My husband bought me fifteen shades of lipstick for Christmas. FIFTEEN SHADES. Just opening the box gave me such a rush of happiness and inspiration!
Some of you may remember an old blog series I started and let languish almost ten years ago. It was about beauty and confidence and the things we think about ourselves that we come to realize aren’t true. It was based on how badly I wanted to be a woman who could wear red lipstick. I’d tried a few different shades but it always looked terrible and I was sure it was because my lips were too small or the wrong shape or that I just didn’t have the personality to carry it off.
Thankfully, I mentioned it to my best friend from high school who also happened to be a brilliant make-up artist for M.A.C. A few weeks later, I went to visit her and she surprised me with an amazing bagful of lipstick, gloss, and liner in every shade you can imagine! But, best of all, she took the time to teach me how to apply it. This is a photo I took on my birthday that same year:
Turns out, I was always a woman who could wear red lipstick. And I love this photo because you can literally see my newfound confidence shining in my expression.
Anyway, that was then and this is now and these fifteen shades of opportunity are calling me to do something fun. Over the past five years I’ve struggled with so much loss, grief, and depression on top of new babies and a pandemic, its been a challenge finding the time and energy to work through the losses and all the shifts in my identity. I initially intended to revive the Lipstick Letters as they were and write about body image as a mother of three, but nothing sounded right so I held off.
Then, I had an enlightening moment while scrolling through Instagram, where several of my incredibly talented friends were doing their thing and sharing the results. There were home-cooked meals with food they grew themselves, woven rugs, quilts in progress, redecorated rooms, you name it! And as I scrolled, a feeling of envy grew and grew until I realized it, set my phone down, and asked myself what that was all about. After a short moment of reflection, I had to laugh; I wasn’t jealous of WHAT these lovely humans were doing, I was jealous THAT they were doing at all! Successfully devoting a portion of their time and resources to things that are important to them.
My jealousy evaporated in an instant and, in it’s place, I found new curiosity and determination. Aside from being a mama and a wife, what am I doing? It’s been several dark and busy years since I felt it last, but I still recognize this particular kind of restlessness–it’s boredom. God love my beautiful, amazing children who are so fun and satisfying to raise; they absolutely do not challenge and fulfill every element of my being. Nor should they.
So I’m setting only one rule for this reboot: I can’t write about my kids here. This series is about me taking an intentional step outside my beloved role as mama to delve into other much-loved and missed parts of who I am. We’re going further than skin deep where it’s less about the lipstick on my lips (though there will still be plenty of that) and more about what puts lipstick on my soul. Many thanks to Scarlet for that perfect turn of phrase.
Going forward, each new post will feature a different shade, but for this first one, here I am in my messy living room with no make up at all. Just me, feeling hopeful about life, and excited to drag all of you along with me while I figure out what to do with myself.
3 thoughts on “The Lipstick Letters Revival”
Love your words and can’t wait for next one!
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I love this Jesse! It’s what I’m going through too! I identify so much through my kids and family, that I have lost a part of me. Like you, I love my role as Mom, wife, daughter and friend but I need more. I miss using my brain and spending time outside my home. I love traveling but Covid has limited that.
Over the past year, all my friends have heard me talk and complain over mimosas, how I need something, that I need more. I’m tired of shopping, I need something that stimulates me, I want to work again but I had such specific needs that I knew it would never happen. I wanted a job where I was able to go home every month to Ca. to see my Mom and Malia, wanted time off in the summer, wanted something interesting and decent pay. For a year, I looked and looked, and obviously nothing came up as I knew it wouldn’t. Then at the beginning of February, La Berta called and offered me a job at Fish and Game! She said it’s a temp job, so that she could design it to my needs. I get a week off every month, July off to travel, great pay, and I work under her doing special projects! I start tomorrow! I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity and for a friend like La Berta! I will be interesting again and have purpose. Cheers to new beginnings and women friends!
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Jesse, you are one of the most inspirational women I have ever been graced with. You, my dear are beautiful inside and out. You are gregarious, humble, funny, and above all a wonderful human. Share away!
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