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  • Writer's pictureDana Arcuri

Trauma is Skin Deep & Includes the Marginalized Populations

A fun fact about me that most people don't know is that I am a licensed beauty expert with over 30+ years of professional experience. My first love may have been writing, but the beauty industry was an amazing experience for me. Although I no longer work in the beauty industry, it still holds a special place in my heart. In 1999, I had been working as a licensed hairstylist, esthetician, and makeup artist for 11 years. I specialized in photography, TV stations, weddings, and working directly with models, actors, actresses, and musicians. While it was thrilling and rewarding to see my name in professional credits, especially for PBS international television and popular wedding magazines, I sensed a longing to do something more meaningful. As my perception and belief system changed, I knew in my heart that I no longer desired to work with “physically attractive people.” Rather, I wanted to work with marginalized populations who dealt with physical disfigurements, birth defects, deformities, scars, and facial differences. My goal was to work as a trauma makeup artist/esthetician with marginalized populations.

I began researching trauma makeup artistry, camouflage makeup, and medical esthetician occupations. In 1999, I became certified in the Look Good Feel Better Program through the American Cancer Society to teach skincare and makeup classes for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation. In April 2000, I pursued one-on-one training with Linda Seidel, Pioneer and expert trauma makeup artist, to become a trauma makeup artist/esthetician. Following my professional training, a new door opened up for me to become certified in trauma makeup in Hospital-based Image Enhancement and Social Skills Training. In May 2000, I completed my trauma makeup training at Spectrum Hospital Burn Unit with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. It was a comprehensive three-day training with hands-on experience in esthetic skincare, corrective makeup techniques, color analysis, and working with trauma patients who had over 80% of their body scarred from severe burns. This program taught about the traumatic impact of physical scars, birth defects, and facial differences, as well as the psychology of being a burn survivor in this marginalized population. The training covered behavioral skills, increasing the client’s social confidence, self-esteem, and how to encourage/assist them in re-entering society as a burn survivor.

In May 2000, I was invited by a local trauma hospital burn unit to be a public speaker for a workshop they were doing for burn survivors. I had the honor of teaching “trauma makeup” to burn survivors, doctors, nurses, and medical professionals and teaching how camouflage makeup techniques can enhance the self-esteem and confidence of burn survivors. Ironically, prior to 2020, I had already completed formal education in the medical industry to become a Certified Medical Assistant, in which I incorporated my beauty background to specialize in dermatology and plastic surgery. In March 2002, I completed secondary education as a Surgical Technician for the operating room. I specialized in trauma surgery, cosmetic surgery, and maxillofacial surgery. Looking back, I am in awe at how I have been working with trauma patients for over 20 years in one capacity or another; in the beauty industry, the medical industry, and in the trauma community. As I come full circle, I have discovered that I am exactly where I am meant to be. To be a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach working directly with all forms of trauma, including within the marginalized population.

What is a marginalized population? To treat specific people as insignificant, unimportant, or unworthy. It is separation from mainstream population and separation from services and benefits that they receive. In statistics, 100 million people are marginalized, due to race. Let that sink in... 100 million people are marginalized, due to their race, color, and ethic background. This is appalling on every level.

Who is the marginalized population? It is me. It is you. It is countless hurting souls who have been cast out of our society. The brokenhearted. The emotionally abandoned. The starving. The religious outcasts, such as those who speak up about the epidemic of abuse happening in churches across our world.

Marginalized populations include African American communities, Latino communities, and other ethic groups. Poverty-stricken people. Homeless men, women, and children. The family scapegoats and the black sheep of toxic families who are ostracized and abused, especially if they set clear boundaries and/or went no contact with their toxic families. Marginalized populations include men, women, and children who have suffered traumatic accidents, injuries, and surgeries. People who have physical scars, birth defects, missing limbs, and all forms of physical trauma to their bodies and/or faces. Those who have a physical or mental disabilities. People who are battling mental illness, Complex PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Gender identity. And the list of our marginalized population goes on and on. I have been marginalized by the mental health industry, by psychiatrists, by therapists, and by uninformed medical professionals who are NOT trauma-informed. As a woman who deals with chronic pain with fibromyalgia, I guarantee, the medical community has marginalized me more times than I can count on one hand. In 2010, my own psychiatrist minimized my own trauma, chronic physical pain, and fibromyalgia. When I shared my real symptoms and real concerns with her, she flatly stated, "But you look fine." My physical appearance has nothing to do with my fibromyalgia, my inflammation, and my trauma. My beauty background means that I know the tricks of the trade to "physically present myself" in public. But it doesn't mean that I am perfectly fine. It's inappropriate and despicable for mental health professionals to silence us, ignore us, and/or to minimize our present reality, especially with ongoing chronic pain, legal disabilities, and past trauma.

What is the root of marginalized populations? It is fear-based. There is a lack of education. Oppression. False beliefs. Those who are prejudice. Having harsh judgements about specific people. It includes the lack of empathy and compassion for all humanity. The first step for positive change is to gain more insight, education, wisdom, and facts. To leave our comfort zone. To be the change means that we each take action and pay it forward to reach out to those who are marginalized. Keeping this in mind, I am going to consider ways that I can create realistic ways to offer emotional support to marginalized communities, including reaching out to women's homeless shelters, public speaking to build awareness, and offering trauma-informed coaching discounts for those who may have financial hardships. Stay tuned for new updates about my Certified Trauma Coaching sessions that will start in September 2019, various coaching packages, prices, group coaching, and specials!

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