On Friday night, we celebrated the wedding of one of my wonderful friends from work. Stefanie, is one of my dearest friends. Our Kindergarten team might be unique in this way, but we truly enjoy our time together and make it a point to do things outside of work as well. We all took a half day off of work to get get “pretty” in time for the 6:00 wedding.
I left school and got my hair cut, colored, blown out and curled. A luxury I don’t take the time to do myself. We figured out while I was there that Carla has been doing my hair for 27 years! Since I was 17. My first visit with her, I was going to the prom when I was a junior in high school. She french braided my long, brown hair and intertwined it with baby’s breath – so popular in the 80’s! Not only did she do my hair for the senior prom, and my own wedding, but we were guests at each others wedding and baby showers. Carla makes me laugh every time I visit the shop. I probably get my hair cut and colored every three months or so and every time I go there, it is like visiting with old friends. Carla knows me well enough to come right out and say, “no way” to something I might ask her to try. We laugh because I very rarely keep the same color and try to change it up each time. While she was washing my hair I told her that I was thinking of going to the mall because I needed to get some makeup. I wear very little makeup on a daily basis. Some eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss is about it. I thought, if I went to the mall, I could get someone to do my makeup for me and then buy what I needed. I am not a big fan of getting my makeup done because it draws so much attention to my face….all part of my self image issues!! She convinced me to stop thinking about it and told me I had to do it. So, I did.
I decided to go to Bloomingdales at the Short Hills Mall, which is just a few miles away. Several months ago, I had been in the mall and I walked through the makeup department. I noticed a woman working at the Bobbi Brown counter. I could tell that she had Neurofibromatosis. I wanted to go up to her and speak to her but there were other customers there so I didn’t. I thought about it for weeks. Here was this beautiful woman, working at a makeup counter with NF. Makeup….something I have always shied away from as to NOT draw attention to my face.
I had no idea what her name was so I could not call ahead to find out if she still worked there. I decided to just go and hope to get lucky and see her there. I walked to the Bobi Brown counter and there were several women working. It was the middle of the day and not crowded at all. All of the sales women were free of customers and asked if they could help me, but I really wanted to see if I saw her first. I looked around, and there she was. I went right up to her and told her that I’d like to have my makeup done if she had time. She smiled and said, “Sure. Do you have NF?”
That was all it took. We became confidants on the spot. I could have sat there for hours talking to her. We had so many things in common. Her chin and neck looked like mine. She had gorgeous blue eyes and told me that we needed to accentuate my blue ones for the make-over. I told her all about my self-image issues I have and told her how brave I thought she was for going into this line of work.
We talked about the different side effects my family members have. She was the first person in her family to have it so had nothing to compare it to. We talked about how some people think we are contagious and how we feel the need to preface ourselves or give a long explanation of why we have these “bumps” all over our bodies. She would tell me things and I’d nearly catch my breath because it was so ME. All my fears, and feelings of inadequacy. She had so many of the same. We talked about hating massages because of the fear of what others might think when they touched us. We laughed about never wearing a bikini no matter how thin we were because we wouldn’t expose our torsos where the majority of the fibromas seem to be.
At the end of my session, not only did she make me look beautiful, but she had me leave there with my head held high. We exchanged email addresses so that we could stay in touch. I feel like I have found a new friend. Someone who can relate to something that most people cannot. It was such a pleasure and I cannot wait to have another big party or celebration to go to s that I cano get “fancied up.” It will be a great reason to go and visit with her again.