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  • Writer's picturePeta

Why I never leave home without lipstick

This week Peta discusses a question she wishes she never got asked about her disability. She explains how a simple thing like a lipstick makes all the difference.


Epsoide transcript:

Peta [00:00:16] Hello and welcome to The I Can't Stand Podcast, the podcast, answering your questions on what it's like to live with a disability.

Peta [00:00:25] My name is Peta and every week I'll be your host, I'm going to be answering your questions on disability. You don't have to know anything about disability. This podcast is for anyone that's just interested or maybe a little bit of a stickybeak. We're all stickybeaks at heart, aren't we?

Peta [00:00:46] So why am I the person to ask? Well, I have cerebral palsy, if you don't know, cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition.

Peta [00:00:58] It occurs because either there was a problem during the mothers' pregnancy or at birth. In my circumstance, they're pretty sure it was at birth. I didn't quite take that proper breath when I was first born, those couple of seconds has resulted in me having a lifelong disability. But I really don't know anything different, and it doesn't really bother me as much as you probably think.

Peta [00:01:26] That's why I think I'm the perfect person to ask, I'm an open book, I'm so interested in the sort of things people are too scared to ask or always wish they could ask. But had no opportunity to or no person to ask.

Peta [00:01:46] So the best way you can ask me a question is either via Instagram @icantstandpodcast, via email,, or on the website Without your questions, this podcast can't happen, so I really look forward to any question that you may have.

Peta [00:02:13] Other than me having cerebral palsy, he's a little bit of background on me, as I said, my name's Peta, I'm 30, I have cerebral palsy. I'm single. I live in Melbourne.

Peta [00:02:27] A few fun facts. My nickname is Queen of Wheels. Queen of Wheels, it's always been me. In more recent times, my girlfriends call me Peta Marguerita. No, not the pizza. The alcohol. I've got a few degrees, including a master's degree in something called tourism that at least used to exist before Covid. Fingers crossed it'll come back at some point.

Peta [00:03:00] So because this is the first episode I obviously don't have any questions to answer yet. I decided to start by answering a question. I wish I never got asked personally, I think it's the worst question anybody could ask me. I hate it. And it's all wrapped up in my perspective as to why I don't leave the house without wearing lipstick. So let's get into it.

Peta [00:03:37] Why I never leave the house without lipstick. Well, it all started with a strange lady lift, I know sounds like the start of a song or a joke, but it isn't. It's an example of how a random interaction can change how I view myself.

Peta [00:03:57] It was a boiling hot late February day in the not too distant past, I decided to escape the 40-degree heat by going to the movies alone. I wanted to see the new Olivia Coleman movie somewhat of a niche choice and the perfect opportunity to go by myself. Walking into the... Well, I wasn't walking. I was rolling. But for the purpose of this story, I was walking.

Peta [00:04:24] Walking into the movie theatre, sweat dripping down my back. I realised somehow I infiltrated the over 60s movie set. You know, those well-dressed women, hair perfectly coiffed. Red-faced. Arguing with their friend who got the tickets last time, and it was, in fact, their turn to pay for the tickets.

Peta [00:04:49] I got my tickets and waited for the lift. A woman also alone using a walking stick came up beside me. I could tell she was a bit miffed that she was going to have to share the lift with me. I got the feeling this was a regular day out for her and I was messing with her routine, the first thing she said to me was.

Lady in the lift [00:05:11] "We both won't fit."

Peta [00:05:14] We did.

Peta [00:05:16] If there's one thing in the world that I think I'm good at, it's getting into a lift because, in fact, it was not the first lift I'd been in in my lifetime.

lift elevator
Dirty lift

Peta [00:05:26] So I have to admit, it was a little bit uncomfortable it was one of those metal box shiny things that I absolutely hate, I wouldn't go in if I didn't need to. Trust me, I don't have a choice to be scared of lifts. I just have to basically suck it up.

Peta [00:05:47] And if that wasn't bad enough. The lady asked me THE question.

Lady in the lift [00:05:56] "So what's wrong with you then?"

Peta [00:05:59] Despite me being used to this question. It still does hurt, but I didn't flinch.

Peta [00:06:07] I said "Nothing."

older woman
older woman

Lady in the lift [00:06:10] Unperturbed, she pushed on. "Why are you in a wheelchair?"

Peta [00:06:18] "I have Cerebral Palsy."

Peta [00:06:20] I could tell that answer made very pleased with herself. She'd figured out the riddle in front of her.

Lady in the lift [00:06:27] She then asked, looking down at me like I was some sort of a child, "What movie are you here to see?"

Peta [00:06:35] "The Favorite."

Lady in the lift [00:06:37] "Oh, I hated that. You won't like it either."

Peta [00:06:42] "Why do you say that?"

Lady in the lift [00:06:44] "Far too risqué and sexy.".

Peta [00:06:47] With that, the lift doors opened.

Peta [00:06:55] The lady in the lift was right, I didn't enjoy the movie. But it was because I couldn't stop thinking about her, the lady in the lift.

Peta [00:07:06] I was angry with myself. Playing over and over what I should have said, in response to her question. The question I get often, but I never seem to quite get the answer correct.

Peta [00:07:20] But what I was really angry about was the fact I didn't put lipstick on that morning.

a lipstick
The lipstick Peta should have put on

Peta [00:07:26] A long bow to draw. Stay with me. That very small conversation with the lady in the lift crystallized the importance for me to always leave the house with lipstick on because lipstick compliments the vision of how I view myself and how I want others to view me.

Peta [00:07:49] I made the conclusion that day sitting in the movie that if I had had my signature lip on, the lady in the lift would have treated me differently.

Peta [00:07:59] Both men and women treat me differently when I'm wearing lipstick. I know this is conjecture, but when I wear lipstick in other women's minds, I look more like them. They understand the process that I went through to make myself look like I'm looking with makeup on, they can visualise themselves more in me and I'm less 'othered'. I am instead a lady with very well lined red lips. I think for both genders, me wearing lipstick is about me being the type of female they recognise and understand. I know that's so stereotypical and putting me in a box, I'm a woman, therefore I must look like this. But as a person with a disability, I don't really think people think I'm a female at all.

Peta [00:08:57] I want to be understood. We all do.

Peta [00:09:00] Lipstick, for me, it's about being in control, being put together, feeling feminine and just a little bit sexy.

Peta [00:09:11] I know that somewhat conventional.

Peta [00:09:15] I'll just do anything to avoid those stupid, stupid questions from ladies in lifts.

Peta [00:09:29] I want this podcast to be a conversation. I need you. I need your help. I need your questions because, without your questions, there isn't a podcast. So if you want to get involved, please either email me directly at You can also contact me via the website or you can follow the podcast on Instagram @icantstandpodcast. All the links are listed below, but please don't forget to write a review of the podcast on wherever you are listening. Thanks so much for listening to the first episode of the I Can't Stand Podcast. I'll see you next week.


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