Pixie Dusted

Well, after months of deliberation, I did it. I got bippity-boppitied. I realize that sounds faintly salacious, but if you have been journeying with me, you’ll know that it is kind of the opposite of salacious.  If you haven’t been reading along, you might want to check out  http://www.terrilabonte.com/2018/08/bippity-bop-or-not/ and http://www.terrilabonte.com/2018/09/bopworthy/.  

My pixie posse and I set off to the Grand Floridian Resort, ready for a glitterific adventure.  My friends were going to watch while I transformed into Tinker Bell right before their very eyes.  After my tinkifying, we planned to monorail our way over to the Magic Kingdom to visit the Princess of Pixie Hollow herself, then have a nice lunch.  When we pulled into the parking lot at the Grand Floridian, we knew we were in for a good day.  We encountered the Cinderella pumpkin wedding carriage, with its six white horses, carrying a beautiful Disney bride towards the wedding chapel. Sparkle alert, already!  How can that not be a great omen? 

When we entered the salon, I felt my blood pressure rise a bit.  I bleed sparkle and I think my circulatory system was leaping in joy from all the glitter in the atmosphere. My giddiness level increased.  I was excited from the top of my short, flat brunette hair to the white pom poms on my green fairy slippers.  For someone who struggled so long and hard about whether or not this bippity-boppetying was a good idea, I was all in. I’m not sure how I managed to sit still and not flitter fly all over the salon.   

Andrea was my own personal Purveyor of Pixie Dust.  She was sparkling so much, she didn’t need a magic wand to complete my makeover!  She made me feel special and magical and adorable every minute I was with her.  What is even more interesting is that she made me feel like she was having every bit as good a time as I was having.  I mean, I realize this is her job and she wasn’t making me a Tinker Bell twin for the sheer fun of it.  Still, she certainly acted like having me as a client absolutely made her day.  I think I am, by and large, a pretty pleasant person, but I can’t think that there is anything that special about me to inspire such delight.  Maybe we were all smoking the pixie dust!   

Andrea started with my hair.  I was concerned because my hair is pretty short and I couldn’t imagine a Tinker Bell makeover without the Tinker topknot.  Andrea brushed aside my worries.  All she needed was faith, trust, and pixie dust.  However, Andrea didn’t stop with the bun.  She had an idea that I could look like Tinker Bell, but with some special Terri pizzazz.  Using lots and lots of hairspray, she changed my hair to sculpting material.  I ended up with my topknot, but also with curls and tiny Tinker Bell bows all over my head. I can’t even explain all the interesting special effects Andrea crafted from my hair. I said I looked like a combination of Tinker Bell, Cindy Lou Who, and myself.  I know such an odd mutation is hard to picture (which is why I am including photos), but trust me when I say it was very effective and fetching.  It was exactly what I wanted, but didn’t know it.  The final step for my hair was a liberal dusting of glittering pixie dust.  For those of you who know the whole Tinker legend, you’ll understand that I was very pleased to see that the sparkle was BLUE pixie dust.  For those of you who don’t understand the implication, you can go watch the movie Tinker Bell and The Lost Treasure.  Let’s just say that, without blue pixie dust, the world would be a very different place!  Or at least my world would.   

After the hair came make-up.  Andrea turned me away from the mirror, so I could not see what was happening.  My pixie posse watched, fascinated, cell phone cameras in hand, as I squirmed in anticipation.  They cheered me on, but I wondered if they were just being nice.  I heard them cooing all kinds of amazed noises, but “amazed” can be good or bad.  People coming to the salon to ask questions, make appointments, or check in for their own treatments stared at me.  I kind of stopped conversation.  There was one lady at the counter who was so transfixed by what was happening on my face, the receptionist had to keep asking the same questions over and over again before she answered.   

There was one debate during the make-up process.  Should I have false eyelashes or not?  Before coming to the salon, I thought I would skip the eyelashes.  I thought they might be a bit over the top (yes, apparently I did think there was such a thing as “over the top” when having a Tinker Bell makeover) and, for some reason, they kind of read “villain” to me.  Andrea also seemed to be on the “no eyelash” side of the aisle, as she thought the lashes they had were pretty extreme.  However, my pixie posse believed that I might as well do the eyelashes.  One pixie partner said they would look good in the pictures.  Another reminded me that I probably wasn’t ever going to do this experience again so I should just go the full Monty, as it were. The girl staring at me at the reception desk was also on Team Eyelash.  She kept mouthing, “do the lashes” at me.  I finally succumbed to peer pressure and I am very glad I did.  Andrea found some mid-length lashes for me, which were plenty long enough, believe me.  In fact, when I put my glasses on much later in the day, the lashes were pushing them down my nose.   

I never knew I had such big eyes.  Andrea was able to fit at least four colors on my eyelids.  All of the colors sparkled, of course.  She picked from a huge palette of eye shadow colors, all of which were brighter than anything ever witnessed in nature.  Of course, the highlight of my lids was the sparkly Tinker green that might as well have my name on it from this day forward.   

When Andrea turned me around, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was amazed…. In the best possible way.   I have never, ever looked that good.  Yes, I looked like I belonged in Pixie Hollow.  Yes, I looked like I was Tink-inspired.  But I also looked like some version of me… a me completely liberated from expectations, care, and responsibility.  It was like I was channeling Tinker Bell, as well as looking like her.  Yet, I was still very clearly myself.   

When we went to visit the original Tinker Bell at the Magic Kingdom, she and I had a wonderful pixie meet-up.  I’ve been to see Tinker Bell many times in my life, but I believe we bonded in a new way on the day of my tinkification.  Part of me is still with her in Pixie Hollow.  My friends and I took pictures with Tink.  We enjoyed being childlike, living in the magic.   

I loved having this experience.  I loved having my friends with me.  I can’t imagine doing it without my pixie posse.  They encouraged me to immerse myself in the experience and celebrate. We celebrated together.   We celebrated our lives, our love of Disney, and friendship.  These are some wonderful things to celebrate.   

When I went home that night, my heart was still smiling.  When I removed the remnants of Tinker Bell, I was a little bit sad… but not too much.  Even without the make-up, I still had the pixie dust… on my scalp, on the floor of my bathroom, and, most importantly… in my spirit! 

Thanks to Andrea, my pixie duster, for Tinkifying me in a way I never expected.  Thanks to my wonderful pixie posse partners, Nancy and Kathy, for being my fairy godmothers.

Pre-tinkification

Tinkification in process!

Those eyelashes

!

Andrea, the Purveyor of Pixie Dust

The finished product- my Pixie Sister and me!

The pixie posse!

So what do you think of the new me? Do I look like I belong in Pixie Hollow?  Should I just grow up?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative,  you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.  

Have a glitterific day!

Terri/Dorry

 

Changing Leaves

It is not a coincidence that fall foliage is the same color as the sunset.   

I learned something about the changing leaves during my recent trip to New England.  Autumn leaves are simply breath-taking.  We describe them ubiquitously as “vibrant.”  Merriam-Webster’s first definition of “vibrant” is “pulsating with life.” Despite that perception of vitality, the changing leaves are more about death than life.  The process by which leaves change colors is not as much about creating something as it is about destroying something.  Time’s weathering strips the tree of the chlorophyll that allows the life-giving green color to flow into the leaves. It is scarring that robs these trees of green… of life. The colors we see during the autumn are the “real” colors of the trees.   The fall leaves are the essence of the tree, all that is left visible and beautiful in the aging process.   

Before my mother’s illness and death, I never used to think much about my own mortality, nor, by extension, my own aging.  I never felt terms like “old” or “elderly’ or “senior citizen” applied to me.  Even when I retired, which is probably our cultural definition of “aging,” I never felt myself to be “aged.”  I saw my retirement as simply compensation for fulfilling a contract. I knew that there was an age qualifier on that contract.  I simply chose to concentrate on the fulfillment of 30+ years of hard work that I promised to complete for the government as opposed to the number of years in my age.   

After my mother died, I think that changed.  Suddenly, the idea that I will die within the foreseeable future came sharply into focus for me.  I began to lose interest in dreams because it seemed like nothing really mattered- I was going to die anyway.  My gut turned over and threatened to escape whenever I contemplated life events and opportunities that I will likely never get to experience or experience again.  I will never be a parent.  I will never get to live in an environment, like New England, completely different from anything I have ever known.  I will likely never see some of the places I have visualized going.  When I start thinking about major purchases, like cars and computers, and vacation trips, it disturbs me greatly that I can see the “lasts” in my future.  I am getting nauseous just writing this.  It feels really terrifying.   

I am only 59. I am sure some of you are wondering what right I have to be so morbid at such a comparatively young age.  I don’t know, but my mother’s death seems to have been the catalyst that reminded me that my life, like every other life, is limited. I still feel some futility and impossibility when I look at the future. 

I think this is the scarring talking.  I am a Christian.  I believe this life is fleeting for all of us, regardless of our age.  I believe that the life to come will be eternal and eternally joyful.  There should be no terror in contemplating that future.  Still, it saddens me to think of what I will be missing.  When I was younger, it always seemed like there was plenty of time to start again.  There was plenty of time to pursue my dreams.  There was plenty of time to travel the world.  There was plenty of time for new experiences.  It saddens me that I now see that there is not plenty of time.  As the song from The Lion King says, “There is more to see than can ever be seen and more to do than can ever be done.”  

I am pretty happy with the priorities I have set in my life.  I’ve had wonderful experiences and beautiful relationships.  I always have joy somewhere in my heart. The problem now is learning to accept that I won’t have everything and to believe once more that whatever life I have left is valuable and meaningful and rampant with possibilities…. even though that life is going to come to an end.   

Just as the trees are losing their green, I am losing my youth in this autumn of my life.  Still, autumn is pretty wonderful.  The mosaic of reds and oranges and golds and browns is certainly more interesting and more eye-catching than the landscape of green.  My own landscape is more colorful, more interesting, and warmer than it was in my youth.  I don’t have to concentrate on the fact that my snapshot of the world is fading.  I can concentrate on the beauty that snapshot captures. My activities and dreams are not moot because the chlorophyll is dimming.  They are still precious and wonderful because they are made up of the stripped-down, primal essence of the beauty that is me.   

I’m trying hard to avoid dismissing the joy of my life because the day will come when that joy will cease to exist. First of all, I may not know what joy will look like in God’s kingdom, but I know it will be there. Secondly, I think we were meant to experience our lives fully, not ration some happiness “for later.” Thirdly, gifts are gifts, no matter when they arrive in our lives.  An awareness that those gifts are finite can increase our appreciation and enjoyment of them.  Also, the timing of those gifts can make them even more precious to us.  After all, we do not mourn the loss of the green when we gain the beauty of the fall foliage.   

Yes, the colors of the autumn foliage are the same colors as the sunset.  They do represent a loss. However, they are also brilliant and joyful and lovely.  They beckon me to immerse myself in life and create joy.  Fall is a time when I can experience some things I can experience in no other time of the year… or of my life.  

You know, the colors of the autumn foliage are the same colors as the sunrise, too.  And that is not a coincidence either.

How do you think about death?  Have you experienced any losses that have also helped you gain a richer perspective about life?  Are you living a sunset or a sunrise? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a colorful day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂