Category Archives: Makeup

Hiding In Plain Sight

So, my seasonal job seems to have turned into a permanent position, which is fabulous. That was what I wanted to begin with. I figured that Christmas was a good time to get my foot in the door so to speak. Also, my kids have birthdays in the end of November and the beginning of December, so I figured that worst case scenario, I would make some extra loot during the holidays and have some experience in the field that I want to have an eventual career in.
Well, it is February now, and week 1 of the retail year, and I am still employed. I absolutely love it there. I have gotten quite a few positive guest feedbacks on our surveys that we invite all our patrons to take. I love the people that I work with as well (for the most part – of course there are a couple of people that I don’t get along with). It is all women save for one gay man, and they all are as obsessed with makeup as I am. It is fun to have a place where I can be around people who have the same passions as me, and I am privy to what new products are coming out as well.
The one single issue that I find that I have is the same one that I have had at every other job, hiding my history. For one, I feel that it would truly cost me my job. Not so much my past drug convictions or assualt arrest, but my numerous theft arrests and subsequent convictions. See, we have a problem with thefts at my store. Ironically we sell a good deal of what I used to boost, but thank God, I never stole or tried to steal anything from my store. There was a big crackdown a few years back on all of the pawn shops in Baltimore that took all of the stolen pharmaceuticals, so no one really has a place to sell that stuff any more.
No, no one is stealing razor blades or Olaay’s from my work. No, they go for fragrance. That and the Urban Decay “Naked” palettes.
Since I have been employed there, I have seen a fellow employee get fired for theft of some sort. I don’t thi that she was physically stealing so much as helping or enabling someone else to steal. Obviously I wou never do anything to jeopardize a job that I love in a field that I love, but would my manager see that? Or if she knew my record would suspicion always be cast my way when ever there is a theft during a shift of mine?
As for the new friends that I am making, would they still like me if they new that I am a recovering heroin addict? It is easy to say that if they would care then they are not people to be friends with anyway, but it is not that simple. I have a very hard time opening up to people and making friends. I don’t want to ruin any chance of making new friends by sabotaging my chance by revealing a past that they really have no business of knowing.
I do feel in a way that after all of the progress that I thought that I had made, maybe I haven’t made as much as I thought after all. Maybe I should be confident enough to say fuck them if they can’t handel my past. I feel like I have been able to own my addiction, but I guess that I am not as secure in myself as I thought. Or maybe, I am allowed to have some secrets. Maybe we all do. Maybe my past is none of their business as I honestly am an entirely different person than I was back then.

We Are Not the Same, I am a Martian

 

“Bitch, I’m a motherfucking Martian/ I’m a goddamn zombie.” – ‘Martians vs. Goblins’ by The Game

Last night, I was  practicing spooky Halloween looks on myself and my children. I found a makeup academy that I will likely enroll in once the new year hits, and I have been learning and practicing all sorts of makeup tricks. I have only been working on practical makeup applications however. If I one day want to be a makeup artist, I need to know how to do special effects makeup. So, I traveled to Walgreens and bought a Halloween makeup kit and got to work.

I was trying to think of what looks to do, what would be something scary for me and/or my husband to be when we take our children trick-or-treating tonight. I am also doing my kids makeup. My son is a Swamp Creature, so he gets creepy makeup, but my daughter is (one of the millions) Elsa, so she is getting very pretty, soft makeup.  Anyway, it occurred to me that perhaps the scariest thing that I could do woul

What is more terrifying - a zombie apocalypse or realizing that you or your kids could become addicts?
What is more terrifying – a zombie apocalypse or realizing that you or your kids could become addicts?

d be to accentuate my track marks and scars, and go as a junkie. Too be even more terrifying, I could dress up as a lawyer or a doctor and have a needle in my arm.

Even though there are literally millions of people in America struggling with substance abuse, it is still terrifying for people to think that any of those people could be in their neighborhood or even,a God forbid, in their family. Still, in 2014, we as addicts are forced to remain in the shadows, to keep our struggles silent for fear of retribution and ostracism.

My own mother, who has two daughter who are addicts, often remarks about how shocked she is to see certain people at my methadone clinic whenever she gives me rides. “That person is so old, what are they doing here?”, or, “That person is a (fill in doctor, nurse, UPS driver, person in an expensive suit), where they using heroin too?” I always tell her that first off, a person theoretically could have never used heroin a day in their life, but still very much need the assistance of a methadone clinic. Nowadays, the prescription pill addiction problem is at epidemic proportions. So many doctors hand out prescriptions for Percocet, OxyCotin, Vicodin, or what have you like they are giving out Advil. They don’t even usually ask or try to find out if the person has a history of substance abuse. The thing is, though, that if a person takes any opioids for a long enough period of time, they WILL become addicted. It is just a fact. Now if you are not pre-dispositioned to addiction (I.e. one or both of your parents, or grandparents were addicts), or if you have never previously been physically addicted to anything (thus forever altering your brain chemistry), then it will take you longer to become addicted, but you will eventually.

See, despite what a lot of people want to say or think about people who struggle with the living hell that is substance abuse, is that it is not simple a matter of will power. These are very powerful drugs.the fact is that taken for a long enough period of time, your brain and body will NEED them to simply function at all.

I actually don’t have a problem with doctors giving people these medications if they truly need them. Some people are going to be on these meds for the rest of lives due to chronic pain, so dependence is not really an issue. The problem comes for the people for whom the doctors decide after six months r however long, that they are no longer in need of these pain pill, that their pain should be manageable with over the counter medications and home remedies. I find it incredibly irresponsible to just one day, after months and moths of giving a person powerfully addictive medicines, to say, “No more for you!”

I wish there was some sort of law where doctors were forced to give patients a prescription for suboxone or methadone for a very brief period (decreasing the dose daily as to not trade addictions), or ween them off of the pain pills slowly once they determine that the need for these medications with regards to the patient’s pain level is not there any longer. They should also probably make, or strongly recommend that the person attend NA meetings, or they should at least make them take some sort if class on addiction and the brain.

Patients who have no history of addiction in themselves or in their family will not think they need any of this. The problem is that more than likely, they have never gone a day or two without taking any of these pills since having their script, so they do not know that they are addicted. A lot of these people find out the hard way that they are addicted and turn to illegally buying what they previously prescribed. Now they are “junkies” and “worthless”. Funny how that works. Some of these people end up at the methadone clinic.

I also try to explain to my mother, and to others, that if I have learned one thing from my years of waiting in lines to cop, is you never know who you will see in the hole. Addiction does care about class, race, gender, socio-economic status, or your job, it hits all walks of life. It can sink it’s claws into a millionaire as easily as a homeless person.

I think that that is the aspect of addiction that is so petrifying to people, especially wealth, educated, WASP sort of people. A lot of people that are outside of the “ghetto” feel safe and comfortable believing that addiction stays within the confines of the projects, that it does not venture into the suburbs. Seeing a middle or upper class business person as a drug addict is scary because it means that they are not safe. It is almost like holding up a mirror, but it is reflecting back a version of themselves if they got into a car accident a need a script for pain pills. It is almost their life. It is easy for people to ignore what they perceive as far away from their own lives. Maybe this is why we as addicts are shunned so much. People do not want to look closely enough to see that we are no different from them.

Trying To Take Two Steps Forward Without Taking Three Steps Back

This week, my husband changed companies. The new company is giving him a raise, paid holidays, and a work truck. The work truck is the best part of the deal for us. See, we share a car at the moment. If he has a work truck, then when my youngest starts kindergardten and is in school all day, I will be able to go back to work part time.

The last time I had a job, it was in 2011. I worked as a waitress at a little tavern, near my house. I left the job because we were going to be moving to Tenneessee. We did move, for a month. We hated it. It was in the middle of nowhere, total bum-fuck America. I’m talking an hour from the nearest Target, Best Buy, mall, doctors, zoo, civilization. On top of it, my oldest was starting kindergarten that fall (my youngest was 2 1/2 at the time). The schools were we live now are ten out of ten. The school around there were a four out of ten. So we moved back home, ill as shit. We drove 110 mph the entire way, switching drivers every hour, making an eight and a half hour drive in six.

My husband and I were both in the depths of active addiction. My husband caught a couple of charges and ended up doing some time in Virginia while he was waiting for them to give him a bail. The charge was total bullshit and he didn’t do any time other than the time that he did until we could convince the magistrate to give him a bail. He also got eighteen months with thirteen suspended in Maryalnd.

This is when I got clean once and for all. I did not want to be the reason that he relapsed. The jail that he was in while he did his time in Maryland was a pre-release center. They allowed him to get a job. Once he cam home, he was able to get back into the D.C. union and get a good job with benefits and what not. I have been a stay at home mom this whole time. My son doesn’t go to school until one in the afternoon. The both get home from school right aroung four. So add that to the fact that we only have one vehicle, working has been out of the question. But now we are going to have two cars.

The issue is what job to get. I never finished college, so I have no degree. My work history is all over the map. Oh yeah, it doesn’t help that I have a rather extensive criminal record. The only plus on that aspect is that I have no felony convictions. Unfortunately, you can not take an IQ test to apply for a job. See, I don’t have a whole lot of skills, per se. I am just really fucking smart, but that is not something that you can put on a resume.

I have taught pre-school, I have worked as a receptionist at a car dealership, I have done renovations at Jo-Ann Fabrics, I have been a cashier, I have been a sales girl at Coach. What I have the most experience at, what I did from 2006 untill 2011 is bartending and waitressing. I was lead server at a chain restaurant, I trained other servers there and was the daytime bartender. I was in charge of inventory, ordering liquor, beer, wine, kegs, etc. I helped decide what beers and alcohol we were going to feature during different promotions, etc.

Bartending is an addicts dream job. You work – you get paid. You don’t have to wait untill the end of the week to get paid and try to make the money last, knowing that it will be gone by the end of the weekend (if it lasts that long). Actually, I was really lucky. Since I was a lead server/bartender, I made slightly above minimum wage, plus my tips. Not the $3.07 serve minimum wage, the real minimum wage. That went on my pay check, I got my tips daily. I got the best of both worlds.

I am not trying to go back the restaurant world. It is a feeding ground for drug addicts and alcoholics. There is not a bar, restaurant, tavern, club, pub, whatever that does not staff a plethora of addicts. I am worried that this sort of job will trigger a relapse or at least the overwhelming desire to use. I have distanced myself from all of my friends that are addicts, whether they are in active addiction or in recovery, I am not sure if I want to work at the sort of job that attracts addicts to it. As I stated in the title I don’t want to take two steps forward simply to take three steps back.

Another issue with a serving job is that aside from management, there is very little room for career advances. There is no raises. You can not budget the way you do a normal job. There is no, “If I work 40 hours, then I will make this much.” It varies too much. You could make thirty dollars on day and three hundred the next, it is hard to tell. Obviously a Saturday night will tend to yield more money than a Monday lunch shift.

As a mother, being a manager at a restaurant interests me very little. You work very, very long hours for very, very little pay. I am not interested in working sixty hours a week or more for thirty thousand dollars or less.

So then, the question is, how do I move forward? I am keen on becoming a makeup artist. Makeup is something that I love and am very much obsessed with. This is a hard field to get your foot in the door. Clients tend to want to hire people based on word of mouth, and if you have no experience it is hard to get the clients to yield that experience.

Since I have started writing this blog, and getting letters from people thanking them for what I have written, I am thinking that social work is my calling. I have laws had an internet in helping others, but going through the trials and tribulations of addiction, I really want to help fellow addicts. A friend of mine that I used to work with, is heading up a homeless shelter in Baltimore over the summer. I told her that I would love to help her in any way possible. I sincerely hope that she takes me up on this request.

When I was getting high in the streets of Baltimore, I saw, met, got high with a number of homeless people. As a society, we need to help them, I want to help them personally. It is a matter close to my heart. Homelessness is the core problem, but substance abuse or mental health issues or physical and/or sexual abuse is almost there as well. These are issues that need to be addressed with these people.

Of course,this would be great experience as well. I know that I am more than likely have to get a degree in order to be a substance abuse counselor, but at least this is one profession where my past struggles and history with addiction and my criminal record will not hurt me. Actually, it will probably help (not the criminal record). It would be great to use my addiction for good.

I have gone through hell and back to get sober. I might as well try to do some good with the knowledge that I have accrued along my journey. If I can help someone from making the same mistakes that I have, then perhaps all of this pain was not in vain.

As a recovering addict, it is important to not get too complacent or cocky. It is important to keep those memories of the depths of our disparity at the forefront of our minds. I am not talking about dwelling on the past with a stubborn refusal to move forward, I am simply talking about not forgetting how hard it was to acheive sobriety. When we get too comfortable with being clean, when we forget how far gone we let ourselves get, it is too easy to slip back into addiction. I want to move forward, but I do not want to slip back into old habits by feeling like I am invincible.

Growing Up as a Girl in a World of Unrealistic Images of Beauty

I recently learned that 47% of girls between grades 5 and 12, want to loose weight because of the women they see in magazines (according to Anorexia nervous a and Associated Disorders website, anad.com). This greatly disturbed me as a mother of a daughter in second grade. A daughter who already has made comments about her weight. Who has already been bullied for her weight. Sadly, she is not alone. 42% of first graders want to be thinner.

The average woman is five foot five and weighs 169 pounds, while the average model is five foot eight and weighs 108 pounds. The body type used in ads relate to 5% of women. Girls growing up today are constantly bombarded, through television, magazines, movies, ads, etch that they need to be ridiculously thin to be beautiful. Is it any wonder that 80% of women with eating disorders develop them by the age of 20? 43% report that the onset of their disorders started between the ages of 16 and 20.

“I wish that I looked like Cindy Crawford” – Cindy Crawford. Celebrities can’t even achieve these perverse, insane images. Unfortunately, young girls going through puberty don’t understand this. 69% of fifth to twelfth grade girls said that magazines influenced their body image.

Photoshopping is a major part of the problem. You take an already pretty, super thin model. You then add makeup – which I can attest to how much different makeup can make you. Then you photoshop the shit out of her. Image

The picture above is a Ralph Lauren ad featuring model Filippa Hamilton-Palmstierna. She was actually fired from Ralph Lauren for being “too fat”. Seriously. I guess the already had the pictures of the “fat” girl, so they figured that they would use them. The solution was to photoshop her into some sort of an alien looking creature. Her waist, legs, and arms have been thinned down almost to the point of being humorous.

It isn’t just fashion ads and models that do this. Kate Winslet has publicly taken issue with magazines that Photoshop her thin. In February 2003, Winslet appeared on the cover of GQ magazine. She complained about the magazine doing “excessive stretching” to her picture to make her look taller and thinner. Winslet is a beautiful, curvy woman who is proud of her figure. She takes offense to magazines that wish for her to be on the cover of their magazine, but don’t think that she is good enough as she is.

Angelina Jolie was worried about how her movie “Tomb Raider”‘s use of computers to enlarge her breasts was going to affect young girls. Here you have a movie with a female protagonist and she has to have extremely large breasts. Jolie didn’t understand why they needed to take her breast, which already large, and make them even bigger.

The most recent victim of photoshopping is Lena Dunham. She was on the February 2014 cover of Vogue. Even though the cover was a close up of her face, it was widely criticized for being photoshopped. Feminist website Jezebel offers $10,000 to anyone who could provided them with the original, un-retouched pictures from the cover shoot. I found this to be very surprising. One would think that a site like Jezebel would be happy that Vogue was even featuring Dunham. She is not a supermodel, and she has normal woman proportions. The photo was just of her face. Instead of congratulating her for busting through the seemingly inpenatrable walls of the fashion industry. The only other non size two woman that has ever been on the cover of Vogue was Oprah. And she’s Oprah. What Jezebel actually succeeded in doing was body bullying Dunham. Basically saying that she is not good enough, pretty enough to be on the cover of a fashion magazine. There must have been photoshopping. Thing is, you don’t see her body. What you see could easily be achieved with makeup and lighting. Possibly the use of filters. What message is it sending young girls, when you attack Lena Dunham for being on a fashion magazine? It farther tells girls that if they look normal, like Dunham, then they do not belong in the fashion industry. I think we should be congratulating Dunham for trying to bust down walls.

Dunham is not unfamiliar with body bullying and fat shaming. There is constantly controversy about the “excessive” nudity on her HBO “Girls”. Yes, the show has nudity, but far less than shows like “Game of Thrones” or “True Blood”. Also, rarely is the nudity obscene or vulgar. The only real instance of obscene nudity that one could really point out was the episode that featured Dunham and a boyfriend playing topless ping-pong. But that was sort of the point of it. The guy was allegedly to have been the first and only man who ever made Dunham’s character feel beautiful and sexy. He made her feel pretty after a lifetime of body bullying. Saying that “Girls” has too much nudity when it has less than other shows is really saying that nudity is fine as long as it tintilating to men, if it isn’t then it is vulgar and obscene.

What are we telling our girls? Nudity is ok if they have perfect bodies? Until we regularly use normal women in advertisements. I’m not talking Rick Owens using “normal” models on the runway and the press making a huge deal of it, staring at them like they are some sort of spectacle. This serves no one. It is counterproductive. Using “normal” women and then pointing out how different they are only makes women feel less secure about themselves.

We, as a society, as mothers and fathers, need to start making our daughters feel beautiful as they are. With 50% of teenage girls using unhealthy weight control methods to maintain a weight that feel is acceptable, and anorexia having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, we are literally killing our daughters.

Oh, Make Me Over

Image

“Oh make me over/ I’m all I wanna be/ A walking study/ In demonology” – Hole “Celebrity Skin”

I mentioned that I am trying to become a makeup artist. A friend of mins who owns a wonderful company called “Blend Make-Up Artistry”. She told me the best way to break into the business was to get a job at MAC, Sephora, or Ulta. They can certify you, and then a company similar to hers would hire you. While a company such as MAC will teach you and certify you, you need to have a fairly knowledgeable foundation. I already have this, but I have been working on knowing everything.

I am a stay at home mother currently. I do looks from Kevyn Aucoin’s books, “Making Faces”  and “Face Forward” in myself and my daughter. She does not share my love of makeup. The only time she wants her makeup done is for Halloween, when she is a different Monster High character every year. I have also been re-creating looks that I find on YouTube or sites such as “BeautyBybel”.

“When I wake up/ In my makeup/ It’s too early/ For that dress”

My love of makeup goes far beyond a possible career opportunity. Beyond making myself look pretty. I love the ritual. I love being able to turn myself into different versions of myself with the flick of a cat-eye liner, or the application of a pale pink lipstick. I find it liberating that I can be a sweet, demure stay at home mom, a sex-pot diva, or a goth princess. I can be Madonna, Cher, Marilyn Monroe, a swinger, an ingenue, a bombshell, or a siren.

I have been contemplating the idea of selling Mary Kay or Avon while I am a stay at home mom. This would enable me to earn some income, procure more contacts in the cosmetics industry, and have some work experience that is in the make up field. (I have plenty of work experience, but none in this field).  I tend to lean more towards high-end brands, so Mary Kay would probably be more in line with what I would be looking for. Any store I work at, I would be a salesperson. Yes, you do makeovers. And show women how to achieve different looks, but it is all a tool to sell the products. Being a Mary Kay saleswoman would look good on a resume.

I am into the idea of showing women how to liberate themselves by putting on some lipstick and eyeliner. At the end of the day. It doesn’t matter if society finds you beautiful. If you think that you look good, you will have an air of confidence that is immensely sexy and can not be destroyed.

Go Eagles! Game day makeup
Go Eagles! Game day makeup

Thanks

This is not so much of as a post as it is a thank you. I was terrified to start writing. I had been thinking about starting a blog for about a year now, but was too petrified.

After I got the first one out, they just kept comming, and will continue to. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming. Words can not describe the happiness and love that I feel from seeing people reading my posts. Especially for someone who has never felt loved or at all adequate as a person, it is an overwhelming to feel that people (many in other countries!) care what you have to say.

In short, thank you!

Makeup and Feminism – can they coexist?

One of my Christmas makeup looks.
One of my Christmas makeup looks.

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” – Coco Chanel

I, as a recovering addict, am trying to reinvent myself. Originally I went to college to become a teacher. Elementary school, with a focus on English and writing. After a year at University of Maryland College Park, I dropped out. I took a years worth of classes at a community college and then the drug era started (my drug era that is). Addiction and multiple arrests for theft, assault, and possession of a controlled substance (not marijuana) followed. Due to these arrests, I can never become a teacher.

I have decided to follow one of the great passions of my life – makeup. I want to be a makeup artist. I love everything about makeup. I spend thousands of dollars a year on new makeup. I watch YouTube video, read beauty blogs and Kevyn Aucoin books. My poor eight year old daughter is my guinea pig.t I love the transforming properties of the art of makeup.

i grew up with a mother that did her makeup, as soon as she got up (after coffee that is). I mean I never even really saw her without makeup on. She always said that a woman never goes out looking a mess.  I took this lesson to heart. Even when I was in active addiction, and sick as a dog, throwing up all over the place, I at least put on foundation, blush, and mascara before we drove in town to cop. I mean I may have been ill, but I had to at least look at little bit presentable.

During the one year that I studied at University of Maryland, I took a Women in the Arts class. Pretty much a feminism class. I always was some what into feminism due to Courtney Love and PJ Harvey. This class, however got me into Betty Freiden, and “The Vagina Monologues”, and Elizabeth Wurtzle, and even Candice Bushnell. I adored the Gorilla Gurls. I understood the feminist statements made by Lil Kim and Missy Elliot. I read a great book written by a Rolling Stone writer, Gerri Hirshey called “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” which was a book about “the true, tough story about women in rock”. Courtney Love became my hero (in all fairness, Courtney Love still is my hero).

I still consider myself a feminist. I am also a civil rights activist, but that is a topic for another day, another post. So here in lies my dilemma, is being a makeup artist, making women look pretty, perpetuating stereotypes that women need to be beautiful? “When I wake up/ In my makeup/ I’m glad I came here/ With your pound of flesh” – Hole, “Celebrity Skin”.

I will admit it, I like to look pretty. I am a little embarrassed that as such a strong feminist I still feel the need to be pretty, but it’s true. But makeup is so much more than that. I love playing with colors. I love try different eye looks. I love copying looks from Kevyn Aucoin’s books. I love making my daughter look like a Monster High character.

For me doing makeup, be it my own or someone else’s is an escape, an art form. I can’t draw. I can’t paint. The arts I always did, was dancing, playing guitar, singing, poetry. This is my form of painting. I love transforming myself (or someone else) into Harlow, Monroe, or Cher.

I love high quality makeup. I love how high end makeup brands like Nars, Make Up Forever, lorac, MAC, and Smashbox have themes and all the makeup for that season follows the theme. Nars did Warhol and Guy Bordin, MAC has done Barbie, Hello Kitty, and Wonder Woman to name a few. They become collectible pieces of art. Wearable art. It is awesome.

In short, I don’t really think that makeup is a defector of the women’s movement. I put on makeup when I am home with the kids and my husband is at work. I do it for me. I do it because I love it. I get myself put together, because I feel good about myself. Doing something to care about me, helps my depressive personality. It is me time. My husband would love me the same with or without eyeliner on. I hold my head a little higher with it on though. I don’t think that my self worth is tied to it though. I don’t wear this look or that look to be as society thinks that I should be or wants me to be I wear different looks because that is me. I am a woman who loves makeup. I am a lipstick wearing feminist, and isn’t just as bad to say that a real feminist doesn’t do her hair and makeup as it is to say that a real woman does?