Inspired by our 24-Hour Product Diaries, Jezebel brings you Dirtbag Product Diaries, a video series showcasing the beauty routines keeping us afloat during isolation.

A friend of mine recently offered to buy me a string of waist beads. When I thanked her and asked if there was a reason for this unexpected generosity, she responded “Beauty is precious & necessary & I love spreading it.” (For more on the necessity of beauty, I highly recommend listening to this Toni Morrison interview on the Paris Review podcast.)

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For years, I thought of aspiring towards physical beauty as frivolous or vain. It took me much too long to realize that as a writer, what I am constantly striving towards is a kind of beauty—a beauty formed and defined on my own terms, but a beauty all the same. What else do you call the desire to write a perfect sentence?

In recent months, experimenting with makeup has taught me new ways to see my face as beautiful. (In service of that same goal, I also recently re-dyed my hair and cut a slit in my eyebrow. I’m on a bit of a body modification kick.) I’m not suggesting you put on a full face of makeup on a daily basis in the midst of a global pandemic and nationwide protests against police violence, but there can be something both meditative and creative about picking up a brush and painting fuchsia lines on my face—about aspiring to beauty as I define it.

Freelance writer who loves sandwiches, astrology, & fighting on the internet.

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