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Surprise Regret

Why do some women wear mascara on a daily basis?

That was the question I asked myself numerous times yesterday.

I wore mascara yesterday for only the second time since last October.  (The first time since last October was last month for graduation day.  The last time I wore it before last October was probably the October before.)  I had no special reason to do it; I just thought that as an aspiring young professional trying to make her way into the working world after school, I should get in the habit of wearing at least a little bit of makeup, since apparently, that’s what female professionals do.  I decided that yesterday I would start to get in that habit of wearing makeup on days when I would have to leave the house.

For those of you who don’t know me well, I’ve never been a fan of wearing makeup every day.  Except for dance recitals, I didn’t wear it when I was a kid.  I only started wearing traces of it to school when I was 17, and only once in a while.  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve painted my nails in the last 28 years.  I’ve never had any desire to dye, perm, straighten, or highlight my hair.  I’ve never cared about keeping up with current fashion trends or what other people think of my mostly hand-me-down and thrift shop wardrobe.  I almost never wear jewelry.  I wore makeup for a few special occasions, and for dance and skating performances as I got older, but I didn’t want to take the time to wear it on a daily basis.  I’ve gone through short phases of wearing it daily throughout my adult life, only to call it quits because of how inconvenient it is for me put makeup on every morning, especially when the reasons to not mess with it far outweigh the reasons to put it on.

I spent too much time in front of my bathroom mirror yesterday as I tried to trace the outside corners of my delicate eyelids with a razor-thin liquid eyeliner brush.  After waiting a minute or so for the dark brown eyeliner to dry, I brushed only one coat of waterproof mascara on my upper eyelashes.  I used whatever was leftover on my brush to coat my barely-there lower lashes.  Just one coat of that black goop made all of my lashes clump and look fake.  To me, fake is not beautiful.  But makeup, at least a little bit of it, is what many young professionals have to wear just so that they look more, well, professional.  Supposedly, anyway.

I made the necessary adjustments with my eye makeup before I moved on to covering my face with powder foundation to “set” (whatever that means) the liquid concealer that I had dabbed onto my numerous acne scars on my face.  I also colored in my nearly-white eyebrows, just so it looks like I actually have eyebrows.  After applying clear lip gloss to my lips, I decided that I was ready to walk out the door to face (no pun intended) the day’s adventures.

I might have felt ready to tackle the day, but as I stared at my reflection in the mirror, I still couldn’t help but feel fake.  I didn’t look or feel like myself.  I’m not trying to say that anyone who wears makeup isn’t genuine, but me wearing makeup, at least that much of it, is a sharp contrast to my laid back and low maintenance (or lazy, careless, etc.) personality when it comes to fashion and appearances.  Maybe it’s all those years working outdoors part-time where makeup was pointless.  Maybe it’s from working in a blue-collar office environment for nearly eight years, where the dress code was somewhat casual and makeup was definitely optional.  Maybe it’s the numerous dance classes where I didn’t wear eye makeup, because I felt like I would dance better if my sweat didn’t smear my eye makeup and make me look like a hot mess.  Maybe I haven’t completely grown out of my somewhat tomboyish childhood traits.  Maybe it’s because I feel completely free when my face is clean and bare, and my hair is down and loose.  Maybe it’s because I’m finally confident in who I am as a person, and I see nothing to be ashamed of when I look at my bare face in the mirror.

I didn’t ponder these reasons before I left the bathroom.  If I had, I would’ve taken all of my makeup off right then and there (in about two minutes, tops) and saved myself some of the regret that followed later that afternoon.

I drove to Missouri yesterday to visit people.  While visiting with a lovely woman that I’ve missed dearly since graduation, I wished that I wasn’t wearing makeup right then.  I wished that I hadn’t spent so much time in the bathroom trying to conceal, powder, coat, and apply various cosmetic products on various parts of my face, especially when it wasn’t necessary.  I wished I’d only washed my face and run out the door so that I could have spent an extra 20 or so minutes (yes, it takes me that long to put makeup on) with her instead of the bathroom mirror and makeup brushes.  I wished that I had felt more beautiful and more like myself while I was visiting with her (and other people later that day), and that would’ve happened if I hadn’t put all of that makeup on.

I’ve always felt the dread of inconvenience of putting on makeup, but I’d never felt the sting of regret over putting on makeup until yesterday.

To clarify, I don’t like leaving the house looking like a slob.  I always leave the house with a clean face and brushed hair.  I also understand that dressing up for special occasions is sometimes necessary, and depending on the occasion (prom, for example; I loved wearing my floor-length prom dress), it can be fun once in a great while.  I like wearing clean, neat clothes every day, whether I leave the house or not.  But I’m going back to my habit of foregoing makeup unless my acne scars are particularly prominent on some days or if a special occasion requires it.  Even then, I will use only the minimum amount to address any issues I’m having.

Today, I have to run some errands, among other things.

And I’m going to relish this day of not wearing makeup.

Venting and Reasoning

Remember in the “About” page of this blog when I said that a lot of my stories about school are more like venting sessions?  You’re about to read the first one for this blog.  For those of you who haven’t seen me in a while and want to know how school is going, here’s your update.

For the last month or so, I’ve been lucky to get six hours of sleep each night.  For the past week or two, it’s been more like five hours.  It’s killing me.  I can’t think straight about anything.  I’m not alert in my classes.  I can’t pick up on steps or combinations in ballet class to save my life, much less remember them for the next class.  I usually have some time to catch up on lost sleep over the weekend, but it never seems like enough.  Last night as I laid down in bed, I felt slightly nauseous just because of how sleep-deprived and physically exhausted I’ve been.  I got a full night’s sleep, but apparently, it wasn’t enough.  I fell asleep for over an hour while doing (read: trying to do) my homework this afternoon.  The nap felt amazing was very much needed, but it also means that I don’t get to check off all the items on my to-do list, particularly my “homework to do” list.  As such, it only means that another draining week is around the corner.  It’s a vicious cycle to which I see no end in sight.  I hate it.

It wouldn’t be quite as bad if I was getting something out of my classes, but I’m not.  Let me clear when I say that none of this is the fault of my professors.  It’s just the way the classes are designed, in combination with my somewhat unusual academic circumstances.

Ballet is a good class, and I have a good teacher, but I don’t have any energy to give to it while I’m there, and I’m really burned out.  I know that there’s a lot to learn in this class, but I’m not picking up on much of it at all because of my constant sleep-deprived state.  Dance is not fun at all in this situation.

Methods of Teaching a Specialty Subject is a repeat of Analysis of Teaching and Learning Behavior, the class I took last summer.  I already understand most, if not all, of what is being taught, so I’m not learning anything new.  Yet, it has written homework every week, so I must put forth the effort, even though I’m not learning anything.  Waste. Of. Valuable. Time.  The only bright spot in this class is the independent study portion of this class with my ballet teacher.  At least I’m getting something out of that.

Educational Research is one of the most demanding classes I’ve ever taken.  Like Methods, it’s also a class in which I’m not learning anything, which is frustrating because of its work load.  Honestly, it will be a miracle if I get a “C” in the class.  At this point, it’s all I want.  Well, that and my sanity.  I want that back.

So, I did some thinking.  I followed some advice a very dear friend gave me about a month ago as I vented my school and non-school stressors (I’m saving those for another blog post) to her via Facebook messaging.

I quit trying to find time to practice dance outside of class.  I don’t have the energy for it, and there’s no sense in burning myself out even further until I start to love it again.

As far as schoolwork goes, for the time being, I’ve quit striving for perfection and decided to only do the bare minimum necessary for graduation.  I have absolutely no regrets about this decision.  I’d much rather spend the time pursuing neglected interests, educating myself about the world around me outside of school, and bonding with people that matter to me.  In the end, all of that is way more important than a letter grade.

This situation has shown me that I’m still living by my personal philosophy about education that I developed in high school.  As a teacher in the making, I don’t know if this is the best philosophy to have or if many people will accept it, much less agree with it, but I’m not apologizing for it.

Grades are important, but in the end, grades are just letters on a transcript.  To paraphrase my favorite Spanish teacher (and one of the best teachers of all time, in my opinion), getting a “B” in Spanish class while still knowing how to speak it fluently will go much farther than someone turned in all of the bookwork, got an “A”, but still can’t speak it fluently.  His point was that we should still do our very best, but if for some reason our very best doesn’t produce an “A”, there’s more to the class than that.  It’s not the ultimate goal.  Learning and applying the knowledge to our lives is the goal.

Despite my desire to earn the title of “honor student” in high school and college, I never was one and was never meant to be one.  Granted, I made the honor roll in high school a few times, and the Dean’s List at LU a few times, and I usually came close the times that I didn’t make it, but I didn’t graduate from either place with honors.

In high school, while many of my peers were choosing their classes based on what would get them accepted into a good college, I chose as many classes in my favorite subjects as I could and took very few honors classes.  (With the exception of honors English, which I only did for one semester, taking honors classes was not something I ever wanted to do in the first place.)  My short experience in honors classes my freshman year showed me that as far as what students learn at either level, there isn’t much difference; only the workload was different.  (In hindsight, I think I can see the point to a select few of those extra assignments, but the overall stress from an honors class wasn’t worth it.)  I took the bare minimum of core academic subjects to graduate because I knew that I was going to a community college after high school.  Standards of entrance there weren’t nearly as high there as they are a four-year school, so during my senior year I took art, show choir, instrumental music, and symphonic band all year, plus one semester of theatre appreciation and one semester of creative writing.  Before senior year, I was blessed to take either Treble Choir or show choir, and concert band (or instrumental music) every semester, as well as art for a full year.  I made the arts high priorities in high school because I loved them (and still do), and because I knew that once I got to college, there wouldn’t be as much time in my schedule for them.  I also saw no reason in taking more classes than necessary in science, history, math, etc. because I’d have to study those same subjects over again in a few short years to fulfill gen ed requirements in college.

According to my transcripts, I’m an average student, but sometimes I feel like I learned more and have been exposed to more than some of my honor student peers.

I don’t mean to knock anybody’s academic achievements.  It takes a lot of work and effort to earn that recognition, and I sincerely applaud and sometimes envy those who graduate with honors and really high GPAs.  (I suppose the envy hits once in a while because even though I didn’t graduate from LU with honors, I came very close.)  I’m just saying that I don’t beat myself up over it too much because I’m happy with most of the educational choices I’ve made.

That being said, I’m trying not to make any bad decisions in my last semester as I try to sort out which assignments take priority and which ones don’t.  Two of these assignments are worth a lot of points, and even though I’m not learning anything in Methods (except for the independent study) or Ed Research, I don’t want to blow them off to the point that my grades are so low that I don’t graduate.  My grades aren’t that bad (I can probably still pull off an “A” in Methods), but last week I reached the point that I was ready to completely quit school and didn’t care whether or not I graduated or did student teaching.  I am still that frustrated and overwhelmed.

If you think about it, please say a little prayer that I finish strong this semester.  Not just with decent grades, but with my sanity intact.  I want to get organized.  I want to be happy again.  I want to give the people I love–in Missouri and Illinois–the best I have, and I feel bad that I haven’t been able to do that.  Feel free to leave any comments of advice, suggestions, or threats of what you might do to me if I slack off too much or throw in the towel. 🙂

I feel a little bit better now that I’ve vented.  Thanks for reading.

Easier Said Than Done

I’m thinking that blogging will be much easier said than done.

I wanted to add a picture to “Pink vs. Blue”, but after clicking several headings, words, and menu items that I thought would allow me to do something as simple as that, my blog post still has no picture.

Disregard the times that WordPress says I’ve posted blog entries.  I finally figured out how to get it in the correct time zone, but I guess WordPress forgot to set its clock back one hour last night.

There’s a reason why I still favor the paper and pen.  But if I only wrote in a notebook that no one else sees, I have no way to share what I write.

Then again, I don’t write to please other people.  I write only for myself.

I’m just going to reiterate what I said in my first blog post.  I don’t know how often I’ll actually blog here.  I thought it was going to be really fun.  Right now, it’s not.  And since I’ve never been good with technology (I don’t own an iPod or iPad, I don’t know how to use a GPS, and I still record stuff from TV with tapes and a VCR), maybe blogging isn’t such a good idea.  I knew there was a reason why I hesitated to start this thing for almost two years.

*End rant*