I went to a make-up counter once.
I walked tentatively up to the counter and asked about concealer.
I was uneasy in that environment, it didn’t feel like someone like me belonged there.
I don’t know if I didn’t think my clothes were nice enough, my face was pretty enough or if it had more to do with my lack of understanding of the process all together. Whatever the reason, I felt like I was a flashing red light of an outsider.
The lady working was really nice, she put me in a chair and matched the colors to my face. Then, she decided we were having fun and kept putting things on my face. I think this is a great sales tactic because I ended up buying not just concealer, but, concealer, lipstick & blush.
I liked the way she talked and the gentle way she applied the make-up to my face.
It was relaxing.
Her hands smelled of addiction, the ripe combination of cigarettes and booze.
It reminded me of a house I spent a lot of time at as a child.
The home belonged to my step-father’s mother. It was just up the hill from our trailer and it felt nice compared to ours. Yes, the scent of cheap beer and cigarettes seemed to leak from the wallpaper and there was a haunting sound of dogs barking from their cages in the backyard, but, her tub wasn’t falling through the floor and she always had brand name soda and Little Debbie cakes.
There were times when I loved to be at her house and moments when it felt like the worst possible place to be. I liked afternoons in their living room writing in my journal, it was quiet there and no one minded that I was in the way. I hated nights when they were partying. As fun as you would think a child would have in a room where everyone was dancing, I recognized the familiar glaze in the eyes of someone who was out of sorts and it never felt right.
I think I spent the majority of that time in my life trying to be in the quietest place I could find. I’d leave the screaming at my house for the quiet living room of theirs, I’d run from the parties at their house to the emptiness of mine. When neither of them could provide the solitude that I desired, I ran to the woods.
As I checked out at the counter, the woman asked me what I do for a living. I tried to explain it quickly, that I do marketing for a chocolate company in town, but, I also work as a blogger, portrait photographer, product photographer & social media consultant. I thought of the little girl running barefoot through the woods doing her best to escape the noise and hoping that one day she’d feel a little less alone. I imagined her sleeping on her cot in the living room having dreams of who she’d grow up to be, the thought of her being delighted at the prospect of handing a stranger a business card across a fancy make-up counter has me settled today.
I work a lot. Sometimes too much. But, I know that the little girl who wanted nothing more than to have something to pour herself into would be pleased and ultimately, she’s the only one that needs to be happy with me.