Three Excellent Tinted Lip Balms

I used to be a huge lipstick junky. Wearing bright red, bright orange, hot pink, bold any color. Then, I don’t know what happened, but all I wanted was a perfect “nude” or effortless makeup. I’d like to blame it on the baby, but, it was before the baby.

Being a nude lipstick newbie, I have to say that it wasn’t easy finding the perfect shade of “nude.” All the nude lipsticks made me look sick, or they were boring, or they were just plain “off.” I had found a few lipsticks that I liked ok, but nothing I really loved. Then one day at brunch, Natalie from Coquette showed me her Clarins tinted lip balm crayon. I knew then that lip balm was exactly what I wanted. Something with just enough color to not look sick, but not so much that it said, “Hey, I’m wearing lipstick!”

I went out and bought the Clarins crayon, but wanted more colors, and to try out more formulas. Don’t ask why, I’m just a nerd like that. I went to Walgreens and found the Revlon version of the Clarins crayon, in a more sheer “natural” color. This balm is the closest to nude I’ve ever really liked. It’s barely there, but it moisturizes and stays on really well. I would almost go as far as to say it stays on just as long as the Clarins but at $7.99, a fraction of the price.

Finally, while researching tinted lip balms, the Burt’s Bee’s tinted lip balm kept popping up on the forums. Some were saying that it was a “dupe” to cult favorite Clinique’s Black Honey Almost Lipstick. Do you remember Black Honey? Well, like everything in the 90′s it’s made a comeback, and for a fraction of the price, you can take a trip down memory lane just by using Burt’s Bees. I like this one because it has a dewy texture and sheer color that you can build up. Also, it is great for moisturizing your lips.

Sorry to show you my mug so close, but here are the different lip balms on my face, so you can see the difference..

First up, Clarins Lip Balm Crayon, Delicious Plum ($20): Even color, rich texture. Gentle scent and flavor, so you’re not tempted to lick it off.

Next is the Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm, Rose ($6.99): Ultra sheer color, which I actually really like. It somehow looks more natural.

Revlon Color Burst Tinted Balm, Inguene ($9.49): The most nude lip balm, but actually stays on quite well.

Are you into tinted lip balms? Which are your favorites? Do share!

What’s the difference between Selfies and Self Portraits?

The first “selfie” I took was in 1999 with a Polaroid camera. I’m not sure why I wanted to take a photo of myself. My husband at the time was/is a photographer, and he took a lot of photos of me. Yet, for some reason taking a photo of myself was different. I had control over my own image. It wasn’t that the photos I took of myself made me look “prettier” because they seemed to be more emotional in expression than the ones my ex-husband took. Perhaps those polaroids said more about how I felt about myself than they documented a face.

Polaroid taken of me with the same camera by my ex-husband. Obviously, I look way prettier here than in my selfies.

I never forgot those Polaroids. At the time, I described them as “self-portraits.” They were, indeed photos I had taken of myself. Held at arms length, at random times of day, I didn’t put all that much thought into the composition, or the lighting, or anything really. The act of taking my own photo felt strange enough.

In 2013, the word “selfie” earned the honors of becoming the “Word of the Year.” Never before in history, has there been so many people taking photos of themselves, at arms length or in the mirror, though not with a Polaroid, but with a digital camera. But these “selfies” are not self-portraits, or are they?

…anyone who’s seen selfies out there can tell you that some people put A LOT of thought in the composition and lighting.

Self-portraits are generally thought to be works of art, either by an artist or photographer. Selfies are not considered art, and sometimes considered works of narcissism. Some say that self-portraits incorporate thoughtfulness to composition, lighting and the subject. However, anyone who’s seen selfies out there can tell you that some people put A LOT of thought in the composition and lighting (and subject matter). Others say the difference between self-portraits and selfies boil down to intent. Are you just snapping a photo of yourself? Do you have an artistic intention? Whether your photo is any good doesn’t matter, it’s what you mean by it.

Are you just snapping a photo of yourself? Do you have an artistic intention? Whether your photo is any good doesn’t matter, it’s what you mean by it.

I’m not so sure it’s any of it. The division between creating a self-portrait and a selfie is the latest in linguistic elitism. Art and craft. Fashion and street wear. Photography and pictures.  Eroticism and pornography.  On one side you have a class of people who create on an artistic level, and then you have what everyone else creates. Art is a painting; craft is paint-by-numbers, unless it’s Andy Warhol’s Paint by Numbers, then it’s art again. How the Fashion gods decide what is “Fashion” and what is “Street Wear” I’ll never figure out, except maybe, “Fashion” is who shows at Fashion Week, and “Street Wear” is who shows at trade shows.

Zinaida Serebriakova self-portrait in 1909, wouldn’t be out of place today as a selfie.

In the Middle Ages, when mirrors became cheaper and more accessible, artists started painting themselves, mostly as marketing pieces to show off their skills to potential patrons. Before the 20th Century, women were not allowed to practice painting nudes of other people, so they painted themselves. Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo used self-portraiture to depict their intensities and emotional pain. Cindy Sherman, in her early work, used self-portraiture to identify female archetypes in film.

Cindy Sherman Film Still

So, what of bloggers who take selfies to market their beauty or fashion skills to their potential readers? I remember how I started The Coveted as a street style blog, only to find that taking photos of myself was easier. There are those people who dress up in costume for their selfies, and others who share their emotions. Even though my early Polaroids show raw emotions, there really wasn’t much thought put into them. I just wanted to capture a moment.  Yet, those Polaroids feel less like “selfies” than other selfies that incorporated more thought and intention.

Whatever the reason, we have this impulse to photograph ourselves. Maybe it’s just that impulse that is at the heart of Art itself.

What do you think? Is there a difference between self-portraiture and selfies?

 

7 Simple Ways To Take Care Of Yourself

Whether you’ve ever had other people tell you that you need to take better care of yourself or not, you might recognize the validity of this statement. With the buffet of tasks you must complete on a daily basis, doing so might seem impossible. However, taking better care of yourself does not need to pose a major challenge. Instead, you can implement seven simple solutions to being a happier and healthier person.

1. Have a regular sleep schedule. 
If you struggle to sleep, you likely know how frustrating the mornings are. You may fight to get through the day. As Harvard University notes, having a regular sleep schedule can seriously help you. To go to bed at the same time each night, consider setting an alarm about 30 minutes before so that you can begin your unwinding routine. Then, make sure to wake up at the same time each morning. Integrating these habits can take some time, especially if you currently have an erratic schedule. Consider making small changes that will then turn into big ones. For example, you can start by waking up a little earlier than you usually do.

2. Eat and drink well. 
While letting yourself have a treat on occasion is not generally a problem, you must make sure that these special occasions aren’t happening every day. You’re probably thinking that it’s not so simple to suddenly just start eating right and getting in enough water, and you’re right. However, you don’t need to make massive changes all at once. Instead, try to increase the amount of water that you drink by one glass and work on cutting one potentially harmful product, such as soda or cake, out of your diet at a time.

3. Use sunscreen. 
It’s possible that you lather up when you head to the beach or the pool in the summer but forget about this product the rest of the year. The sun is always there, and the sun is always powerful. To protect your skin from damaging rays that can lead to serious health problems such as skin cancer, you should choose a sunscreen that is right for your skin type and tone. If you suspect that you already have damage to your skin from years of abuse, you should seek the guidance of a dermatologist.

4. Have regular doctor’s appointments. 
Going to your doctor doesn’t have to become a weekly or monthly event, but if you can’t even remember what the inside of the office looks like, it’s time to schedule an appointment. While you should speak with your doctor about how frequently you need to visit, usually going around once per year for a physical is standard. Making the first appointment after some time away can definitely feel scary. Once you’re back in the routine though, you will likely remember why taking this step is important.

5. Take a class. 
When humans are young, they often have many opportunities to take classes, practice their talents and receive positive feedback. As the years go on, this routine often goes away. Enrolling in a class can help you to feel good about yourself, and many communities offer a wide range of classes. For example, you might opt to take a weekly painting class, or you may sign up for a one-time cooking seminar on how to make sushi. You could also take classes at the gym, which is a step that has many other benefits as noted by Time.

6. Build bonds with positive people. 
The people who are around you can have a serious effect on your well-being. For example, you may have so-called friends who are always canceling plans or who never ask how you’re doing or acknowledge important events in your life. You should ask yourself why you continue to nurture these bonds when you’re receiving nothing in return. Instead of putting all of your attention into dying connections, focus on the people who do care about you.

7. Have a hobby. 
In today’s world, so much energy is put on the end goal. In other words, you may feel as though you should not waste the time on any activities unless they have some sort of tangible benefits, such as money or a promotion at work. However, having activities that you love to do merely for the pleasure that they provide is so important. Pursuing a hobby is also an important reminder that your needs, passions and interests are important.

Taking care of yourself is pivotal no matter what anyone else says. Following these suggestions can help you to make yourself a priority.

The Five Stages of Accepting a Fashion Trend You Hate

It sounds cliché, but there is indeed a thin line between love and hate.

Sometimes I’ll love something, like, high heels, then grow to hate them. I mean, high heels look cool, but damn, they hurt. Or if something cool and irreverent becomes over exposed, like the Charles Anastase Dungeon Boots were amazing, but Jeffry Campbell’s Lita knock off, and the subsequent mania over the style made it the most repulsive fashion trend of the century. Overexposure can turn love for a style into hate.

There were so many times when I saw a new trend and thought… “Oh hell no!”

But what about the other way around? There were so many times when I saw a new trend and thought… “Oh hell no!” In 2005, I thought skinny jeans were ridiculous, but for the next ten years they have been a wardrobe staple. I hated boyfriend jeans, but now I like them quite a bit (though still not as much as skinny jeans). I thought “Normcore” was a joke back in February, but now? I’m thinking it’s unavoidable.

Why? Well, for one, activewear has never been so hot. Between every version of fancy sweatpants and New Balance sneakers, there is a person thinking, “Thank god I don’t have to try so hard.” So how did we get from hate to love on this one? Well, it’s quite the same for all trends we hate at first.

Denial

People hate change. We say we love new things, but really, we just like new things that confirm our old things are great. Often times new trends are met with skepticism, for example, as I previously mentioned, I denied the Normcore trend by thinking it was a joke. For months.

Denial is tough to identify because you’re telling yourself it isn’t happening. When you’re staying things like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” and “No effing way will I wear ______.” Because the truth is, hate is better than apathy when it comes to fashion. Why? Because at least when you hate something, it’s on your radar. Which brings me to the next stage.

That’s outrageous! She’s not wearing underwear! No one can wear a dress like that!

Anger

Once you start hating something, you’re in the “Anger” stage. Over the years, the “Anger” stage has come in the form of controversies. Fashion that offends people for various reasons. Whether it’s showing too much (mini skirts, crop tops, pelvage) or too little (midi skirts, turtle neck sweaters) or “unflattering” (baby doll dresses, boyfriend jeans) people always seem to find a way to scoff and disapprove over fashion trends.

If you find yourself continually ranting about how much you hate a trend, you are in the “Anger” stage.

Bargaining

No, this is not the kind of bargaining where you wait until said trend goes on sale to indulge in it. This is when you start saying things like, “Can I still wear my old clothes?” Yes, of course! But not forever… eventually, there will be new clothes introduced, and they might entail elements of the new trends. For example, if you’re avoiding the Normcore trends, you might realize that almost every store has a version of sweatpants. You might hate the 90′s look, but why are there so many flannel shirts around? It’s impossible to avoid ALL trends.

Depression

This is when you start to feel bad about the trends currently in your closet. You know, “Empty Closet Syndrome.” When you’re saying things like, “I hate all my clothes.” Or, “I need to update my look.” If your clothes are making you sad, you are definitely in the “Depression” stage. Or you might just need to do your laundry. I realized I was in this stage when I started to feel like none of my clothes fit my new life as a mom and a work-from-home person. Nothing seemed appropriate, certainly not high heels at the playground.

Acceptance

The final stage of accepting a fashion trend you initially hated is “Acceptance.” This is when you say, “You know, this trend has grown on me.” When a trend starts to make sense to you and works well in  your life, that is acceptance.

 

I Feel Like I’m Getting Dumber

I used to think I was really smart. Until we moved and my new teacher tested my reading level by giving a paragraph to read. I sat there, and even though I could read, I couldn’t concentrate at all, the paragraph just looked like a bunch of letters. So naturally, I couldn’t answer any of her questions about the text, and naturally she put me in the dumb kids reading group. It wasn’t really called the “dumb kids reading group” but we all know that’s what it was.

[I’m] smarter than a most cats but not as smart as Stephen Hawking.

Even though I wanted to be “really smart,” it became pretty obvious that I am really just “regular smart”. Like, smart enough to be able to decipher IKEA instructions, but not smart enough to understand Walt Whitman or (insert any poet) Henry David Thoreau. Smart enough to be able Google a dumb question, but not smart enough do my own taxes. Smarter than a most cats but not as smart as Stephen Hawking.

In my quest to be “really smart,” I used to do things like be seen carrying around Nietzche, even though I never got past the first paragraph. I even wrote poetry, of which I was pretty certain that even though I had penned it myself, I was no closer to understanding of the meaning than poetry written by other poets.

Here is an example of one of my old poems:

  • Thanksgiving.
  • Turkey head, turkey bed.
  • I baste myself.
  • And go back to sleep.

Seriously. I wrote that. I mean, not just right this second, but that was a poem that a 17-year-old Jennine actually wrote in all seriousness. What does it mean? My guess is as good as yours!

I also used to love watching art house films. Going to the museum and learning about old artists. Going to galleries and trying to discover new artists. Listening to bands no one has ever heard of. I used to love having conversations about the ‘meaning of life’ and discuss the woes of the planet. How I was going to get things right in my life. How I was going to evolve into this higher being, intellectually.

Being smart, that was something I really wanted.

But then…

I am not sure exactly what happened. Or when. But instead of watching art house movies, or even dramas where you know the actors acted. I’d opt for some comic book turned action movie. A goofy comedy. I started watching a lot of TV shows. A lot of TV shows. Like, every single one of them.

Instead of “improving my mind” I’d watch Maru jump into a box.

Repeatedly.

Instead of agonizing over the evolution of human intellect, I’d agonize on whether I’d get brown boots or black boots this year.

At some point I decided that “intellectual” conversations were about as as meaningful as the conversations about black boots versus brown boots. That in the end, who we are can’t really be fixed by conversation. So I stopped looking for that deeper meaning in life, and just lived in the moment. Moments that mostly consisted of watching Netflix and reading about Internet cats. Since my brain can only fit so much, it became full of meaningless anecdotes from streaming episodes of canceled TV shows (Remember when Tami Taylor said, Hi Y’all!?) and cute things I saw on the Internet, like that sneezing Panda.

I decided… who we are can’t really be fixed by conversation. So I just stopped looking for that deeper meaning in life

Maybe, it’s not just my poor decision making, it’s been scientifically proven that our IQ is up to 14 points lower than our Victorian ancestors. If that wasn’t hindering my quest for intelligence, the fact that brain activity slows after about 20 years of age. That my “epiphany” that everything is somehow meaningless and we might as well just have fun and look at cute things on the internet, might actually be a symptom of my brain’s deterioration.

Of course, it’s not too late. There is always time to learn about all kinds of things that stimulate the ol’ noggin. Even if I delve into more meaningful subjects, I’m pretty sure I’ll still be looking for black boots and Internet cats.

Image credit: Painting by Frances Van Hove, a contemporary French painter, who is very likely to be much smarter than I.

Fashion and Inclusivity

The fashion industry has been long thought of as an exclusive world. The reality of becoming a fashion model was always dependent on your height, build, ethnicity, and even age. Growing up in a world where there was only one accepted standard of beauty is a traumatizing experience. Thankfully, those days are nearly over. As the fashion industry is diversifying, we are seeing a more and more inclusive approach to fashion in general. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons inclusivity is now considered a norm in today’s fashion world.

 

Standards of Beauty

 

Personal identity, individualism, and self-expression have become a significant factor when it comes to consumers and how they make their fashion choices. The shifting norms of our culture have put traditionally exclusive beauty brands in a highly complicated position. The old standard of beauty is slowly making it’s exit off the runway, making room for a more diverse approach to beauty standards.

 

Today’s beauty consumers are part of a highly engaged, vibrant audience that is not limited to a single type of woman. Instead, it encompasses a variety of people from all ages, ethnicities, and genders. The standard of “mainstream” is gone, and beauty brands still trying to target this group of consumers will inevitably fall short. Marketers are now navigating a much more complex market and are actually finding an incredible opportunity for growth, authentic connection, and creativity, like never before.

 

Marketing Changes

 

Marketers used to be able to just push their unattainable, “aspirational” standards of beauty on the world. Today, they are forced to look to the consumers themselves and work with them as individuals. Consumers want products that take into consideration their unique needs, whether they are searching for makeup, skincare, or even fashion. They want clothing that is specifically designed to fit their unique body shapes.

 

What It’s All About

 

Self-care, self-love, and body positivity are what today’s consumers are after. They want to embrace the bodies they were gifted with and draw attention to their best features, not merely transform into another person’s ideal of what beautiful should be. When we give people the opportunity to love themselves, there isn’t a reason to want to be someone else.

 

This is such a positive movement and step in the right direction. In an industry that has historically excluded people for reasons such as their skin tone, or their ethnicity, their gender, and especially their body shape, there has never been many options for normal, every-day people. Recent studies point out that this is not just a trend either, this appears to be the long-term solution many women and men alike have been searching for.

 

The Runways

 

If you have not read about New York City’s 2018 Spring Fashion Week, you might be surprised to learn that it was the most curve-friendly runway show since, well forever. It was record-breaking, to be frank. 208 women, weighing more than the standard industry model, were featured in the show. It didn’t stop there. It also showed a variety of models of all ages and races across them gender spectrum.

 

Brands

 

It has always been a challenge for women to find beautiful clothing that fits their bodies properly. Thankfully, this new age of diversity-friendly fashion has given us more options than ever before. Until recently, the most popular brand of clothing for women over a size 12 was Lane Bryant. Now, it is mostly up and coming independent retailers who have been leading the market for inclusive clothing. Various startup such as Eloquii and ModCloth are leading the market currently, reaching more consumers than many other brands.

 

Corporate retailers are slowly catching on as well. Stores such as Walmart and Target have both launched their very own plus-sized clothing lines, and they have been a tremendous hit. These options have consumers ecstatic due to the variety of styles and relatively low price point. Recent studies show that the online marketplace Amazon is looking to branch out and setting its sights on plus sized clothing as well.

 

This is just smart business. The average American woman is between the sizes 16-18. To paint a picture of what that means, an average women’s medium is between a 6-8. When retailers only offer sizes as large as 2XL, they are missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. What they fail to take into consideration, is men and women are not just numbers and dollar signs, they are individuals who now want their clothing catered to them and marketers have to take that into account as well.

In summary, inclusion is so much more than offering clothes in a wider variety of sizes. It is offering consumers quality clothing in an array of price points and styles. It is showcasing men and women of all sizes and ethnicities as models. And it is eliminating the destructive standard we have placed on ourselves, thanks to the fashion and media industry. This is a new age, and it is good to see industry leaders revolutionizing the fashion world.

Red Pants: Trend or Investment?

Once I said in 1998… “Leopard print is so 1997.” I’ve said similar things about camouflage, army green, platform shoes, one shoulder dresses, grey…. and to my knowledge most of those things have hung around. Red pants came on the scene last year. They were just right, adding a “pop of color” to an otherwise drab winter wardrobe. I don’t know about you, but come January, my wardrobe often gets sucked into a black abyss, which only adds to the SAD.

Lately, I’ve been making a commitment to not only getting a pair of boots for the new season, but also an investment trouser. Last year, I got a brown tweed pair by Theory, that just looks so nice no matter what. This season, I initially started with a pair of J Crew wool trousers, but they got destroyed — torn and bloodied — when I tumbled down marble stairs just outside the Burberry SS12 show. Talk about grace!

To replace them, I invested in a nicer pair of Alice + Olivia red wool trousers. I have to say, the beautifully rich color will boost any day. The fit is snug, comfortable and classic. According to my husband it even enhances my derriere! (Is that too much information?) Anywho… it may be strange to say this, but as far as investing in such a trendy piece, it really depends on how much you’ll like wearing it. I bought a leather midi skirt last month, and so far, I’ve been wearing it a few times a week. Because of the quality, it holds up quite well and it’s worth it. As far as red pants go… I have a pair of bright green jeans that I wear almost weekly. Colorful britches work easily with the tops in my wardrobe so it’s almost a no brainer.

As for the red pants trend lasting another season? It may or it may not but as much as I love red, and I love pants… these ones are a keeper.

I’d Like to Be a Fashion Blogger, But I’m Mostly Wearing Sweatpants

There used to be a time when I would dress up every day. Get up at 5:30, go to the gym, curl my hair. Put on makeup. Put on one outfit. Take it off. Try another. Still not right, try on something else. Arrrgh! Nothing looks GOOD, and now all my clothes are on the floor, it’s now 8:15, I’m half naked and if I don’t get dressed right that second, I’m going to be half an hour late for work.

These days, Jasper normally wakes me up at 5:30. We go out into the living room. I read him about 20 baby books (it takes about 5 minutes). We play with trains. I push him around the house in his bobbycar. Then at 8:15, in my sweatpants, I slip on a pair of shoes, brush my hair, and drop the baby off at daycare. Then start work, still in sweatpants until noon, where I take a shower and that’s it. Afterwards I might just put on a cleaner pair of sweatpants. Or I might wear a pair of skinny jeans… the super stretchy kind. And that’s pretty much my sartorial schedule.

The fashion blogger who wears sweatpants when they’re not posting outfit shots is nothing new. I’ve heard many fashion bloggers admit that most days they’re in sweats, working all hours of the day semi-disheveled. Yet, you wouldn’t know it because everything looks beautiful, all the time on their blogs and social media.

It’s great, don’t get me wrong, I love an escape from my unmade bed and microwave burritos. But I wonder how much my life can I really share on a fashion blog when my actual favorite pair of pants is a pair of last season’s Uniqlo sweatpants.

Maybe it’s just a phase.

Or maybe everyone, everywhere is just tired of agonizing over what to wear. The pendulum swings both ways. After years of the the fashion industry trying to top itself in ridiculousness, or as Suzy Menkes noted, the Circus of Fashion where she complained how people wore crazy clothes to fashion shows in hopes of getting internet famous. Because you know, once you’re internet famous, your life is complete.

Or maybe, fancy sweatpants are now a staple for fashionistas everywhere? The Cut listed both sweatpants and sweatshirts for their “stylish basics.” Here’s to hoping. Even though wearing sweatpants as a fashion statement is just as ridiculous as wearing a giant cherry on your head. Yesterday, The Gap launched their new ad campaign, “Dress Normal” which, as my dad likes to say, “Normal is a setting on a dryer.” I’m guessing The Gap is meaning “normal” by understated and somewhat boring.

I actually kind of like it. Elizabeth Moss just needs to unbutton that top button though.

The point being, is that when fashion trends take a turn for the understated, what then happens to the conversation. Does the conversation quiet down too? Do people move on to talk about other things because talking about how this pair of sweatpants is cool, but those pair of sweatpants are terrible gets to be a bit tedious?

Do we all suddenly realize there is more to life than looking good, even while wearing sweatpants?

In all seriousness though, those sweat pants from Uniqlo last season were really good. I wish they would bring them back.

Wearing: Sweatpants: JCrew (Why am I showing the J.Crew after talking so much about the Uniqlo ones? To keep you guessing!) Tee: JCrew • Zip up hoodie: Target • Bag: Proenza Schouler • Flats: Jenni Kayne 

How the Simplicity of Alex Katz Inspires My Style

The worlds of fashion and art constantly cross paths. Moschino’s MacDonald’s handbags nod to the pop-art of Andy Warhol, think Campbell’s soup cans and Brillo pads. Or, in photography, think that 1999 Steven Meisel editorial of Nicole Kidman reenacting John Singer Sargeant paintings. Painters may not exactly follow trends the way fashion designers do, but they do feed off of their environments, and being as most people wear clothes. Fashion does play a part.

“My subject matter is not particularly interesting,” Katz says with a smile…

Alex Katz, 89, began painting in the 1950′s when Abstract Expressionism was en vogue, he noticed no one was painting people, or landscapes. So he decided to take that route. Of course, painting people, there is nothing unique about it. He told the Smithsonian in a 2009 interview, “My subject matter is not particularly interesting,” Katz says with a smile. “It’s not hot subject matter—you know, no crucifixions, no violence, no sex.” His paintings are a stripped down version of the world, which is where they become interesting. Though the paintings span fifty years, they still have a timeless quality. n a sense, his work portrays a universal truth. Even if you don’t live the life of an artist in New York, I can relate to the snapshots of his paintings. They’re like little moments in my memory.

What I find interesting about Katz’s work is that even though his paintings are about nothing really,  he finds a way to make them interesting without resorting to embellishment or gimmicky tricks. The paintings are distinctly personal (many of his paintings include is wife since 1958, Ava) yet universal. So, maybe I wouldn’t recreate a painting for one of my outfits, but in the search of my own personal style, the lesson is, that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I don’t have to resort to gimmicks to make my outfits “pop.” They don’t have to be special to be striking.

But… my style does have to be distinctly personal.

(yes, that’s Anna Wintour!)

We Need to Make It Easier (and Safer) to Talk About Suicide

When the news about Robin Williams broke, it felt like someone punched me in the stomach. While I was deeply saddened to hear of his death, and that he committed suicide, I was not shocked. I did see him in real life once, in 2006, and while I can’t disclose the details of where I saw him, I can say that he appeared to be going through a very rough time. I remember thinking that he too was as fragile as any human, and how hard it must be to go through difficulties when everyone expects you to be on top of the world.

“My conscious was like, “Did you just say ‘Fuck life?’” ~Robin Williams

Yesterday, I listened to Marc Maron’s 2010 interview with Robin Williams, where Williams talked about the time he thought about suicide:

Maron: Before you had the heart problem, you don’t seem to be someone who is morbidly fascinated with death…

Williams: No. I mean, it’s weird, there was this ONE time, when I was drinking  I thought had this thought “Fuck life.” Then my conscious was like, “Did you just say ‘Fuck life?’… You know you have a pretty good life…even though it’s not working right now… First of all you don’t have the balls to do it… I mean, what are you going to do, cut your wrists with a water pick? That’s erosion.”

I highly recommend listening to the whole podcast, the conversation between Maron and Williams is just so real and uncontrived. It is actually, really beautiful.

Robin Williams was the first person on television I remember admiring. I loved Mork and Mindy, and had these rainbow suspenders like he wore on the show. They were my favorite, and I wore them often. Of course I loved a lot of his films, as we all did, but the real reason why his death hurt so much, because what happened to him could also happen to me. As horrible as it is, I get it. I’ve been there.

Now, before you call 9-1-1, allow me to explain.

I’m not going to kill myself.

For those of you who know me, already know that I have suffered from depression almost my entire life. Part of that depression has included the presence of suicidal ideation. Every since I can remember, I had this reflex where I imagine my demise every time there is a quiet moment in my brain. I don’t know where it comes from, and yes, I am seeking professional help. It’s like I have this, as Dexter, puts it a “dark passenger.” Only, my passenger just likes to tells me things like, “No one cares, so just drive a knife in your chest.” Obviously, my dark passenger isn’t a very strategic planner, since it often picks methods I’m not even physically able to do.

Over the years I’ve tried many things to silence this “passenger” including drinking,  and other things like shopping, working, relationships, diet, exercise, self-help books, professional help, etc. To this day, it’s always there, lurking in the quiet.

Why not talk about it? (Until now?)

It’s been reported that most cases of suicidal ideation go untreated. While I cannot tell you the details of those cases, I can tell you that above the stigma of talking about suicide, there is the real fear of being locked up and/or having your children taken away. Once, while I was in a particularly dark place, I called the doctors office, and they asked me if I had suicidal thoughts. When I asked, “Why?” they answered with, “Well if you have suicidal thoughts, we’ll have to send an ambulance and hospitalize you.” Then, I quickly answered with, “No. I do not have those thoughts.”

“Well if you have suicidal thoughts, we’ll have to send an ambulance and hospitalize you.”

So basically, even under the protection of “doctor-patient-confidentiality” it is not easy to talk about suicide. Would you talk about it to your doctor if you even thought  they were going to hospitalize you? If you tried to talk to your friends or family, they would freak out and treat you like a mental patient? Or worse, roll their eyes and think you were “just trying to get attention?” Would you talk about your thoughts  if they would become the subject of gossip and judgement?

Would you talk about your thoughts  if they would become the subject of gossip and judgement?

According to an article on Psychology Today, “The truth is that suicidal thoughts, even the fleeting ones, are a very serious symptom of illness.” While the thought of ending your own life is indeed serious, until discussion about suicide is normalized, then we have no idea how serious it can be.

Looking back on Robin William’s conversation with Maron about the ONE time he thought about suicide, it’s obvious now that it wasn’t just that one time. Williams was very open about a lot of dark details of his life, but maybe suicide was the thing he didn’t feel entirely comfortable talking about. Perhaps things would be different if he had been more comfortable talking about suicide. Or maybe things would have ended the same way.

One thing is clear, we need to make it easier and safer to talk honestly about suicide.

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]
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