Artful Language & Graceful Definitions: Healing in 2020
Hello, my name is Lacey Haegen and I am the Founder of Beaute Nouveau. I thought I might take a second to officially introduce myself to all of the wonderful new people who have recently joined the Beaute Nouveau community and say hello and thank you to all of you who have been with me along this journey so far!
Most importantly, I want to tell you that you are all extremely important to me - and not because you purchase products. Even if we don't personally know each other, you are important because you found me, and there must be an important reason for that - I truly believe that.
In 2009, I started this company in my kitchen. I had been working for the luxury cosmetic industry for 17 years at that point and had reached a point of sheer disgust with the industry and the ingredients in products. My husband was suffering miserably from psoriasis and as a do-er and a help-er, I started making products in my kitchen that I thought might help him. I gave away the excess product to people I knew, and shortly after people started placing orders for more and asking for me to make other things...and that was the organic start of Beaute Nouveau.
As I see it, even though I started Beaute Nouveau, it isn't "mine." I represent the company. I uphold its values and its mission. I am animated by it. As an individual, I share the same values and mission, and truly am personally compassion about each of you, but I hold myself to an even higher standard through representing Beaute Nouveau.
I believe that I have received inspiration along this path that has allowed for what IS Beaute Nouveau to become a reality, but that Beaute Nouveau is its own, metaphorically speaking, living breathing entity that has its own purpose to fulfill in this world.
Beaute Nouveau has a nickname; I call her Fée Marraine, which means Fairy Godmother in French. The official definition of a Fairy Godmother is "a fairy-tale character who uses magical powers to help a hero or heroine." Imagine a world where we all have a Fairy Godmother watching out for us, loving us unconditionally, guiding us towards the best, steering us away from the worst, pulling magical strings so that things fall in line for our benefit, wrapping us in a big hug whenever we need it.
That is the image in my mind when I think of Beaute Nouveau. When I am representing Beaute Nouveau, in every thing I do for her, I ask myself "am I being Fée?" Meaning, am I speaking in her voice, am I representing her the way she would represent herself? Always looking out. Truthful. Unconditional. Taking the best care of us always. This leaves no room for discrimination, hate, violence, or injustice.
These values are what I stand for personally, and what Beaute Nouveau as a company stands for as well.
I have been watching social media this week and have been inspired by all of the people who are fearlessly posting in support of Black Lives Matter, anti-police brutality, social change, and justice. I have also spoken with many business owners who want to take a stand, but are also concerned that they will say the wrong thing, make a mistake in what they say, unintentionally offend people with their words, and consequently their businesses and livelihoods will suffer.
They want to stand up and support, but are fearful that doing so could hurt their businesses, and in a time when businesses are suffering dramatically from the Covid closures, everything is amplified, and fear is fierce.
The image at the top of this email is a post I saw on Instagram the other day under the #createcultivate and it resonated with me. I too have been grappling with what to say and how to say it and I truly hope to only uplift and never offend. My choice is that in saying nothing, I am not helping and I hope that Beaute Nouveau does not suffer. I also hope that what I say actually helps.
The first adult that ever explained the police to me, called them PEACE OFFICERS. She told me that their job is to make sure that our communities are PEACEFUL.
I believe that the words we choose to use are extremely important and words are what it takes to shift perception and create lasting change. Deploying the concept of PEACE officers expands the position from simply law enforcement to community protection. Our expectations of PEACE officers is different from POLICE officers. That said, I am in full support of peaceful protests AND peaceful law enforcement. We can be peacefully protesting every minute of every day in the words we choose and the actions we choose, and we have more peaceful law enforcement than we have brutal law enforcement - but neither of those topics are sexy news topic on most days and the media chooses their words very carefully too.
Take a moment, say out loud or in your head the words: Peace Officer. Notice the feeling. Say the words: Police Officer. Notice the feeling. Words induce feelings, feelings induce reactions and actions. This is why word choice is so important and powerful.
Start a sentence with the phrase: "the problem is...." Notice the feeling. Now, start a sentence with: "what we are learning is...." Notice the feeling. One is oppressive and one is empowering.
We should be peacefully protesting. We as a society could be so much more united, so much more productive, so much more caring about each other, so much more uplifted, more educated, more inspired, more safe, more secure, truly...don't we all want more?! Isn't that uniting?! A long song of peaceful protest in all forms, will lead us and unite us.
Whether we are: peacefully marching in the street, calling our political leaders, having open conversations that have otherwise been ignored or swept under the rug before, updating our education on topics, listening and making room for voices we don't usually hear, upgrading our language choices, asking questions, and or sticking up for someone, even a stranger; we have some things that definitely need to change, and need to change for the better, forever.
However, peacefully, is the only option. Inciting fear and enacting violence IN ANY WAY, EVER, IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
What we are all learning is that DEFINITIONS VARY. The problem is that we grow up with this thing called a Dictionary. (Did you notice how those sentences started?) We learn from a young age that there is this omniscient, all knowing, book in the library, that has firm definitions of words. So, we learn a definition and we think it is "right." Our teachers quiz us, we get grades based on our knowledge of the words, we have to learn the hard words for the SAT tests, which rank our intelligence and place us in colleges.
But here is the thing, DEFINITIONS VARY. Any of us could look at the same situation and define it differently. Many of us have words that powerfully drive our lives that we don't even actually have definitions for - we just think we do! For instance, what does being HAPPY and UNHAPPY really mean to you. Have you ever sat down and written down every teensy, tiny, thing that makes you happy...down to a good poop? Have you ever sat down and written down every teensy, tiny, thing that makes you unhappy, down to the milk being empty in the refrigerator? No! We don't do that! We use these words complacently out of habit and undefined definitions.
Definitions and perspectives are so much more than a concise sentence written in a reference book. Author, Simon Winchester, wrote the book The Professor and the Madman and Mel Gibson and Sean Penn recently starred in the film. The story is about the insanity, genius, and obsession of the two men who created the Oxford English Dictionary. It was a little hard to watch at times for me, but an incredible education (and a fantastic movie in my opinion) on how the dictionary was created. It was created from the perspectives of the thousands of people who lived at the time and sent letters explaining what words meant to them. Different people sent in their "definitions" of words and their meanings were distilled into "truth."
The Dictionary definition of "happy" uses other words like joy, contentment, pleasure - that mean "happy" to define "happy." And we are all running around trying to be happy without really understanding WHAT IT IS TO BE happy. This is our practice with most words and how we use language (in our heads and with other people). We rigidly defined words in their narrowest scope a long time ago, and rarely think to deconstruct and reconstruct them.
Living definitions are so much deeper, more faceted, and more varied than any quick snippet could ever describe. And when we prescribe to the snippets as enough or all encompassing, or representative of what everyone thinks, or experiences, we will always have marginalization, or "them," "they", and "not us" guiding our beliefs and behaviors.
Definitions vary and interpretations are rampant. Unconditional acceptance and optimistic interest in those two concepts is what makes a FREE society.
So here is my ask: let us give each other grace. We are all doing our best. Let us not assume we know what each other is thinking, feeling, or doing. Let's be kind. Just walk around shining kindness out of you, with inquisitive compassion for all you see.
Let's not be quick to judge and think we "know" because there are many layers of voices inside all of our heads that we are all trying to figure out. Let us all be OPEN-MINDED.
Most of all, please take care of yourselves, stay safe, don't allow self-shaming voices in your head. You are doing the best you can and everyone's voice is important and how you choose to use yours is also your choice.
PS: I hope this was helpful and supported you. If it wasn't, or didn't, please just put it out of your mind. My intention was not in any way to incite anger or push a political agenda. It was only to provide one way of possibly contributing positively to anyone looking for inspiration.
Also, if you ever want to use these posts to start a conversation with the people in your lives, please free free to do so. You are more than welcome to share them to your social feeds if you feel inspired to do so as well.