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Mandarin, M.O.T.S, Messy eyebrows and much, much regret..
This is unlike any of my other posts, but it may spark interest from any casual internet surfers who have wandered into the obscure corners of Google whilst procrastinating from far more important tasks, so here goes:
I have just begun university after my deeply exploratory gap year of living at home and studying fashion an hour and a half's bus journey away from my bed (make all the 'gap yah' jokes you want but the college was in Hull). So while the rest of my fellow gap year-ers briefed the shores of Bali or climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, I decided to learn a craft sadly overlooked by most academics today (put it this way - my diploma wasn't even considered a qualification on my university application form) and then after much soul-searching, decided that I would in fact return to my original plan (the one I dreamt up when I was eleven) and study Chinese and Spanish. Sporadic? Perhaps. (But not to worry, I won't quit fashion - though more on that later.)
So, two weeks ago I was preparing for what everyone calls 'the best days of your life'. How to prepare? I went to get my 'M.O.T.' done: I visited a salon. The hair was cut, the nails were shellacked, and the eyebrows threaded. And after the most painful (and expensive) ten minutes of my life I had lost a lot of hair and gained absolutely nothing - certainly not the confidence I was looking for. I didn't look like Blake Lively, I looked like Charlotte Scott with lines for eyebrows. When the beautician handed me the mirror whilst I lay on the clinical chair covered in my own hair, sweat and tears, my first response was 'OH MY GOD. WHERE HAVE MY EYEBROWS GONE?'.
Needless to say she was horrified, and spent the next half hour painting my nails nervously while reassuring the tearful client in front of her with her hand in a box that the red, stinging, bare space where her eyebrows had once been would recover its Neanderthalian bushiness within six weeks, and yes of course my boyfriend would love them. And you know what? I cried. Not necessarily because I had lost my facial hair but because I had conformed. I had just done what everyone else had done because I thought I should. Because they thought that they should. Who sets these trends? Seriously, people, don't get hair pulled out of your face and PAY for it (or any part of your body for that matter) unless you're really, really unhappy with it growing there.
Anyway, two weeks into my course and I find myself boyfriend-less (I'm sure it was the eyebrows - or maybe the fact I cried over them) and eating liquid hot chocolate out of a squeezy tube due to lack of Ben & Jerry's (the freezers broke down in Tesco - the second time I've cried in public in two weeks) and mildly heartbroken. But you know what? It's not the end of the world, because I have the confidence of certainty on my side. I am absolutely certain that after this degree I shall be a different person and changed in unforeseeable ways. Next year I am moving to China, meaning I have exactly eleven months to learn enough Mandarin to get by for a year.
Neale Donald Walsch once said that 'life begins at the end of your comfort zone', and studying in a country where I can barely speak the language is definitely out of mine. So if you're recovering from a bad break-up, I am virtually nomming Cookie Dough with you right now; if you need some motivation, remember the wisdom Neale Donald Walsch; and if you've just experienced the pain and regret that is eyebrow threading and you're reading this because you Googled how long your eyebrows will take to grow back like I did, they will take six weeks, and no, you weren't overreacting or being stupid when you cried - just don't do it in front of your S.O.
Life is propelling me on to the next level of its game, and lucky for me I will have 1.3 billion other characters to play along with next year. So if I don't have my head buried under a mountain of flashcards and drill papers, I might see you here again, dear reader, to discuss my other bad life decisions over liquid chocolate. Until then, keep revisiting the things you loved when you were eleven, keep learning, and never, ever, rip hair out of your face (unless you really, really want to).