This week, our weekly article comes out on my birthday. It’s also the time of year I celebrate my cancer-free anniversary, this year for the 10th time. Today is a special post in which we redefined our mission statement. We hope you like.
On HerAfter, we talk a lot about beauty. About home treatments that make the skin radiate outward like the love from the heart. About the way your food and diet and exercise influence your health and happiness. These are the topics that dominate the mindset of modern women. These are also topics that, when used incorrectly, can rot away at our sense of self and worth. A simple facial turns into a shaming session of our biggest organ. We do it out of guilt rather than gratitude.
But when used the right way, when treated with love and respect and gratitude, beauty can help to lift us into our highest state of being. It can help us to see the power and potential we possess, the beauty of our individuality in a way that allows us to be more true to ourselves from the surface level deep down into the heart and back again.
Across the sites that I write for including Huffington Post and SheKnows, I talk about beauty and the physical form because I truly believe it is a gateway for us to reach into ourselves, and tap into our own peace. I believe that treasuring our physical selves and surrounding our lives with beauty and light is a way to find the divine in our everyday existence. But I only do that because I think it is a piece of the puzzle that is our mission.
As much as I love to write about lifestyle topics including beauty, diet, style, and everything else, I believe that they are only tools in our tool box. They are not the sum of us. They are not the tools that measure our worth. They are not the only hammer that nails our vision into society. Beauty isn’t even the nail – it’s not the measure of our worth. It’s smaller than nails. They are just staples. Not powerful enough to hold everything together, but strong enough to add a little support here and there, where needed.
None of what we discuss here on HerAfter is to make you more desirable or attractive to others. It’s not about men. It’s not about being wanted. It’s about being the best version of yourself. And while it’s all been learned from battling cancer, it’s not limited to cancer survivors or even women. It’s not about limits. It’s about breaking down limits. It’s about getting out of your own way, for God’s sake. It’s about talking about what’s important – love, acceptance, peace, gratitude – in topics that are relevant to all of us so we can see it all around us, all the time.
I’m a politically informed (and charged) adult woman. I’m college educated, and have written on many more subjects than just women’s lifestyle. I’ve conducted interviews for local and city newspapers. I’ve written about local politics. I’ve reviewed art collections at the MOMA. And, as all of you know, I’ve fought for my life. What became most important to me was to help other women see these avenues that we all love so much as ways to appreciate ourselves rather than diminish ourselves. If we could see the way we present ourselves – like putting on makeup and wearing trends we appreciate as art – as a form of personal expression rather than a guilt trip that attempts to fix or cover up anything wrong with us, we can outwardly release more of ourselves and our power. They say that when you feel good about yourself, there’s nothing you can’t do. Well if we could redefine these activities we do everyday as acts of personal praise rather than guilt, what might that do for us? If the headline went from “how to fight belly fat” to “how to appreciate your curves in all their gorgeous glory”, what else might we be able to stop worrying about, and start conquering?
My mission in this second chance at life was never going to be running for political office or making music or changing the way women are portrayed in any medium. My mission isn’t to spearhead a campaign for our reproductive rights, but that might be yours, and if it is, I hope you listen closely to hear that call…
Instead, I see the value in helping women change the way they see themselves, so they can fulfill their own mission. I say in my mission statement that “I just want to help you see how beautiful you are”. We’re a long way from stopping the war on women, and ending the way that women are talked about and treated. For goodness sake, we’re still portraying ‘the period’ as villainous. As in “oh, she’s just being irrational because she’s pms-ing”. But if I can do anything to help change the way you talk about and treat yourself, I’ll be happy. Because if that conversation can be positive, and you can stop worrying or guilting yourself even momentarily about how you look or what size you are even for one minute of the day, I know I’m helping open you up to doing your work. To make your difference.
It’s not a bad thing that we women love a spa treatment or painting our nails. In fact, I see the spa as a little zen meditation and the colors on our nails as a way of decorating two of our greatest tools. I believe that we can be feminine feminists. I also believe that we don’t have to do any of those things to be respected, including the respect we give ourselves. But if anyone out there can see the light of self-love and the goodness of the universe through those mediums, that’s great.
In our long way toward reshaping society, creating more peace, making this world a safe place for everyone, we must begin with ourselves. No matter what you have to do, find a way to see how incredible you are, and practice regularly.
And if it’s through a gorgeous dress and an at-home facial and a long discussion with yourself about your purpose here on earth, stick around…