I have a confession, I love red lipstick but I didn’t realize it came with rules.

Red lipstick changed my life.

This is not a beauty column. I’m too much of a Tomboy to even think about “beauty” advice. This isn’t about defending a body type or screaming about no makeup Monday. This isn’t about me being fat or fit, or searching for fitspo for hours on Pinterest. This is isn’t about botox, boob jobs or mommy makeovers. This isn’t about learning to do makeup. This isn’t about how mad I am that the world has named “muffin top” the “laugh line”, “crows feet” or the “11s”. (Thanks anxiety for making me worry about bullshit because of the power in naming something. ) This isn’t actually about unreal beauty standards that we (all of us) have to live up to, but good on ya if you’re there. If that makes you happy, keep doing it.

This is about a simple step to confidence, on accident.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I didn’t actually own any red lipstick. I am actually not sure I owned any lipstick at all. It started serendipitously; it was a challenge that seemed ridiculous to me. It was simple, wear red lipstick every damn day, no matter the occasion. What the hell could that possibly do? How would a tomboy like me be changed by stupid lipstick? Being secretly very competitive, I am up for a challenge, and was curious and this challenge was cheap and easy. The actual goal wasn’t to make me a beauty queen or make -up expert. Let’s be honest, that will never happen. The goal wasn’t to have to dress to the nines every day. Again, if you take my Levi’s and super hero shirts, we will fight. The goal was to increase confidence. Ok, that I could use. Challenge accepted!

Ducati red, apple red, fire truck red, blood red, vampire lust red… lipstick every day just…red lipstick? This I can do, even if the tube melts in the car.

I bought one, probably from the RiteAid near the house. I put a bit on. At first my skin crawled and my barely there confidence cowered in a corner. I was worried, what would people think about red lips at soccer/football practice with my kids? Really, a mom with bright red lipstick and baggy sweats who got 3 hours of sleep? What about at work? What about at the gym, the grocery store or in the PJs at home because I needed a day? Just who does she think she is? I wore red lipstick anyway, not even because I wanted to, but because I had accepted a silly challenge and I hate losing. I went about my days and felt stares. I thought people were staring at me, like a self-conscious teen with a giant zit on her nose. I felt judged. I felt weird. Then, I realized as people gawked, I just smiled more. I wasn’t smiling happy at first, but as a defense. A smile disarms.  Red lipstick somehow forced me to smile. Psychology studies have shown that smiling actually helps boost your mood…not a coincidence that I finally realized their  “gawking” was my perception and that wasn’t always accurate. I was self-conscious, feeling stared at, and in reality it just wasn’t a big deal. People didn’t actually notice, or care. I stood taller, and smiled a true smile.

Red lipstick makes me happy. In yoga pants or ratty Levis’ and a dirty T-shirt wrenching on a motorcycle, and of course an evening gown should I be wearing one. It has become my thing. I buy one when I need an affordable retail therapy moment. I have one in each moto jacket, a few in my purse, and one in the jeep. I have proudly passed this simple thing on to my adult daughter, who at first said it was too ballsy. It is becoming her thing too. Watching confidence unfold is true beauty.

Learning that something so simple could have such an amazing effect has pushed me further. I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but that simple step led to bigger steps. There is power in red lipstick. I know it is a power that comes from defecting from rules that are meant to be broken. A simple defection from silly rules built my confidence and changed my life.

It is bold. It is brave. It is sexy. It is confidence. It is simple. It rubs off in all the right ways.

What’s your “red lipstick”?

Learning to live unafraid.

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