1.6
June 29, 2021

How wearing Red Lip Color helped me Heal from Domestic Abuse.

Most people don’t know the story behind what has become my “signature red” or bold choice of lip color.

For some, the lipstick has become part of my “look” or “brand.” For me, the colors are an expression of independence, vulnerability, bravery, strength, and, yes, embracing my inner badass goddess!

It’s giving myself permission not only to claim all that I wanted to be and the possibilities that came with her—whether I knew who she was or not—but also to break the limits and lies I believed about myself.

Some of those were self-imposed, others were cyanide in a golden chalice, served to me by my beloved lovers: men who were masters of the mask and illusion—narcissists, feeding me the grapes of love bombing to satisfy what was once my hunger for acceptance and love with a side of codependence.

As a child, I was taught that such colors on our nails or lips were provocative—we were calling “unwanted attention” to ourselves. Only “those women” wore bright colors. As a result, I began to pull away from feminity at an early age.

There wasn’t anything positive about being feminine. Either you were quiet and weak, submitting your life to the world, sacrificing your body, voice, and sanity for the good of your family, or your job. Or, you were one of “those women.” You were a saint or a whore. There wasn’t much space in between. Judgment came either way.

The bold choices of my lip color are years of fear released and chains broken. It is a statement of my worthiness, daring to dream and be brave. Saying, “Yes, I am intelligent, articulate, confident, and successful! I can be reserved or untamed. Yes, I have a voice! I can be dominant in a boardroom or bedroom or be submissive at will.” My will. My free will. The freedom I dreamed of, yet feared.

The moxie behind the bold color was frowned upon in the corporate world: such daring colors were seen as unprofessional. It wasn’t until I witnessed United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wearing her robust red, daring to be powerful, and, yes, a little in your face, did I see the “permission granted” flag proudly being waved.

The male-dominated corporate world can be threatened by female expression. So, we made sure we had our filters on, watered ourselves down, and made ourselves smaller to satisfy their ego. This world expected us to be smart, but not too intelligent. Resilient and capable, but not outshine. Be strong enough to withstand, but not strong enough to stand up.

Then came the red lipstick.

Domestic violence relationships do not start out dangerous. They begin with seductive love bombing and the perpetrator feeding every weakness. If you’re insecure about your looks, they tell you how beautiful you are. If you have abandonment issues, they know how to become your anchor. They play on your empathy and kindness, mirror your interest and likes. Then, the small manipulations begin—they test boundaries.

They will use past traumas against you and then swoop in and be your hero—they are the prince charming here to save the day. We should be grateful that they have saved our wretched, heathen, soul, and are helping us to be a decent woman, guiding us on how to do so, even how to look. You might be “too old” to wear such colors, or “trying too hard.” Be unseen and stay in line. “Who are you trying to impress?”

At one point during a toxic relationship with an alcoholic narcissist who had raged and gaslighted at every opportunity, I questioned my own sanity. He had convinced me that there was something wrong with me—well, everything was wrong with me.

Eventually I began recording conversations because I was constantly told things were not said or that I had misunderstood. He would move things around in each room and tell me they had always been there.

Like most people in abusive relationships, I felt guilt and shame.

When I broke free, it took me years to rebuild myself, recreate myself. Prove to myself who I was and what I was capable of—eventually create a life of love and meaning.

It was three years before I dared attempt anything other than a neutral shade on my lips.

Slowly, I began my search. Would I start with Firebrick red or Dance with the Devil red? It didn’t matter, I bought them all.

I would sit in front of the mirror and hear his voice belittling me and my whorish ways. I had to remind myself the worst part was over. He was gone.

The first time I posted a picture on social media with a shade of red, I remember waiting for the rain of criticism. If anyone was going to be unkind, it would be on social media. Instead, I received a sea of compliments and so much love.

As I played with each shade, I felt into each one. What was the emotion it stirred up? Was it seductive or fierce? Or maybe seductively fierce! I learned to love each part of myself. And just like the rainbow of colors in my makeup drawer, I too, am unique and not just one shade. I can be firey one day and a gentle shade of love the next.

I learned to accept the brilliance of all my colors. I learned that my feminine side wasn’t anything I needed to run from, but instead, I could redefine it and embrace it with peace, love, and power.

What shade are you?

 

Read 1 Comment and Reply
X

Read 1 comment and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Deyna Gomez  |  Contribution: 1,440

author: Deyna Gomez

Image: femaleinspiring/Instagram

Editor: Amy Vanheste