This started with cards. It started with a request to the people I loved to send me cards during treatment. And they did. They made me card puzzles of poetry & pencil drawings, pop-ups and unfolding cards, postcard series, the best letterpress that they could find, and cards printed just for me.
Beauty & Shit Cards
I printed the card above on a beautifully sunny afternoon in Fredericksburg, about a week before my diagnosis. Friends had given me the most thoughtful 30th birthday gift, and provided me with an afternoon class printing with Susan Carter Morgan, who became one of my closest friends. I followed up with a day making this card (and one that just says FUCK). It proved that Susan could handle my sense of humor and love. It was the beginning of a series of better cards to send to young people experiencing loss, an idea I had to benefit The Dinner Party. Still, all cards sold through Beauty and Shit, benefit The Dinner Party, because I love them, and they made and continue to make space for conversations about life's beauty and shit that mean the world to me.
A week after I printed this card, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And, as it turned out, this card I had designed to send to friends losing loved ones was also the card I most wanted to receive from my loved ones during this time of losing myself and the life and body I thought I would have.
Beauty & Shit subscription
The hardest parts of cancer treatment was honestly life after treatment. The energy and enthusiasm about fighting and pushing through chemo was gone, gone out of me and my community, and what was left was the prospect of 10 years of menopause, a lifetime of physical limitations I hadn't prepared myself for and completely changed life. I felt like I couldn't complain about anything -- I was alive after all, and done, allegedly, with the worst year of my life -- but I still felt pretty awful.
The friends who stuck around, with notes saying they understood or moments of just letting me acknowledge that it sucked. That mattered more than they'll ever know. But it is hard.
We think the beauty & shit subscription can help you continue to show up for friends in the year after loss, heartbreak, illness, miscarriage or divorce. I mail you a card as soon as you order, a month later, 3 months later, 6 months later and a year later. This will be a gift to you to remember to send them the gift of your remembering.
We are about to begin recording a podcast, with conversations about life's shitty moments, and the beautiful ones, with incredible friends who have experienced, well, the full range of it. More information coming soon!