The day before flying into Caracas, I decided to try something new in the beauty realm. I am not a risk-taker when it comes to appearances. I am definitely on the side of less-is-more in regards to beauty and appearance. This is due partly because of lack of time available to put into it, lack of knowledge, and personal preference.
However, apparently the day before coming back I was feeling a little wild. I went with my mom to get our nails done as a sweet goodbye time together. We rode our bikes to the nail salon, entered excitedly dreaming about our (finally) manicured nails, and to our dismay, there was literally a WHOLE bridal party getting their nails done at that time. We were told we could wait 2 hours for our turn if we wanted… We chose not to.
With an hour free and no place to go, my mom and I looked across the street to an eye-threading salon. We looked at each other and thought, “Why not?!”.
That was our first mistake.
First of all, eyebrow threading is potentially one of the most painful things you can intentionally put yourself through. Think: contact-popping-out, tears-streaming-down-your-face kind of pain. Yes, I can’t complain since I subjected myself to it in the first place. However, every time I sit in that dentist-like chair with a stranger telling me to hold back my skin in a very painful position (and I can never actually do it right) while they slowly pull my eyebrow hairs out with a thin thread, I think, “Why am I here again?”.
Well, we survived the threading, with our eyebrows and forehead a glistening red. The lady then asked my mom if she would be interested in getting her eyebrows tinted.
All-natural, she said. Everyone loves it, she said. Will last for 2 weeks, she said.
So, my mom said, “Why not?!” and added, “Sallie, this can be your birthday treat!”
That was our second mistake.
My mom has beautiful, dark hair. I, on the other had, have a reddish-blondish-copperish tint, with almost non-existent eyebrows. So, I confirmed with the lady that she would do something different with my eyebrows that my mom’s. She said, of course!
10 minutes later, 2 eyebrows midnight black. She handed me a mirror, and to my horror, they were big and bold. I left a little bit shaky and in shock, thinking, this is going to be on my face for the next 2 weeks. We made it down the street before I turned back around and asked the same lady to try to lighten them. Ten minutes later, more raw, red skin, 2 still-extremely black eyebrows.
I remember thinking that I would just go home and completely scrub away my eyebrows. Which is what I essentially tried to do after bolting through the living room, avoiding my husband’s gaze, screaming, “Don’t look at me!”.
One hour later, eyebrows still black, but, now my skin under and around was starting to peel off… I should have listened to Brandon’s advice and not actually make my skin scabby on top of having ridiculous eyebrows. Eventually, we had to leave for dinner and a baseball game… Most self-aware night of my life. I distinctly remember thinking, “everyone is staring at me”. This transported me right back to my Middle School days (and what I see every day with my Middle School students), this hyperawareness and sensitivity. This belief that the world is keeping very detailed notes, and making very critical observations of every aspect of what you look like, act like, say, and do. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, Middle School Sallie, no one cares!
While I went through the next couple of days trying desperately to cover up too-dark eyebrows AND scabby skin, I kept thinking, I look like a clown! It’s amazing how those thoughts completely transform how you interact with those around you. I tried to avoid conversations, looking people in the eye, and wore lots of hats. It made me not want to be noticed, and altered the way I usually act within my friendships. All over silly little eyebrows!
Now, what began as a beauty blunder turned into a major learning moment for me: No one actually notices what you are obsessing about! AND, if they do, then that’s weird!
What’s even crazier is that all of the emotional stress I put myself through thinking, regretting, and reenacting that moment that I said “alright!” to the lady at the shop, only physically made me sick and isolated me from relationships with other people. How awful that self-obsession and being so pulled into our own feelings, emotions, and so bent on what is going on in our lives completely separates us from the real world and makes us awful friends, spouses, and teachers?!
While I can tell you from experience that eyebrow tinting actually lasts longer (4 weeks in my case, not the 2 that they told me), I am thankful for that experience because it illuminated what I have been telling my students but not really believing myself all along: The one thing that you think everyone is noticing, no one even sees or thinks about! Be confident in who you are!
Even if people see it, stare at it, talk about you, etc., it truly doesn’t matter. There very much are important things and less important things in life. When the less important things take over the actual important things, that’s when there is a problem.
So, while you may not have your own eyebrow story, I’m sure there is that something else that you have gone through or are currently going through that you so firmly believe EVERYONE sees and is judging you on. The truth, in the most gentlest and loving way possible, is that no one is watching, and no one is caring. Let go of the stress. Let go of the self-judgement and criticism, let go of the what-ifs, should-haves, and continue on confidently. Even with midnight black eyebrows.