pink ink…

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is one of the days we are supposed to tell those we love how much we love them. I just sent my daughter and hubby off to school and work filled up with love. To all my friends and family, thanks for loving ME these past 6 months. I wouldn’t be here without you. To my doctors, thanks for loving your jobs enough to show up and help me getter better. I love you all!

But the person I am loving the most today? ME! I am going to take the day, do nothing except love me, and the fact that I am still alive! I am going to also make a valiant effort to love how I look today! Trust me, that will be a challenge!

As “Aunt Wendy” Williams says, I am a woman of a “certain age”. When I turned 40 a few years ago, I celebrated all year. I don’t understand people who feel it’s the beginning of the end. I felt the most secure in myself of my life. You see, I’m an “average looking” chick. I have friends who are much better looking, in better shape, have better hair! I have a mom who looked better at 40, 50, & 60 than I do now. I have a cute daughter who may end up living in a tower, if my husband has anything to do with it. We all have our issues with how we look. But, up until now, I was good with that! I was healthy and actively working to “keep it together” as they say. I mean, I am basically thin, HAD decent hair, and was pretty happy with how I looked. How many times have I talked about how I will wear a bikini until the bikini police come to get me!? But in the last few months, it has been a bit…umm…different.

Notice that I am specifically talking about the superficial. The “beauty” side of being of a certain age. Trust me, I know that being happy is much more than that. I have spent the last 9 years trying to teach my daughter that beauty is on the inside. I constantly tell her you can be a “beautiful” person on the outside and still be tortured. (hello Halle) or just mean. (Lena Horne) I remind her that beauty comes and goes. But that’s not my message today!

This week, I was reminded that it is also about perception.

As you can imagine, Life in the Cancer Lane can drastically affect your appearance, how people see you and how you see yourself. The drastic change in appearance affects how others treat people with Cancer. They avoid eye contact, or talk to you like you are already dying. I’ve already written about the usual suspects of cancer side effects…Hair loss, skin discoloration, weight and muscle tone loss. If you are not careful, you can spend days avoiding looking in the mirror. I have tried hard not to fall into that gutter. In fact, during my 1st round of chemo, I really took pride in how I tried to keep it together. But with surgery and the second round of chemo, it’s been a bit more difficult. It has become a little harder to “pull it together”. Part of that is because I have NO EYEBROWS OR EYELASHES! LOL! I never realized how much a part of your appearance they are!

This past week I had 2 different experiences. My “play” niece told her mom that “Auntie Barbra even looks beautiful, bald”. Well, that almost brought me to tears, when her mom shared that with me. It definitely warmed my heart! I felt I was looking cute that night, so I was happy! LOL! On the other hand, earlier in the week, one of my best friends told me with a frown, that I now actually look like I am in treatment. I was NOT offended. It validated what I had been feeling. So in my effort to “keep it real” in the cancer lane, I am posting a REAL look at Beauty in the Cancer Lane.

Look at me Saturday, preparing for a night out with Big B.

<- BEFORE: This is what I look like without any spackle! Like an alien! No concealer, no mascara, no eyeliner or lipstick. Definitely a hard look! I am lucky I have a hubby and daughter who tell me I am beautiful every single day. But, let’s be real. It’s not true!

But for my friends on their own journey, I also wanted to post my “after” picture. I have chosen not to stay in the house and hide. I am learning to draw on eyebrows (scary), and even out my chemo skin. I have become even better friends with my MAC makeup artist! (LOVE to the MAC folks at the Biltmore!) I am not hiding behind the spackle, just embracing the very real need for it. Let’s keep it real. All women of a certain age need to update their make up routine every once in a while.

Tip: If you have a friend in the Cancer Lane, get her a gift certificate to MAC. Go with her to the store. Force her to learn to “put on her face”. Go early in the process of treatment. Take a good picture of her before she loses her eyebrows! It is funny how quickly we forget what our eyes look like.

So today…after I draw on some brows, I am going to look at my flowers, look in the mirror and love me! The champagne will come later! I hope you do the same.

Take the time today to Love…Yourself!

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea Smith
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 16:38:06

    Queen B, I always thought you were a great looking chick, you average?? Never! But now I agree with your niece, you are more beautiful than ever. This is the true beauty. I would often think, that if I looked like Halle Berry, I would never have any problems. But girl, that chile got issues…deep ones! Happy Valentine’s Day and I think I am going to take your advice and love me some me too!


  2. Lori Hall Armstrong
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 17:30:12

    YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL BARBRA! Nothing will ever alter that. Trust. I LOVE how glam you were for your date night with B but you are just as beautiful in the before picture because your beauty is largely defined by your inner sunshine which radiates out into the world warming all of our hearts. Especially through this journey you have been beautiful – honest, open, accessible, funny, charming, insightful, positive, upbeat – the best of humanity, the best of Barbra. I LOVE YOU GIRL! Thanks for helping us all see what REAL beauty is! xoxo


  3. Karen Abigail
    Feb 17, 2012 @ 04:36:34

    Hi babes: Ingpink just sent me your blog and I’m so happy! Look how beautiful you are! Trying to put three pennies together to come and see you one day. Until then, I’ll keep reading. Xoxo! Love you and love to Big B and Lil B!


  4. JC Ellis
    Feb 18, 2012 @ 13:42:20

    You have never been an average looking chick! Pu-leeeze! I remember when you and your crew hit the “yard” as the new meat on campus, us upper class chicks were like, great-another slew of cute competition vying for the few non-nerds on campus. :>) Like you, I too am of a certain age and I totally realize how important my brows are. Last month, a whacked out limited English speaking esthetician waxed me too thin and I’m feeling like they’ll never grow back properly. I feel like Shirley Maclaine in Postcards from the Edge did about her brows! With your Mac enhancements, it totally looks like you are rocking a bald head as a fashion statement and not as a member of the cancer lane. Love ya girl!


  5. Alisa
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 21:23:13

    really good article. Love the eye shadow, very nice congrast. Tiy are very beautiful


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