I woke up this morning so directly out of a dream that I was able to retell it to Erik quite vividly. I’d been in our personal library, a vast room like a train station, with vaulted ceilings and antique metal trusses, two stories with rows and rows of bookshelves and even carousels for videos. The makeover guy (more on him in a moment) had said, “This is quite a library,” and I’d said yes, and thought, “I almost forgot we had this place, it’s been so long since I came in.” I remembered that when we’d moved into the house and I’d been organizing all these bookshelves, I’d envisioned a life in which I spent whole days in the library, expanding my mind on every imaginable subject. I looked around and many of the books were Agatha Christies and romance novels, cooking magazines, and bestsellers I’d picked up just because they were popular. The library was so enormous, I suddenly realized I’d never be able to get through all of it, and I resolved to get rid of all the books except the ones I really wanted.
We were in the library with the makeover guy, a likeable, confident Asian American guy (in black and purple plaid pants, and oh did he work them) who’d given many celebrities their iconic looks. He was offering his services for free as a promotion, so two of my friends (who are both really insecure about their looks) had signed up, and in two sessions he’d taught them how to stand and move, and had given them hair and makeup makeovers. They looked fantastic, like movie stars, and I could tell they weren’t going to be so insecure anymore. We all got Erik and one friend’s boyfriend to agree to work with this guy too, but for myself, I refused. I told him, “I have the greatest respect for what you do, and I can see that you’ve given J— and C—- a gift they’ll use for life. But I’m home about five days out of any week, writing or painting, and to do that I don’t need to look like Gong Li. I’m sure I’d love it, but there would always be some part of me that thought, ‘I don’t need this.'” He replied, “I respect that, and I respect your confidence in yourself. But I, also, do my work because I feel called to it, and if you’re willing, I can work with you in a way that suits your life. You don’t need ‘club hair’ like J— and C—, and we don’t have to use makeup. What do you think?” I said okay, and woke up.
Sometimes my dreams go places that don’t exist in real life (one memorable night I leaped from flying carpet to flying carpet as we flew over a jungle), but often they put together imaginary places and people with issues that I deal with regularly. In real life, even though my library consists only of two BILLY shelves and some Elfa, I might as well be facing the vast library of my dream. I have too many books, about half of which I’ve never read. Of the ones I have read, I tend to hold on to them longer than I need to. Clearing the bookshelves is one of my major housekeeping goals, and it’s a very slow process.
The makeover thing is interesting. I’ve always wanted to experience one of these journeys from normal to glam, though I’ve long resigned myself that I’ll never be on the cover of a magazine (well, not for my appearance, anyway). But I didn’t know until I talked to this dream makeover guy — such a sensible fellow, eh? — just how peripheral my looks are to my real desires. Sure, I could always use more clothes and fewer pounds on my frame, but as long as I’m exercising, sleeping, and drinking plenty of water, I really think I’m as beautiful as I need to be.