Raising an Uneven Eyebrow
My attempts at fitting into today's caterpillar couture...among other things.
I’ve been thinking about eyebrows.
Yes, you read that right. My eyebrows. Your eyebrows. Everyone’s eyebrows. Sherilyn Fenn’s eyebrows (perfection!).
Why? Because I am a former teen of the ’90s. And while the ’90s held so much goodness (Seattle grunge, the birth of trendy coffee shops, Tori Amos, cozy fashion), it was also the reason why us Xennials feel completely left out of the current thick eyebrow craze, thanks to our overzealous use of tweezers. In the ’90s, it was all about pencil thin. Today, eyebrows have taken on caterpillar couture. And while some eyebrows I’ve seen hit the runway are a tad bit scary, there’s no denying how eyebrows can change the shape of one’s face.
For most of my adult years, I’ve accepted my thin-eyebrowed fate. But seeing the onslaught of thick eyebrows had me curious, so I’ve been experimenting with my own. It hasn’t been a pretty process, since I started with no idea what I’m doing and have been too timid to ask those in the know. Instead, I’ve been watching tutorial after tutorial in my mission to learn eyebrow maintenance.
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Here’s what I’ve learned:
No one does their eyebrows the same way
Doing my eyebrows has doubled the time I take doing my makeup
No matter how perfect I think my eyebrows look, my car mirror will tell me they’re uneven
I don’t think I’ll ever master this whole eyebrow thing
Almost no one in the real world actually knows how to do their eyebrows
That last fact I’ve learned from studying eyebrows in the wild. And when I say study, I mean, I am looking at your eyebrows. I’m sorry. But I’m brow-stalking you because:
You’ve done something right and I’m trying to figure out how I can copy it, or
Your eyebrows are a hot mess, and now you are my soul sister because my brows are also a hot mess.
Through trial and error, I think I may have found an acceptable process to thicken the appearance of my spindly eyebrows. That will surely change in a few weeks, but for now, it’s working. And the only way I’ve reached this stage in my eyebrow journey is through daily practice, and then just heading out into the world with whatever I’ve created ON MY FACE.
I had to accept the outcome, even if it wasn’t what I had in mind (no matter what I do, I cannot make my face look like Sherilyn Fenn’s). Because if I waited for perfection, I’d never leave the house.
In many ways, my eyebrow struggle parallels my writing journey. In the beginning, I wrote with abandon, I published my work, and I hoped everyone would read what I wrote.
I was a baby writer, ready to make a career out of writing and publishing books.
But a funny thing happens when you’ve been doing this for a while. You realize there are rules. You can’t just write from the heart and publish your book—it’s not that simple, because you have to also pay attention to trends: what readers are reading, what covers are doing well, how authors are sharing their work, what book bloggers to contact, which social media platforms to be on, how to talk about your whole entire book in 180 characters, whether this is a vampire year or a faerie year or a blue alien year….
And soon, you’re on every mailing list as you try to soak up information, you’re hesitating before hitting publish, you’re making sure the formula you’ve used has all the ingredients to ensure you didn’t waste your time, and you’re looking at the authors who are making a killing and trying to figure out what they’re doing that you’re not.
You try to create the perfect arch, and sometimes it feels like you’re just painting shit on your face and calling it an eyebrow.
My writing journey has been full of peaks and valleys, and most of my struggle has been when I’ve worried way too much about what other people are thinking. It’s when I avoid writing because I can’t write the way the authors I admire write. It’s when I hesitate to publish because I can’t stop tinkering with my work. It’s when I go radio silent because I’m so worried about what other people think.
Sometimes you have to call it perfect, even when it’s not. Sometimes messing with it will only make it worse. Sometimes we see flaws in what we produce, but they’re invisible to the public eye.
Sometimes we’ll see uneven eyebrows, but someone else will either see perfection or a soul sibling. Because imperfections are what make us human, and our humanness is what draws people in, and you are not (I am not) your eyebrows OR your art, so stop acting like either of them will ruin your worthiness to exist as a human or creator.
Knit that in your brow. 😉
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To bring things home, here’s a story from the beginning days of my eyebrow journey. In those early clumsy days, my husband did a double take and asked if I’d done something different.
“Why, is it awful?” I asked. It was. I knew it was when I left the mirror. But I had given up on whatever I was trying to do because nothing was working.
“Are you kidding? You look beautiful!” he said. He couldn’t even tell what had changed, just that something was different, and he liked it.
Is perfection and fear keeping you from your most authentic expressions? Let’s all be brave as we face the world, uneven eyebrows and all.
What I’m writing
I’m still in editing mode for Book 2 of my upcoming Sunset Bay series, and will be for a while. This week I found a passage in the story that made me laugh as if someone else had written it, and I had to read it aloud to my husband because I couldn’t believe it was ME that wrote it.
I’m not saying that to brag. I’m saying that because we authors spend so much energy convincing ourselves that what we wrote is shit, that to find something that contradicts that belief is like finding buried treasure.
Of course, this week I also reached the spot in the novel where things took a sideways turn, and will require a ton of re-writing to get back on track. Must. Not. Procrastinate. (But I am.)
Once I’ve finished a decent draft of this book, it will be back to Book 1 to finalize edits and prep it for publication. It still needs a finalized name, cover, and everything else to make it a book…there’s a lot left to do! But if all goes well, I really do think I can make this a two-book year, which is very exciting!
What I’m reading
I just finished The Stolen Heir, by Holly Black. Let me tell you about a writing trick that I absolutely adore when authors get it right. It’s when they offer simple details in the beginning of the book, like the gesture of a small gift or the harsh way a character was handled, and then they’ll provide a little more meaning to that detail throughout the story (but so discreet you almost miss it). But then they revisit that detail again, and the reader suddenly has the wind knocked out of them because THEY KNOW the significance of that detail.
“Since I left the mortal world, no one cared for my wounds but me. The gentleness of his touch makes me feel too much, and I have to turn my face, lest he see.”
The Stolen Heir, Holly Black
Holly Black is not the only author to do this, but holy heavens, does she do it so well. This was not the only thing I loved about The Stolen Heir, but it added to the breathtaking beauty of this book. I am so sad I’m done reading it. That said, I have another one of her books on my TBR list, and I may just bump it up a few notches.
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Now, before you send me hate mail, know that I am neither for or against Team Harry or Team William. I am Team Human. I know that the layers of what’s happening in that family are so much deeper than anyone of us outsiders can understand.
I also know that this is one side of a complicated story, told from one person’s experience, bias, and understanding.
That said, I am finding it to be a fascinating read. And heartbreaking. As I read, I see a brother and son who is crying out for recognition, and who is very much affected by the loss of his mother. I think anyone who has experienced the disadvantage of favoritism could find connection with Harry’s story.
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Aaaaaand, I am also about to start Thorne Princess by my favorite romance author, LJ Shen. I have nothing to report except that I cannot wait to devour this book because everything LJ Shen writes is 🔥.
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What I’m listening to
I love to create Spotify playlists for the books I’m writing. They start out as songs that would be great on the book soundtrack, but usually end up being a list of all the songs I listened to on repeat while writing the book.
Above is the list of songs I currently can’t get enough of while I’m writing Maren’s story in Book 2 of the Sunset Bay series. These songs break my heart and fill my soul, some at the same time. I hope they do the same for you.
What I’m obsessing about
There is a little spot in the wooded hills of Northern California where the mineral springs are hot and the clothing is optional. This is where I am right now as you read this letter. It is one of my most favorite places on earth, a place where you can drop down to a whole different level as you leave the stress and busyness of the world behind and adopt a much slower and mindful pace. It’s raining where I am, and I will welcome each drop as I soak in the healing waters and breathe big breaths.
Wherever you are today, I urge you to pause for a moment and take a few meaningful breaths, and just be present in the moment.
I don’t just write rambling blog posts, I also write novels. Find them all here.