophy product sales goes towards mental health charities.

Imagine: a beauty product can cheer you up.

I tell you: the number-one thing to do to succeed is to find your purpose in life and go do that. I’m an activist–first of all for mental health and right now to advocate for universal love in the world.

In the rooms where I do public speaking gigs people of all stripes and colors and stories come together to share their hope that having a better life is possible and having peace of mind is possible.

It starts and ends–everything in life does–with advancing universal love in this world where it seems hate has come home to roost.

Most of all I wanted to publish my memoir to show others that there’s no shame in having a mental health challenge–that the start of a better recovery happens when you look your illness in the eye and claim it. Instead of denying it or feeling “less than” because you have it.

The term for this that used to be bandied about was self-stigma. If you ask me, too many people have allowed themselves to get beaten down by self-stigma.

A better recovery truly starts with self-acceptance as the foundation on which to build your new life post-breakdown.

Readers: you are going to fail at anything you want to do if you don’t embrace what makes you you and use these gifts to create your own version of a full and robust life.

Squandering our gifts is the foolproof way to continue to have ill health and to fail to thrive.

The grass isn’t greener at another person’s house. The grass is greener in your own backyard–you just need to have the courage to focus on what you can do and be and have. Instead of dwelling on and regretting what you can’t have and throwing yourself a pity party.

To all you twinkling stars out there I say: shine on. Be your own brilliant self.

Turn the spotlight on your best features, and use them to light the way for others.


It cost a fortune to visit a shrink in New York City : (

And that’s not accounting for the cost of the visit (and psych M.D.s don’t take insurance round here.)

What will empty your wallet is the Sephora nearby that you use to engage in retail therapy before or after (and sometimes before AND after) you see the guy or gal who’s checking out your head.


This is Make Up Forever’s Artist’s Rouge in C211.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder all of us should be beholding and admiring our own beauty and other people’s beauty.

God hasn’t yet made one ugly person. I firmly believe everyone living on earth is beautiful.

Gorgeous makeup subtly applied can make us femmes feel beautiful too.

Lifting weights at the gym is another way to feel good. Studies reveal that people who exercise feel better about their bodies even if they haven’t lost any pounds or gotten incredibly fitter.

Go on–viva la vida–treat yourself like a king or queen.

When other people can’t be counted on to give people with MH challenges compassion it’s all the more imperative that we act kind towards ourselves and others.

Never mind how other people act. Do your own thing. Think for yourself too.

There’s no shame in living in recovery.

Yet boy am I making Sephora rich every time I sit on my guy’s couch.