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TITLE: Vanity Saved My Life
By Kim Sandstrom
09/03/06
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Some simple acts of vanity and the repetition of these daily acts, kept me afloat in the early days of grief.
Vanity saves my life.

I say this to people,

who know good and well

why I want to die,

from time to time.

And when I tell them

how the art of vanity saves my life,

they look at me

as if they heard me wrong.

If I had the time to tell them

what I mean by this rather

vain
statement,

this is what I would say,

(only not so poetically):

"When my daughter flew out of my arms and was caught up into the winds of heaven,

there were simple acts of vanity that saved me from

following her

and

drying up and blowing away

and maybe

NOT

ending up

in the Good Place with her.



Those simple acts include:



Putting on makeup



Choosing my dress



Adding the jewelry



Finishing my hair.



Dabbing the perfume.

just as I have done

every day

for all my woman years.

Each of these vain acts buy me time:

time to stand in front of a mirror

and I wash my face with tears.

And once that cleansing is complete

I can see that my face is:

A frieze of fury

A masque of mourning,

A mis en scene of sadness -

(A triptych of sorrow, anger, abandonment)

And so

step by step

I cover over my

bloodless pallor with

Honey beige foundation,

Dewberry blush, Lavender Ice shadow, Cherry Stain lipstick, Charcoal mascara, Sable eyeliner and Bubblegum gloss

and

those long lived women,

Mary Kay, Elizabeth and Estee too

who have handed me their lustered armaments over the years,

hand them to me again.

And every day

reinforced by the habit of my womanly vanity

I stand

in front of a mirror

and in this,

my greatest despair,

I am able

slowly,

(mixing in a tear here and there),

to

create a face -

to

face the world -

and

be the face

that my daughter

was

so

proud of."
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