I remember, growing up, on those days I was feeling sick or sad, that my mom would say, "Get dressed and comb your hair...you'll feel better." As I got older, the advice changed to, "Put on some lipstick and comb your hair." This, to me, was strange advice. But on the days when I took it to heart, things really did seem better. On days when the anxiety and depression sat in, if I took time to "fix my face", I seemed to be able to handle things a bit better.
Recently, this was put to a big test. My father was hospitalized two weeks ago. I traveled to New Mexico to be with my mom and help out where I could. On the third day, the hospital called at 5am to let my mom know that he had started having problems with his heart and they were moving him to ICU. Mom woke me up, and I said I'd hurry and get dressed so I could go with her. When I went to her room to tell her I was ready, she was searching for her lipstick. I told her she didn't need it, but she wouldn't leave without it. I watched as she carefully applied the lipstick, knowing that she was scared to death about all that was happening. She couldn't control everything that was happening, but by putting on the lipstick, she still had a little control of her life. I, too, put on mine, and we headed out to face the day.
Through all the ups and downs of the last two weeks, my mom has sat by my father's side, remaining very calm and collected. She's been able to make all the important and hard decisions she's needed to, always remembering to put on a "brave face".
I will never underestimate the power of lipstick again!