The government has classified hair salons, med spas and the like as non-essential services. I get it. But if those in charge had FaceTimed with me, they might have made an exception.
To fill the void created by social distancing, I turned to video-chatting. At a time when I needed my friends and family the most, like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, I couldn’t wrap my arms around them.
Big mistake. The woman in the lower right corner of my phone looked haggard and wrinkled. I wondered, “Was there something wrong with my app?”
I looked the same on Zoom.
My reflection was the result of personal neglect. And, I am not alone. Like me, my friends lament grey roots and frizz. We wear gloves to protect our hands from germs and hide fingernails that expose remnants of chipped polish from not-long-enough-lasting gel. We wince at erupting wrinkles once disguised with filler. And none of us bother with make-up, or for that matter bras. What’s the point when we spend our days in sweats and pajamas?
But. right now, under stay-at-home orders, there’s only so much we can do about our appearance. I’m not going to let an Instacart shopper decide on a substitution for chestnut brown hair color.
Let’s take this opportunity to shift the beauty paradigm.
It’s time to stop mourning the loss of age-defying techniques. With hospitals bulging beyond capacity, death counts rising, patients vying for ventilators and the economy tanking— enough dwelling in frivolity. Let’s tap into our inner beauty and make a difference.
Appreciation is beautiful.
Let’s show it to the scientists and researchers who endure sleepless nights and crushing pressures to unearth treatments and vaccines. The doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who endanger their lives, and their families, for ours. Businesses that donate, rather than hoard. Manufacturers that shift production to life-saving product, while forgoing excess profiteering. Drivers and laborers that ensure the supply-chain stays intact. Pharmacists, grocers and others working, at risk, to minimize societal crash. Teachers, reconfiguring lesson plans so that our youth remain on track. Those that construct emergency field hospitals faster than we can binge watch a Netflix series and everyone else that sees to our well-being and safety.
Let’s show appreciation to the leaders who make difficult decisions for our welfare, not for our vote. Media that gives facts, not political commentary. Medical icons who exhibit calm and deliver hope during turmoil.
We can show our gratitude with notes, posts, music, applause and signs. My sister tied white ribbons around trees, her way of saying, “thank you.” A chorus gathered, 6’ feet apart, on the lawn of a pastor’s widow and serenaded her. Children are joining the “Chalk the Walk” movement and drawing inspirational messages on sidewalks. Others paste pictures of hearts in their windows.
Good deeds are beautiful.
We can support restaurants that offer carry-out or delivery We can purchase gift cards and shop online to help businesses stay afloat. We can continue to pay those that do routine regular services for us: babysitters, trainers, housekeepers, dog-walkers, barbers, manicurists and others. We can transport food and medical supplies; sew face masks and gowns. We can participate in blood drives, diaper drives, bring groceries to food banks and donate to charities. Dogs and cats need fostering; the vulnerable need us to run errands. We can entertain children of working parents—reading books, playing games virtually. We can reach out to those who are sheltering in place alone to listen, offer empathy, even share a few laughs.
Our grandmothers were right, “beauty is only skin deep.” Now is the time to be beautiful in ways that truly matter.
Because when this pandemic passes, we will once again, color our hair, fill in our wrinkles and gel our nails. But we will never cover-up how we handled this crisis and treated one another.