I think sometimes people don't realize how offensive it is when they say to me that I spend too much time "just talking about makeup and hair." Not having "meaningful conversations."

This time, it came in the form of a text message - it took all my willpower not to just post it here -  in an endless barrage of negative feedback I had to endure a few weekends ago. I won't even dwell on that fact that it continued being thrown my way, at a very inappropriate time (when is a good time to have your thing insulted?) but I just can't get that belittling phrase out of my head.

I wish that this didn't bother me as much as it does. I wish I could brush it off.

In the first place, I don't think these conversations are less meaningful than say, the weather. Self-care is important. Treating yourself well, understanding the things you put on your body and the way they interact chemically and otherwise with your skin. I am a smart person who is well read and interesting, but this is my craft and I love it. Every single person I've met in this space has been smart, interesting, bright and possessing some knowledge of chemistry, physiology, and artistry. There is no but, or just, about it.

And secondly, though I am loathed to play this card, having cancer played a profound role in how I got here.

When I got diagnosed I could have let my entire life get slowly stripped away from me. Not "just" my breasts and my hair. I lost my ability to have children - something I've desperately wanted my whole life. I lost the ability to have a real job, something it's impossible to do when you have to sit in a chair and get injected with poison every 21 days. These are things I have very little control over. I do them because childless and unemployable are still better than dead. I could've crawled into a little hole filled with self-pity and then given up.

But I love taking care of myself and other people. I had questions, clearly not uncommon, that weren't being answered in thoughtful and compassionate ways. So I set out to answer them. To some people, it might be "just" skincare - or makeup, hair care, self-esteem - but having a cancer diagnosis doesn't change the fact that we want to feel good, cared for, and beautiful just like everyone else. It's not just that skin is the largest organ in the body, that it shows my health like a freaking full body x-ray. It's also that it's where I feel, quite literally. When my skin is plump, bouncy, and sparkling than I also feel that way. Sometimes that's what it takes to pull me out of whatever crater of self-pity I've thrown myself down at that time.

Maybe people should just stop using the word "just" (those of you following along for the whole story probably remember the "just cut your ovaries out" story) because it's belittling. And while we are at it, I'd like to submit the addition of the word "fair" (except in reference to complexion, in which case it is gorgeous and be yourself #suncareforever.)

“Beauty” as an industry is so powerful to me. It has its issues but,  unlike a lot of things, most of the brands I use are helmed by badass female entrepreneurs. It’s had nothing but a healing, positive impact on me as I navigate the insane #spoonie world of living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. It helps me to love and nurture myself back into balance. It keeps me from hating the body that has put me through so much. It connects me to an amazing community online. Beauty is not a punishment for not fitting into a certain narrow ideal. It’s an ancient practice of self-care and celebration. Now me and my freshly loved skin are going to take a nap. 

Thank you for listening to my rant.  I created it using "just" a few products. See what I did there?

this post was originally published July 24, 2017. It has been updated by the author and republished for today.