Change #74: St.Patty’s Day Green Fail; Guinness Beer Success

I had hoped St. Patty’s Day would count as 2 changes. But over the last week I made several attempts to purchase a green dress, or green pants, and on both fronts I failed. I am very particular about how my clothing fits, and given that I’m still carrying some extra weight, it makes my shopping experience even more terrible.

I did think briefly about purchasing a pair of green pants that I half-liked. I thought I could wear it for the day, meet my challenge, and then if I chose to never wear them again I would be fine with that. Then the other part of me, the cheap part, that hates wasting money on clothes I never wear, spoke up. And I decided I really would not be alright with that. (It’s difficult being inside my head. I know.) 

For these reasons, on St. Patty’s Day I failed  to go green from top to bottom. I did successfully purchase a new green shirt that won’t make me feel like the pillsbury-dough-girl. (The colour tag said “Fern” so – it counts as green even if it looks more grey in certain light.) It will also be a shirt that I can wear to work. That in itself is a win.

For some reason, I figured if I could get the nail polish on, in spite of the clothing purchasing failure, I could still count myself very much green. I had the dark green colour (the name was “Posh”) on my nails until Thursday night. It was horribly chipped by that date. I had meant to paint my nails with Eclectic, (that was the lighter green) on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I simply did not make the time.

Not one to easily admit defeat, I removed the old polish on Thursday night around 10:30 PM. I roughly calculated that I might be able to apply the new colour on Friday morning before my walk with Hershey. At 5:00 AM after I made my lunch for work, I plopped myself in a chair at our dining room table to apply the new colour. I was originally going to go with one coat (lazy) but it looked terrible. I quickly applied a second coat, applied the fast dry coat, and prayed it would be done in a few minutes.

My nails were sloppily done with green that swelled around my cuticles. Bits of green were dribbled along the edges of my nails and under the top part of my nail. The burning, corrosive smell of nail polish, that toxic smell – hung in the dining room air. More importantly, it also clung to my nails.

Within a few minutes, my nails were surprisingly dry. After bundling up for the 135th day in a row because of the interminable winter in Ottawa, I saddled Hershey up with his collar and retractable leash and we headed out the door for our morning waddle down our street.

When I returned from home, the chemical smell of nail polish that hung in the air earlier had evaporated. However, the toxic smell lingered on my nails. It wasn’t strong, and to be honest, it required me to stick my fingers right to my nose. But I worry about such things. There are many places that now have a low-scent or no-scent policy. For this reason, I am obsessive over smells that I wear, fearing that I may trigger an allergic reaction from someone I know, or don’t know. (This might be a hint of obsessive-compulsive disorder, I know.)

I know it sounds ridiculous to worry about such things, but I suffer from seasonal allergies 6 months of the year. I understand the misery. During pollen season, it’s a situation of coughing-sniffling-sneezing-scratchy-eyes-so-that-you-can’t-get-your-contacts-in miserable time of year. In the fall when dearest ragweed season is upon us, it is a second, more milder version of the same symptoms.

Aside from seasonal allergies, there are a number of other things that I am also allergic to such as: dust mites, cat dander, and tobacco. (The list really is endless.) All this to say, you need not explain to me how one suffers because of an allergy. It might not be exactly the same as how I suffer – I suspect it’s probably much worse. However, my symptoms are enough to make me weepy; weepy to the point where during very high pollen months, I contemplate lying down in the street in order to wait for death to take me. (It sounds like I’m being dramatic but really, imagine having a perpetual cold three months of the year?)

In spite of my reasons for removing the nail polish, I felt defeated.

After this, I had a brief moment when I thought I would force friends and family to vote whether I had worn enough green to satisfy my St.Patty’s Day Green Challenge.  Then I decided that wouldn’t be fair. I knew the truth.

With my head held down pouting on my couch, I suddenly had a vision of a blonde woman in her early 40’s that tapped away at a keyboard in an office somewhere. With every finger punch to the keys, she saw her chipped dark green nail polish. She wore a small amount of makeup. As she sat at her desk, every time she moved her legs her calves burned from a workday stair climbing session she had over a lunch hour two days earlier. It had been one of a series of pathetic attempts to train for the CN Tower Stair Climb. The Stair Climb that was sometime ago a few months away, was now less than 3 weeks till D-Day. Her legs ached so much, she was now opting to take the elevator in the building whenever it was required whether it was one flight, or 5 flights of stairs.

It was me. I was that girl.

I’m still embarrassed to say that I fail. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s the word itself. It implies someone who is inadequate and by implication, has not really made an effort to be successful at whatever they endeavoured to try.

But maybe it should be ok to fail. To say, I couldn’t do that this time. I was too tired. I had headaches three days in a row. I felt emotionally beat by the end of the week. This is not meant to provide excuses for not meeting an objective and avoid ramifications for failing. It is meant to accept defeat.

As well, a defeat should not be rewritten as a success. If you can admit a failure, means that you will take what you learned from the experience and try again another time. Or perhaps you will plan for it better, and further in advance. Or maybe decide at the very beginning, that it is too challenging to be attempted at this time.

My new definition of failure is this: it’s a part of life that allows a person to grow, to adapt, and to change. We all fail and it really is ok. 

That being written, I wore the green shirt to work during the day and showed a co-worker my green wig that I still planned to wear to the Barley Mow (a local pub) that night. After work, I changed my dress pants to my pleather pants, completed my makeup (purple eyeshadow with other colours) for the second time that day, pulled my “Rock Chic” hat on and red-pink gloves and walked to the Barley Mow. Before I entered the pub, I swapped my “Rock Chic” hat for my green wig. Then I proceeded to hunt for where my friends, Dan and Sheila, and hubby were hiding. As I walked in with my green wig on, I saw a woman smile and nod at me from another booth. I smiled and nodded back. As I turned the corner, I found our friends and my hubby tucked away in a corner booth away from everyone.

I yelled, “No one’s going to see me here!”

After my little outburst, we chatted for awhile and my hubby asked what drink I wanted and offered to get it from the bar. I decided, I WOULD NOT ORDER WINE. My last beer that I attempted, was more than 10 years ago and after that night, I vowed – never again!

But this March 17th would be different. It would be big. It would be bold. It would be Irish. Guinness Beer it was. If I couldn’t be fully Irish green from top to bottom, I would at least have an Irish drink.

My first taste of the beer, I stuck my tongue out like a baby might do when they had pureed broccoli for the first time. I decided that my taste buds might not be working properly, because I brushed my teeth prior to heading to the bar. As I had another sip, and then some more, my Guinness Beer dwindled away. I decided halfway through my beverage, I quite liked it. I was relieved to know that if we ever made it to Ireland, I would be able to enjoy a beer there while doing the local dance steps.

My Irish drink was a success.