I recently read an excerpt from a book called something like “Why I wore lipstick to my masectomy surgery.” If that one chapter was so incredibly profound, I can only imagine what the the rest of the book is like, and I desperately need to remember to pick it up the next time I’m at the bookstore. I couldn’t do it’s intricacies justice here– couldn’t describe fully and accurately how a woman who was about to lose a part of herself, found her courage in a tube of red lip color. How she used that color to make herself more than another cancer patient having surgery. How she used it to leave her mark– more than just an exacted pound of flesh– on the operating table.And there is something empowering about red lipstick, isn’t there? A bold, fearless statement.
But in all honestly, I am not a lipstick person. And though at times (most notably the time I cut off all of my hair) an image adjustment has been cathartic for my Self, recently it has been more than my Self that needed a lift.
I hate to say that it’s my soul… my spirit is probably more accurate. My house is certainly a reflection of that spirit– it is much more that brick walls and a roof over my head. I’ve always though that my art is physical manifestations of tiny pieces of my soul. My house is that to the extreme.
And lately it has felt…
Stagnant? Sterile? Not like a wilting flower, but like a cheap plastic imitation of a real one. What good is beauty if it’s fake? My home hasn’t been my peace. My projects haven’t been the salve that cools the burn of a long hard week. I can’t lose myself in the rhythm and the joy of creating, because… I think, because someone expects me to. Because there are constraints on it. Do this first, do this now, skip the natural progression of the process and forget the joy of discovery because if it’s a work in progress then it isn’t done.
I don’t know how to illustrate how that makes me feel. Like a person in a box. Forced to walk a straight line… a path that holds no mystery. No character.
So I broke free. Found a can of red paint reminiscent of my old cabinets, and I painted. Without plan or permission. Without design or determination. And those first few strokes were a balm. They were a key that set part of me free again. They were bold and inspired and screamed “This is who I am.” And I felt the smug satisfaction of, “so there.”
Some girls wear red lipstick on the outside… I paint it on my house in order to wear it in my soul.