Somewhere, lost in the middle of the nineties - there I was. Brimming with confidence on the outside, dying with self doubt on the inside. I can never remember exactly which year anything happened when I think back to those days. I imagine it's probably because I don't really want to remember the exact details. I'm glad it's behind me, it's over.
Somewhere in amongst it, I was asked if I wanted to be in a hair show. And just to make sure I'm painting the right picture, it wasn't the type of hair show that involved photographers, stage lights and champagne. It was the type of hair show that involved the local pub, a complimentary Bacardi Breezer and a night with a group of hairdressers talking about colour codes and updo's.
I must have been about twenty four.
Part of the deal involved having a make-up artist complete our "look". I can't remember any details about her face or voice, where she came from or who she worked for, but I can remember one particular thing she said.
"Your eyebrows are driving me nuts! There's really nothing I can do with them".
I'd never given my eyebrows a second thought. "Why, what's wrong?"
"I can't get them into an arch, they're kind of flat, almost straight. It's just the way they are. Some people just can't have an arch in their eyebrow".
"Oh - I'm sorry - okay" I stumbled. Apologizing for my disappointing eyebrows, because that's what I said to anyone I found vaguely intimidating in my twenties.
I don't miss my twenties.
If I didn't get the job I really wanted, I almost apologized for applying "Oh - I'm sorry - okay".
If the particularly attractive salesperson of the incredibly groovy store didn't have my size, I apologized for being there "Oh - I'm sorry - okay"
It wasn't that I was a wallflower - I was far from it. I was the girl slamming the tequila, making the phone calls and organizing the party.
I just didn't want you to look me in the eye and ask me who I was, because I didn't like the answer. In my mind, I had faults that went way beyond my eyebrows. The unfinished university degree, the boyfriend who found someone better and the unpaid bills, were regular guests at my table of self loathing. I kept setting that table and serving myself up another plate.
I don't miss my twenties.
And then finally, I stopped. I started to see myself a little differently.
I realized I had a good job, great friends, I liked where I lived and life was pretty good. I was 28 and finally I wasn't apologizing anymore.
Two weeks ago I had an appointment in London, G and the travelers went off to the park and I found myself suddenly childless with an hour to kill. I love the way big cities can swallow you whole while charging you with their energy. There's no choice about the speed in which you walk, the sensory overload makes your fingers tingle and your hair stand on end. I ducked into a side street in Soho and saw a benefit store and knew it was my time to do the whole "benefit brow" thing. When they told me they'd just had a cancellation, I saw it as fate. No children, an hour to kill - do it now!
"You've got great eyebrows" said my new best friend from benefit.
"No, I've get terrible eyebrows - someone told me that years ago"
"What are you on about? Whoever told you that was a right plonker" she said with her gorgeous Londoner accent.
"Have a look at em!" she flashed the mirror in my direction.
And there it was. My arch. It had been there all the time.
I just wasn't ready, or perhaps able to see it.
Do you have a stage of your life that you're happy to forget?