No photos, no Facebook, no checking text messages, no phone, no makeup, no shoes, no kids, no husbands and no wine topped off with comfy clothes, thick socks and slippers. This is how the event started that I anointed with the name Warrior Chick Day. These weren’t my rules, but gentle suggestions so that the flow of the day could be exactly that- a flow without the daily grind of the distractions we have allowed to take over our lives.
Everyone Showed Up
Fourteen women, five and a half hours, the openness of hearts and full voluntary cooperation in FULLY participating in all of the NO’S trusting that the end result would be a resounding YES to the way they looked at their lives. And everyone showed up. No excuses, no “I have to go to a my child’s sporting event I forgot about,” or “My husband forgot to tell me that he had to work today,” or “I can come, but I can’t stay for the whole time” and the other millions of reasons we refuse opportunities to care for our own personal compasses as we put our tribes in the forefront.
This is who we are as women, caretakers, nurturers, lovers, but as primal as that is for us, we never got the memo that these lovely qualities we apply to our families could also be applied to us. As a matter of fact this is the one time I will use the dreaded word SHOULD. In order for all of this instinctive caring to take place that is part of our cellular composition, we must keep some of it in our own wells. This is what Warrior Chick Day was about, refilling the well.
We only had one person not come, but her reason was completely legitimate as the storm created not one but two floods in her life. Yep she gets the free pass. If I can identify with one reason, it is the flood reason. And if I can share my wisdom after my own flood, the floods in our lives are usually there to provide a much deeper meaning then you can possibly imagine as you try to unfold the sogginess of your belongings. Those light bulb moments, however, don’t come until much later and in the water and the murkiness it is hard to see the sun. The sun always comes though; this is the wonder of seemingly traumatic events. The light usually does come and often in the most unexpected ways, but surely the tears must come first.
Beauty is so much more than the superficial bullshit we have been told is important.
I’m guessing this language is surprising- after all I am in the beauty business and isn’t it my mission to get people in theory more beautiful? Not so fast. Beauty in the context of what I am speaking of is not what you may think I mean. It is not the gloss and the shine, nor is it the bells and whistles in the costume we show up in every day of our lives. Beauty is not what we want people to see at first glance. Beauty is the layers of it all and this was the theme of Warrior Chick Day. The layers.
What I know from my experience in the business of beauty I get to call the last thirty years of my life is that I have been a witness to thousands of women’s layers. Listening to their stories, ups and downs, despairs and joys, how they think and make decisions- this is the privilege of the often looked down upon beauty business. I take it seriously, though. Women share their stories like a therapist’s office, offering up their vulnerabilities to strange ears knowing instinctively that if they don’t get the words out that ruminate, those thoughts marinate and ferment and the end results are not always good ones. The festering and unspoken emotions usually show up in eating disorders, alcohol and pain medication abuse, over spending, hoarding, depression and anxiety. Those of us on the receiving end hearing these stories over bikini waxes and facials do not take them lightly. We are fiercely protective and we do this all not because of a forced HIPAA agreement, we don’t have that, we do it because it is what we do.
The Next Part of Life
I watched fourteen women yesterday contemplate the next part of their lives soon to come, the exodus of their children to drivers ed or to high school or college. I watched the floodgates open as they realized their own sense of power that has lain dormant for the last fifteen years of child rearing. I was part of their revelations to use the good china now, to literally and figuratively unpack the boxes that have been stored for later and use the heirlooms now.
What are we saving it all for? Our kids don’t want it like we thought, but maybe they would if it were part of the daily weave of breakfast and dinner dishes instead of the crap they will have to go through should you leave this place we call earth before you get to pass it on.
Life Is Imperfect
Use it now. Breathe now. Open your heart now. Be vulnerable, this is the greatest gift and teacher to our children. I have seen it with my own eyes. The creases and the wrinkles of the their artwork in the folded projects they bring home from school is the art not the project itself. Life is imperfect and these are the lessons for our children.
These women work at life, they work at being great moms and providers. They do not shirk responsibilities. They show up and I was and am in awe of their personal power as they try to find their way back. To themselves, to each other and in the process not feel like they have to give up their stories they have created by being the line leaders of their own families.
Both. Can. Be. This is a significant realization. They get to have the jumping off point back to themselves because of all of the work that has led up to this very point. This is the lovely evolution of life’s milestones. Starting, rising up, marching on and marching forth. The power is back on.
Our Insides Must Match
I have always been a believer in the notion that when we feel beautiful, this is the potion, not the other way around. We can literally gloss over our outsides but if our insides don’t match we can only keep up the façade for so long. Something has to give and it is usually us. Our homes matter, our food and cooking matters and our health matters. This is all part of the puzzle of beauty.
At Warrior Chick Day we had a cooking class, we talked food and health, we learned to breathe and I tried to teach them how to meditate in the moments of our day rather than compartmentalizing it in a separate event because of course who has time for that. They learned about simplifying their skin routines and had treatments. They made dream boards and they shared them with each other. Talk about exposure and layers. They stepped outside of their comfort zones as I asked them to put on super bright lipstick they would likely never wear outside or ever for that matter as part of the symbolic ritual of face painting. Warriors. Yes.
Beauty does matter, these ladies, these superchicks rose up. They realized their good fortune in their past experiences of both the grief and the good. They were bright upon entering but they came out brighter and bolder on the other side of the day. At the tail end of our day, one of the shining stars of this cosmic force was sharing her bad ass dream with the group and the power went out. We paused as I could see in all of their eyes the significance of this symbolism; after all, who needs National Grid when we have so much of our own to light it up.