Dangerous Compassions

pedicure fail, foot trauma, accessible beauty products, grad school hair fear, real problems

I never told you how the pedicure went.  Well, it went pretty bad.  I was so scared, my mom held my hand.  I almost had a panic attack, wanted to get up and leave.  It reminded me of being in the hospital or at the dentist.  Pain, discomfort, fear, trapped feelings.

The lady who did me–I was amazed at how rough she was with me.  I was afraid my left heel would break and bleed, she rubbed off the dead skin so harshly.  Also, she was difficult to communicate with.  I wanted to try to explain some things, but we had a language barrier.

The strangest thing was how they asked my aunt things about me rather than talking to me directly.  I think they believed I was retarded.  I think the way I was so scared and my mom was holding my hand–they didn’t understand it.  They thought I was very special needs.  Maybe I am?

Kinda sad how narrow the range of acceptable feelings and behavior is.  Sometimes I feel sad, being so strange.  I wish there were more wiggle room in this world.

By the end, I felt I had been through something traumatic with my pedicurist.  I tipped her ten dollars instead of the five I’d planned.  I felt sorry for her for having to hurt me.  She accepted my tip with two hands.

My aunt had an opposite experience.  She actually paid more for a salt massage on her legs.  She thinks it’s fun.  My mom likes it too.  She tried to get me to use the massage function of the chair.  I tried to explain to her how I needed less stimulation, not more.  She pestered me till I pushed the button.

Afterward, my feet felt bad–itchy, sore, like they had ten tiny cuts on them.  They felt like they had been through something horrible.  I decided to just leave them be for a couple days.  Let them heal.  They’re feeling mostly better now.

Not sure what to do when I need my toenails cut again.  Sometimes things seem impossible.  My feet look cute, with blue glittery polish on the nails.  I had never had my toenails painted before–they look like someone else’s feet.  But being pretty, it’s not important.  I would rather feel healthy.

Was she a horrible pedicurist?  Was it normal?  I’d never had one before, so I don’t know.

I was on facebook and saw a line of cosmetics is being made for physically disabled people, with adaptations to help them apply the cosmetics better.  The headline said something like beauty was now available to all.

I felt instantly incredulous, that beauty has nothing to do with products or buying things.  I thought: people are beautiful when they’re kind and good, not when they wear mascara.

I wanted to say that in the comments.  I don’t need to buy a thing to make me beautiful.  And unless they’re giving the stuff away for free…it’s for sale.  They’re making money off disabled people.  It’s part of capitalism.  I feel like the disabled people are paying for their own oppression.

But I looked at the comments–there were at least ten people exclaiming ecstatically about the accessible makeup.  They really wanted it.  Someone explained how it was getting hard for her to apply eye liner, which she liked a lot, and she hoped this company would make accessible eye liner.

I felt confused, that again, my feelings and opinions are really weird.  I ended up not commenting at all.  Why shit on the joy of these disabled people who like makeup.  Let them have their makeup, I guess.  I don’t want it, but they do.

I remember when I watched tv as a kid and young person, thinking beauty product commercials try to make people feel insecure so they’ll want the product.  I remember them playing on people’s fears.

There were weird ideas about thinness and gender and ethnicity too.  Like how to be a good woman, and how to be loved–buy the products, be thin, then have confidence and find success and love.  Weird stuff about straightness of hair, desirable shapes of facial features, constant coolness.

I feel like the products are about control.  I remember feeling that way about my own hair and buying things to “tame” it–for years!

I believed my hair was too frizzy.  It was ok for it to be curly, but it had to curl in a specific way.  It had to curl in an acceptable moderate way.  It couldn’t fly all over the place, no wildness allowed.

I remember during my first year of grad school, one morning I was on campus before teaching and realized I’d forgotten to put gel in my hair after I took a shower.  I panicked.  I thought my hair would be too frizzy and somehow that was harming my day.  I wanted the gel to help me feel safe, like my hair was okay.  Hair comfort, hair control.

I had bought the idea that frizziness was a problem that needed solving, and the solution was a product.  Now I know what real problems are.

If only we had products for those.  Cancer Be Gone.  Abuser Be Gone.  Narcolepsy Be Gone.  Depression Be Gone.  Magic Minivan Transmission Solution Cream.  Student Loan Vanishing Cream.  Happy Family Salve.

All this makes me sound like I’m anti-beauty product, but I’m really pro-choice about it, the way I’m pro-choice about psych meds, abortion, and how low to eat on the food chain.  Really I think being vegan is best, but I’m not vegan.  There are tons of ways to do good, and we can’t all do everything.

I want to help create a world where people have a lot of space to be who we are and express a range of feelings, and we can be honest about what we need.  I want us to be free to be who we are.

The best way I can think of doing that is to go around being who I am.  Also to write about it.  I’m working on all that.

Also, thanks for loving me despite my frizzy hair.  Hahahahaha!

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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