A tale revisited.
I’m not one of those sketchy kind of people. You know the kind. The type of woman who cause others to shrink away from. The kind who who will force mothers to hide their children from. I am straight-laced. Law-abiding. I color in the lines and please-n-thank-you myself through life. And so the mere idea of me committing a crime is extraordinarily out of the ordinary.
And yet I did it.
This was no traffic ticket, people. It was a full-fledged misdemeanor. My life was in a wreck at the time and I truly think that in that moment I lost a bit of myself. I wasn’t the sweet-tempered woman I usually am, I was turning into a felon right before my inner eyes. I didn’t even care.
Things were crumbling around me — or so I thought — and I had never felt so out of control. I hadn’t learned the lesson yet that control is an illusion. All I knew is that I desperately wanted, needed, to feel in control of something.
And so I stole eyeliner.
I’ll give you a moment to internalize that one.
I hadn’t intended on doing such a thing. I was in line to buy it. There were only two women ahead of me and ordinarily I would have waited my turn. In fact, I probably would have chatted with them. Instead, I found myself growing impatient. Even angry. I knew I was transferring my emotions onto them, but I didn’t care. I just wanted my damn eyeliner. For once, I wanted to be in control of my own situation. I wanted to choose when I could leave. I wanted to choose what I had in my hands. I wanted to choose if I bought or didn’t. My choice. Mine. Only mine. Nobody else. Me.
So I walked out, eyeliner in hand, shoving it into my purse once I got outside. Nobody even noticed or cared. But I cared. These were my decisions, I empowered myself, and I didn’t care.
And there was no traffic on the way home. Even better.
I pulled into the garage, closed the door, shut the engine off and burst into tears. I could only text my husband who was in the house. Sobbing, I told him I had committed a crime.
“Come in and let’s talk about it.”
“What did you do?”
“….. well? what?”
I just cried more. What do they do to people who steal eyeliner? I told him I was worried I would go to jail but he just laughed at me more. This was a big deal! I STOLE!
I did eventually go inside the house after calming down (it gets cold in the garage) and my husband greeted me with a hug. After a few prison jokes, he talked me through my thinking. I always knew I would go back the next day to pay for what I had taken; that wasn’t the problem. What worried me deep down was that I had done it in the first place. In my mind, I was five years down the road and robbing banks, using manners with the teller.
This was the first time I had ever compromised my loyalty to honesty and integrity. I have always been honest in my dealings with people and have always felt like I have personal integrity. Yet I blew it over eyeliner. To perfectly honest, it wasn’t really about eyeliner — it was this concept of control that I felt I needed. Instead of being humble and relying on my family, ecclesiastical leaders, and prayer — as I normally do — I fell into such a dark place. This is not where I normally fall to. I am not comfortable in dark places. Probably because I steal everything in sight.
Thankfully, I have learned a great deal since this difficult time. I wear this same eyeliner almost every day if only to remind me that it is less about control and more about understanding. Understanding what there is to gain in myself, in life’s perspective, and possible growth. I also wear it to remind myself that it wasn’t worth stealing in the first place. It’s a terrible product.
Some things just aren’t worth the hassle.
This post is part of the two week Scintilla writing project where we share our histories by writing our stories. Day 1: Life is a series of firsts. Talk about one of your most important firsts. What did you learn? Was it something you incorporated into your life as a result?