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“I know you are calling me because of Mary Kay…”

Ouch. I finally set aside the time this morning to call a very old friend, or rather a friend from my youth, and yes, my Mary Kay business has given me a “burning reason” to call old friends with whom I haven’t spoken for a while. There was an initial rush of excitement as we caught each other up on the past few years. Then, she grew serious, the energy dropped, and she said, “Go ahead, I know you are calling me because of Mary Kay. I see your Facebook feed…”

I felt a little crushed. Did she really think that’s all I had in mind?  And, being brutally honest with myself, yes, I had hoped that she would be one of my friends who might be excited about my new business and help me in some way.  Was I just being selfish, greedy, and transactional in my relationships? What can I get out of you? Well, no.

Looking back on my last few years, four to be exact, I retreated into a cocoon to nurse my wounds after an extreme vocational betrayal and vindictive assault. That’s all I will say about that because those who know what happened know enough. Let’s just say my heart was broken and I was left feeling unsafe and unsure of who I could really trust other than my husband, family, and a tight circle of friends.

Four years ago I shut down and was in a terrible depression which cast a dark shadow over my work and social life. I went through the motions of work for my business, but income naturally declined. I had lost my will to thrive and succeed. And, I will say it again, I didn’t feel safe reaching out to the world, even friends from my past.  After all, it was “friends”—one whom I had known since I was 18—who had inflicted the most pain.

Time, meditation, therapy, and the generosity of a few angels, helped pull me out of this. It was gradual at first and layer by layer I could feel parts of my old self-emerging.  Yet, even three years into the healing process, I was still afraid to go out to concerts and tried not to make eye contact with too many people. I wasn’t sure who the real friends were. I once alluded to this sadness in a Facebook post, and one person used that post against me to cast more aspersions unto my character. They might do it again if they find this post online. So be it. Some people are vicious like that.

Much like many of you who have experienced a devastation of some sort, I grew from the process of having my heart cracked open and I am the better for it. I’m stronger and more compassionate. And now, with the opportunity that this Mary Kay venture has offered me, I feel more confident and courageous.

My resistance to signing on as an Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultant just four months ago had been a huge signpost. I didn’t think I could call myself that because I wasn’t qualified, I wasn’t beautiful myself.  And what was keeping me from that? I wasn’t quite yet ready to care enough about myself after all that “depressing.”   Yet there was a glimmer there even as I said, no, I could not call myself a beauty consultant!

A few weeks after my adamant refusal I told my friend Debi that if she needed me to sign up on her team as a consultant, I would. And so I did, with the intention of just getting my own skincare and makeup for half price.

My starter kit arrived in the mail and it was exciting. I went through an orientation with our director Cathy Naabe and I started to see how this Mary Kay venture might work to be more involved. I watched all the videos and training modules in MK University and started to see that maybe I could do this and have fun. And then, I drank the whole cup of pink Kool-Aid and attended Career Conference where I was surrounded by exuberant, positive vibes and women who celebrated each other’s awesomeness with such infectious energy that I wondered why I WOULDN’T want to be surrounded by this more often in life.

Soon I cared a little more about what I looked like and was happy to look in the mirror at my brighter, healthier skin. I wanted to look better and was learning how to use what little makeup I was accustomed to using in more effective ways. My stylist friend Jessica Papineau showed me what clothes would help me look my best and we got rid of the over-large mu-mu styles I had stuffed in my closet. I started to believe that I looked pretty good.

The next domino fell when I found the focus and inspiration to commit to a healthier lifestyle and losing weight.  Jessica introduced me to Phil Bourgerie at Profile Plan in Sarasota. Lightning struck, so to speak, and I’ve been laser-focused ever since. I’ve lost almost 35 lbs at this point.

Now, when I am milling in the lobby of the Opera House with all the other members of the audience, I am willing to smile as I meet people in the eye. I want to reach out with a sense of goodwill and a desire to make a difference. This now three-month journey has been a huge breath of fresh air for me. Its been a game changer.

I am growing stronger with each renewed connection. Although I was initially a little embarrassed to call after being silent for several years, in the past 2-3 days I have had a nice phone conversation with a number of my dearest friends from college years. I’m planning an online reunion using Zoom and we’re going to participate in my first ever virtual Mary Kay skincare party.

Yes, I am calling you because of Mary Kay, but it may not be what you think!