One Joyful Thing

by Hannah the Zebra

(Written February 9, 2010)

The Mind-Body class I am taking from Kaiser has assignments, as I have mentioned.  One of the assignments for this week was to do one joyful thing.  Today I went into Sunset for a Kaiser appointment.  I stopped by the bank on the way home.  And then, even though I knew I probably shouldn’t, I stopped by Target and spent about an hour.  I had been wanting to do that for days.  I poked.  I browsed.  I picked up a few things I had been thinking about.  Comfortable cotton yoga/relaxing pants.  A few tops.  OK, too many tops.  I put some back.  And then, having saved the best for last, I went to the makeup section.

I have only recently gotten bolder in my make up.  Translated, that means I’ve gone from barely any, to noticeable.  My husband has been encouraging me to do that for just about as long as we have been married.  And with this year of medical leave, I’vedecided I don’t have anything to lose by experimenting.  I radically cut my hair. (Several inches.)  I’ve experimented with new colors to cover my gray. I’m getting more practiced at applying eye makeup.  Some days that is the only thing I have the energy to do beyond doctor’s appointments and exercise.  Perhaps the most significant reason I’ve had the courage to experiment more is that I’m not at work. So if I make a real change, all of my 5th grade girls won’t say, “Miss Hannah, what did you do??”

And I’m experimenting with lipstick.  I’m trying bolder colors. That means you can finally notice that I’m wearing some. I have been thinking about lipstick colors for weeks.  Honestly.  Confined to the house a lot of the time, lipstick holds a larger-than-normal allure and glamour.  I’ve looked in magazines.  I’ve looked on line. I’ve thought about color.  How much color can I add without overpowering my pale skin?  (It turns out that the answer is far more color than I would have dreamed.)  So.  I had promised myself for weeks that I would indulge in going to Target and looking at lipstick.

And I went.  I knew I really shouldn’t have; I was at the end of my energy reserves.  But I had been wanting to do this for weeks. I kinda used our Mind Body assignment as my justification.  I did the shopping list shopping first, telling myself that if I was really tired when I finished that, I would go home.  Well, you can see how well that worked out.  I went to the makeup section.  I did resist the temptation to look at makeup in general.  But I did, of course, look at lipsticks.  The rep from my favorite makeup company was actually there, so I not only looked at lipsticks, I talked about lipsticks.  Yeah, I know, I don’t get out much.  But that is the point of medical leave.  I can’t get out much.

I had decided several days previously that looking at lipsticks (and perhaps buying) would be my one joyful thing.  It was.  Something so simple.  But then, I’ve always liked looking at colors, and when it gets down to it, that’s what lipsticks are about: color.  I walked out of Target with three lipsticks and a lip lining pencil.  They were all stronger colors then I normally get, tending toward red.  I got home, took them out, and held them in the sunlight.  I felt like I was holding a handful of rubies.