Colors of Compassion

mardi gras outfit

The photo above was taken at a poetry event.

I had thought the theme was Mardi Gras so dressed in carnival colors. The night’s theme turned out to be homelessness.

Green is for faith. Gold or yellow signifies power. Purple denotes justice.

The symbolism of the colors is beside the point. The picture points to another story.

This is the photo of a woman living in menopause.

I’ve learned a lesson viewing this picture: it’s time to halt obsessing over things that don’t matter in the scheme of things.

Like a lot of woman, I critically assessed my features. I wasn’t happy with my skin showing through my foundation. I envied women with creamy smooth skin that looks flawless without makeup.

In the photo I’m wearing MAC Pro Long Wear foundation, Sephora brown eyeliner and NARS Shrinagar lipstick–a sheer raspberry.

And I look perfectly fine in the photo. Which proves my point that all of us are going to live too long on earth to continue obsessing that parts of ourselves need fixing.

I’m rolling halfway to 60. I used to be 50. As a feminist who is attracted to men I can attest to the idea that maybe I’ve gotten folded up over this.

I might have despaired because I’ve yet to find Mr. Right. And I haven’t found Mr. Almost Right either. Nor have I found Mr. Not Right Yet I’ll Take Him Anyway.

Acting kinder to ourselves is the way to go as we get older.

To take the stance: “And what is it to you if I don’t measure up to society’s–or a man’s–impossible standard for how a woman should look, act, dress, and live?”

All hail those of us who DV8 from norms. Praise be the sisters among us who dare to rock our natural faces. Who don’t care what others think about us.

I say: it’s time for a global uprising of women asserting our power to act true to ourselves.

In a world where the focus has been on women’s bodies and how we look, let’s not buy into this myth that we are nothing without Botox.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we should be beholding our own beauty.

I think everyone living on earth is beautiful. If you do too, I urge you to consider that you are beautiful just the way you are.

God doesn’t make junk.

 

Christmas Rapping

Venus Williams was right in advocating that you ask yourself: “Do I feel good?”

I made myself miserable trying to work in corporate office jobs and have a so-called normal life.

The title of my memoir Left of the Dial was intended to sum up my manifesto for having a healthy lifestyle doing what you love and acting true to yourself.

If you don’t feel good, it’s hard to be happy and your mental health suffers. Trying to be someone you’re not will backfire every time.

Venus Williams alludes to allowing yourself to fail, rise up, and try again. Doing this you can gain equal footing with men who think they’re hot shit simply because they exist.

My goal is that by reading Left of the Dial you’re empowered to dare dream of having a life defined on your own terms.

First of all, I wanted to tell a good story people would enjoy reading. Then I wanted to create a character readers could root for.

Left of the Dial chronicles all the failures I experienced along the way.

Speaking your truth can be scary because there’s a lot at stake. Only I had no fear because I believed in my vision of Recovery for Everyone.

This might be an impossible goal yet it’s the one I shoot for.

The secret to having a successful recovery is choosing to be happy even when the circumstances of your life are less than ideal.

Success lies in liking yourself even when it seems no one else does.

These elements flow in the Left of the Dial narrative.

With time and (for most of us) a consistent daily medication routine, it’s possible to have a better life and to achieve goals.

I”m committed to telling my story to help the very people who need to hear my message of hope, healing, and recovery.

If you want to feel good and if you want to transmute your pain, there is no better tonic than service to others.

You will get the things you want that you’re supposed to have when they’re supposed to arrive. Not a minute sooner or later.

It’s the journey that counts not the destination.

So I tell you at whatever age you are now (20? 32? 45? Older?) to ask yourself if you feel good. What can you do to give yourself joy and to give others joy?

That is the secret to feeling good.

That is the ultimate definition of success: feeling good about yourself and having empathy for others.