Saturday Upsides: The Red Lipstick Manifesto

I blame it on the red lipstick. There’s really no other explanation for what happened today. I completely lost my mind and the only thing I come back to is that tube of red lipstick I picked up at Sephora this morning. What was I thinking? How did this happen?

Let me rewind to Wednesday. I found myself sitting at my desk in the early morning shutting my eyes tightly and desperately wishing to be anywhere else. Typical work behavior. Then I checked my email and I found my salvation. Okay, that’s an exaggeration but I did find my wake up call. It was one of those mini-miracles I’ve come to rely on that helps me open a window when I find that all the doors are shut. One of my favorite bloggers, Ilene, had just posted her most recent piece “Rock my Root Chakra” and it hit me right in the core. Her blog Fierce Diva Guide to Life has a tendency to shake me up, mainly because of her excellent story telling by way of her extraordinary writing talent. But this one post came at the right time and has since left its mark on me.

I’m rooted. Stuck. Forever checking out the real estate on square one. This manifests itself in so many areas of my life. What hit me hardest on Wednesday was this overwhelming sense that I felt trapped in a situation (namely, my job) that I couldn’t change. I’ve been exactly here before and its what has prevented me from making the changes I want for myself. I finally got over that hump this summer with my writing and nutrition research but then we have this job. Oh man, this job. Taking a deep breathe here. Trying to maintain my composure. Thinking about it makes me want to run away and pretend that I’m still a kid with no responsibilities.

Ilene talks about a rigidity in life that keeps her in place with certain areas, like with healthy eating or self-imposed frugality, and how this might play a role in preventing her from moving forward in life. In her case it was a need to create roots, but in mine it’s 100% fear. Fear of failure, fear of not fitting in, fear of not being accepted, fear of criticism. Just good ol’ fear mucking up the works. I second and triple (sometimes quadruple) guess everything I do and you wouldn’t find anybody who would accuse me of being impulsive. I’m the “look at things from every angle” girl and you can usually find me in my self-created safe space where I’m not challenged beyond anything I believe I can handle. Nevermind what my close circle believes about my capabilities, when I know I can’t. At least that’s what I’ve told myself for years. I’ll just stay here where it’s easy and I know my place. But it’s not easy. Especially when I know that I don’t want to waste any more of life feeling this unhappy everyday.

So after I read Ilene’s post and unclenched my fists to type out my response gushing my gratitude for her great post, I found myself imprinted with this idea. I need to shake free of some of this rigidity. I mentioned earlier that I’m rooted in different areas. I wasn’t kidding. I wear the same 3 colors (black, white, gray) almost daily, wear the same earrings despite having boxes of jewelry, listen to the same music playlists, order the same drinks and typically the same food if its a familiar restaurant, watch the same movies and shows repeatedly; its nonstop. It might sound superficial but this kind of routinized behavior is indicative of so much more. I’m afraid of big change, especially if its staring back at me in the mirror or in my environment. I also think that I stay away from the colorful and bright because I didn’t feel that way about myself. I didn’t want to stand out when I didn’t believe I should.

My friend Kyndra constantly tries to get me to try new things and to be spontaneous as much as possible, and I usually disappoint her. Our conversations usually go like this:

K: Hey Maribel, check out these leopard pants! They’d look SO awesome on you!

M: Um, nah that’s okay.

K: Maribel, go talk to that guy over there. Come on, be friendly.

M: *I just give her the look

K: Let’s go skydiving!!!

M: Are you crazy? Do you want me to die?? Hell no!

I’m hoping that after my little breaking point in the middle of the week followed by the revelation that I do have the power to change my life, that I can make both me and Kyndra proud. I won’t be skydiving anytime soon. But today was a start.

I started my Saturday as any other, with an agenda to go gift-shopping and then to the farmers market and then back home. That’s it. And then I saw that red-tube of lipstick. Beautiful, luscious, sexy red lipstick. I’ve had plenty of images of myself going out in the city with a glam outfit and wearing red lipstick. In my mind that makes a statement. It says unabashedly,  “I’m here, confident and unashamed, so look at me world!” But then I’d put that little fantasy away, and just stick my trusty Burts Bees in my bag. Maybe it was the confidence spurred on by two months of blogging or all the weight loss or just the snap I got on Wednesday, but I snatched up the red lipstick and rushed to the register to pay for it before I could change my mind. When I left the store, I took a deep breathe. I was in the middle of Manhattan having a head trip. I decided to let reason back in and went back to my original mission of gifts and produce.

And then I started to think, red lipstick can’t go with my drab wardrobe. There’s absolutely nothing I own that goes with the drama of this color. What am I going to do?? So this is how I ended up with this. All of this.

I don’t shop. I don’t spend money impulsively unless its a plane ticket and even then it’s not impulsive because I’ve usually been planning it for months in advance. I’m trying to keep myself from hyperventilating here because this is major for me. Ignoring my usual self-imposed financial restrictions and just buying on the spot?? That’s not me! Who is this crazy person?! And then I spotted that tube of lipstick in my bag. That’s it. I stood on the corner weighed down by all these bags and just shook my head, slightly embarrassed that I looked like one of those shoppers I see and raise my eyebrows at when I’m walking around the city. Really, all that for you? Okay! Yes, these are all for me and I earned it.

Shrugging off my guilt and taking a step towards home, I had to embrace what just happened. It’s difficult for me even now as I’m typing this out to just accept that I’m spending money on myself this way, but I have to put my grown-up shoes on and have faith that I know what I’m doing and that it’s all going to be okay.

As I continue to work on myself from the inside out, I also have to give myself a break sometimes. It’s important to be responsible and to have certain routines that make your life easier or more manageable. That’s part of being an adult.  At the same time though, I have to face the reality that I do a whole lot to keep myself from stepping forward because I’m too scared to find out what will happen once I’m there. I got the hardest part over with by believing that I’m deserving of so much more and that I don’t want to keep making decisions from a place of fear. I have the power to make it better. Now I just need to apply that same adventurous spirit I’m developing here on this blog and in my kitchen, to the rest of my life. It took a crappy day (or several weeks) at work plus some inspired writing to find this upside and thank goodness for it all.

Something else that really helps get me to look at the upside daily is this fake tattoo that I’ve been keeping on my wrist all week. It’s a wonderful Robert Frost quote and it encapsulates the determination I have to accomplish my goals. I’d done this before and brought it back after reading another one of Ilene’s posts. Between my “tattoo”, the red lipstick, and my new attitude, I think I can finally begin to like what I’m seeing in the mirror. 🙂

Affirmations and staying positive is always fun! Write you own and share with Bonnie at Recipes Happen.  Happy Saturday everyone!

20 Replies to “Saturday Upsides: The Red Lipstick Manifesto”

  1. As a life long inhabitant of black/white/gray clothing and neutral lipstick, i applaud you for your choice! I also can’t help but notice how gorgeous you look in that shade of red! A small yet significant step. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you. xxoo


  2. Awesome to read about your bravery and most importantly willingness to change. See, if that’s not there, no matter what you do, nothing will change! And I totally get the “tattoo” thing, I mean I even went a step further and actually got a tattoo to remind me not to be afraid. Lol 🙂 It helps by the way! I’m really happy for your upside, keep working on it and it’ll happen!!


    1. Thank you! Yea, I keep going back and forth with making it real. Of course my friend that I mentioned in the post constantly urges me to get inked everytime we past a tattoo parlor, lol. I still have to work up to that. Sharpie will do for now. 🙂

      PS- Really excited for you with the paleo results. I’m still having a hard time letting go of greek yogurt and Kashi cereal. I’m starting some heavy lifting this week to see how it goes, but I do feel more energetic now. Keep at it with the paleo- can’t wait to hear your thoughts!


  3. I love this post Maribel! You look stunning and the red lipstick suits you beautifully 🙂 I basically live in a uniform of black. Black everything! I mean I love color, I just rarely wear it. Your stories always resonate with me. I have felt stuck and still do in my life. It is very self imposed for the most part, and that all boils down to “FEAR”! The fear of everything going wrong, of being out of control, to not having structure etc I hope that you keep on making small strides to get to where you want to be. I wish you a beautiful day! xo Éva


    1. You’re so sweet Eva, thanks so much! I really loved the lipstick after awhile. My sister kept telling me at dinner, “you’re wearing red lipstick. why are you wearing red lipstick?” lol. I think my family wasn’t sure how to approach me since they’re not used to it. I felt very ‘unstuck’ on Saturday which was great. Back at work during the week now and its different. I just read this blog from Dr. Nick Campos about how to approach changes and negative situations and it was really insightful. So much of this fear ties to insecurities that I’m working on day by day but the good thing is I feel like I have more momentum now than before. I feel like I’m making tiny strides, so that’s good! I wish you all the best to help let go of some of that fear too. We’re pushing each other here! Time to move forward right? 🙂


      1. It’s my pleasure Maribel! Good for you for making even a small change like red lipstick! Small changes lead to bigger ones over time. I believe that our past and current issues of body image, negative self talk, manifest into adulthood in a huge way! Fear, lack of confidence all stem from that. Slowly but surely we will get past all this and emerge all the stronger and wiser for it! I am grateful to have found you via our blogs to be able to share our journeys together! There is only one way, and that is forward 🙂 so very true!
        Xo Éva


  4. Visiting from Ilene’s blogoversary celebration … she IS fabulous, isn’t she?

    I can so identify with this post. It’s hard to do something bold … to figure out if you’re stuck. I’m needing her Sharpie these days, myself. 😉 Good for you, buying the lipstick … and everything that came with it!


    1. Thank you so much! I’m going through her list and everyone is so amazing. She’s been such an inspiration. 🙂
      My sharpie and I have become fast friends, lol. It’s funny how just writing a word or short phrase somewhere where you’re forced to see it can really keep you focused. Small miracles I say. Thanks again and I hope you have a lovely weekend!!


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