It’s amazing how sometimes we are able to hear everything. It’s a Thursday afternoon and I am sitting on the porch at one of the grandmother’s homes and I can hear everything. I can hear all the leaves on all the trees. I can hear all the insects, even the ones burrowed in the dirt. My children are playing on the sidewalk with bubbles. They are laughing and talking. They are enjoying each other without any cares in the world.
They are oblivious to the fact that all across the world people are in constant fear and turmoil. They are unaware that men that look like them are being murdered by those who took an oath to serve and protect. They don’t know that they too, will later be prejudged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. It’s really saddenning.
Moments after, I am faced with the thought that things could always be worse. My kids still have me and I still have them. And for this moment, I am going to enjoy it. Nothing else in the world matters at this moment. I am here, I am healthy and I am going to listen.
Here I am yet again writing an emotion filled blog but this helps me to get everything out. Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting with my sister friend Wycilia. She lives about four hours from me and we haven’t seen each other in two years. She was visiting a city an hour away and she had never met my youngest daughter. I gathered up my girls and we went to see her and do what many women like to do: eat and shop!!
Now, I’ve never been one to wear makeup on an everyday basis and when I would wear it, it was usually muted or natural/neutral tones. I was a firm believer that makeup should enhance your beauty but not make you look like a totally different person.
When I was diagnosed with cancer and learned that I would have to go through chemotherapy, I knew that I would be losing my hair. At the time, I wore my natural hair and I was very proud of my thick, curly mane. I hated that my hair would fall out but my attitude was that I valued my life more than my hair. I had never worn a wig before and I didn’t know how I would feel about being completely bald. I knew right then that I would probably want to wear makeup with my wig.
While going through my chemotherapy treatments, I learned of a program sponsored by the American Cancer Society called “Look Good, Feel Better.” You see, before going to this class, I had never been taught how to properly apply makeup. I had previously learned by watching others. I felt good about my gloss mascara and shadow. I could match my foundation with no problem but I knew nothing about blending, highlighting or the correct use for concealer. In this program, women that are battling cancer are taught how to do small things that would enhance their beauty. Some of the tips were ways to wear a scarf so that you could cover medi-port, tying a scarf around your balding head and then lastly, applying makeup. Sometimes when going through therapy, because of all the side effects, your face may look pale or flushed and the person leading the class provided step by step details on applying your make-up. People expect that you when you tell them you have Cancer that you may lose your hair, but what they don’t realize it that this could also mean losing all your hair, including eyelashes and eyebrows which is exactly what happened to me.
I was so excited to go to this class for two reasons; one being that I would receive over $200.00 in free make-up and two because I would finally learn some tricks in applying my makeup correctly. So, I went to the class and I loved it. There were only about 3 other women in the class, all who had been recently diagnosed with cancer so we had no idea how our appearances would change. I had just recently started losing my hair but at the time of the class, I still had my eyebrows and lashes. The purpose of the class was to help build the confidence of the attendees even though we were going through a life changing illness.
After attending this class, I became a little more confident in my makeup skills. It became a renewed interest for me. I began watching make-up tutorials online, following celebrity and other big name makeup artists on social networks and also reading reviews about different products. I begin investing in some of the products I had read about and watched others use on You-Tube. I was so happy when I bought my first set of brushes.
I begin practicing different techniques and getting better and better; and although I am not a certified makeup artist, nor do I aspire to be, I enjoy wearing my makeup from time to time. I like the way that it looks and I love the way that it makes me feel. Some people have misconceptions about women that wear makeup. Just because I wear makeup, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like myself or the features that God gave me. In fact, when I wear makeup, I love them even more.
So back to shopping with my friend—I picked up some lip colors that I wouldn’t have normally worn before all of this practice and all of the videos. I decided to step outside of my comfort zone since I was getting better with my application, blending and whatnot. So I was sitting at home and decided to play. It started with just testing the lipstick. I put it on and I loved it, so then I decided to put on a full face. I was so proud of the way that it came out that I decided to try on my wig. And then I did it. I took some photos. Several photos and a wig change with more photos later, I had posted some images to my social media accounts. I loved the look so much that I decided to update my profile picture. I received many likes, compliments but along with that, there were also some subliminal “hate” posts.
The worst thing about it was that it came from other women. So I am back at this question again, why are women so envious of each other? Why is it so hard for women to celebrate other women? This has never been an issue for me. If I see another woman and she is dressed nice or I like something that she is wearing, I’m going to tell her. I never understood this. It seems that everything in life has just become the great competition. It is sad that we live in a society where people can’t celebrate each other earnestly without trying to be better. There’s a quote that is floating around social media that says, “The only person that you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” And I think this is true.
If you are someone who doesn’t wear makeup, that’s great. Don’t put down people that choose to wear make up. There are many reasons why people may wear makeup but probably the most basic is because, we like it!!
The following is information that I have included in my flyer informing people about my online breast cancer support group, “My Pink Haven.”
As one can imagine, being diagnosed with breast cancer was the worst day of my life. I, like many others, looked at my diagnosis as a death sentence. However, I was determined that I was not going to leave my babies. They needed their mommy.
I’ve met some wonderful women on my journey. Being diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 35 was one of the most mentally challenging things that I have ever had to go through. I was prepared for the worst but I am so thankful for my journey. It was important to maintain a positive outlook. This was why I was inspired to start an online support group. More specifically, I wanted to connect women in the state of South Carolina, so that if they ever desired to meet, it would be feasible. With the group being online, it allows women to participate from the comfort of their own homes. I want to encourage other women and to give them a place where they felt comfortable. It’s not always easy to talk to our friends and family about what’s going on with us. Many times, they don’t understand. Other times, we may be too embarrassed to discuss certain things. This is why I was inspired to start My Pink Haven.
My Pink Haven is exactly as the name suggests. It is a place where women from all over South Carolina whom are battling breast cancer can go for encouragement, advice and support from other cancer fighters and survivors. My Pink Haven provides a platform for women to share without the fear of being judged. It’s also a place where they are free to post questions, concerns and praise reports, etc. All member information (profile names, posts) is confidential and should not be discussed outside of the online forum.
Steps to join My Pink Haven:
1. Send a inbox request to join to my personal FB account “Grace Favor Mercy”
2. Send an email request to email@example.com