Monday, May 14, 2007

Dear Blogger

By the time you read this, I’ll be long gone. I’m sorry for doing this but… Ok I’m really not. I know this might come as a bit of a surprise to you – especially because I’ve been hiding at the bottom of a bottle of Pinoit Grigo. But I’m sorry – I just need a change (read: improvement). I think you’re swell, but I don’t think we’re right for each other.

First of all, we’re not compatible. You’re a basic, everyday ordinary kitchen spatula blog, and I’m beyond that. You like simple lay-outs and not letting me upload blog skins and enjoy making me re-type entries on a weekly basis, and I don’t like any of these things. Your favourite colours are drab and boring, and your favourite layouts are all the same. Do you even know what my favourite colour and layouts are? I once asked you what colour YOU’D think I’d like and you said ‘error’.

Anyway, I want to move on. I have moved on. But you know what? I still want to be friends… of a friend. We can totally talk once a year. We had some good times, or so you told me, but please, don’t be bitter like last time. That means no crying this time!! And look – I won’t even make an issue out of the time you owe me.

So take care of yourself – and good luck.

Love always,

Carrie

http://carieinthecity.wordpress.com

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Good Mascara

Now before I start anything, I must admit that I am not one to deny myself ‘the good stuff’ – be it clothing, shoes, food or wine. I figure that if I have to spend money on necessities of daily living (and all above are truly necessary) you may as well spend that little bit more for the best. So has been my mantra since I got my first part time job at the tender age of 16 but until recently there was one aspect of my necessities that I still felt a bit guilty for over-indulging in.

Make up.

Before I turned 16 the only make up I truly owned was a silver eye liner I purchased from the dollar store for one of my schools famous Electric Circus dances that, as a 8th and 9th grader, was ecstatic and excited to finally be able to attend. However with the move to a new school with higher expectations all around, I began to meander at the make up counters at The Bay and Sears, wondering if what those girls spent hours on in the change room putting on their face really made a difference. Not to mention that with said-make up on their faces in public I felt pretty plain, and on bad days ugly, in comparison – which didn’t make any sense to me then and now, because their beauty was store bought and, along with all the time spent making themselves up, was washed away at the end of the day. But me being me - young and na├»ve – still went to the mall one day after school to ‘follow the trend’ and try and fit in.

So again, at the tender age of 16, I bit the bullet and purchased my first non-drug store piece of make up. Still missing my high school of choice I opted to stop at the MAC make up counter for whatever it was that I needed. Now I was never good at applying anything to my face, so I stuck with the absolute basic: concealer. Thanks to my mother’s south pacific ageless skin, foundation and powder were unnecessary and not to mention expensive for a 16 year olds budget!! So I settled for paying the (at the time) outrageous price of 17$ for a mini-tub/pot of concealer and rushed home, nervous and excited, to put it on. The gentleman behind the counter wasn’t too helpful in the application process – basically he just said put it on under your eyes using your finger. Now, me having 10 fingers to choose from (I am ambidextrous – writing with my right hand but highlighting and doing everything else under the sun with my left hand) and no concept whatsoever in proper application – I fussed about in my bathroom trying to ‘blend in’ the streaks of medium beige cream that I had scooped out of the little and seemingly endless pot.

It honest to God took me about a week to get the concealer just right, but boy oh boy was it ever worth it! All of a sudden the bags underneath my eyes disappeared, my eyes ‘popped’ with the illusion of wakefulness, and of course, the boys started paying a bit of attention to the short brown no longer plain but still average looking brunette in the growing heard of tall blonde skinny beauties that roamed their hallways. And to this day I have never ever left my house with at least a hint of concealer under my eyes – or for days when it’s truly a struggle - sunglasses.

It wasn’t until the tender age of 21, so less than a year ago, was I introduced to true ‘grown up’ make up. After being a loyal MAC girl for so long, my co-worker friend who used to work with said ‘grown-up’ make up, almost wrung my neck when I told her I was a) still using MAC concealer and b) I hadn’t replaced it in almost a year and a half. Hm – apparently that’s bad. Anyway with a bit of arm twisting and threatening I switched from MAC to Make Up Forever and added expensive mascara (DiorShow Unlimited) to my repertoire that, thankfully, I could still only spend 5 minutes on my face as I rush out the door.

And I’ve never looked back… that is, until a few days ago.

It had been over 6 months (which apparently in the make up world is sacrilegious) since I had replaced both my concealer and my mascara. I didn’t mind replacing the concealer, since I used it every day… but I was having the worst time actually throwing away the DiorShow tube – its beautiful navy blue colour with silver lettering was just too nice to all of a sudden stop using. But then I realized – I wasn’t upset because it was so pretty, or that I had spent 23$ on mascara that I was throwing away… I was upset because, in the 6+ months I had it in my possession… I had only used it, at most, once or twice a week. And that is being generous.



I sat back in my chair at work contemplating this very notion – not just of mascara, but of everything in general. I know plenty of people that save those ‘special’ items, be it China, a dress, shoes, make up… for special occasions only – however most times those special moments are few and far between or at worst, nonexistent. I was saving my DiorShow mascara for true occasions: nights out, dinners, dances… but with my schedule dedicated to nursing and work, I never really had the chance to feel that extra bit pretty, or take that extra care of myself just for the hell of it. I had ‘every day’ mascara, you know, the kind you get for 6$ at the drug store, that had been used more often than the DiorShow for no other reason than it was cheaper. And now I had to let it go – bacteria growth and clumping had started so rationally it was best to get rid of it before problems arise – before it had the chance to reach its full potential, or at least, reach half way down the tube?

While I was waiting for Vegas to pick me up from a night of shopping I meandered over to the Dior counter at the Bay, where the lovely manager assisted me in the purchase of my new mascara – DiorShow with shimmer. As I put my credit card down to pay for the mascara and lip gloss (what can I say? J’adore Dior!)I made a promise to myself that, no matter what day it was, no matter what I was doing, and no matter how foolish I felt, I would wear the good mascara and get as much out of it as I had put in. Which got me thinking… that if I can start at mascara, I ought to extend that sense of living the good life to everything before it’s too late. I mean, I can replace mascara without looking foolish, but I can’t replace this time of my life later on because I was ‘saving’ it too for something special. It already is something special, or at the very least can be. All I need to do is seize the chance.

Oh, and to put on the good mascara.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Say Goodbye


Heading homeward, but tell me what becomes of us?

Last night I said goodbye to The American. We had spoken some words few and far between since the last time I saw him - My friends and others had reiterated to The American that I was a taken woman and my dwindling presence at the gym hinted at a nervous mind and an uneasy heart. I had made up my mind to be with Vegas - and not just anyone, not even this old-school romantic soldier could sway my decision. But I admit there was still something about him that made my breath laboured and my heart beat just a moment faster. I didn't know what was going to happen when I stepped out of the change room after an hour of choeographed weights with my instructor friend, but as I saw him sitting on the couch waiting to say goodbye I knew that a final conversation was going to be had.

It was a warm evening - (with the exception of the wind) and temperate for this city - so I elected to walk home. In my normal pace on a night where my winter jacket was but a burden on my arm I could have made it home in 15 minutes. However with The American by my side until I said otherwise, we meandered through the city admiring its beauty, knowing that he may never see the city, or me, ever again.

I asked him why he would ever want to move here. Not that I dislike this city - it's lovely. It is and forever will be my home - or at least, the closest thing to home I've ever had. It's just being an American soldier and having the opportunity to travel to far and distant places to see breathtaking and history-laden sights, why chose just one to remain in for the rest of your life? His response? "I was just always drawn to Canada; and now I know why."

I didn't ask for his 'why' - not because in my heart of hearts I knew his answer, but because it wasn't mine to know. The American was leaving for a mission not 2 days long before flying to Europe for a month and then, well, who knows? He was obviously energized and nervous but at the same time sad to leave; after dropping me off he was heading to a local martini bar to say goodbye to other friends he had met in his short time in the city. I wasn't going - it didn't seem right. But at the same time not saying goodbye didn't seem right as well. Without knowing or caring what my past was, The American thought of and treated me like a lady - even when it was evident that he would not get what he wanted from me. So on a park wall 5 blocks away from my apartment, after walking and talking for what seemed like forever, we stopped to speak.

The conversation started as I had imagined: the easy banter between strangers was seguayed by The American mentioning that one day, in the future, I would make one man very lucky and very happy. I dropped my head and looked away, saying thank you but in the middle of my sentence, as if out of a scene from Gone With The Wind, The American lifted me off the ground, effortlessly, and placed me on top of the wall I was leaning against. Startled but grateful that I was able to rest for a while I continued to speak, confiding in The American that Vegas had hurt me in the past. Startled, he asked why I had let him back into my life, and as I began to contemplate my answer he took off his sweater and folded it up and placed it next to me. He mentioned that while he too cared deeply for his ex's, that he would give her his last dime, it didn't mean that he would ever think to let her back into his life the way she used to be, let alone his heart. Before I could give him my response - in fact, just as I was about to open my mouth - he placed his arms under my knees and my back and lifted me onto his sweater, mentioning that it was never good to sit on something so cold.

After that gesture of kindness that was as unexpected as it was overwhelming to my heart - I wanted to cry because my answer didn't change. The American's 'dream' of whisking me away and giving me everything I wanted, all the while being the officer and gentleman I dreamed of as a little girl in my mothers high heels couldn't remove the face of Vegas that was and is on my heart. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, and with my hands in my lap and my face to the moon I gave him my answer - one I've given many a times to friends and strangers when I let them know that Vegas and I are back together, but until last night did I truly understand the meaning behind the words I speak.

"If I made a mistake like that, and I was truly sorry, I'd want to be forgiven. I can not expect to receive that kind of love, the love that I want, if I am unwilling to give it first."

The American was silent. I could sense an understanding and a level of respect eminating from him, even before he started to speak. "You have a good heart - too good", he said, "but you're a good woman." He nodded his head as he lifted me off the wall and placed me back on solid ground.

We said goodbye shortly after that. In a final attempt to sway my heart The American proclaimed that if I ever wished to see him again, if there was ever a chance that he could call me his woman, that all I had to do was tell him and he would make it happen. I nodded - and told him to be safe. After a kiss on the forehead and a first and final hug, I walked away from my American soldier without a phone number, an email, or even a last name.

I believe that every person we meet, have met, and will ever meet, has a lesson for us to learn. I had asked The American why he thought he had met me, and although I disagree with his interpretation of the events from this month, I know the lesson that The American taught me. Perhaps it is the offshoot of the Sexual Revolution, but the fact is until now, for 22 years of my life, I had never been treated as well as I was by The American. In his mind a lady deserved to be treated as a lady, no matter how she decides to act. I may disagree with the last part, but thanks to The American I no longer have any reason or excuse to not act, or more importantly treat myself, like a lady. I'm not saying that I wish to convert back to a chauvinistic view of male and female roles, but damn did it ever feel good to be viewed and treated like a lady, and I'd like to keep that feeling going - even if it's only by myself.





So... While this may not be the happily-ever-after ending I once dreamed about as a little girl in my mothers high heels, but as a 22 year old girl in my own high heels - it's an ending that I am happy with. And in the end that's all that matters.