Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Right Makeup

I am going to go on the mass assumption that autocorrect won't get me an umpteenth time. I will assume wrong, of course. But building on the last post I want to talk about makeup and the VAST change it makes when you have the right palette. Finding makeup (or clothes for that matter!) based on your hair color is just downright silly. I know this now.

Getting draped was awesome and if I only took out of it the effect that color has on my eyes, it would be all worth it. You see, when you have the wrong color against your skin, your cheekbones lose definition, your face looks sallow, there is an orange tinge around your lips, and your eyes lose lustre. Most importantly, I learned to look at the effect of color on my eyes. When you wear the right colors, your eyes go from being a muted greyish non-descript color to a dozen colors all at once. I found that there are mosses, indigos, cayenne streaks, a little whiskey (always good), and turquoise blues in mine. When I'm wearing the right colors, you see all this depth in my eyes and they sparkle. This isn't limited to any eye color. My sister has almost onyx black eyes. When she wears certain colors her skin becomes more luminous and youthful and her eyes sparkle with onyx, amber, and pewter. So cool. 

I showed my sister a before and after of makeup and the effects on me. She at first protested because it was different light so I went back and put the same dress on, the same light, the same doorway, and showed the before and after of makeup. Voila! You can see in my before picture that I just look a little more rundown. All the makeup goes together but it's not the right palette for me. I look dull, all my fine lines are visible, and I look as though I've been plowing a field or two... hundred. Even my eyes are a dull, nondescript greyish-green. It's not as awful as having all your makeup clash but it isn't my best either. In the after shot you can see that I'm exercising the same principles of basic makeup: eyeliner and neutral eyeshadow, blush, and red lip. But what a marked difference! In the second picture my skin looks more luminous, my cheekbones more refined, and everything is just brighter. The fine lines aren't as marked and my eyes have a complexity of hues.

To really highlight this, here is a close up of my eye. This is what you should look for: clothes and makeup that give a true white to your outer eye, as well as the bright and complex color range that your eyes have. See what I'm saying? If you notice that a lipstick or blush individually brings out these complexities in your eyes, I think that's a good place to start. Then match the rest of your makeup. I am nowhere near an expert on this but there are blogs about 12 Blueprint analysis with lists of makeup for each of the 12 seasons and what goes with what. It's a start though, and what a lovely way to celebrate you!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Stranger in a Strange Land

Being in a new area is always a mixed bag. I'm happy to leave the South but I'm not as far north as I'd like. I'm excited to meet new people but I'm shy and it takes every ounce of energy for me to be social. I like the new job but I feel that constant fear that I'm somehow off track. Meh, I've come to expect these peaks and valleys when it comes to settling into a new place. Now my grey hair has added and additional kink- meeting people.

I am so happy to be in a place where there are a lot of people of my faith; I have a choice of churches to go to, I can meet a lot of other people with the same values, and there are actually young adult clubs for meeting new people. This would have been an ideal scenario 5 years ago- I would clearly belong in the 18-40 age group, I was much more of a joiner, and I had red hair. Okay, I STILL did not blend in with the Greeks but I did much more then than I do with silver hair. My theme music should be Iron Maiden (as it often is). See below:

Everyone dyes their hair in my faith- EVERYONE. The men, the women, the children. Eighty-somethings still sport jet-black hair and I never saw so many faux blonds in my life. I'm a bit more than an anomaly for not following this route, I'm an "xeni," or stranger. This is not exactly how I want to feel when I walk into a church and precisely why I went to a Young Adult League (YAL) mixer. I had met one girl that I knew was going but unfortunately she didn't get there until the speakers started. Sigh, I will have to be sociable.

I felt very different than I normally do. In my everyday life I don't think about my appearance. I feel polished as I'm wearing suits and colors that look good, I now always have the right red lipstick, my hair is as coiffed as I can manage, and all the DC walking is trimming me down. But when I walked into that mixer where even the Priest had a mere few silvers, I felt old. I talked to some girls who were my age, happily married and wanting to get out and make new friends. We would talk about the impact of religion on our lives and how nice it was that a group like this existed. Inevitably, they would get something to eat or drink in anticipation for a long series of lectures.

That is when I was left at a table with four young bo-- men. Scratch that- guys. The guy next to me was part of this gang of bo-- guys but looked over at me and introduced himself. Very polite and I'm sure his yia yia would be very proud of how well he was raised. He had just moved here so I asked if he was here for school. I assumed he was starting out at College yet this question slightly offended him. He proceeded to tell me he was doing graduate work. Okay, 15 or 25 what's the difference? He's perhaps slightly more than half my age rather than slightly less. He further clarified that he was working on his PhD.

Sigh. Apparently I am really bad about treating young people as well, young. I just figured he was being nice (he was the only person at the table that went out of his way to introduce himself) so I was nice back. At least I thought so. As the females returned to the table and as my young-ish acquaintance got something to drink another girl in her 30s sat down in his place. The lectures began followed by everyone in the room introducing themselves with icebreaker factoids about themselves, and one girl leaned over, "See? They met here at a mixer and they got married. You could be next!" "??!! Huh ??!!" was my shocked-into-silence response. Is that why people go to these things? Am I giving off a wrong vibe? Or is it more that they look at me and think I must be thinking that? I stewed over that for awhile, hopeful that no one witnessed this odd exchange.

At the end of the lectures I introduced myself to a few more people. I ran into my young-ish acquaintance and we talked for a bit about our mutual love of Tolkein. Finally I had someone who would listen to my theories on linguistics and what nation the Elves represent. He took one for the team. Yes, I took full advantage of his kindness and well-mannered polity. But let's face it, he wasn't even born when I was fighting my way at concerts to catch a guitar pick or touch Bruce Dickinson's sweaty hair, the spike leather cuffs, the spandex... Whoops! I'm back. Where was I?? See if you don't get Iron Maiden... can you really be my friend?

I kid (sort of) but the day was a new awareness for me. I went for one reason- to make a network of friends; to start the foundations of friendship so that whenever I went to a church I would have people to talk to. I found that I don't easily fall into a category anymore. I'm not young and I'm not old. I'm somewhat more of an xeni than before. It was somewhat awkward and I don't know if I'll go again. But the few people I talked to I hope to run into at some point and maybe a few friendships can arise after all.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Graduated!! Class of 2014

Today is my two-year anniversary of when I stopped coloring my hair. Yesterday I went in and just asked that the remaining dye be cut off. That left me with a shorter bob than I would have liked but who cares?? I'm dye-free!!!

Two YEARS??!!, you may be asking yourself but that was what it toook me to get through my journey. Each woman (or man)transitioning has their own way to do it. I never recommend someone stop  coloring their hair (although it's harder to bite my tongue when they clearly have a dangerous allergic reaction or thinning hair), but there are so many ways to do this: buzz cut, skunk stripe, highlights/lowlights, layers, curls, etc. 

My transition was inadvertant highlights. I had my color stripped to reduce the damarcation line and it redeposited color on my virgin hair. So it took longer but only a hair stylist could see the line. I knew it was there though and it bugged me. 

But even though I crave long hair again, I happily traded that for dye-free hair. I did not have a great stylist and did not get a great cut but right now I'm celebrating the graduation. I love my hair color and texture now. I love the crazy waves and curls it does. I may tame them into submission (for those days that I don't want the world to think a squirrel is nesting in my hair), and I may fight frizz in the DC humidity. But so what? I accept my hair with all the flaws it has. 

I think that has been the best thing about this transition- I simply accept myself and others- flaws and all. I feel sorry for those people that are hell-bent on perfection. You'll never find it. And if you did, how boring! I look at my dog, a seeming princess with delicate ways. But no, she barks at everything: the hated squirrel nation, a blade of grass, or simply because I'm on a conference call reporting out across the nation (seriously, EVERY time). But I love her as she is. 

As for myself? I have a tendancy to over-analyze, to have too many fleeting directions, and I tend to say exactly what I think regardless of whether the timing or situation is appropriate (it seldom is). But yet I love myself too and accept that I am a very flawed human being. Not everyone is going to like me and not everyone is going to like my hair. That's okay, they don't need to. If you can get to a point of self-acceptance and acceptance of others, you have won considerably. 

Many ladies as well as myself really got there by embracing ourselves for exactly as God made us. This includes the grey. But instead of being ho hum we decided that there is beauty in it and we celebrate the sparkles and muted dove tones of our grey. We also envy others' arctic white while still loving our own unique blend. Your natural hair blueprint is as individual as your fingerprints and this should be a celebration-- of you. Here is my 24-month transition in all its glory and shortcomings:

It's been a long time coming but I am so happy to close this chapter and start a new one. Now it's all about growing my hair out and getting the right cut.