The state of me

This is one of those entries about my personal life and stuff. So if you don’t care, don’t read it.

I might be going to Minneapolis in the first week of July. My brother lives there now, and Mom is going with her boyfriend to see him, and she said I could come too. What I’m really interested in is my friend John, whom I’ve mentioned a few times over the years. John and I met at college and we haven’t actually seen each other in ten years, but we keep in touch by phone. Well, he just moved to Minnesota.

I sent John a text asking exactly where in Minnesota he’d moved to, thinking if it was the Twin Cities area I could visit him. Then, after some reflection, I thought the better of it: John got married only a few months ago, he only just moved to Minnesota, and he’s still looking for a job. It didn’t seem like a good time to be visiting, so I decided not to bring it up at all. But John sent me a reply saying he was in Minneapolis and if I ever wanted to visit, he’d love to see me.

So we’ll see if I can arrange it. John has been a wonderful friend to me over the years. I also really admire him. He graduated from college with honors (majoring in history, like me), and went on to go to China for a year, learn Chinese, get a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from a British university, and graduate from a top twenty ranked law school. And now he’s changed his mind about going into law and wants to become a doctor instead. Which means, basically, starting over from scratch, learning all the science he needs to get a good MCAT score, possibly getting a whole new bachelor’s degree, then going to medical school. But I am sure he can do it.

I frankly feel pretty useless when comparing myself to John. I know that I have disadvantages he doesn’t have — John’s family is much richer than mine, he’s not on the autism spectrum, he didn’t suffer from severe mental illness throughout his adolescence and young adulthood (illness that didn’t get diagnosed till I was 23 and didn’t get properly under control for years after that), he wasn’t a victim of sexual assault, etc etc etc. But I know that part of the reason I haven’t achieved as much as John is due to personal failings.

I mean, take the Charley Project, which I absolutely love working on and am really good at. Basically it’s the only significant thing in my life that I haven’t failed at. I don’t work on it consistently though, as you all well know. If the Charley Project was a company and I had a boss, I would have been fired long ago for slacking off. “You’re a wonderful researcher and writer,” I can imagine my boss saying, “but a terrible employee.”

I’ve talked to my therapist about my feelings of inferiority when comparing myself to John, and he said, “Do you want to go to China?”

“Not really.”
“Do you want to learn Chinese?”
“Do you want a master’s degree in East Asian studies?”
“Do you want a law degree?”
“Do you want to become a doctor?”
“So why are you comparing your accomplishments to his?”

Anyway. I hope to be able to see him.

Michael and I are doing well. Last night we went out to this awesome restaurant with a friend, celebrating her birthday. Afterwards we (sans friend, who had to get up early for work) watched a late evening showing of Finding Dory. It was great; Pixar hasn’t made a bad movie yet. The stuff at the end with the seashell trails reminded me so much of the real-life parents of MPs I write about. One mother I know of, for eighteen years until her apartment building was torn down, slept on the living room couch every night instead of in her bedroom so she wouldn’t miss it if her daughter knocked on their door in the middle of the night. And a lot of parents or other relatives keep the same phone numbers and/or never change residences, just in case their kid comes home.

Only one other thing to report at present. I’ve mentioned before that I have melasma, a skin condition. As far as skin conditions go it’s not the worst: no itching, burning, blistering, etc. Just skin discoloration, and it’s not disfiguring or anything. But it’s very difficult and expensive to treat, and it’s on my face: across my forehead, around my eyes and around my mouth. Everyone else says they can’t see if but I sure can, every time I look in the mirror. I really wish I didn’t have it. Sometimes I look at older pictures from several years ago, pre-melasma, and look at the wonderful even skin tone I used to have, and feel sad.

Today, kind of on the spur of the moment, I went to one of those makeup places at the mall to see what could be done. I haven’t worn makeup at all, that I can remember, since I was fourteen years old. That was one time, for my sister’s wedding, and I was a bridesmaid and she more or less made me do it. So I had no idea what I needed or how to use the products. I explained this to the lady there: I was almost a makeup virgin, and I didn’t want any “MAKEUP makeup” but just something to make my skin tone even again. She went to work and the results were great, I think. I bought the stuff she recommended. I was a bit horrified when I found out the price, but she had already put my makeup on, and it looked so good, I decided to swallow the stone and buy it.

This is a picture of me I took this morning, before my trip to the mall. The melasma is pretty obvious, I think:


And here’s two pictures Michael took of me this afternoon after I got home, wearing my new makeup:



And here’s a selfie I took in the car right after the makeup application. My hair’s a bit fluffled because of the wind.


I think this looks much better, and you can’t even really tell I’m wearing makeup. If you look closely you can still see a little discoloration around my mouth still, but I don’t think it’s so much that people are going to notice it, and maybe if I put the makeup on a little heavier it will go away entirely. Michael thinks it looks great too. (I’m open to tips about concealing the melasma, by the way, or about applying makeup in general. Feel free to expound in the comments section.)

(And we’ll see if whats-their-name comments again saying I look like an old hag and my clothes are “tacky” and my hair is messy.)

I don’t think I will use makeup every day — it’s so expensive and I want to make it last — but I’m amazed at how much prettier and self confident I feel. Who knows what will be next — lipstick? Blush? Zounds.

Anyway, enough about me. That’s all.

17 thoughts on “The state of me

  1. Giulia Villa June 17, 2016 / 6:33 pm

    My tip is to bring the foundation slightly down your neck and on your ears, too, to make the transition truly seamless (I don’t wear make up often, either, but I think it’s great to have the option). 🙂

    • Meaghan June 17, 2016 / 7:49 pm

      Thanks. It’s actually two necklaces, both bought at rock bottom prices (with three others) from an Etsy shop that is closing. The longer one is peach agate and the shorter one is sunstone. I couldn’t decide which one to wear this morning so I went with both.

      The shop is and it is still open for now. Most items are under $10.

  2. Charlie Girl Says June 17, 2016 / 8:02 pm

    You look great! I use a CC cream by It Cosmetics and evens out the splotches I feel I have. It’s not heavy at all and I think you would really like it. More and more brands have cc creams so you can find lots of options from the drugstore to high end. Check out make-up tutorials on YouTube. There is something for everyone so have fun and enjoy!

  3. Liz June 17, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    I studied history too!! And why compare yourself to John. Maybe he is secretly jealous of you and your game as the Charley Project lady. You just do you, because you’re pretty awesome!

    I discovered I like the look and feel of Bare Minerals make up. Kinda of pricey, but I saw those ladies at MAC and just said no. I used to wear it daily, until I sold my soul to stay home with my kids (one has GAD and one has RAD and i wonder if maybe they both have ASD, plus two more). It looks great on you, whatever brand it is. So when you go to put it on and feel like you did a horrible job, remember the make up people do this for a living so just keep on trying and you figure out what works for you. But YouTube is a great place to help you learn too!

  4. Kim June 17, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    Meghan you do a wonderful service with this site. I am sure you have helped lost people get reunited with their loved ones not too mention your site and blog is entertaining as heck to true crime buffs. I have a cousin who has 2 master degrees and is unemployed or underemployed more the anyone in our family. Don’t compare yourself to John not many people can do what he did. You are successful in your is right.

  5. rose mcconnell June 17, 2016 / 11:10 pm

    Hi! Keep up the good work on your site. Look up Pixiwoo on youtube. Their older videos will teach you everything you want to know about makeup. You have excellent skin tone to operate with.

  6. limpalongwithme June 17, 2016 / 11:27 pm

    One of my best friends has melasma. I can never really see it but it bothers her enormously. There was a definite evening out of your skin, looks great. With makeup…a little at a time 🙂

    And stop comparing yourself to other people. That’s the absolute fastest way to a bad day/week. Be who you are. If you want different for yourself then work towards it. Otherwise, know you are the person you’re supposed to be.

  7. Sheila June 17, 2016 / 11:51 pm

    I am sure John is an awesome person, but he doesn’t do what you do. Don’t compare yourself to others. It causes you to focus on the wrong picture. You are the only person in the entire world who does what you do. What you do inspires a great deal of admiration from me. Admire John, but give yourself credit.

  8. Catherine June 18, 2016 / 1:47 am

    I recommend Emily Noel 83 on YouTube. Her user name is beautybroadcast. She has a video specifically on melasma. 2 good drug store options that she mentions are the Pixi Brightening Peach corrector (sold at Target) and the Maybelline brightener. A drug store full coverage foundation is Revlon Colorstay Whipped. I have allergy induced facial redness and I can completely cover it with that. I invested in the Real Techniques makeup sponge, which applies the makeup so it doesn’t look like pancake face. The sponge is a good price though on Amazon.

  9. diamondlil16 June 18, 2016 / 5:33 am

    I’m cutting to the chase and going straight to I love wearing makeup and yes, a nice lippie! I think the sales associate did a fab job to even your skin out. You might like a pressed powder in the summer. I think soft peaches and corals might work for your coloring, also a soft roses and pinks for lip or a hint of blush. You can start with more of the lip balms/butters that can be a ‘mlbb – ‘my lips but better’. I don’t like a true matte lipstick on anyone. Lots of varieties at the drug store that are low in price but good quality. I think lancome owns loreal, you get a lower cost as there is no sales associate. But NYC, nyx, Almay, Revlon, Milani, etc. are fine. Burts Bees just came out with lipstick too. My dad worked for Avon Products for 30 years, so I was born into all that plus my mom and her mom were always put together and fashionable. And the library always has great makeup/beauty books – check out one of Bobbi Brown’s for the natural style and this site recommends it as well

  10. AIRE June 18, 2016 / 5:43 am

    I would lay back and watch some YouTube makeup tutorials, although most of them are run by 15 – 25 year olds but the same things should still apply to nearly any age groups. I personally wear foundation and eye coal (like eyeliner but thicker) with mascara, sometimes I wear a blue eyeliner and I always put on eyeshadow. My mother used to work a lot with makeup and was all in the fashion industry and stuff, so I’m lucky to have inherited her talent and ways in that field and she’s helped me a lot. In America you guys have the “Dollar Store” or something right? Take a trip there and buy some cheap makeup products and experiment. Buy eyeshadow colors that you think would be cool or interesting. Once you start liking the new look, you can “upgrade” if you want (buy the more expensive stuff) although 4 dollar products or whatever would still work as well as 26 dollar ones, bascially. I buy a lot from Maybelline & other brands which is expensive, my mascara was around 16 fr aka maybe 18 dollars in the states? Among other things. May start buying from L’Oreal. I put on makeup everyday during the school week and my mascara has lasted over a year (not okay…), my eyeshadow around 2 years, my eyeliners…nearly a year (and still more to go) and so on. So unless your makeup is in a really really small container or something, you’d be surprise on how much will be left at the end of the year if you use it everyday or often. That’s at least my experience 🙂

  11. Lizzie25 June 18, 2016 / 6:51 pm

    Meaghan, the makeup looks great and it’s so nice to see you smiling!

  12. Jaclyn June 19, 2016 / 3:35 am

    You look terrific! Just slight changes can help confidence quite a bit. My skin tone is very uneven, and I still break out in my 50’s! But I feel much younger and have a lot of “young” living ahead of me, so I work on my makeup a bit more these days by blending it with a makeup sponge to look natural. I also use natural colors in the nude and brown tones, and some cheek highlighter to make a shiny natural look. A bit of mascara, and I am good to go! I would have to also say, spend the time to take off the makeup at night, and put on a decent moisturizer. I get a good reasonably priced moisturizer at Trader Joe’s market.
    As for John, he is a lifetime learner and has the means. He probably would never be able or even want to do what you are great at! You have met some challenges in your life that many people would just curl up and not pull out of; I know people in those situations and have much compassion for them. Your momentary times of not being able to update CP are nothing compared to your accomplishments and research for the cause of MP’s and their loved ones.
    Listen, I too have spent many years comparing myself to others. I just obtained my degree in 2014, then took 2 years to finally be land the job I have always wanted to be in! Even so, I have to stay in the frame of mind on a daily basis that I can do my job well, and I have the experience and skills to be successful in my field! Lots of prayer and meditation on the positive aspects of my life and abilities are important as well.
    Be kind to yourself, embrace your talent and uniqueness! I know of no one else that has accomplished what you have, and has done it with so much intensity and detail! I have been following you now for 8 years, and you just keep improving your site and yourself! It may seem slow to you, but no one should keep score or compare you to any other “Charley Project.” Right?
    Go Meaghan! (Even your name is unique)

  13. hennylee June 20, 2016 / 9:54 am

    Look at you pretty lady! The self Confidence you are feeling shows loud and clear in the pictures. 🙂 Make up can be a hassle – but as you have seen it can also be a mood booster… so no need to use it all the time – but when your melasma is bothering you/your confidence – it is nice to have something at hand that can make you feel better about it. 🙂 you have a sweet face – so show it off girl! 🙂

    As far as Comparing yourself to John – hey that is human nature – people do that. I do it all the time. I have had to train myself when I am comparing myself to others – to think of things that i HAVE accomplished and obstacles I have overcome that others can not necessarily claim. Again though, It’s human nature – try not to beat yourself up over.

  14. Sheri June 21, 2016 / 8:26 am

    I don’t agree that you haven’t accomplished much besides the Charley Project. How many people can maintain a loving relationship for as many years as you and Michael have? Especially considering all you struggle with. It’s obvious from your posts that you are a devoted companion to him and that’s quite an accomplishment, imho. And you are obviously a great help to your father, who has probably needed emotional support over the years. I enjoyed your post about how you supported his fiancé. Many daughters would have resented their father getting involved with someone other than their mother. But not you. Just sayin’

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