I don’t wear makeup to feel good about myself; I wear it because I am not hiding anymore

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Today my Boo put me in my chair and took me for a ride. It was a beautiful day. I wore mascara for the first time in a long time, but had to ditch my plans of wearing bright red lips when I discovered that all I own is either dark red or granny beige pink. Double-you-tee-eff. So I wore granny beige pink. And you know what? Red, pink, beige pink, it doesn’t matter; it really lifts your spirits to wear any sort of color, however subdued it might be. Take it from me.

I didn’t start wearing makeup until four years ago. I used to be so unhappy with my appearance that I felt like makeup only brought into focus all of these things that I so hated about my face, which was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to be invisible – to not be judged by my unfortunate cover.

I won’t go into specifics regarding the horrible things that I told myself on a daily basis, because no one needs that in their lives, but it pains me to say that I lived with that mindset for a long time. I was bullied throughout most of my childhood, (which has fundamentally written on the slate of who I am (thank you, Dr. Phil)) and yet I don’t think anyone treated me worse than I did. So what changed? I’ll be honest with you; I had a medically necessary surgery performed, which also happened to have the wonderful side effect of (somewhat) fixing a few of the things that were bothering me the most. I think the transformation was mostly in my head. It was like I came out of that surgery a new person, who wanted to challenge herself in new ways: one of those ways being daring to put focus on my face. To me it was such a big thing when I bought my first mascara at the age of 21. I remember going down to a beauty store, saying “Hi. I’m looking for a mascara. I know nothing about makeup, I’ve never done this before. What can you recommend?”. It was like coming out of hiding in some way for me, owning who I was and what I looked like.

I am not trying to promote anything, or to say that you are not accepting/owning who you are if you don’t wear makeup. This post is about me and my journey towards coming to terms with what I look like; you know, trying to make the best of it –even highlighting the features that I like. Like my eye color, for example. I have no problems going outside without it, and I have had many days where I’ve said fuck it because I was late or just not in the mood to put it on (it’s VERY hard to put mascara on without your glasses) – in that regard I don’t feel “naked” without it or anything.

So, how do you feel about makeup? Do you use it? If so, what does it do for you?

Finding What Is (Not) Lost

Being bedridden these days, I have decided to try to make the best of it. It is easy to fall into a deep dark hole of guilt when your contribution to life around you is so minimal, but that’s when I have to remind myself that I am not just being a lazy piece of shit – I am actively working on healing and making myself feel better. Right now the formula is to not put any strain on myself what so ever. Next week, the formula will be the same, but will also include working with a physical therapist – something I am very optimistic about. It will be great to get some exercises that I can do that will actually benefit my pelvis and not strain it. The week after, I am hoping that I will be well enough to go back to university in a wheelchair.

I have always known that it was bound to happen eventually; that there would come a time where I would have to attend school in a wheelchair. But it’s still something I dread, if only because I have spent a whole year fooling myself into thinking I was just like everybody else, and now I am forced to take off my mask and show who I really am: someone who breaks her pelvis in two places because she walked too much. I think my fragility tends to scare people off, like they are afraid that I am going to break something right then and there mid-conversation. And you know, I might. You know, their (potential) concern is not exactly without merit – this disease is unpredictable as hell. I guess that’s why I need predictability in all other ways. (I also find it very hard to deal with capricious people, which is oddly (and unfortunately) enough a very common trait among many of my family members.)

I’ve decided that Andrew and I are going to do something fun this weekend. I want us to live it up a little; you know, take my catheter bag out for a spin (was that too much?), maybe wear some red lipstick. I don’t even wear lipstick normally – my lips are always too chapped to get away with it; but right now it feels like one of those little things that can make a world of difference. I want to be a person who wears red lipstick even though her pelvis is broken in two places – does that make sense? Also, Andrew and I haven’t been on a date for a long time. We don’t usually cling to the word ‘date’, but in our current situation it seems important to hold on to the proper terms. While he would never admit it, I know these last three weeks have been harder than hard on him. Our relationship has become that of a patient and a caretaker, with him holding down the fort with everything that entails, and me depending on him for most everything. He does it all without a word – like it’s the most natural thing in the world, and that makes him even more attractive to me. But we need a day on the town to remind ourselves of all the fun we usually have – you know, when I’m not broken. So that’s hopefully what we’ll do. And I’ll wear some red lipstick.

Have a great weekend!

Everyone Saw This Coming

So it has happened. I have officially become a crazy cat lady; or a bona fide fur-mama, if you will. Andrew is not crazy about this new identity of mine, but as I’ve told him, I’m in a fragile state right now and need something furry to snuggle with.

Every night they take up the whole foot of my bed so I can’t stretch my legs, and every morning I am awakened by the sound of Muffin beating up the blinds because she wants to look outside, because hello it’s morning already get the fuck up. But you know what? I love it. I love them. I love watching them from my sick bed and I love watching them up close. Each night I hold Biscuit in my arms like a baby, while Muffin is out wreaking havoc somewhere else in the apartment, and when she is done, she joins us. Stupid things, that you would ordinarily throw away gets new functions, like a microwave box or the lid to a syringe. The box becomes a fort in a game wherein they are both dangerous tigers, and the lid gets kicked around the whole place until something else catches their attention. It’s not always the store-bought toys that win our hearts.

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That’s Muffin. What a ham. She could totally be a cat model, don’t you think? (Andrew’s vomiting). 

It took me a long time to decide whether or not to acquire cats – four years, to be precise. While four years might be excessive, I don’t think it’s a decision that one should make on a whim. It is a big commitment, both practically and financially, and so it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

I have been very positively surprised by the financial aspect of it – it really doesn’t cost me that much, but then again, I did a lot of research first and have discovered that it is possible to make some great deals online, when it comes to litter, for example. The food I get is super cheap and yet it is the cream of the crop, according to various Danish tests that have been performed in recent years.

So, to those who might be looking for recommendations in this big jungle of products (NB! THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT!) — well, I swear by the EverClean Extra Strength-litter. The main reason is that it clumps perfectly, which makes the scooping so much easier, and it also doesn’t leave any of that disgusting dust-stuff on their paws that they track around the whole house. As for cuisine, I feed them the Schnucki brand from Aldi. It’s rich on nutrition and they and their tummies seem to love it (the scooper notices these things). I get so proud when their stomach is happy, is that weird? Don’t answer that, I’m sure it’s super weird.

Anyway, Muffin and Biscuit — mommy loves you. (I can’t believe I just wrote that.)

Hospitalization

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I was discharged from the hospital a week ago, and this photo was taken in the ward’s TV-room; a room in which I spent many an afternoon and night in a morphine haze, watching public service television. The nurses would wheel my bed in there and place it right in front of the television. That room was my favorite; it took my mind off things, and it was a great way to meet other patients. I met a lady, 80 years young, to whom I gave my phone number. We agreed that once we were both feeling better, we’d meet up and walk around the citadel. She was there with back fractures, and I was there with a broken pelvis. One morning she came to my room with puffy eyes and a stack of magazines. I asked her if she was okay, and she told me she had spent the morning sobbing because she thought the doctors wanted to put her in a nursing home. It turned out to have been a misunderstanding, but she had put up quite a fight. She had panicked, and despite of my being in a completely different phase of my own life, I empathized so much with that panic.

I thought about how that must be the greatest fear of so many elders; to be irreversibly “put away” by family or doctors or whoever, even though it might be for perfectly considerate and sensible reasons. I was put away once – locked up and forced into therapy because of my anxiety, my fear of being away from things I knew, my fear of going to school, etc. It was an ambush, and it made me not trust anybody for a long time. Now I know it was a gift to me, but at the time I felt punished.

I realize this is not exactly a good comparison, but that’s what I thought of nonetheless.

But back to present time. After a week’s admission, I was sent home. I’m still on bed rest and still unable to go to school – hell, I still have my catheter. Next week I’ll be going into my fourth week of absence, which makes me sick to my stomach to think about. I’m too drugged and tired to study. Andrew has been here through the whole thing – my angel. He came a couple of weeks before it happened, and while it absolutely SUCKS that our precious time together has to be spent on this, I am so thankful to have my best friend right here by my side, nursing me back to health.

He keeps me happy, as does my cats. I never told you about them, did I? Well, they used to live with my cousin, who got them when him and his girlfriend were still living together, playing house. Now he has chosen to focus on his music, which means that he is on the road a lot, and seeing how I am broody as heck, I offered to take them and love the heck out of them. Which is what I have been doing ever since. Their names are Muffin and Biscuit. They are sisters, three years old, and pretty damn hard to discipline. But we’re trying. Here they are, admiring a magpie:

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So. How are you?

O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done.

For the most sensitive among us the noise can be too much
– Jim Carrey on Phillip Seymour-Hoffman’s passing.

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I was sitting in a Starbucks near Times Square when I first heard the news that Robin Williams had committed suicide  – on Facebook of all places. I screamed “No!”, but covered my mouth too late – the sound was already out there. Thankfully, everyone was so busy Starbucking and talking that my “No” quickly drowned in the stew of noises and voices and blenders. No one noticed.

I read the headline on my phone, and my heart dropped, or at least that’s what it felt like. Then immediately I became consumed with sorrow. Then that sorrow turned into panic. Panic, because this wasn’t ever supposed to happen. It must be a cosmic mistake. Robin Williams was supposed to be the male equivalent to Betty White. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that we would loose him this early, and I will admit that I took him for granted. Despite the love we all felt and feel for him, we took his presence on this earth, and in our lives, for granted. He was supposed to be there for me forever, and as I write this now, I can’t believe my own selfishness. I see now that that is a lot to ask of a person.

So now I just feel sorrow. And sometimes disbelief.

In my life, I have been sad – really, really sad. I call it “sad” because it’s a feeling so primal and raw, that it feels ageless. This feeling should be described with a word that is not reserved to any particular age or knowledge – a word that we all know. I have been sad, and I have also been suicidal. Each time, I have chosen to stay. Until Monday, he has, too – until now. This time, he chose to go.

Somehow, we are assuming that he never got any help. We are assuming that there were all of these options that he never went for – that he hadn’t already tried medication and therapy. We know he self-medicated. We know that he struggled. We know that this can’t have been an easy decision. Many have made it sound like the knowledge of the love we all felt could have saved him, and somehow could have prevented him from making this decision. I don’t think that’s true.

I’m absolutely certain that he felt, and knew, the love of his family – and probably the rest of us, too. By all accounts, him and his family were very close, and it seems like he especially had a close bond with his children. They are probably why he stayed for as long as he did, until he just couldn’t anymore. But ultimately, we will never know. He didn’t leave a note, and if he had, I don’t think the public would have been deserving of its content. All we know is that he must really have wanted to go.

The thought of him being gone is very heard to bear, and sometimes I don’t believe it. As an audience, we are lucky that we got to have him for as long as we did, and he owes us nothing. He has left an incredible legacy, and I can’t wait to show my future children the movies that have brought me comfort and love throughout my childhood, youth, now, and undoubtedly forever.

But it’s more than that. He was my friend. He was probably your friend, too. He was my family. He was probably your family, too. I remember watching “Mrs. Doubtfire” for the first time, amazed that a father could feel so much love for his children that he would go to those lengths to spend time with them. In those two hours, I made believe that he was my father, and he really was. He had such kind (but sometimes sad) eyes, and I could tell that he wouldn’t mind that I allowed myself to believe that I was his. He gave me so much love, and I will forever be grateful for that.

So thank you, Mr. Williams. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. May you finally find peace and happiness.

I grieve for his wife and children. My god, I can’t imagine the heartbreak they are experiencing right now. I imagine it’s that of the whole world, ten fold, and that’s saying something.

I want to share something my brother posted on Facebook yesterday, because I feel that it is poignant and worth-while, and it is truly one of the most articulate and well thought out responses I have read thus far.

If a teenager chooses to commit suicide, be it over cyberbullying or depression – it’s like folding your hand of cards before looking at them.
You’re at a very vulnerable age, and you’re not even old enough to buy cigarettes in most countries – so you’re not old enough to fully assess the quality of your life as a whole, seeing as you’ve only statistically seen 25% of it.

When Gandolfini died of a stroke at the age of 51, he died on vacation in Italy with his son. No choice there.
He died from having lived the type of life he wanted to live. Quite suddenly.

Robin Williams decided to take his own life at the age of 63.
63. That’s closing up on retirement age.
I think that’s just about old enough to decide whether you want to live.
That’s old enough for me to actually respect his decision, and let him go gracefully. (as gracefully as is possible)

It doesn’t surprise me that he chose to take his own life at 63 – and I think that his suicide shouldn’t be what we remember him for.
He should be remembered for his great gifts to the human experience.

“It’s so sad, he had so much more to give.”
How do you know?
Maybe he was out of shit.

My Yearly Retreat

A week and a half ago I began to write a post that was cut short mid-sentence and left to dust and wilt in my drafts folder. After reading it again, I think that was a wise decision. I mean, it doesn’t make me cringe like the posts from when I was 15 make me cringe, but it makes me cringe that I could use that many words and yet say absolutely nothing. Am I turning into Don Draper? Not to mention the pretentiously poetic undertone – I mean, when that gets free reign, you know I’m out of control.

This is my third week in New York, and I think the message I wanted to get across in the aforementioned post is how much I love this place, and how the mere thought of the summers I get to spend over here gives me energy needed to function as a human being. I think I am the kind of person who needs to go really far away every once in a while, like the Bounty Islands or Small Town, Long Island, to get my internal compass straight. It’s like I need to try something totally different to be able to pick up where I left off – but I suppose that is the case for many a person. Here on Long Island, I have been trimming hedges and painting kitchens, which is like the perfect conclusion to a year of stressing about papers and group work. In fact, I have discovered that I love trimming hedges. Trimming hedges is good for the soul, I think. It takes finesse and keeps you on your toes.

As for my “epoch-making” 25th birthday, which was the main topic of my previous post (god, bloggers are so conceited), it came and went. Who had seen that coming? And to top it off, I don’t feel that different – again, my previous question applies. There’s healthy reflection, and then there is making a big magilla out of nothing. Now, I will most likely do the exact same thing next year, but I think these are at least somewhat healthy thoughts I am having. Perhaps not the “I’m now closer to fifty than to the day I was born”-ones, but the “What am I doing, where am I going”-thoughts.

I had three exams in June, and did relatively okay. I guess it all depends on your expectations. One I had expected to fail but passed, and one I had expected to ace but was instead greatly disappointed. Then lastly, there was the one that caught me off guard; the one that was the culmination of a semester’s worth of group-work and (perhaps) unnecessary self-doubt. It was my first oral exam at the university, and it was also my first exam as a group – lots of firsts in this exam block. We passed that one with flying colors, together. After we had received our grades, the general mood was just euphoric. We had all hoped for the best and prepared for the worst, I think, and were all eager for this whole thing to be over and done with. I was so proud of the three of us. It was the best grade I have received yet in this era of my academic career.

Now all of this seems very far away. Next semester I will be studying the reign of Emperor Justinian, which wasn’t my first pick, but you know what, I am going to love the hell out of it anyway. I just feel so fortunate to be learning.

Well, it’s pouring down outside, and I think I might have to pee, so it’s best that I end this here — the rain is practically taunting my bladder at this point. Thank you for reading, and I will see you again soon! (and that’s both a threat and a promise!).

On my upcoming milestone

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Last Friday, my group and I had handed in the 30-paged result of our group work about the treatment of stray dogs in 18th and 19th century Copenhagen. This sounds like the most useless subject ever (we didn’t choose it), and I admit the literature on this was quite sparse, but it was actually a big problem in Europe at the time (dating all the way back to the 16th century), so there was a point somewhere in there somewhere. I think. We’ll see what the professionals say when we have to “defend” it on June 24th. I feel kind of 85% about it, you know? All three of us did everything we could, but I’m not sure it measures up to what is expected at this point, but only time will tell. I will try to take it as a learning experience. Group work is (damn) hard, and I took that as a learning experience, too.

This Friday, the 6th of the 6th, is my birthday. 25: a quarter of a century. My grandfather and I picked up my birthday gift last week — a pair of light blue bouncy sneakers that will undoubtedly take me far this summer. We also watched that movie about Donald Rumsfeld. Seriously, would you buy a used car from that man? I don’t think so. With this movie he set the stage for his own self-promotion, and while I admire his zealous approach to note-taking, I think it is important to take what is said with a grain of salt. It is Mr. Weapons-Of-Mass-Destruction after all. But it made me smarter, and anything that makes me smarter is greatly valued by me. That is also what I told my Global History-Professor during our evaluation, that every Friday afternoon at 5 I have left the classroom feeling just so much smarter. And he in return told me that that is exactly how he wanted to make us feel.

But back to my 25th birthday. I feel sort of sad about this birthday. It’s a milestone of some sort, and it feels as if I am turning an important corner of my life. I’m beginning to feel a sense of pressure, and a need to plan where I am going in regards to everything. What am I working towards? How can I plan things just right to where I can accomplish it all and in due time? Is it the media that is making me feel old? Is it because I, despite my now present feminist enlightenment, have been spoonfed that a woman only has so many years to “fool around” and do what she wants to do before she ought to start thinking in practicalities?

Man.

If that is how I subconsciously think, then I don’t even deserve a birthday. But we can’t get around it — it’s there. It’s a fact.

I’m working on achieving my BA degree as we speak, and four years from now I will hopefully have that, and my master’s degree in the bag. I’ll be 29 then. Every day I dream of munching on fat baby arms and legs; I even talked to my grandmother about it this weekend. I can’t remember the exact wording of the question, but she asked me something along the lines of, “Aren’t you just so much looking forward to having children?”, to which I said, “YES! So much. I can’t wait.” It’s a topic I could talk about forever, really, but then I remember that it is absolutely not the right time right now, and I am a firm believer in timing things—probably because my siblings and I all came as surprises, and as our family grew, our financial means did not, if you know what I mean. And that was hard.

A is very sensible, very responsible. I love him for that – so much. It is very important for me that we are on the same page on this, and until we are, there will be no babies. Just lots of lovin’.

But back to my birthday (this is getting a little repetitive). I got an email from some Danish jewelry website that they are closing, and that all their items are at least 60% off, so I bought myself some birthday presents. All of this for less than 80 bucks, and the pearls are real! I have always wanted a pearl necklace, but they are always so expensive, so this felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have never bought myself birthday presents before, but I kind of like it!

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