she would have for me and was surprised by what she, at first, had to say.
"I have no advice to give," she told me. This was unbelievable from a woman whose public face is always impeccably and minimally made; whose clothes always suit her frame and communicate well her conservative yet saucy personality; and whose well-groomed, curly, silvery-gray pixie is never out of place. She had to have something valuable to say.
She assured me that her lifelong dedication to smoothing on vaseline and wearing socks at night had produced bunion-less and corn-less feet which her podiatrist lauds as the smoothest he's ever seen. How's that for a good selling point? But, she went on, her face is unrecognizable to her now, as she ages and continues to bounce back from a go with chemotherapy due to her second bout with breast cancer over a year ago. Thankfully, since she has always had a healthy lifestyle and been a stickler for regular medical checkups (early detection is one of the best protections, ladies) her cancers were each found at an early stage. Despite it all, she is still one of the most beautiful people I know. She is now building a new relationship with her body and growing used to the changes in her physical and spiritual selves, so when I pressed her and asked what she would tell my niece, her great granddaughter, if she asked for her advice, she stopped and took a moment to think.
"Work hard, play hard and have pride in yourself." Pride is very important because it will motivate you to keep yourself up. "When you have problems, don't wear them on your sleeve. Put makeup on, a nice outfit and walk out the door with your head held high, even if your heart is breaking." My breath paused in my chest as I felt the ghosts of past hurt, disappointment and pain floating underneath her words. Wow. Thank you, Grandmom. This way of looking at, of seeing, the immaculately put-together and fiery woman I have looked up to my entire life, took more than the attention of a fleeting glance. I thought of the many guises our public mask can take. It can communicate, as "Azucar & Especial" commented in another post, who you are/what you believe on the inside, or it can, as my grandmother points out, be an exercise in hope- a fake-it-to-make-it inspired act toward the fruition of a healthier, happier, and more confident You. The use of cosmetics and beauty accessories can be a proclamation of aspiration, a performance of capability and wholeness that may or may not reflect the current reality.
I am better for having asked my illustrious Grandmom for her advice, and I hope she feels better for having shared it. Have you chatted with your grandmom or grandmother-figure today? There's no better time than now. -Zee