I made a lot of agreements with myself to stay here. To survive this grief that amplified all my feelings. I would do a lot of internal self-talk to figure out what I could show up for that day.
It started with makeup. I used to never leave my house without mascara, liner, and something on my lips (usually chapstick or gloss). When I was grieving and had to show up to work five days later I told myself I would beat my face because then I couldn't cry at work or in front of others. I would hate to have my mascara smear in public like that! Nobody really deserves to see me in a mascara smeared face unless they are really taking care of me!
There were lots of selfies. I started taking selfies the day my mother died and posted them on IG with the #FemmeInMourning hashtag. On March 9, 2016 I posted my first selfie of a full face, red lip, deep black liner, mascara, and it being my first time since mami died I put on makeup. Makeup became the way that I mourned and took care of myself and paid homage to my mami, the first femme who taught me red lipstick is appropriate at all times and a Puerto Rican cultural artifact.
I still believe makeup is a form of media making. I was developing the message of I'm still here. It wasn't an act of covering up my grief. Instead it was a ritual I had developed under my mother's guidance that was familiar and firmly grounded me in having pride in my appearance. Pride even when I was completely destroyed. Pride that I was still here. Sometimes showing up with your grief triggers folks who are ignoring or can't hold their grief. Sometimes people get scared and stare in awe or are curious. Either way I let them have it most times.
Agreements: If you beat your face you don't cry until you are either alone or home!
Read post 17 here.