On my fifth birthday I managed to convince my mother to host a neighbourhood-wide masquerade party in my honour.
If this request of mine doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about me, it’s because you’re a passive reader. To spare you the humiliation, though, I’ll tell you the full story as a means of introducing myself.
Upon turning five, I had a growing suspicion that my great destiny was going to—finally—reveal itself. When my mother proposed themes for the party—pirate, princess, playdough—I shook my head vigorously and asserted my destiny upon her. I wanted a masquerade party.
There was to be sparkling punch, an equal number of boys as girls (for dancing, duh), decadent chocolate cake, and of course there were to be masks.
My mother, bless her, somehow managed to convince me that at this age—destiny or not—creating our own masks during the party would be an enjoyable activity and one I now suspect she was hoping would pass the time.
I caved, probably only after a fit of old fashioned hysterics, and on October 26, 1992 I found myself sitting at a plastic-wrapped picnic table wearing a homemade crocheted blue party dress, cutting out my glamorous masquerade mask with a pair of wiggly-edged child-proof scissors.
To say my destiny wasn’t up to snuff would be an understatement. I didn’t know what, exactly, my destiny involved, but I had a suspicion whatever it was didn’t include arts and crafts.
I don’t know where I adopted my high horse from. I grew up in a church family, and my bedtime stories were on par with “Michael rowed the boat ashore,” not The Great Gatsby—but there it was, glittering and golden-saddled and I was intent to ride upon it.
I spent all of ten minutes decorating my jagged mask. I covered the entire thing in glue, pressed it face down in a vat of silver glitter, attached a feather to either side and announced with grand authority that it was time for cake.
Obviously the itinerary said something different, because for the next 50 minutes I had to sit and watch as everyone else at the piss-proof picnic table turned out spectacular works that rivaled Toddlers in Tiaras.
Here I was, about to be the debutant of my destiny ball, wearing a lopsided and patchy-glittered eye mask while all the other children sparkled in their Victorian Age masterpieces.
Naturally, I threw a fit. I had been lazy and impatient and certain that I was to be the star, effort or no effort, and I was fully aware of this mistake.
I have applied this story time and time again in my daily life to moments that really require no self-analysis at all.
Impatient in the grocery store line? Remember the mask Andria: impatience gets you nowhere any faster. Bored with the color of my walls? Remember the mask Andria: Glitter in a hurry is just a gongshow in the long run. Jealous of my peer’s new shoes? Remember the mask Andria: You had the same opportunity and you spent your paycheck on a 4L box of wine to drink alone sitting on your kitchen counter.
It’s funny how some moments stick with you through life, despite their triviality. In retrospect, I’m sure that moment had no implications on my personality at all. But the fact I have brought it up so often has encouraged me to develop it into some sort of epic sequel to Beowulf and the Battle at Herrot.
A simple story of disappointment has become my entire life’s motto: Glitter may seem like a quick fix to a pesky problem, but in the end, you’re still going to have to wait around to eat your own damn birthday cake.
Oh, and I’ll pass on the DIY projects, Pinterest. But thanks.
— Andria is a twenty-something blogger living in Kamloops with her 100 pairs of heels and 200 paperback Penguin Classics.