Sunday, April 17, 2016

Seeing Red Part I

This week was unbelievably hard. Between spilled coffee days, cancelled appointments, stress at work and a finger that won't heal and has been in pain for the last three days I am utterly exhausted. I guess all these months of good health have made me weak. This kind of week used to be the norm 9 months ago, now I can't even handle a few days of the chaos. Buck up Jas!! :) But of course, the bad times are meant to teach you something. This week I learned how brave I really am. I'm not as afraid of losing another fingertip as I thought I was (though I hope it doesn't have to come to that), I'm not as afraid of the future in general, and I am brave enough to share stories that may not always be pleasant for all to hear/read. I did that this week and I'm proud of myself for it.

As a writer, you sometimes have the privilege of getting published. This week was one of those times for me. I submitted my creative non-fiction piece Shades of Red to the Dangerous Woman's Project for consideration. They accepted it almost immediately. I was thrilled. The editor said the piece was "evocative and powerful." I was nervous because the story I shared does not show everyone in it with a favorable light- me included. But I figured if it's going to go in the book I'm going to have to face the music sooner or later. Well, within three days of submission, we edited the piece a bit, chose a cover photo and it was up online and I even got paid for it!
Flaunting my red


The purpose of the Dangerous Women's project and online publication is to highlight women's stories from around the world where they answer the question: "What does it mean to be a dangerous woman?" I had written the piece several months ago and plan on including it in my second hybrid-memoir so decided to put it out in the world to see if it was publishable. Apparently it was! I then shared the link with many of my girlfriends and also received some great feedback.

While talking about the implications of what it means as a woman to wear red lipstick I came up with what turned out to be a fun idea. I asked all my girlfriends on social media to tell me when and how they "found their red."

For those of you that may not understand: Red lipstick in many cultures comes with a lot of baggage. You do not wear read if you are "proper lady." Red is scandalous too sexy. Many women are often fearful of how they look in red, red lipstick, red dresses, red shoes etc. So, for that reason, many of us "found our red" later in life and did so in order to feel something: courage, beauty, sexiness, joy...something..anything than whatever it was we were feeling at the time.

I thought to myself, what a great ask women to share these stories, how empowering and fun! And it was and I hope it will continue to be. I am still brainstorming ways on how I can get more and more women involved in sharing their red stories with me- maybe a cosmetic company can use it as a new ad?...but for now, I will leave you with some of the awesome, stunning and beautiful stories and photos of some of the women in my life who are being brave and have found and are flaunting their RED. **I only use initials to protect identities and respect their stories**

(May I also share, that at least two women who had never dared try red before, finally did because of this post and said they loved it! Yay!)

These are only 10 of them...Part 2 next week will share 10 more! Yes I received THAT many responses and am still getting them!

Photo Credit: Angelie Eggert

"It's a constant struggle all young Latina women share. I discovered my red lips at 23 when I dressed up as Harley Quinn for Halloween. And it wasn't as scary as our moms told us it would be. Embrace those red lips ladies!"- Y.C.

"The first time i wore red lipstick i was 21 years old and it was for a friend's retro birthday party. I worried the whole night!"- J.M.

"The first time I put on red lipstick was when nothing else worked to make me feel alive again. I had survived a serious car accident and I thought I was okay. But when my friend got hit shortly after and did not survive his, it felt like the life I had was not my own. I was laid low for weeks. Finally, I woke up one day, and bought some red lipstick. I put it on and walked out the house. The shocking color that had never existed on my face before made the world stop looking like a black and white movie. It shocked me awake and informed me that I was still bold, I was still alive, I was still here: and it was okay to celebrate. It was okay to live my life." -H.B.

#4 "At 20 years of age I began wearing red lipstick because I wanted to be noticed, to command attention. I was tired of feeling like I didn't matter, I was gonna be bold. Mi prima gave me a lipstick named fire truck red and I never looked back. Now I wear red whenever I'm nervous or scared."-M.R.

"I was 26 and it was around December 2009 for a company holiday party. So I decided to wear a red sweater, of course, I have to match. Also, to impress a boy. Lol! His favorite color is red and I hate the color red. But I thought I looked cute. I wore the red lips again for New Years and was getting used to the red lips. I haven't done it again since then. I think I'm gonna have to bust it out."- C.dR.

"The first time I wore red lipstick was for a dance performance celebrating Mexican traditions. It made me feel like I was the face of the 'Mexicana.' Like I was in costume 100%. Now many years later, I wear it when i feel like spicing up my makeup. It's very bold on my white skin, so it definitely makes me feel like I'm making a bold statement; 'I am woman'."- K.C.M

"I spent years letting my eyes speak for me because they can't be sexualized. Lips, on the other hand...
So I wore earth tone lipsticks (if I wore any at all) until about two years ago. A make-up artist friend would lovingly chide me about my 'naked from the nose down' face. One day I walked into a drug store, saw red and said 'Why not?'

Red lips made me smile more.
It was just that simple for me.
I wanted to smile more. - S.C.I

"I have never been a 'Red' lipstick kind of girl...give me maroon...burgundy or deep plum any day. Well, now I just wear gloss and liners etc. Anyway, let me get to the root of it all. Maybe I just never really felt it suited me because standing out like that in my earlier years was just not me. Until I stopped caring what people thought (in my 20's) Red means being bold, proud, and sexy. It wasn't red lipstick that did that for was wearing it. wasn't me. But wearing that's what I love about the color."-U.L.C.

"I've always been more into the earthy/natural type tones. Maybe it was because growing up I didn't like drawing attention to myself. If you're a big booty Latina, you're looked at like a sexual object. Boys were jerks in school. It wasn't until mid 30s that I felt comfortable wearing red lipstick and dressing a bit more sexier from time to time. I'm stronger and comfortable with myself now. Red is bold and beautiful."- B.A.

"Red has a wonderful and extraordinary way of defining the plump edges of my lips. With every word I speak, the color and movement define the mood I am in because my words speak respect and empowerment. With my tongue I can love you and school you. Bless the hearts of the men that kiss and cross these red lips. I am woman." D.B.R.

#foundmyred on Twitter!
My Projects on my website to learn more!

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