(Accidentally) going without make-up….

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At the weekend, a friend and I got a cheap night in a spa. Lovely! Twas only about twenty minutes into the journey, that I realised my make-up bag was sitting, oblivious, on the window ledge which is its normal home….

Disaster! Too late to turn back, without adding another forty minutes onto the journey, and anyway, I wasn’t driving. Friend and I have a very civilised arrangement. She drives, and I bring the booze…. Anyhoo, I digress. I have to say, that this is not the first time this had happened. I have nearly done it many times, as I do not keep said make-up bag in my handbag. This is less to do with my organisational skills than the not small make-up bag, and the amount of ‘essential’ stuff I carry around in my bag.

The last time it actually happened, I was seventeen, and going to a wedding, and unable to readily access a shop to get make-up, so I went without. Me, with my low self-esteem, with a boyfriend, who didn’t think I was pretty. I know this, because he told me (a whole other blog post). At the wedding, the bride, who was the sister of Tactless Boyfriend, insisted I sat on the Other Side of the church, not on the Family Side. A slight that I vaguely recognised, but would have been much more sneeped had I been on Mumsnet in those years! Anyhoo, it was a bit traumatic, but mainly because I needed all the confidence I could get, and my Mask was not available to me.

Roll on over thirty years…. I was a bit irritated. Mainly because I have a List of things I need to do at the last minute, and this includes putting my make-up bag into my case, and I had Failed. I know I shouldn’t need a list, but I am slightly dyslexic and find it easier to work in this way.

So. It was fine. Maybe not for people who live on the other side of my face, and have to look at me, but for me, it was fine. And curiously liberating. And yes, I KNOW that’s not an original thought, but I discovered it, for me personally, accidentally, rather than making a deliberate choice to do it as an experiment.

I don’t wear that much make-up normally, partly through time, and cba issues. On a night out, I will make more effort. I don’t intend to do it regularly, out in public, but it was freeing to know I could.

I wish I could go back and tell my seventeen year old self that it was ok. That the bride was a Bridezilla and I should have stood up to her earlier (this was the latest in a long line of unecessary slights). Oh, and that I was going out with a bit of an Idiot, and I deserved better.

The last point would take until my fifties to get into my head, but better late than never.

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My life is too complicated. If only I wasn’t divorced…

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Continuing the theme of an ideal life is a simple life… My life has unfortunately got more complicated as I have got older. Or it may be because I got divorced. Or in a new relationship with someone who also had children, so we have become a kind of ‘blended family’, albeit one who doesn’t live together. I am glad that all the men involved have relationships with their offspring,and actually grit my teeth a lot to make sure it happens with the minimum of drama, but it does make life more complicated. Weirdly, the oldest progeny (in her twenties) needs more attention than the teenager….  I wonder how I got to this situation. I felt I had done all the right things, and should have been ‘rewarded’.  I had tried, I felt, very hard, to be with the father of  my child forever. If only he had felt the same, and his behaviour had reflected this.I  had one child, was married to her father for almost twenty years. I even felt a bit smug… I was part of a an Endangered Tribe. Very few of us had made it this far. But pride comes before a fall, and all that. I had reckoned without an online-dating habit. Among other unsavoury habits.

But when you have a child with someone, if they have an involvement in said child’s life, you are stuck with them, even if you are divorced. Although my daughter is a teenager, and  can make her own arrangements to see her father, he still needs to co-ordinate holidays etc with me. We only have six weeks in the summer to go away. He in theory asks me if dates are suitable, in practise tells me the holidays he has booked… He wasn’t enormously cooperative when we were married, so logically he wasn’t going to improve when we divorced. Although the ability to make my life (more) complicated will become less over the years, we are still tied. An umbilical cord that goes beyond the obvious. Our daughter will graduate, get married, have children ( probably). And we will both have to be there, and I will have to pretend that I forgive him.  The father of my only child, who I feel  (illogically?) biologically bonded with forever.  I loved him dearly, and he betrayed that. In the worst possible way. And I may be wonderfully civilised in public, but I don’t think I will ever forgive such a betrayal of my love.

Simple is better, if not always possible….

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Why is it that despite being over fifty I still allow myself to fall for the hype? Yesterday, I finally admitted defeat and gave up on my latest mascara. The mascara itself was fine, if not my usual brand. But I had allowed myself to be persuaded, against my better judgement, that this was a ‘new and Improved’ version because the ‘wand’ part to apply the mascara was a different shape. In this case it was shaped like a mini-paintbrush with a swivel head. I don’t know why I thought this would be an improvement, and it wasn’t. It will disappear from the shelves when other people realise the same. It will not give me eyelashes like Daisy the Cow, and therefore make me more beautiful. The best shape for this is the standard wand. I have been using it in this form very successfully for over forty years. I must stop going against my better judgement and giving in to this stuff.

And I do this about other issues. Things which are far more important than the trivial issue of make-up. I have many times allowed myself to be be persuaded that Someone Else, either a person in real life, or a marketing team, knows better. In many cases this was not true, and I need to trust my instinct more, specifically about relationships and friendships and the bigger stuff in life. My instincts are not too bad really, when I don’t squash them down and try to ignore them.

There is a lot to be said for keeping life as simple as you can. Mine (and surely many others) are not as simple as I would like, and indeed, planned for. I am divorced with a teenager, which means precision planning to organise a social life around the other parent, his step-children and their father, plus my new man, and his children, yada yada you get the idea…. Christmas has become much more complicated. I never intended it to be with this way. I intended to be married to the father of my child forever, as did we all. Until his behaviour towards myself and her made this impossible. This new life is much better than it was, but occasionally I want to stamp my feet childishly at how complicated it all is sometimes. Life just makes it that way.

So, I don’t look for any more complications than I have already, in this new, richer, but more complex life I have unexpectedly found myself occupying.  As the old saying goes, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”.

Please don’t call me Miss…

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Ever tried going without a title? As in, when you give your name you just say “My name is Parlsey Lioness?”. I have tried this recently to get round the ‘Ms’ ‘issue’.

It shouldn’t be an issue, but I don’t know if its just where I live, where it is unusual for anyone to have a title other than Mrs or Miss, but People in Offices (yes Women I mean you!) seem to struggle with it. Almost no-one can say it, and often resort to Miss in pronunciation. I’m not Miss, or Mrs, I’m Parsley Lioness, and if you absolutely have to identify me my some patriarchal ‘was someone daft enough to marry her’ system, I want to be Ms.

Mr does not do this, and its no-one else’s business that I am divorced, (twice) or if I am married or just damn choosy!

It can’t just be me, can it?

Please don’t pretend to be stupid, when we know you’re not!

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I do so hate it when women make out they’re stupid, when they’re not. I saw it again today. Someone was recommended a place to get something, but advised that parking was a potential issue, and very near to the police station, so not worth taking a chance on a ticket.

This bright, articulate woman said, “Oh, I’ll just plead ignorance, and turn on the charm”.

Women, don’t do this please. Very few of us are stupid, despite being told for a long time that we were. We don’t need to pretend to be. It doesn’t do us any favours.

STOP IT NOW!

Being more grateful and therefore happy, and other meanderings…

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I haven’t posted for quite a while. I didn’t feel I like had anything to say that anyone would be interested in reading. That may still be the case of course… It’s been a stressful year. Divorce finalised in February. Before this, then husband-awaiting-divorce announces new impending marriage. Oh yes. That takes place next month apparently.

So. I was ready for a holiday. I was dragging my feet at work and feeling uninspired. Because I am self-employed, I have no boss to kick me into shape, but it does mean I don’t get paid.

So I went on holiday. The first one I went on my own, whilst teenage dd was with her father for his holiday. When she came back, we went to Amsterdam for a few days. I remembered the Amsterdam of my youth as a lively ‘kicking’ place, and my return visit shows it still has it going on. It was good to be able to show my daughter some of it.

However, the holiday was not without its stresses. Easyjet have recently reduced the size of the carry-on luggage, and that’s all we had with our package. The measurements included wheels and handles, so it was difficult to measure the cases accurately. Trust me, I breathed a sigh of relief when the cases fitted into the ‘cage’ at the airport. I probably took only half the stuff I wanted to. Then there was bagging up the ‘liquids’ in a 20 x 20 bag.  I couldn’t take my tweezers! Yes, I know I could have bought a pair there and left them. 

A couple of days before the holiday, the builder replacing my amost-dropping-out windows announced he was arriving after my departure to do some preparatory work that really required the house to be occupied, so it was easier to get someone to house and pet-sit than get the builder to come another time. Good builder, but a unicorn should be on his van….

The transfer service to the airport had suggested to me a time that was wildly optimistic in terms of actually getting on the flight. This was pointed out to me by someone with more sense than me, so stressful last minute telephone negotiations ensued. Holiday itself great, fairly tiring with a teenager with lots of energy, and a body clock that can stay awake until Very Late, but then can’t function until mid-morning. Lots of money spent, just on eating and seeing things. Return to airport made more stressful by hotel arranging taxi for 12 hours hence. General herding about at airport, and a faux pas contacting transfer service by ringing the wrong number, tired and stressed at this point, resulting in my believing they hadn’t turned up. Exacerbated by a nearly out of  charge battery partly caused by competing with teenager for the use of the adaptor in between it being used for hair straighteners and charging the i-pod. Pressure slightly on to get back in time to pick up GCSE results. Two offers to come and get us, but all sorted out just in time thankfully . I was pleased to get home and see my cat. Cat not bothered, frankly.

On my return it occurrs to me that I am properly grateful that someone would come and house-sit for me, when it wasn’t really convenient. For Someone Else who offered to come and get us from an unknown airport after only a couple of hours sleep.

I am more grateful than in my youth for my family, who are a bit bonkers, but they’re My bonkers family. Having these friends and family around makes me happy.

It turns out that I need less to be happy than I thought. I know that we cannot always be happy. Bad things happen, and the best we can hope for in life is to be happy at moments in time.

I can choose to be grateful for what I have though.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but maybe (s)he can learn you one.

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Driving home from the Orthodontist I was reminded of something I have thought for a very long time. I’m sure lots of other people have thought it too, and written about it, so I don’t claim to have had any sort of epiphany. I just think think its worth saying, again, as much to try and re-enforce the idea within myself as any other reason.

Dogs in the park. One of them enjoying a wonderfully uninhibited and joyous roll in the grass. Everything on show. Not worried about cellulite or wobble-tum. No does-my-bum-look-big-in-this angst.  Many of them just happy to be outside, in the fresh air, free to have a run round, tails-a-wag. And the absolute pinnacle of joy – finding a stick, ideally bigger than you are.

Living in the moment, not worrying about other stuff, just being very Present. And yes, I know…dogs don’t have to go to work, get mortgages, get divorced, deal with sometimes difficult children, and have wider family ‘stuff’.

But I wish, more often, I could really experience the absolute joy of the moment, without allowing thoughts of the next potential catastrophe to sabotage it for me.

I’m working on it.