Get Your Lipstick On: A Rebellious New Year Wish

Some people say listen to your body for what it needs. I say watch the shade of lipstick you’re buying to find out what you want or need.

Over the lazy holiday break a new lipstick urge came over me one day. When this flares up I fall into a black hole of reading beauty bloggers for hours, looking at colors, figuring out which ones won’t dry out my lips, and considering which colors will go with my favorite clothes. Then I order two and wait for Sephora to deliver.

Unlike many friends, I don’t trust the department store makeup people to tell me which colors are most flattering. I value advice on taxes, health and investing. When it comes to lipstick, love and the pursuit of happiness, I listen to my inner goddess, who sounds a lot like the late, great actress Ruth Gordon. Bold, brave, courageous, opinionated and occasionally shameless.

Before choosing new colors for 2017, I opened the medicine cabinet to see what I had. I found the names of my standard favorites sound a lot like Ruth, er, I mean me. (See photo) I’ve never selected lipsticks based on their names, only their color. (OK, I also consider whether they’ll keep my lips moist, be easy to apply without a mirror, and won’t bleed into those tiny, annoying lines around my lips.)

But this week I’m realizing that the lipsticks we choose may tell us what we want and need. How we want to show up in the world.

Why aren’t you wearing lipstick for me?

Years ago a boyfriend asked why I wasn’t wearing red lipstick for him.

“First of all, I wear lipstick for myself, not for anybody else,” I told him. “Second of all, what I wear subconsciously says how I’m feeling.” I was wearing “Radish,” a kind of peachy pink. The relationship went nowhere.

When I had just turned 40 my father asked me why I wasn’t wearing any lipstick. “You look better with a little lipstick,’ he gently said.

Before my “oh-my-god-is-my-father-a-sexist” brain spewed unkind words my father added, “You look more like you with lipstick.”

Alrighty, then.

Showing up

Lipstick should be about making us feel more like us. (And if it makes you feel icky, don’t wear it! )

Don’t wear it to impress, conform, or hide. But using it to play, find pleasure and fill your heart with mischief and possibilities is highly recommended.

In this morning’s New Year’s Day Journey Dance Joan showed up wearing a beautiful, bold shade of red lipstick with a sparkly silver and gold top. The kind of top you might wear to a New Year’s Eve party. But here it was 10 a.m. and Joan, who is probably 40 years older than some of the other dancers, was lighting the room with an inspiring confidence and grounded wisdom.

I asked Joan the name of her red lipstick, but she had no idea. Only that it suited her. If I had to give it a name I would call it “Just Red.” Because Joan exudes a kind of integrity, self-compassion and no-nonsense attitude.

2017: Kiss and insoumise

My new lipsticks won’t arrive for another week, but I think they’ll be right for 2017. As always, I chose by the colors. But the lipstick names reveal my New Year’s wishes.

I went with the Dior Addict line and chose two pinky/rose colors, named Kiss and Insoumise.

I suppose Kiss is for “If you think strong women are going to take your bullshit, you can Kiss my ass, you conservative, male politicians with too much dicktitude.” Or maybe it’s about Kissing the sky with gratitude, kindness and optimism. Or Kissing those whom I love so very much.

Insoumise was a surprise and not a surprise. A surprise because I really had no idea what it meant when I put it in my shopping cart. Not a surprise because it’s the French word for “rebelliousness.” And I do so love my work helping Rebels at Work find their voice and create positive change.

So today I send a a rebellious New Year’s kiss to you — and wish you joy in wearing lipstick that lights up your soul and helps you bring your voice to the world.