Since I'm a visual person I hardly ever remember the album title but I just remember what the album art looks like.
Old people are wise. We should totally be listening to them.
You know how they say haste makes waste? Well, for me, haste made a busted lip, a
swollen face, four broken teeth (with one of them almost permanently lost), and
a bruised tongue (and ego, to boot). I’ve had to eat mostly soup and other
non-solids for several days and have been having trouble sleeping because of
The problem was indeed a bit of haste, but the essence of my
problem was my propensity to not prioritize. If I didn’t realize it before, the
need to correct this problem of mine has surely now been knocked into my head,
literally. And I have a mirror reflecting my mistakes to serve as a daily, unforgiving reminder.
It was like any other day, really--well, any day in which you have
an assignment due, and you wait until forever to do it, and then pull an all-nighter,
and then try to go to school without eating or drinking. This combination of
sleep deprivation and hastily trying to catch a bus to head to my university
led me to unconsciousness and a trip to the emergency room.
One second, I'm standing still at my bus stop catching my
breath and feeling faint; the next, I open my eyes and my body is lying in the
middle of the street with my face planted squarely on pavement. Blood is
spewing from my mouth and I’m completely disoriented.
Since I blacked out, I
had no idea where I was or what happened to me in the five seconds after I
opened my eyes. Because I’m lying in a typically busy street, I briefly thought I
had been hit by a car--at least the throbbing pain in my mouth and piercing
headache leads me to believe it. As I look around searching for anything that
could explain my circumstances, an older woman approaches me and guides me
safely to the sidewalk where I stood just moments earlier.
As I gain my bearings I realize the extent of my predicament: My lower teeth, seemingly broken, are cutting into my tongue; one of my front
teeth is knocked out completely; my other front tooth is hanging on for dear
life, allowing me momentarily to reminisce about the hopeful anticipation that
usually came with that sort of sensation. Instead of a tooth fairy, though, I am greeted with the kindness of strangers.
It’s bad enough to be away from home and in a foreign
country without close friends and family. But when asked if there is anyone I
could call and having to mutter out a solemn “no” in between winces of pain
brings its own set of isolation.
Yet I was fortunate to have had some help from a few Dutch
natives. One was practically angelic: this older woman who guided me to the sidewalk
and stayed by my side until the ambulance came, delegating tasks to others
around us and retrieving my lost articles, including my missing tooth. “Sir do
you have something she could drink for hydration?” “Hey, could you call the
ambulance?” At least that’s my interpretation since I don’t speak a lick of
Dutch. But everyone’s corresponding behavior gives her words sufficient context.
A gentleman who also stayed with me was glued to his phone
giving information to an emergency operator. By the time a bus stopped in front of me, I’d had enough time to think
beyond the urgent, beyond my survival. I then started to feel pangs of embarrassment.
How ridiculous am I? Kneeling down on this sidewalk all bloodied and toothless.
And for no reason at all! I slowly started to reflect on my choices and realized I have to change.
Not too long after, I heard sirens approaching. Once the
paramedics parked and pulled a stretcher out, I became more conscious of the
severity of my health. They lifted me onto the stretcher and I enthusiastically
thanked the good Samaritans who helped me. I don’t know how to thank
them enough for taking that much time out of their day to do something kind for
a total stranger. I had to stifle tears as the paramedics closed the door and I waved them goodbye through the back window; that was an intense 10 or 15
minutes to share with people only to realize you may never cross paths again.
I clutched my wayward tooth along the ride to the hospital, hoping
the damage isn’t as bad as I think it is. Upon our arrival to the emergency
room, and at the earliest opportunity to secure a reflection, I saw that it’s
much worse. My face is unrecognizable. Being an xoVainer, of course, one of my
first thought was how I am going to continue writing for a beauty site when my
looks are solidly on “beast” mode. I had a few more pressing issues at hand,
The diagnosis was low blood sugar--I was running on
empty. With a face plant that cracked open my gums and lips, a tetanus shot was in order. After a dentist reattached my tooth and gave me her instructions on
what I should be doing the next few weeks, I at least feel some hope. Moreover, this all could have turned out much, much worse.
One thing I learned from that surreal day was that, along
with shifting how I live my life, I have to appreciate what life offers, even
in the midst of setbacks. I am so
thankful for those two people helping me at the bus stop. I am thankful that,
despite landing in the middle of the street, I fainted when there was little to
no traffic. What if there was oncoming traffic when I fell unconscious? I’m
thankful my injuries are fairly temporary, as, though costly, cosmetic
dentistry can resolve the hideous gaps in my mouth.
In all, I am grateful to still be alive. That was a truly
frightening moment and yet another reminder that life is fragile. Anything can
happen from one moment to the next, and one misstep—an oncoming car,
unsympathetic passers by, a fall that could have cracked my skull instead of
merely my mouth—could have led me to an even more unwelcome fate, so I have to
absolutely take better care of the things in my control.
And because I like to see the other upsides in life, that
terrible, terrible day has forced me to change my beauty routine.
There’s a lot
goin’ on in the bottom half of my face, so I’ve been hiding my mouth until the
swelling subsides by wearing scarves. Now my smize game is on point. And I’m paying more attention to my brows. So, hey, why not use this
fiasco to improve my eyebrow styling, and help you ladies, too?
I’ve provided a guideline of my brow-styling routine
(Can brow styling be a thing? Browscaping?),
which has been perfected since my nasty fall. My everyday brow look is understated. I’m not yet stellar with my brows, but I’ve got the basics down. I
typically thread them, but I don’t trust any threader outside of Harlem, so I’m
going bushy this winter.
These tricks are especially helpful for when, like
myself, you don’t have your brows arched but want them to appear clean.
You’ll need: concealer, an eyebrow brush or spoolie, a
pencil brush, an angled brush, brow or eyeshadow powder, and facial tissues or
paper towels. I also use a water/glycerine mix, but this is optional.
First, I brush my brows diagonally. Then I apply the
foundation or concealer I use for my entire face.
Next, grab your pencil brush.
With the pencil brush, I apply concealer from the area of my
eyebrow closest to the nose bridge going back towards the ear. I’ll call this area
of the brow the “head” and the slim part the “tail.” Because my brows aren’t
shaped, I’m creating the shape I want with the concealer.
I start first with a narrow line as if I’m creating an
outline under the brow. I then reapply the pencil brush on its flat side to
I repeat on the top, but I make a slightly more narrow line
I’m ready to start filling in my brows with the angled
First, I ensure that my angled brush is a sharp as possible.
If it isn’t, I take a tiny dab of my glycerin-water mix and use it to pinch the
I lightly dip the narrow part of the brush, and not its flat
side, in the eyebrow powder. I prefer powder over an eyebrow pencil because the
effect looks less stark and more natural on my brows.
I lightly start outlining
the bottom of my brow a little behind the base and continue to the tail. I
don’t want the head to be too dark so I don’t apply powder directly there.
I then brush up from the bottom outline, filling in the
I apply concealer again with the broad edge of the pencil
brush to define the bottom and top of the brow and use my finger tip to blend.
For everyday wear, I usually end here and continue with my
For nights out, I highlight with eye shadow to make the arch
a little more dramatic.