Imagine this ;- the world is at war, times are tough, the men folk are off fighting for their country. They are fighting for liberty and freedom. The lady folk are home holding the fort, eking out an existence, raising children and trying to carry on with life as best possible.
They stand in queues to collect food stamps, they barter and share. They scrimp and scrape and save. They draw pencil lines down the backs of their legs as make-believe stockings. Times are really tough.
There are depression and tears, there are heart ache and sad goodbyes . There is tragedy, poverty and devastation. These aren’t good times ;- waiting for news, waiting for visits, waiting, always waiting.
And then came the little red lipstick ;- a tube of happiness, a of tube of inspiration. A tube of small blessings. A tube of hope!
Legend has it that lipstick sales really took off during the war, women could not afford larg scale luxury, but they could splurge on a little tube of fabulous. And so they did. It made them feel feminine and desirable. It lifted their spirits and gave them a few moments of pure indulgence.
This became known as the lipstick effect. The term was coined by Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estee Lauder and has been documented ever since. In fact in more recent times the lipstick effect has been hailed as a rather good indicator of general populations’ mood and frame of mind. Post the tragedy of 9/11 lipstick sales doubled as women looked for small pleasures in the cosmetic department. They chose lipstick as the one thing they knew could make them happy for a while.
So what has lipstick got to do with bipolar?
Lipstick has everything to do with bipolar, well the lipstick effect in particular. Sometimes when I am really feeling low and discouraged I have a dig around in my small box of treasures. What I find are those little luxuries that give me a moment of pleasure in a quagmire of despair.
A moment is better than no moment at all. Seeing a bright light for even one second is really good when you are fumbling around in darkness. One good thought or smell or touch is soothing when you are alone and afraid. One beautiful memory is a gentle caress to the soul. This might all sound a bit twee, but it’s real.
When my therapist first suggested creating a box of treasures for bad days I thought he was absolutely daft. I did it anyway and turns out he knew what he was talking about.
Well, today isn’t a bad day but I am applying my Dior iconic red lipstick anyway.
Here’s to small pleasures!