Thursday, December 4, 2014

Beauty Tips For The Mentally Deranged

Read on if you are one of the following:


A bad bitch


Living in relative poverty


Lazy femme


A witch


Struggling under the nightmarish oppression of the capitalist patriarchy (hint: you are)


Not likely to be fazed by knowledge of my most intimate and outlandish beauty rituals.


I
may have refused to wear a shirt until the age of 11 or 12, and thrown
many a tantrum against the hegemony of scratchy tights and underwear,
but I've also always been drawn to the girly side of life. Even as a
small child, watching my mother get ready, selecting perfume, applying
her makeup, brushing her hair, I recognized the power of female beauty
rituals: the staking of a claim, the celebration of the mysterious, the
cultivation of small, sensual pleasures, the attention to self. In
becoming a woman, I felt I had found something worth belonging to and
worth fighting for--I had a strong instinct that pursuing the feminine
would not weaken me. I saw and still see these routines as one way to
navigate a world that is brutally unkind to female bodies and female
expression.


Over
years of experimentation, I learned how to make my appearance into one
tool of many to wield; I learned how to incorporate my sexuality, my
contradictions, my personality into a series of coherent looks that I
could always rely upon to make me feel better no matter what was
happening: the failing grade, a relationship ending, odious social
events. During the inevitable dark times, I clung to this cultivation as
a life-saving device that helped restore my equilibrium when I’d been
knocked on my ass.


Now,
I see my beauty routines as a core part of who I am, a core part of the
way I choose to fight my way through life. My rituals are my refuge.
The care I take with my appearance is how I access my creativity, my
subversion, my power, my joy, my don't-give-a-fuck. It's part of how I
practice self-care, how I draw boundaries for myself, how I prepare
myself for life's challenges. It's how I experience freedom. Every
lesson has been hard won. Here's a few of my best.


Get weird with it The
only real reason you need to do anything to your appearance is to make
yourself happy. If, at the same time, you look hot as fuck constantly
and scare the shit out of people (read: men) on a regular basis, all the
better. Face glitter on a random Wednesday, mixed patterns, daring
hair--there is really nothing too out there that you can’t try at least
once. No one is watching you as much as you think. There’s nothing new
under the sun--that can depress you or energize you.  Make all the
combinations, revisions, and decisions that please
you
the most and you can’t go wrong. Fear nothing. Trial-and-error is
everything. Experimentation is the reason that adorable sweater vests
from Goodwill are now safe from me, and fake eyelashes will remain
unattached to my body.


Take your time
I am rabid about my getting ready time, whether it’s a full hour in the
afternoon or the ten minutes before my date gets to the bar or the five
minutes in the bathroom before work. That is my time, and god help the
person who impinges on it.  Taking my time with my appearance is how I
mentally prepare for whatever I’m about to do. Life is very short and
goes by very fast. Outfits are how I mark occasions (even the Tuesday
farmer's market) and how I celebrate myself. Also, getting ready is
fucking fun. I put on music, arrange all my tools in front of me, sashay
around the room gazing at myself in the mirror, noticing each tactile
step: pulling on my tights, my fingers on my face, that split-second
wetness of fresh mascara, the way my hair smells while I’m drying it.
Claiming my time and my right to use it however I wish is powerful. No
one else tells me when I’m ready but me.


Dirty as you wanna be
Most of the time, my finished look is pretty damn girly, and if not
exactly conservative, contains some element of class and restraint. But I
only cultivate that by channeling my inner beast. You know, the one
whose hair gets that sheen from the potato chip crumbs in her bed and
crazy afternoon sex. The one with secretly ripped tights and menstrual
blood underneath her fingernails.  Being a little wild and frankly,
gross with some of my beauty rituals frees my spirit. Digging the dirt
means I have to be more inventive--the quickly unsmeared eyeliner from
the night before, the half-damp paper towel used in the bathroom to
bring a flush to my cheeks. The curiously effective exfoliation from the
dirt trapped in the lipstick rolling around the bottom of my bag.
Embracing filth keeps me from becoming a slave to my beauty standards--I
know how to find a way to look as good as I want to even when I've
spent the day tramping around the woods, driven a car through the night,
been caught in a rain-storm, or just slept through my alarm. Beauty
becomes a survival strategy for me in this way, makes me into less of a
weird slob and more of a dirty-haired, no bra, dark-circles hungover
witch who’s gonna ride her red-wine stained lips into history.


Feel your way Looking
good is feeling good, and vice versa. Sometimes I look my hottest when
I'm actually feeling sad as shit, because I use my beauty arsenal to
work out my feelings and adjust my look accordingly, and I use my
feelings to adjust my beauty arsenal. Confrontations with roommates
require muscle tees and braided hair. Drab afternoons when I've spent
all day in bed require short, tight dresses and unruly waves. When I
feel out-of-control I bring out the fancy underwear, collared shirts,
and slightly binding mini-skirts. Feeling picked on and I go for baggy
jeans, pale colors, and extra lipstick. Thick eyeliner and perfume when
I'm meeting someone new. Anger is obviously a black dress. Feeling your
way means wearing lacy tights because i like how they feel when I'm
sliding myself into my lover's car, or asking myself what Buffy would
wear to work if she also had to bus tables for a living. I have a coat I
wear when I need to feel like a rich, impossible bitch and one I wear
when I need to feel like a country fairy-tale princess. I've busted more
than one bad mood just by putting my hair in a side ponytail.


Damn the man The
man is out to get you to buy as much shit as possible, unrelentingly
and without exception, from now until civilization collapses (so only a
few weeks left to go). Don’t throw good money after bad and spend your
hard-earned cash when you don’t need to. Shampoo is body wash.
Conditioner is shaving cream, lipstick is blush, men’s razors are
cheaper, fingers are just as good as most any makeup brush. I aspire to
buy only all-organic fair-trade locally-sourced unicorn-tested products
but until that happy day arrives most of my beauty shit comes from the
dollar store or the grocery store. Baking soda, coconut oil, vaseline,
sea salt, witch hazel, apple cider vinegar are some of my cheap go-tos.
You can make a delightful scrub just using some sugar and the coffee
grounds you were going to throw away (er, compost) anyway. Sticking to
the drug-store, combining/re-purposing products, or making my own shit
helps me stave off the class envy and depression I go through looking at
the Sephora website and keeps me able to afford all the lavender oil my
anxious little heart requires.


Be a healthy-ass evolved bitch Being
hot is about a lot more than products. It’s not even really about
technique. Being hot is a state of mind. When I do push-ups while I’m
getting ready, or meditate to the sound of my blow-dryer, I’m getting
myself into an optimal state of hotness.  I take my vitamins while I get
ready, create mantras, fantasize about my writing, drink huge jars of
water, put garlic everywhere (yes, there) stretch and move, light
incense and pray. When I eat a really good meal I feel it in my hair, no
joke. So use your beauty routine to get right with yourself and become
stronger. Masturbate before you get ready. Dance. Make your shower a
crazy sacred temple where there’s always a  candle ready to be lit and
you’re allowed to think anything you want.  I had a boyfriend who hated
when I wore makeup, another one who nearly cried when I cut my hair,
another who forbid me from wearing sheer tops. Every time I shake my ass
in my mirror, put on red lipstick, take off a layer someone else might
want me to leave on, every time I take a risk or a breath, I’m setting
myself free.