I became aware of the connection between our inner and outer selves when I was in grade school and went to Granny. She had a bad cold when I got there, but we got up one morning and she said, “Well, I can tell that I’m better because I want to get my hair done today.”
There’s universal truth in this. Some of us remember the old scenario when after a fight with her husband a woman would go out and by a new hat. While shopping for a hat went out with the bouffant hairdos of the 1960’s, the urge to heal through our appearance hasn’t.
Before I went back to the university after I’d had breast cancer surgery I headed to my favorite store and bought a whole new outfit—top to bottom, including shoes and jewelry. I had my hair cut and got a mani/pedi. I shopped for makeup. When I stepped onto campus and into my first class after being out with the cancer, I felt like a superstar. My special attention to how I looked and the impact it had on me also helped the students, faculty, and colleagues who’d supported me during the ordeal. They saw that I’d not only survived but also had prevailed.
More recently, my emotional pain has been social than physical. Although Bud and I love the lifestyle we created after moving to Texas three years ago, I miss the girlfriends that I had while living Los Angeles for nearly thirty years. Most of all, I miss Zelda. We met the first week I arrived in LA, and we became the sister to each other that neither of us had. That type of friendship can’t be replaced. We’re soul sisters to the end.
Earlier this year Zelda and her husband moved from LA to Las Vegas. That’s where I’ve been for the past week, doing what BFFs do—talking, sharing stories and laughing. Oh, so much laughing. We’re also putting in plenty of appearance therapy. We’ve shopped. We did a half-day at the spa where we had massages and body wraps. We visit the gym to work off the lunches. At night we break out our new stuff and take in shows. Tomorrow we’ll head to LA for a few more days.
Appearance therapy is no cure all. But it sure provides assistance. By elevating our mental/emotional conditions we enable our bodies and minds to heal. My new outfit didn’t erase my cancer, it gave me the confidence to hold my head high and move forward with my life. Getting out of the house and buying a new hat couldn’t have erased the spat, but it would have given a woman the space to clear her head and think about how to smooth over the rough patch in her relationship with her husband.
Similarly, spending time with Zelda, doing what we’ve been doing over the past years hasn’t lessened the pain of being separated from her when I go home. But sending my spirits over the moon for 10 days will give me sweet memories to fill the void until we visit again.