I haven’t thought much about this– the minefield we walk between simply nurturing our bodies and souls and taking pride in our own unique loveliness and style regardless of size age or anything else– and a self-loathing that makes us think we’re ugly unless all of our artifices are in place and our miserable self denial is complete–  since high school.

The exception is that I get really, really pissed when women say ‘I’m so fat.’ That’s only because I’m a rabid feminist and I am SO SICK of guys (and, sadly, other women) who judge women on first look– I’d do her, or pretty face, great personality, too bad she’s fat, or oh MAN is she fat!’ (You know who you are).  I’m not anti anorexia, cocaine, amphetamines or cigarettes as weightloss methods, at least not at the appropriate time/life stage. (I’ll save that for another post).

But A. Someone else’s body is NOT your damn business. and B. Sure, we all need to exercise and eat right. We’re a nation privileged to be eating ourselves to death, and the emotional psychological and spiritual issues surrounding that make my heart ache.

But it really pisses me off when women say ‘I’m so fat’ and don’t see  how beautiful they are JUST AS THEY ARE.  The ability to see how beautiful you are just as you are comes from the same emotional and psychological region as the strength to take better care of oneself, eating right and exercising and enjoying instead of loathing one’s body, sadly. And so it’s a vicious cycle. The only other place meaningful change comes from, sadly, is self loathing, and if you reject that or your eyes just never get opened, you’re just screwed.


With regard to all this, I was in a blissful place. I was a little overweight but still a couple pounds below obese (a couple pounds is EVERYTHING, believe me), the US average size 12-14. I had the best (hair) dye job in the world, black with a few white stripes– and often I wore black eyeliner and mascara cause I’m aging gothpunkabillly.

But just as often especially after I had my little one makeup went by the wayside. Most of my girlfriends never wore makeup. We’re all hippie mommies. I have one friend who’s a stunner even though her kids wear her out, whether she wears makeup or not (all of us know who she is except, probably, she herself), but she worked at department store makeup counters for a while and knows what she’s doing, so she doesn’t count.

I don’t think I knew it, but I was always searching… and then I found her.

She didn’t know I found her. Heck, I didn’t know I found her.

I met this exotically beautiful new friend and as I got to know her a little at a time– lots, and lots of black, skulls, sense of style, joy each year as Halloween comes back around and we can actually wear the clothes we wear all year without people looking at us funny, punk bands and financial struggle all through the 80’s and 90’s (financial struggle for me too, and how!), waited til older to have babies and marry just like me, good liberal from generations back just like me.

But she had something I didn’t.

My mother, my grandmothers– classy dames who don’t go out of the house without moisturizer, a little puff of powder, a little something around the eyes and a bit of lipstick at minimum. I wanted to be like that. I really did. But I wasn’t.  I just couldn’t.

But this new friend?

Well let me put it this way.

She had her second C section a couple of years ago. Before she went in, she told her husband she would have a pedicure OR ELSE. I mean, her toes were going to be exposed for everyone to see in the OR, right? Come ON!

Then, post C, she suddenly found herself being rushed to the OR a second time, her husband and mother shooed away as they worked frantically on her to keep her from suddenly bleeding to death. If the bleeding weren’t enough, she was nearly scared to death, too. I talked to her not long after, and she was deeply frightened and a little pissed off.

A few hours later, another friend of ours stopped in to see her and the baby and wish them well. M said, I walked in and she was curling her eyelashes.

She nearly bled to death a few hours ago. And now she was curling her eyelashes.

This was a defining moment for me. The words beautiful and tough took on new meaning for me simultaneously, and if I didn’t already think she was the bees knees, this would have pushed me over the edge.

I asked my friend’s permission before writing this. She said, well hell, if you’re going to die, don’t you want to look good all laid out?

And me?  I was newly vegan and using little on my face besides some sort of expensive pure oil– grapeseed oil. Sesame oil. It was cleanser and moisturizer in one, face and body. The only spots that got soap were my armpits and, well, possible (as our grannies used to say, wash as far as possible, and then wash possible). I wore no sunscreen, EVER. I consider myself to be of a dark skinned heritage that just doesn’t need it. I refused to wear or buy makeup until I had the time to research vegan and cruelty free options, and I never seemed to have the time. So I went without.

But the knowledge nagged at me… something was missing.

To be continued…

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