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  • Becky Adams

An Eyelash-Opening Experience

It’s been two years since I started frivolously pampering myself, and not a penny of that money spent was wasted. Loreal was absolutely right, I’m worth it.

When you look at your face up close, you realize, jeez, I’m not symmetrical and I have lots of wrinkles. But never mind that, just look at the lashes. I’m here to talk about doing things for yourself that make you feel special. I mean, doing things that are strictly for you. Things that you don’t do for someone else’s sake or to impress other people. I’m talking straight up money-I-spend-to-please-Becky. Those eyelashes are for Becky to admire. Why did it take 50 years for Becky to indulge in this practice?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dramatically draping the back of my hand over my forehead as I declare that I have lived in deprivation so my family can have the best of everything. I’m just saying that many of the self-care indulgences that I have practiced over the years served a dual purpose. Hair dye, high heels, and horrifying hair removal—I don’t engage in those barbaric practices so I look good to me. Those are things you do to look good to other people.

Two years ago, I moved to a different office at my job. I’ve been working for the same agency for so long that even when I moved to a new office, there were no new people there—we’re all just recycling. I was telling my new/old co-worker about our Fund’s upcoming charity ball, and I asked her what kind of mascara she uses, because her lashes were so lovely. She laughed right in my face and told me all about “getting your lashes done.”

I had never heard of such a thing. Joan explained that you can go to a salon and they will use special glue to apply fake lashes to your existing lashes—one lash at a time. My God, I thought, eye glue?? It sounded like some type of medieval torture—but then again, for decades I’d been ripping the hair out of my legs with hot wax, who was I to judge? I thought, well, I’ll do it just this once. Just this once, I’ll have long, thick eyelashes. It’s a special occasion.

All night at the ball, I batted my luxurious lashes and glanced in every mirror I passed to admire them. I don’t know if anyone else noticed them at all. And I realized that I didn’t care if anyone else noticed them. The point was that I noticed them. Every time I looked in the mirror, I felt a thrill of excitement, like I had this weird secret weapon. Blink, blink. Bat, bat, bat. Turn to the side, they even look good in the periphery! So enjoyable.

After about two weeks, the lashes started falling out; you naturally shed lashes, so the fake ones can’t last forever. For a moment, I felt like Cinderella at midnight. My coach was turning back into a pumpkin, time to go sweep the hearth. My lashes were molting back to those short sparse fringes that I had paid little attention to for 50 years. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted, the party’s over, it’s not like I could spend money every two weeks “getting my lashes done.”

Then a little voice whispered, “Um…couldn’t you?”

Of course, I immediately started sweating. Who said that?? Holy cow, it was me. There was no special occasion coming up, I do not have tons of disposable income, the short sparse fringe had suited me for 50 years. I had absolutely no logical reason to go back to the salon and get my lashes done. The only reason I had was that I wanted to. I wanted to, and I DID.

Friends, there is no need to wait until age 50 to realize that “I wanted to” is an EXCELLENT reason to do something. You don’t have to be logical; you don’t have to justify wanting to do something that makes you happy. Do it. Be happy. Get your nails done, get your lashes done, buy Wonder Woman valve caps for the tires on your car, take the long way home because you like the view. I mean, if stealing purses makes you happy, hit the pause button, know what I mean? But otherwise—follow my example.

Not only have I learned that it feels good to do something for yourself, I’ve even started practicing mindfulness. It’s all the rage; at least three of the podcasts I listen to encourage mindfulness. It helps improve happiness. When I get my lashes done, I’m forced to close my eyes and lie on a comfy padded table with a little cushion under my head and a bolster pillow under my knees. They have fluffy blankets in case you get cold. I can’t multitask; I can’t do anything except lie there. It’s been incredibly good for me to have 45 minutes twice a month where all activity must cease. It quiets my body and my mind.

An added bonus is that I just adore my stylist. We have wonderful conversations; she makes me laugh. She is very patient; when I first started going, I was terrified that I would have some weird allergic reaction to the glue and blind myself. She talked me down from that ledge and proceeded with caution. She also gets that one eye has more lashes than the other, and she compensates for it. She is barely older than my daughter but possesses wisdom well beyond her years. I like to think that I make her workday a little better when I tell her something funny and tip her in cash.

So, here’s the lesson: sometimes when you do something selfish, you actually end up having a positive impact on other people. Writing is a solitary activity, yet there is a chance that you can connect with other people. Maybe something I write could help someone else. Maybe someone out there will pick up a new hobby and form a new relationship. Let me know, I’m always willing to tear myself away from the mirror to hear your story.

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