Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Back To Work

Although I didn't  allocate my 6 solid weeks off work to pure convalescence, there was quite a bit of it what with surgery to recover from and all that. Sofa surfing aside (I still hate doing it if enforced) I was quite proactive; I learnt to type one fingered,
I got drunk about twice, (once in France where I fulfilled my wine tasting promise, the other with Dadjokes at a restaurant in Surrey, so it was completely wasted, as was I).
I went to a workshop, became a broadsheet journalist (for a day), popped in the office, tested my new bravery theory with a trip to the dentist, and generally tried to avoid the sofa at all costs.

Then I developed a post-surgery saroma (uncomfortable swelling, which had to be drained, gnr), as a probably result of sofa avoidance, so I tried to add a bit more of that into my schedule.

I also grew a significant amount of new hair, to the point where I decided to take a very deep breath and venture into the office. sans. wig.

Dadjokes had started to be more and more complimentary about the bird fluff 'do, so I suppose I believed him enough to stop sweating under my hot hair hats and venture out into the working world without. First there were dry runs.

Step 1, A trip to Broadway Market, where I was nervous because it's uber trendy to the point of ridiculousness, and anxious because I looked like I was trying to be acceptably edgy. In normal town micro short hair is an indication of recovery, in Broadway Market town it is an only just sufficiently kooky style choice. So not me, and the point here is, I want to be me again.

Step 2, A spontaneous pub outing, where I arrived alone, resplendent in head fluff, unplanned so no chance to revert to the wig, and with a 'who gives a crap?' mentality that I almost convinced myself was genuine. I have this terrible case of Blurt Mouth. I know it would be more chic and sophisticated and confident to sashay in and accept hair compliments with a demure smile and thanks. Instead I flap my hands around my head, tug at tufts and say 'I look like a middle aged mum/lesbian/man'. Chic? Sophisticated? er, no. It's the same affliction that has me blurt the exact price I paid, plus RRP (there is always a significant difference, I am a bargain hunting queen) for any item of clothing when I get a compliment on it. There is no mystery surrounding me whatsoever.

Step 3. The long awaited return to work. Now this is the real showcase. I should point out I get anxious when I come back to the office after holiday even, since I know about 30 people will welcome me back and ask me how it was. I don't know why, I'm just not a centre of attention type person. So my reemergence from the cancer cocoon is obviously going to be a sticking point. I had outfit planned, I had makeup sorted (play up the eyes, play up the eyes), then the weather interfered and I had to relinquish my leather leggings and Parisian boxy T for floaty skirt and white top. As soon as I got on the bus I was keening for my wig. Actual audible whimpering.

Let me explain, as I did to the LGFB workshop when they asked me why I wear wigs. I am into fashion. If I put on an outfit and think my watch doesn't go with it, I won't wear the watch. Some outfits look better with hair. Floaty skirt and fluff 'do look, as Dadjokes pointed out, like a Romanian heather-seller, or a middle aged hippy. Again, just not very me.

Katie came to meet me in the lobby and escort me up - she knows my nerves and needs - and I arrived to a a neon welcome sign, literally, that made me remember exactly why I love my job (and it's not for the presents). The people I work with are as amazing as Broadway Market is ridiculous. There was office commentary on what other team members would look like in my position (a tennis ball and a marine apparently), but my desk made me forget how different I felt and basically treated me as distinctly un-special till I got some actual work done.

That's not to say I haven't obsessively planned my outfit for tomorrow - I'm sure the air con will sort out leather-leg sweats...

The Acceptance Plan

The key to pulling off super short hair is non-floaty wear, and clever but feminine makeup. This I know to be true even though my reflection doesn't always convince me - sometimes I have beauty dysmorphia - I shall seek help.

Think 60's. Twiggy and Edie Sedgewick worked their crops to perfection, much like Emma Watson does now, and its because, without fail, they always rock a beautifully made up eye. My own lashes are growing back happily and healthily. They stayed in hiding for a bit too long, but now they're back, they're making up for lost time. This is probably because of all the Rapidlash I really should have shares in. My eyebrows are also pretty much back to normal, but the super short 'do requires lots of feature definition, so I still fill them in with brow pencil.

The pretty comes from mascara, elongating eyeliner and a lot of kohl pencil. In my long hair days this would be overkill, but this is the bonus of boyish hair. Clinique Brush On Cream Liner in Smoke Grey, drawn on and flicked out with an angled brush is dark enough to look smouldery, but gentle enough to be pretty and understated. Defining the inner corners and lower eyelid with grey kohl pencil (I use Mac eye kohl in Phone Number) makes my eye colour look lighter, whites whiter and emphasises the almond shape.

Still sticking by my dewy blush guns for all the glowing power it holds, and I'm switching to bubblegum pink lipstick, since red looks a little too severe with this hair. I don't know why, it might be my dysmorphic reflection telling me so, but who doesn't love pink? Especially 4 year olds, and it is the youthful antidote I'm going for here. 

My friends Jonny's little girl asked me why I wear long hair today, having seen me both ways, and I told her it just looks more like me. Only a few more years till I'll get the real me back again, but in the mean time, oh the fun to be had with the alternate versions.


  1. You look BEAUTIFUL with your crop. And I love the pink lips. Perfect with it xxx

  2. What lovely work friends you have and who can blame them, you seem pretty lovely yourself! ps. I agree with Maggie you look gorgeous with a pixie style crop x

  3. Beautiful as ever! You don't need that "who gives a crap" mentality. You've just been given the "opportunity" to experiment with a different "do" for a while x

  4. Hi Sophie, you look great and that's awesome you went out with your cute pixie cut :) I have a quick question, in one of your entries you recommend creme de la mer, but link to the concentrate. Did you use creme de la mer (the creme) or the concentrate more? Which do you recommend if I only buy one? Thanks!! Your blog has been inspiring.