Rock On, Females!

Rock on, females!

Though I find it all very sad that when a woman turns 50 or older–and she dares look like she’s fifty or older–she’s considered not attractive.

It’s women editors at magazines setting this tone of an expiration date. They’re complicit in this vanity trap–for perpetuating that a woman is only as good as she looks.

We’re complicit for buying magazines that endlessly preach salvation from old age via anti-wrinkle products.

Even Deborah Harry of Blondie has gotten a facelift. She’s 71, and still rocking. Harry was interviewed in Bazaar recently.

Facelift aside, I commend Harry for having her own sense of style, her own imaginative use of language, and her own tempo. Harry marched to her own beat–and Blondie now has out their 11th album.

I say: if you want to get a little wrinkle relief or get Botox or do something: that’s your choice. More power to you for wanting to make yourself happy.

Only I just think it’s sad that women often choose to go under the knife not because they want to be empowered. A lot of them might be doing it because they think they’re all washed up at 50. There’s a difference.

By all means, go under the knife if that’s what you want to do. It’s a personal choice that each of us has the right to make.

It’s just that I think there’s a double standard: women are held to a higher standard of perfection. And men get to go around acting like they’re hot shit regardless of the scowl on their faces or how they treat other people.

I’m going to use a photo here of Deborah Harry. In a way, it might illustrate the case for a good facelift. That’s not my intention.

My goal is to show women that we can be rocking at 50 and beyond, at 60 and beyond, and yes–at 70 and beyond.

You live that long–you get to choose how you live your life. Rock on.

deborah harry

 

 

 

Insanity

Wise up:

The current Republican alternative healthcare bill that was voted into law denies benefits to people living with mental health conditions. It’s stricter and more severe and drastically reduces spending on mental health. It increases premiums for the very people–those of us with mental health conditions–that have historically been unable to pay on our own for healthcare.

This is insanity.

Now more than ever none of us can afford to remain to remain silent on the things that matter to us.

It matters to me that the U.S. gets wise and institutes universal public healthcare.

Some of the very people who voted for Republicans are the ones paying $515/every 3 months with their own money for asthma inhalers–thousands of dollars a year on healthcare.

Now Mr. Toupee’s tax reform is supposed to delete from the tax code the ability to deduct medical expenses if you itemize your deductions on your tax return.

That leaves the asthma inhaler folks paying through the nose–pun intended–for healthcare without being able to get a tax break for doing this.

Sane? I think not.

I don’t endorse this insanity.

Speaking Out as a Form of Self-Care

I like this Martin Luther King, Jr. quote:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

It matters to me that I champion what “pro-choice” really means in its various manifestations:

The right to choose how we want to live. The right to choose love not hate. (Or the right yes indeed to choose hate if that’s how we want to live.)

It matters to me how people treat each other.

It matters to me that I speak out against hate and yes oppression.

In a way, people with mental health challenges have been repressed from speaking out and oppressed from having power.

I’ve talked in here before about my analogy to slices of the pie in how people compete with each other.

It comes down to self-care. When no one else seems to care about you it’s imperative that you care about yourself.

Refrain from internalizing the message that there’s something wrong about you. That there’s no hope for what you can do.

In 1988 I had to fight to be taken seriously. I rebelled the role of mental patient. Which is ultimately why I wrote about other things in Left of the Dial. I wrote about how I used fashion and music to heal. It was revolutionary because I didn’t focus on symptoms.

It matters to me–it has mattered to me from Day 1 of my recovery–that none of us are identified by our symptoms or our illness or our lack.

As an Author and a Dilettante/Lover I’ll continue to champion treating other people with dignity. I’ll continue to take my message of hope and healing wherever I go: on the street; on the stage; on the pages of the blog.

It’s 2017. We can’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. We can’t be afraid to challenge the haters. It’s time to rise up and use our voices to tell our stories.

Recovery is a human rights issue. I might be the only one who is so blunt to state it like this. I want to cry when I hear that a person has been institutionalized for 12 years or longer. The greatest thing is that they got out.

Everyone has the right to be supported and cheered on in their pursuit of having a full and robust life living in recovery. Now “full and robust” will look and be defined differently for each of us.

 

Say Yes to Mental Health Treatment

The Republicans are set to vote into law today the gutting of mental health services enacted under the Affordable Care Act while President Obama was in office.

The Republicans are set to roll back progress by eliminating mental health treatment and charging higher premiums for fewer kinds of mental health service.

The Republicans are set to deny mental health constituents coverage for addiction treatment.

It will become illegal to have an abortion. Yet when your fetus turns 18 and develops schizophrenia or another mental illness or a drug addiction there will now be no treatment available for them. Write your elected officials and thank them for this.

Makes sense right? Makes sense to have voted into power the people who are voting today to eliminate funding for mental health services for the very people who need it.

Cue the sarcasm. Is there an emoji for sarcasm? You know where I stand.

If you live in New York State here are the telephone numbers of the elected officials you can call to tell them to vote NO for the MacArthur Amendment that denies citizens treatment for mental health.

Rep. Lee Zeldin Long Island 202-225-3826
Rep. Peter King Long Island 202-225-7896
Rep. Dan Donovan Staten Island 202-225-3371
Rep. John Faso Upper Hudson Vally 202-225-5614
Rep. Elise Stefanik North Country 202-225-4611
Rep. Claudia Tenney Binghamton 202-225-3665
Rep. Tom Reed Finger Lakes Region 202-225-3161
Rep. John Katko Syracuse 202-225-3701
Rep. Chris Collins Western NY 202-225-5265
Tell your congressperson that:
  • The American Health Care Act would leave millions of Americans without mental health coverage and strip Medicaid funding.
  • The recently-introduced “MacArthur Amendment” would let states get waivers allowing health insurance plans to not cover mental health and substance use treatment and charge people with mental illness more.
  • It’s outrageous to even suggest that mental health coverage is optional and to charge people more because they have a mental health condition.
  • Medicaid coverage is also under threat. It covers important mental health services that help people with mental illness get better and stay better.
  • Please tell Representative_______ to keep what works for mental health and REJECT the American Health Care Act and the MacArthur Amendment. Thank you.

I telephoned my guy in Washington. The line was busy. I’ll call again to try to get through.

I’m posting this same blog entry in the Flourish blog.

 

Choose Love

Last week I attended an open mic where I read the poem “What She Said” that starts off Left of the Dial.

The host started the evening by quoting Audre Lorde on self-care:

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

Self-care–in whatever healthy form it takes–is an act of love and healing. That’s why fashion and beauty aren’t frivolous pursuits.

I ask you: without self-care how can a person really feel and look their best? In this regard it’s imperative that each of us treats ourselves and the people we meet with kindness and compassion.

At the open mic I was witness to stories of tragedy and the overcoming of tragedy.

Ashley Smith, a fellow blogger, has alluded to the idea that we’re all in recovery, from whatever it is we’re in recovery from.

A breakdown; an illness; a diagnosis; an attack–all these can be a traumatic event.

Though I’ve only been 52 for two weeks I suddenly have zero tolerance for the hate, violence, and killing in the world.

I want to talk about this now because when you hit your fifties you’re faced with a choice: continue on the same path (that might include having negative thoughts or unhealthy behaviors)–or choose empowerment through having empathy for yourself and others.

You can’t afford to go down a path of ill health when you’re in your fifties. Now is the time to intensify your efforts at self-care.

If you’ve suffered a trauma–be it a mental health challenge or something else–please be good to yourself. You can’t blame yourself. Self-care is a necessity not a luxury.

There can be no shame and guilt involved in having a diagnosis. There can be no fear of reprisal when you choose how you want to live your life.

I bought a silver necklace that spells out: CHOOSE LOVE.

That’s the message I want to spread in the blog now:

Choose Love.

The Necessity of Self-Care

I want to write about the necessity of self-care as you get older.

Readers: if I gained weight I doubt I’d care at this point anymore.

Like so many women at mid life proclaim: “It’s either my face or my ass.” This is because:

In your fifties you might have a wrinkle-free face and gain a few pounds or have wrinkles and no extra poundage.

Research studies indicate that women who exercise feel better about their bodies even if they haven’t lost significant weight.

My secret is to lift weights twice a week as often as I can and to watch what I eat on most days. Now that the spring weather is here I often walk places instead of taking the subway. That’s how I get in “cardio”–cardiovascular exercise.

That’s the secret to hang a healthy body and a healthy mind: strength training. You feel better after you’ve exercised. There’s also some kind of idea that lifting weights firms the skin on your face too. I wouldn’t go so far as to think this–this seems incredulous to me.

My regimen is: At night I use L’Oreal Eye Makeup Remover and some kind of Neutrogena cleansing cloths for the rest of my face. After this I use Simple facial cleanser you can get in Rite Aid. Then I apply an old-school product from the Body Shop: the Vitamin E Night Cream.

In the morning I use Neutrogena Hydro-Boost moisturizer with SPF 15–the one that comes in the tube not the jar. I use an eye cream that costs about $15.

The reality is that you have to–at least I have to–wear moisturizer every day when you’re older. So I use a moisturizer with a sunscreen. I also notice that foundation goes on better if you’ve applied moisturizer first.

I’ll end here with this now:

No one will tell you–only I’ll tell you–that the future won’t always be totally rosy or always better and not ever challenging.

I learned the hard way from being the victim of an attack that your life can in some ways get harder at times not easier.

Which is the prime reason that self-care is so important now if you’re in your fifties.

Doing healthy things to make yourself feel better is a necessity not a luxury in recovery at mid life. 

Birthday Makeover

This is the Before photo of a makeover session at Sephora:

2017 before.JPG

The After photo is below:

 

2017 after.JPG

Using primer before you add foundation and blush definitely helps make the blush look smoother.

I wouldn’t brush up my eyebrows with powder like this IRL on an ordinary day.

The lipstick is Poeme by Lancome that I chose because I arrived early and browsed the makeup lines. 

The makeup artist chose the blush: Nectar by Lancome.

Though this was a birthday makeover I’m not keen to keep doing this every year. The cost can add up.

I also bought the concealer that the artist chose for me. Alas I have dark circles under my eyes and haven’t kept up with using concealer. Now I would like to try using the concealer.

You need something to hang on to that makes you feel good when you have a mental health challenge. Having a makeover can be a bright spot in your life when you’re going through a hard time.

It can also be a mood boost “just because” you want to get a makeover.

I picked up some tips and tricks from the makeup artist that I’ll start to use on my own.

Fifty-two isn’t so bad really. I’m newly fifty-two.

The secret to loving life whatever your age is doing what suits you and discarding the rest. I’m in full swing with the writing and editing of the career book and with the writing of a second memoir that is a collection of essays.

I will tell readers everywhere to have no fear: the future can be brighter than your life was in your twenties.