That's not to say that I think I'm generally brilliant or anything, it's not that, it's just that I know that if there's something I need or want to do, there'll have to be a damned good reason why I can't make it happen in one way or another.
But every now and again something comes along to wrong foot me.
So there I was yesterday tea time, minding my own business coming out of "our local German supermarket of 4 letters" juggling some supplies and this vision appears before me (well, technically to the side but for purposes of illustration I'll stick with it).
Clearly some kind of beauty therapist (wearing swanky tunic/trouser combo in turquoise blue) long glossy, shiny, bouncy red hair like Farah Fawcett - I felt myself coming over all Johnny Bravo. Her face was polished to perfection, lipstick appeared immaculate. Nails - gleaming, nice diamond ring, polished toe nails and smooth, tanned feet in dainty matching turquoise sandals. She swanked effortlessly in through the door.
I took issue with several things,
- My feet are like hobbits feet at best.
- It was tea time, not ten minutes after getting ready in the morning.
- My hair wouldn't shine like that if I coated it in chip fat.
- I can't even walk in sandals properly, let alone do a day's work.
- I have never swanked effortlessly anywhere.
So what's going on here? I'm supposed to be the one with all the answers. I'm the make up artist. I know the fancy pro hair people, I know how it's done. So why isn't she writing a blog post about me?
Well, I tell myself, for starters, she probably hasn't been nursing two very very (differently) poorly senior dogs constantly, night and day for 3 weeks nearly. She probably has a swanky fully fitted house that she's lived in for ages and has it just as she wants it. I don't. She's probably not trying to fulfill a lifetime's huge career ambition in the fashion world - from the outside. She probably didn't graduate two months ago. Probably hasn't got suspected gall stones and high cholesterol she's trying to manage through lifestyle and diet. She probably didn't spend 12 days on top of a mountain working 18 hour days living in a tent helping make a music festival happen and surviving on one and a half showers in the whole time 2 months ago as her summer holiday and I'm pretty sure she didn't arrive on a motorbike.
I did all of those things.
But still, I felt jealous, I felt incompetent, in some way less of a "lady" than her. Her (beautiful) appearance totally eclipsed my hard graft, my studying, my ambition, my drive, my passion and my ability to roll one's sleeves up and get on with the real stuff. Is shiny hair, dainty shoes and fresh lipstick the be all and end all? Is it right that beauty is perceived as the ultimate personal quality and it doesn't matter if it's real or fake?
I flipping hope not.
Yes, that's my trade. Do I do it to hold all other qualities to ransom? No. I love to make people look good whether it's for a catwalk, wedding, party, and I love to look good myself. But it isn't always absolutely necessary. And surely, if you look that good on a Tuesday tea time in Aldi then what have you got left in the tank for Saturday night?
Make up is costume, amour. I use it to mentally signify that I am "ready to go" on a daily basis. I do wear make up most days but I was running late for an appointment this morning so I went with a box fresh face. Did anyone cower behind a postbox? No, because I look like me with no make up on. That's different to me with make up on. Not better, or worse, but different.
I'm a big advocate of feeling ready to face the outside world, best foot forward, making the best of yourself, confidence boosting, etc. but not at the expense of realising that sometimes it just doesn't matter. There's a job to be done, things to get on with, no one is inspecting my naked or vaguely made up face. If they are, then they should take up a hobby instead.
Looking after yourself is imperative. No one wants to end up a wrinkly old grot bag, but if I have to make a time based decision at 7:30am as to whether I'm going to get the tea ready for tonight, give the dogs their antibiotics or polish my face into a frenzy, I know what it'll be. And I probably won't be wearing sandals while I do it.
I guess what it boils down to is that, for some, looking the very best they can every single day and maintaining an appearance of virtual perfection really is very, very important. And I'm jealous of that. Because it's not as important to me by a mile. But if I did put that amount of effort in, it would have to be at the expense of things that make a difference to me, my (canine and human) family and the people around me. I don't want that. It seems to me that I have the best of both worlds. I can dress up, make an effort, totally enjoy every bit of that. But I don't have to do it every day. I have so many different aspects of my existence that sometimes it's not appropriate or necessary.
I'd flipping love to swank about at tea time looking all glossy, mind. Tricky under Gortex and Kevlar, and no one would see my tanned dainty feet in my bike boots...
She did look amazing. I was jealous.