I am made up of flaws

When I was younger, I wanted braces and glasses. (I always thought they looked cool.) I have glasses (and love them) and I had braces on my top teeth for six months. Childhood dreams achieved.

Now, I want freckles and red hair. Mainly because they look wonderful in photos. Red hair is the sign of a soul full of fire and freckles are the tiny marks left behind when magic has come into contact with skin. Red hair and freckles are magic made real.

I will never have freckles and I highly doubt red hair would look good on me. This is something I have come to accept. Begrudgingly.

I am not stereotypically pretty (if such a thing exists, for the sake of argument, we are saying it does). I have never been told I should model, and I have never had much attention because of the way my face looks. I am awkward; one of my eyes is bigger than the other (a thing which is alarmingly obvious in the photograph on my driving license), my hair is always scraggly and split at the ends even when I’ve just had it cut, my shoulders are wonky and my neck is slanted. I have a birthmark on my lip (which I adore) that everyone assumes is a bruise or a cut, it goes a deeper blue when I am cold. My eyebrows are very rarely perfectly plucked and I am terrible at most make-up (winged eyeliner, however, I can do… sometimes), I don’t wear it often. I don’t moisturise my face when I should, and I very rarely remember to use the fancy, expensive face stuff I bought for myself for my twenty-sixth birthday.

Sometimes I don’t brush my hair, instead, I put it in a bun or plaits when it’s wet and leave it like that for a day until it looks like I’ve put a lot of effort in to make my hair wavy or curly. My hair hates being washed too much, and certain shampoo makes it feel gummy and disgusting (now that I’ve worked out what particular shampoo that is, I avoid it). Dry shampoo is my friend.

During the week, I put absolutely no effort into my outfits, I pull a top and some leggings off of the giant mound of clothes on my bedroom floor that I really should sort through and hang up. I get up 15-30 minutes before I need to leave for work. I very rarely clean my glasses, and am permanently seeing the world through a smear. As soon as I get home, now that I own a cat who has very fluffy fur and definitely no regard for where he sheds it, I change into lounge pants and one of my designated ‘cat tops’. When it’s cold, I wear a lot of hats and my hair goes even more flat than it already is (I have very fine hair, I often wish that one day I will wake up and it will be gloriously thick and shiny but it won’t, and I will always look like I am going slightly bald even though I’m not), sometimes I wear my hats all day, right up until I go to bed, until my head feels like it’s still wearing it even an hour after I’ve taken it off.

I procrastinate like nothing else. I get determined to do things and then find ways to sabotage myself. Updating this blog being one of those things (but in my defense, have you ever tried to blog on a computer that is attached to a giant TV across the other side of the room? I have, and it is neither pleasant nor enjoyable – now I have a beautiful little laptop which is just for blogging and writing and all manner of wordy things.), I am, once again, going to attempt to do better.

My nails are always stubby and short and bitten jagged, even though I adore the look of black nail varnish. That is another thing I am trying to curb. So far it’s working, soon my nails will be painted black and I will look that little bit more snazzy and that little bit closer to the me that I see in my head, who looks a little bit witchy and a little bit cool and like she has her life together. (Sometimes I have the oomph to look like that. Sometimes.)

When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate the paleness of my skin and the dark brown of my hair. Even though, in my more whimsical moments, I want to paint myself with freckles (I really should learn how to do the freckle make-up, another bit of girlishness that I will be absolutely terrible at), I love being pale and I love having dark hair. (But that doesn’t mean I won’t dye it again, I proabably will.) I love my face sometimes, and I love it when my hair dries just right.

I don’t know how to end blog entries, especially long overdue blog entries.

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Pondering in an Empty Office

Hello The Internet. How are you? I disappeared again. Sorry about that. I should rename this website, call it something like The Official Apologies of Elou Carroll RE: Her Absence from Blogging. But I won’t.

Really though, I meant to do some blogging last week but I was so thrilled to have time off work to do absolutely nothing that I did just that. Absolutely nothing. Aside from my draw-everyday-of-2016 project which is still going strong, though I may not have mentioned it here before now.

It was refreshing, doing nothing. My absence from my blog has most notably been caused by late nights at work, which are self-inflicted but necessary. It is from one of those late nights that I am making my return. I’m about to leave, really I am, but once I get home I will not be using a computer. There is my dilemma. There it has been for the last month or two. So tonight, as I am here and as I am done for the night, I decided to write a little post before I leave. It is one of the better impulsive things I have done while alone in the office after staying late most evenings (the most impulsive yet: cutting my hair – not the most traditional use of the office bathroom but it felt necessary).

Actually, ignore those brackets. I am going to talk about that bit. Non-bracketed. I cut my hair at half past seven one evening, in the ground floor bathroom of my office. I’ve cut my hair before, the act of cutting it is not that unusual, but my choice of make-shift salon was quite unexpected.

Picture this: March 23rd, the Wednesday before the Easter bank holiday, an Elou, alone in an office with a desk stacked high with books and papers (my desk is potentially the most cluttered of the whole company, I’m a creative, what can I say?). The constant thrum of electricity which is almost inaudible when the whole company is around but emerges from its hiding spots in the evening when everyone leaves, an InDesign document which refuses to cooperate and a small mound of print orders which need doing and typesetting which needs sending out before the aforementioned Elou leaves the office the next day, not to return for just over a week. The InDesign document has a life of its own and doesn’t want to be fixed. In its own mind it’s not broken in the first place (and it’s not, not really, it’s just acting a little strange but at half seven in the evening, a little strange often translates as broken). Biblio (“a fully integrated best of breed publishing system accessible online from any PC and Mac connected to the Internet”) is eking out print order PDFs as slowly as it possibly can, while time seems to have sped up to at least double its normal pace. The afore-aforementioned Elou notices the straggly ends of her hair, which has not been cut since … June? She needs to fix something, nothing appears to be going right and she needs to. To grasp a teeny, tiny pixel of control. So she does.

She sees the scissors on her desk, not quite sharp enough for what she needs to do but she knows there are hair cutting scissors at home to tidy everything up, and she hops, skips and jumps into the bathroom (no, really).

Cutting off four inches of her hair is liberating. It’s messy but she can fix that later. It feels a little bit like freedom. And suddenly, the other things don’t seem too much like problems anymore, nothing that can’t be dealt with the next day (which were dealt with the next day).

Writing about myself in the third person is also quite liberating. I realise now, when I’ve had a week and a bit to sit and think about it, that this might have been a little bout of madness. But sometimes madness is necessary. Sometimes, all you need is to chop off four inches of hair and the world will look a little better.

hair

Taken from Snapchat, to Instagram, with silly selfie expressions which I am not even a little bit ashamed of. My hair was long before. So, so long.

(And so will your hair, so much so that your boss will mention it the next day, to be met with a colleague asking-but-not-really-asking-because-they-already-know-the-answer Where did you get it done, Emma? and your shifty response of here, and when asked to elaborate right here, in the bathroom. A pause, which is met with awkward shifting on your part, but is finished with amusement from your boss who has just about gotten used to the odd things that happen around you on a near-daily basis after working with you for two and a half years. Phew.)