Make-up, clothes & all things pretty.
Should we care?
OK, let me put this another way.
Should we care that people are struggling to get up in the morning because they are suffering from paralysing anxiety and depression? Of course we should!
Should we care that some people would rather hide indoors to avoid family, friends and life, instead of having the courage to step out and tell the world how they really feel? Of course we should!
Some people rely on medication to help rebalance the chemicals in their brain to enable them to live their life. I do.
Others need the support of counsellors and talking therapies to help them make sense of the thoughts and feelings that take over their minds. I do that too.
The other part of taking control of my life may be surprising. It is based around so-called ‘superficial’ ‘non-essential’ items.
When I was on day 10 of being in hospital after suffering my first 3 heart attacks, a bright red lipstick became the epitome of my survival.
I was just 36 years old when I suffered my first 3 heart attacks. And in the days that followed, I had to absorb so much news, that went from bad to the worse that you can imagine.
“We don’t think you’ve had a heart attack, you’re too young”
“Well yes it was a heart attack but you won’t have any more”
“Ok, so you’ve had 2 more heart attacks and you’ve now got heart failure”
“Umm….We think you should prepare your family, do you want to see your kids?”
“The world has blown up and your head has dropped off…..” Well they didn’t say that, but it wouldn’t have surprised me.
In a nutshell my life as I knew it was over, or so I believed. I lay in a bed in intensive care for almost 2 weeks, hooked up to monitors that constantly sent alarm bells ringing, literally. I was given no positive prognosis for survival at all.
I had 3 babies at home and no way of being well enough to get back to them.
On this magical tenth day of my survival, a non-essential, superficial item shone out to me like a beacon from heaven. My lovely mum brought me a red lipstick into the hospital and stood it up on my bedside table.
It swear it was winking at me! Whispering to me…’use me’…I’m pretty….pick me up…
At this stage, I wasn’t allowed to pee, shower, move, I wasn’t allowed to do anything on my own. Because my heart was so badly damaged, one false move and it could give up the ghost completely.
But luckily, my mum knew me well.
She recognised that if I was going to survive this terrible trauma, then it would be down to my attitude, my determination and my stubbornness. She knew that I had to start fighting to get me back.
It worked. Instead of lying in my hospital bed, accepting that my life was over, I suddenly demanded that I had my hair washed. I don’t know where the urge came from, but it was strong. There were some big arguments about it, of course my hair wasn’t a priority for the medical staff, they just wanted me not to die. I didn’t want to die either, but it was also really, really important to me that I had nice hair!
So, with medics and machinery on standby, my head was lowered off the end of the bed and my hair was washed.
I felt AMAZING!
I had taken control of my life in that moment, I had managed to put the Sally back in the Bee and achieve something so insignificant to many, but so significant to me and my confidence.
I slept for a solid 16 hours after the effort, but it had been worth it, to feel that glimmer of hope for a future life. I had just proved to myself that if I could take control of this small insignificant thing, having my hair washed so that I simply felt pretty, I could take control of the bigger things…like staying alive!
The doctors couldn’t tell me I was going to be OK, but I had clean hair, and that meant I was back in the driving seat!
The next day, was lipstick day. I woke up, had my bed bath, given to me by a handsome male nurse – I smiled at him, lots. And then I asked for a mirror and put on the red lipstick that my mum had brought in the day before.
I was pale, lethargic, had dark eyes, oxygen being pumped up my nose…but I was wearing red lipstick and it was wonderfully liberating and life changing.
Now how can something as superficial and non-essential as a lipstick be so liberating. Surely, you might say, I had bigger things to think about? I was probably going to die. I had 3 young children and husband who were going to have to manage without me. …But this is what I learnt. Very quickly.
- You can’t change what happens to you, you can only change how you react to it.
- Sometimes you have to accept a situation and not try to battle it. Give it respect, and then politely turn your back and change direction. Not every situation you end up in, has to carry such significance.
- We are all different and whatever makes you smile in a single moment is worth its weight in gold. A single happy moment will grow –but you have to feed it.
- Even if you don’t feel it, YOU are in control of YOU! You just need to find a way to remind yourself of who you are and what you can achieve.
- My Red lipstick saved me, or at least it was the beginning. It reminded me of the power I have over my fate and future. Sure, I could not predict that I was going to survive a day, a year, or as it happens 15 years (albeit with 2 more heart attacks in the middle of the journey) but I could predict that I was going to continue loving my life, my family, my friends and loving the pretty things that make me feel feminine and empowered in a single moment.
- Today, my red lipstick still proves to me that no matter what I am facing, if I can still care enough about how I look, feel and present myself, then it’s not time to give up. My red lipstick still gives me the strength to survive.
- So the next time someone asks you if things like make-up, clothes and all things pretty matter – and should you care about them? I hope you know the answer.
- Do whatever you need to do to be able to step out of your front door and tell the people that you love what you are really feeling.
Find out more about how you can lose 12lbs in 6 weeks HERE