I make my way through the streets of my city driving to my psychiatrist appointment. As usual, the weather is beautiful in my lovely Californian town. It is considered a Mediterranean type of weather here which evokes temperate warmth, sun and cool breeze of the nearby ocean. I turn right then left and always have to remember to go straight through the intersection and not turn left as I have done a few times on previous visits. Visit. A nice word to use when seeing not a friend but my doctor who is the leader of my mental health team. My team consists of a psychiatrist and counselor. They are my guides who navigate me through my wants, needs, feelings, and moods with the effects of my medication. They are an imperative part of my life now, and I am getting use to this. There is a comfort in this arrangement.
I bring my truck to a stop in front of the building. The parking lot is emptier than normal since my appointment is after lunch. It is quiet here today. My hand grabs the key from the ignition, and I pause in my seat. A deep breathe pushes out from my between my lips, and I mentally settle in for today’s discussion of how my new med is working out for me. The inside of my truck is tan as my handbag. My hand slips into my purse reaching for my favorite red lipstick. It is the brightest red. I adjust the rearview mirror to get a good look of my face in order to adjust my makeup.
My face is an olive canvas of the finest material, and I enjoy wearing a lot of makeup as a sort of fine painting. My eyeliner is particularly black with sometimes two coats of smudge coal running along the top and bottom of my eyes. For dramatic affect, I wing the black out to the sides like an Egyptian goddess, but I am not Egyptian. My eyeliner is smudged more than it should be, and with my finger tips, I clean it up ever so gently. In the reflection of the mirror, I look into my eyes and see that I am aging and that is quiet alright. The wrinkles of time have started to slightly show from a life of moods and emotions. Finally, I open my red lipstick and generously apply it to my full lips and fix up the outlines. I take another pensive breath.
The waiting room is completely empty which makes the pale white walls and sparse decor even more austere. I sit quietly with my hands in my lap and admire the fine lines starting to appear on them. I can remember what they looked like as a young woman. A young woman who had no idea what lie ahead. How vast my possibilities were in those days. I certainly did not ever think I would end up here in a psychiatrist office treating bipolar disorder. However, I am thankful for the treatment. As fearful as I was at the beginning of it and the great unknown it posed, I feel deep inside that it is what is best for me, my child, my family and friends. It is a necessity of my life as much a necessity as my emotions and raw passions. I hold them all dear and want to do the best to balance them all so I can live a colorful life. As colorful as the brightest red.
As the minutes tick by on the clock on the wall, I reach into my purse and pull out my mirror and check my lipstick one last time. This is a habit of mine. I use to love watching old movies where the ladies would always pull out their finest compact and apply their lipstick ever so properly or seductively. The waiting room is very quiet and lights gleam off the pale white floors. All the seats are tan like the inside of my truck and have a blonde wood framing them. In my mirror, my lips appear the brightest red like the petals of a red rose arranged gently against my soft olive skin. I try to recall all the effects of my new med so I can relay them to my doctor. Some memories are heavy with hurt and discomfort. Other memories are champion good stories of how I believe my treatment is going well. A long sigh draws out from my rose petal lips
The door into the doctor’s office opens and my name is called. My psychiatrist appears and greets me with a smile. I return her greeting and follow her down the hall. “I love your lipstick,” she says, and I respond politely, “Thank you. It’s the brightest red.”