Saturday, January 26, 2013

Barbara Streisand

I attended a make-up class once -it was being taught by a man who had worked closely with celebrities.  He admitted to having an obsession with Barbara Streisand, and couldn't believe his good luck when he found himself in the same make-up room with her.
He wasn't assigned to help her, but when he noticed she was applying her own make-up, he offered his services.
She told him she always did her own make-up.
And then he watched her take a streak of highlighter and put it down the front of her nose...
Have you seen her nose?


As a make-up artist, this man was trained to study facial features: he was an expert at making little lips look plump, hiding flaws, blemishes, and enhancing beautiful features.
He couldn't believe what he had just seen.
Everyone KNEW Barbara had a big nose... what would drive her to accentuate it by applying a straight line of highlighter down the center of it -bridge to tip?
He couldn't think of one plausible explanation, so he asked her.
"It's my trademark," she said, "It's who I am -it's how people know me."

I thought about Barbara Streisand this morning as I did my dishes (and consequently ended up singing, "Hello, Dolly!" but I digress...) and I thought about a saving conversation I had with a trusted friend last night.

My mind has been a mess lately -it doesn't help that I'm sleep-deprived.  I've tried talking things through in prayer, in writing, with my husband... and I couldn't make sense of anything that was bothering me.
My friend easily sensed this, completely understood my situation, and brought me to a healing realization:
I've come to a broken bridge on my journey.  I can't cross the bridge, and I have NO IDEA how to fix it.
It's time to take some inventory and take it to the Lord.  He alone can fix it.  I need to get to the other side of the bridge, and the Savior will make that possible.

Then she gave me some Step 4 advice: make a list of WHO I AMs... list characteristics and traits that are inherently mine and given to me by a loving Father in Heaven.  She suggested praying for guidance and referencing my patriarchal blessing.

As a teenager, I went through a lost phase.  Didn't most of us, as teens?  I fell into the wrong crowd -I'm not using that cliche to say the kids themselves were wrong, but they were wrong for me.  
Their lifestyles, habits, music, clothing... all were different from mine.  I tried to mesh in.  I REALLY tried.  It was a painful time for me, and the harder I tried to be something I wasn't, the harder my life was.
I went through a depression that kept me home from school on a few days, had me sleeping my Saturdays away, and left my parents completely at a loss.
I started cutting myself -not for attention.  I honestly had no idea how to properly handle emotions, and I never cried.
To quote Pop Princess Taylor Swift, "like, ever."

I felt emotions down inside of me.  I wanted them out.  I didn't know how to get them there, so I found a way.

And it worked for me.  It was a terribly unhealthy coping mechanism, but with my razor on my side, I could find a mutated sense of balance.  It became easier -I thought -to spend time around my new-found friends.
It turned out what I thought was a medicine for my depression was only a poisonous salve.
I still didn't fit in with my friends.  It was an uncomfortable fit... I tried to push it away, but it soon became apparent that they were just as uncomfortable around ME as I was around them.

They didn't feel comfortable asking me to lie.
Or smoke.
And they felt an obligation to keep their language cleaner when I was around.

I did my best to make them feel more at ease around me... I abandoned my own style and tried to take on theirs.

One day, I woke up feeling great.  The heavy cloud of depression had lifted temporarily.  One of my new friends called and asked if she could pick me up to drive around.
(Remember when it was cool -and financially possible -to just drive around?)
I told her to come right over, and I made a decision after hanging up the phone... to be comfortable.
I didn't sift through my clothing to try and mesh with her.  I pulled out my overalls.  I put them on over a plain white tee.  And then I curled my long, brown hair.
My new friends never curled their hair.
I smiled as my bouncing curls dropped around my far and behind my neck -I felt so much like myself.  And in one daring move, I swept up the top half of my hair and put it in a barret.
My friends would not approve, I knew it.
But I felt so at home -so at peace -so comfortable that I didn't care.  I wasn't worried about making them uncomfortable or not.  I was just myself.
My friend pulled into my drive, I got in, and she looked at me.  
I pushed down every urge to make excuses for my get-up (which fairly reeked of country twang), and was surprised when she said, "You look really good."
I muttered out a thank you.

We made our way to her friend's house -he was "of age" and she'd pick him up once a week for a cigarette run.  
She was underage and had her own car.
He was of age and got around a bike.

Theirs was a friendship born of necessity.
(I'm sorry, I just peed my pants a little.  I'm so glad I'm not 15 anymore.)

He sat in the backseat and ran his fingers through my curls.
I was 100% uncomfortable -despite my trusty overalls.  Throughout the entire drive, he consistently made comments that made me uncomfortable.  Whenever we were out of the car, he wanted to be near me, to touch me somehow.
I realized then I needed to get out of there.
And by "there" I mean the world where my friends went to school with blood-shot eyes and lied to their parents about drugs and school -the world where I was completely uncomfortable in my own skin.

That was my Barbara Streisand Day.
That was the day I highlighted my overalls, my lanky long legs, my farmer's tan, my country girl hair.
They're my trademarks.  They are how I know ME on the outside.
Today -tonight -tomorrow I'll be on a journey to see how my Heavenly Father knows me, what he's given me... and then I mean to Barbara Streisand the HECK out of those qualities.


  1. I love this! Instead of focusing on all the things we lack or feel like we don't have, "Barbara Streisand" the things that are US!

    Also, I had a time where I used to cut myself in high school too. And, even more importantly, I ALSO wore overalls and a white tee when I was in high school. We totally could have been friends back then, the real kind! :)

    1. All you need is a barrett! I can't spell that word right to save my life :)

  2. Hmmm... what fault am I ready to show the world???

    1. It's funny how my list includes things that I used to think of as faults, but I now see them as things that are just me. It's learning to love myself -the things that make me ME -that blurs my vision of what's not-to-love and what is.