Masked Avenger

I’ve taken to wearing masks not bandannas.

To go to the gym to meet my trainer I’m legally required to wear a mask. No other face covering is allowed at the gym.

I urge readers to wear a face covering whenever you go outside your house or apartment. Even when walking down the hall to the compactor chute.

Remain 6 feet apart from others even when wearing a face covering.

The coronavirus is out to infect as many people as possible. The winter is coming. It’s no time to ease up on taking action to halt getting sick.

Stay home if you are not well. When in doubt whether you have a cold or are getting infected go to any number of COVID-19 testing sites for a quick test.

This is the surreal reality that has been going on for coming up on one year.

In the summer I met a guy I was instantly attracted to. In the New Year I would like to reach out to him.

With the coronavirus pandemic meeting a person for dating has been hard to do. At least I haven’t felt comfortable going back on OKCupid right now. Nor am I keen to browse those mug shots in the future.

To protect the confidentiality of a real person I will call my love interest Mr. Mr.

Nothing ventured–nothing gained.

2021 will be a better year. I’m confident that in the New Year we will see progress.

It will take the force of the will of thousands of Americans to stand up and advocate for justice.

“Peace on Earth” has always had a hollow ring to it for me at holiday time.

In this season and throughout the year the only way to achieve peace and prosperity will be for individuals to put self-gain aside and work for the betterment of everyone on earth.

I’m not dreaming of a White Christmas. I’m dreaming of the day I have the courage to talk to Mr. Mr. and see what happens.

Show Us the Money

The government saw fit to spend billions of dollars on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Yet our elected leaders are against giving Americans a second IRS stimulus check to help citizens defray the economic harm of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Am I the only one who thinks this is not right?

I’d be the first in line to spend another IRS check at local businesses. Helping to keep these shop owners in business should New York City shut down again.

Luckily I was able to get a haircut this weekend. My trainer at the gym is giving me a new routine to do at home.

So should my city be shut down again I can grow my hair out and continue to exercise.

Readers there’s an extra added challenge living in the pandemic: getting a bad haircut like I did the other day.

This of course is a well-off person’s dilemma. I’ve read that 1 in 3 households are facing economic hardship and food insecurity.

Some of us see nothing wrong with the government not giving out a second stimulus check.

I say: it’s time to stop funding wars and start investing in the American people.

Show us the money.

Owning Your Authentic Self

Viola Davis was interviewed in the December 2020 issue of InStyle. The word ownership was bandied about.

Editor Laura Brown talked about how Davis has…command.

Viola Davis responded:

I don’t see that command…I think my greatest strength is my authenticity. If I try to channel some other being, I get lost…Growing up in Central Falls [R.I.] as the only kinky-haired chocolate-brown girl, I always was trying to channel the girls who had the Farrah Fawcett look. It had disastrous results. So the only thing I can do is channel my authenticity.

That is really a powerful tool because we spend our entire lives trying to get there. If you are projecting that, that’s what people are attracted to.”

Living your life as a pale imitation of someone else won’t win you fans. Be the full-bodied You.

Like Davis is, I’m 55. This is the year that changes everything. You’re halfway to 60.

Davis is right-on: it’s time to roll-up your sleeves and get to the work of being unapologetically You–the person you were meant to be in this lifetime.

I failed miserably chasing someone else’s dream when I was younger. I fix 36 as the magic number. It was the year I decided to become a mental health activist.

The point is:

Let’s not engage in self-hate or keep internalizing guilt that there’s something wrong with us because we don’t fit a mold.

You know this feeling–it’s when you wake up one day and regret that your life has gone by. You spent so much of it trying to change who you are to fit in and be liked and accepted.

Did this get you anywhere worth going?

The year is ending. As we enter 2021 it’s time to like ourselves without limits.

The journey in expressing our authenticity should be rewarded.

I’m not the same person I was when I was 22.

Are you?

Dressing for Yourself

Heck–I accidentally posted 2 blog entries about the Mally Roncal book.

In this time there’s a lot to be preoccupied with: staying free from the coronavirus, shopping for gifts if you do that, and caring for yourself and loved ones.

It pays to take joy where you can get it.

For instance: the Harper’s Bazaar November 2020 issue. The essay “Performance Dressing” was right-on.

Leandra Medine Cohen had championed the ethic of dressing for yourself.

In the magazine she wrote that writing about this online she went so far “as to suggest that if we all tried to dress to reflect our multitudes, we could actually start to become them.”

No doubt because of living indoors during the pandemic she saw things differently today:

“Clothes…hid me when I was vulnerable, magnified me when I wa strong, but their power was limited. This work of figuring out the kind of person I want to be, don’t want to be anymore, and the ruthless self-examination that comes with it, that’s on me.

What a terrifying and liberating and thrilling thing.”

Should the November 2020 issue be on the newsstand still I recommend buying it to have on hand this essay alone.

One thing that Leandra Medine Cohen wrote rings true with me: that testing the boundaries of your style allows you to be more than one thing.

It reminds me of the Psychedelic Furs’ song “Pretty in Pink”: the lyrics get at how the girl will be who she wants to be–until tomorrow.

And who will you and me be tomorrow after the pandemic ends?

The journey to our future selves is worth taking.

There’s nothing better than dressing for yourself. For the person you are today. Changing up your style as your life rolls along.

Remember the 1980s? Those clothes are best left in the dust bin 🙂

Making Changes

The year will be coming to an end. On January 1st a lot of people will make New Year’s resolutions. The difference between achieving your resolution and quitting after 2 months comes down to acquiring skills. Willpower or commitment or motivation alone won’t get a person where they want to be. If you truly aren’t happy with an aspect of your life by all means take steps to make positive changes. For this I recommend the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions by John C. Norcross. Using the book’s 90-day action plan I’ve achieved three goals and continue to set new goals. It’s possible to achieve a New Year’s resolution using the Changeology 90-day action plan. The book I installed as an e-book to read over and over on my iPad. I can vouch for using the 5 Steps to achieve a goal. Using the 90-day action plan is the remedy for joining a gym on January 1st exercising in a frantic burst for 2 months then giving up. Achieving a goal requires skills that can be taught that are listed in Changeology. Executing the 5 Steps in their specific order and matching each catalyst for change to the right step in the right order will up the odds that you’ll be successful. The 90-day action plan outlined in Changeology is the most healthy and credible method I’ve found for setting and carrying out a goal.

Love, Lashes, and Lipstick

Alas this book is out of print and that’s sad. I would buy a used copy in good condition. Or you can try to check it out of the library.

Mally Roncal’s life story is inspirational.

Her a.m. and p.m. beauty ritual gave me a shot in the arm of confidence to try what she recommended.

Proof that inspiration can be found in a book or a bottle of foundation.

The pandemic has been going on for almost 9 months. The length of time to birth a baby an idea a plan a new You.

After reading Love, Lashes, and Lipstick I set off to set a new goal or two.

In the coming blog entry I’ll talk about one book that made all the difference to me in achieving my goals.

It can be debilitating sheltering indoors. The outbreak is rising in a second wave. More ammunition for taking joy in simple things.

Like washing your face at night. Moisturizing your face in the morning.

Being grateful for what you have instead of being envious of others who have what you don’t have.

Serve up an extra helping of gratitude to yourself this Thanksgiving.

The colonists plundered the nation from indigenous people. We should not be celebrating the myth that Thanksgiving was a harmonious lovefest between pilgrims and Native Americans.

Only I say why not reclaim the truth that we are all here because of a benevolent Creator who wanted us to be here?

The spirit of counting your blessings on Thanksgiving might just be the remedy for total despair while living through the pandemic.

I’m grateful for every ray of sunshine that comes into my life:

The sun through the mini-blinds and the sunny personality of Mally Roncal lighting up the pages of her memoir.

Inspirational Reading

I checked this memoir out of the library. It’s sadly out of print so I bought a copy listed as being in new condition for $17.

Though it can seem Mally Roncal has had a dream life I was impressed and inspired while reading this book.

Roncal is barely 5 feet 2. She rocks big hair platform boots and false eyelashes.

She recounts early in her makeup artist career when she was told to tone down her own makeup and ebullient mood.

Instead she realized that she had to be true to herself.

According to Roncal who I’ll quote because this book should be required reading:

“Own who you are. Forget the haters. Don’t let them dull your shine. What may not be right for them could be right for you.

Be you, and you win every time.”

I’ve started to follow Roncal’s a.m. and p.m. skincare routine.

She was the makeup artist for the women featured in the Isaac Mizrahi book How to Have Style. I bought this book years ago in great condition when it was out of print too.

Jealousy serves no purpose except to keep a person stuck. Mally Roncal’s success only motivates me to reach for the stars.

In the book she also features different makeup techniques you can replicate with your own products or use the Mally Beauty makeup for.

This is going to be my Christmas gift to myself. I recommend readers consider buying this buoyant book too.

A Merry Season to You!

Knocked Out

I checked this Mia Kang book out of the library. It’s a new book. I decided not to read it after skimming the first page.

Right there Kang reveals how her agent would call her up and say: “I got you a runway appearance. The designer wants you to lose weight.”

I also bought the current issue of InStyle magazine. In this book a woman was quoted that the insane obsession with women having to be thin is “fat-phobic.”

I don’t like to use the term fat. Nor overweight. Nor carries a few extra pounds. I could only understand calling a woman robust or voluptuous.

Years ago in my blog I berated Skinny Girl Betheny Frankel for writing in a book that a woman could indeed be skinny if she followed Frankel’s rules.

Another diet book author claimed you could decide what weight you wanted to be and think yourself into being that weight.

The time has come to stand up for ourselves as men women non-binary transgender–everyone of all shapes and sizes.

I don’t think that a person who weighs 200 pounds should aspire to be 127 pounds. Then scarf down Lean Cuisine frozen meals for dinner in an attempt to count calories.

No–I don’t think the goal should be to be thin. You can be thin and flabby and not healthy at all. I think it’s ludicrous to want to be or expect that you should be thin.

There’s something screwed up when a fashion designer tells a model that she has to lose weight.

Whittling yourself down to bones isn’t going to make you happy. Please–love yourself regardless of the number on the scale. If you’re not happy with yourself today how are you going to become magically happy after you meet a condition you set for yourself to achieve?

Loving ourselves shouldn’t be contingent on achieving a goal. We should love ourselves simply because we exist.

I say: Own the street. Walk outside on the pavement like you’re a supermodel. Regardless of the size on your clothing tags.

The Path to Freedom

Like Alicia Keys I’ve been on an odyssey to cancel out the outside noise. To draw strength from within as well as drawing a line with eyeliner.

If you ask me the path to freedom starts when you get loud and proud about who you are and what you stand for.

As tempting as it might be to try to conform so that others will like you:

I think repressing your soul will only lead to illness.

I take inspiration from Alicia Keys and her passion to make a difference not just sing a song.

Unlike Keys freedom for me has come in wearing makeup after years of not wearing makeup.

Applying eyeshadow and eyeliner has been an instant thought-lift as well as face-lift

If this sounds frivolous think again: even a public library is hosting a workshop on beauty for its patrons.

I tip my True Religion striped cap to Alicia Keys for telling her story and revealing herself on the page.

Everyone is beautiful with or without makeup.

Expressing ourselves without fear is exactly the positive prescription needed.

Think for yourself. Dress for yourself. Dare to be yourself.

This is what I plan to do in the coming year.

Truth is Beauty

Wasn’t there a line in a poem that truth is beauty and beauty is truth?

I’m coming to the end of reading the Alicia Keys memoir More Myself.

Pages 210-211 are worth the cost of buying the book. Here Keys talks about going without makeup:

“I don’t want to cover up anymore…not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”

Tens of thousands of women posted photos to the hashtag #NoMakeup.

One person sniped to Keys that if she looked like Keys the woman could choose not to wear makeup too.

To this Keys said: “My deepest intention is that we all find a path to whatever freedom feels like for us–and that is unique to each person .”

If you ask me it is in living an authentic life that a person is truly free. Keys believes we crave the authentic in our narratives not just in our appearance.

The path to freedom is different for everyone.

My odyssey started ironically when I started to wear makeup after years of not wearing makeup.

I would like to talk in coming blog entries about individuality again.

About having the freedom to express yourself with or without lipstick.