Saturday, February 9, 2013

Looks Like Community


I don’t think I can actually adequately express how important it is to me to feel like I’m helping other people, every day, no matter how small the effect. Helping other people do their jobs better is my day job. I started this blog to try and help other people discover they’re not the only one who has no idea what to do with their hair. I am an absolute sucker for Kickstarters and community projects in general. I wasn’t expecting to find much in the nail community to support this compulsion of mine – it’s a hobby built around material acquisition. You just...well, *I* didn’t expect much in the way of community. I expected everyone to be much more interested in external appearances, rather than internal qualities - in other words, superficial. But just as with BPAL, there is so much more to the nail community than pretty stuff to put on your nails. 

The polish I want to show you today is a great example of the way this community helps each other, and contributes to the wider world around them. Normally I wouldn’t show off something I know you can’t get – this polish was limited edition, and it’s all gone now. But the idea was just so lovely, and the polish itself is so gorgeous, I couldn’t help myself. Pretty Serious are an Australian indie polish maker, and they have been producing absolutely spectacular stuff for a while now. Emma Louise was a limited edition polish created by the owner of Pretty Serious for her friend’s 30th birthday. Emma got to choose the colours, the glitters – her birthday present was a custom made polish, exactly to her specifications. This is an incredibly generous and creative gift to start with – but even better, Pretty Serious made a donation to the Australian Cancer Council for every bottle sold, meaning this polish ended up being a present to society at large as well. Naturally, I couldn’t let this opportunity to take part in such a great idea pass me by.

Image courtesy of the Pretty Serious website
Not only was this polish a great idea, it's just beautiful. You might have noticed by now that I have a huge weakness for glitter, and also dark vampy colours, and this polish brings them together gloriously. 

All pictures are two coats over Sally Hansen Insta Dri in Uptempo Plum

 It did need quite a thick topcoat to even it out, but that's because it's about 99% glitter, and that makes for a hungry polish. 


It reminds me a lot of the Alanna Renee I showed you a little while ago, in that it manages to be 99% glitter and yet somehow still not look tacky or over the top. If it's possible for purple and green glitter to be classy, this is it. 

 
But apart from the awesomeness of the polish itself, I was really happy to be able to take part, to contribute, to help in some small way. During the Obamacare debates recently in the US, I got into some incredibly heated arguments with various pundits online, because I was stupid enough to read the comments and then just couldn't help wading in once I saw how much some of them were glorifying this idea of never helping anyone else, ever. Opinions about welfare are always going to be heated, and personal, and complicated, and I don't really want to get into the economics of that particular issue because that's a whole other post for a whole other blog. But emotionally I was just baffled by the complete lack of interest in anyone else's welfare being shown by some of the people I argued with. I saw the phrase "No one helped me, so why should I help them?" repeated so many times it made me sick. Eventually I got tired of trying to use logic and rational argument and just started copying and pasting, "BECAUSE YOU SHOULD BE A DECENT HUMAN BEING", which resulted quite naturally in me being accused of being everything for a commie to a Nazi. I just...I don't understand it. 

I've been poor a lot of my life, so I totally get that a lot of people don't have money to spare for other people. But there are so many other ways to help the people around you, to contribute to their happiness. Do you know how to do something they can't, like, I don't know, baking muffins? Why not teach them how? Being able to bake muffins is pretty awesome, I think it's a skill everyone could use. Personally, my way of making sure I can contribute something to the people around me is keeping a spare room, or at the very least, a couch and some blankets on call. Because I've been very poor, and often quite desperately unemployed, I've surfed my fair share of couches. Most of the people who's couches I crashed on don't need beds, because they're much more together people than I am. But I've run into a bunch of other people who do need a place to sleep, for whatever reason, and I make a point of always being able to offer one. It's my way of repaying the kindness other people have shown me in the past. Which makes me wonder if these people so dead against helping anyone else have never been shown that sort of kindness - and then I get a little heartbroken, and have to go hug my cat for a while until the world doesn't seem so bleak anymore. 


It used to be that organised religion was the main driving force in encouraging society as a whole to  be nice to each other. Organised religion is responsible for some appalling atrocities, some even in the name of charity, but there has also been some good done, I think. For some religions, non-judgmental charity is still a big part of what they do. While I'm not what  you would call a believer in any kind of faith as such, I'm a big supporter of efforts by religious groups to actually help people out of the kindness of their faith-filled hearts, rather than trying to convert them. I don't really care what their religious justifications are for doing what they do - if they're helping, I'm happy to support that. The Hari Krishna's run a well known food van here in Sydney, where they will happily give delicious vegan noms in return for a donation of whatever you can afford. The Missionbeat van is an invaluable resource for the homeless population of Sydney, despite being run by a religion based charity. As far as I'm aware (and do correct me if I'm wrong), they're happy to give a hand and hot coffee to all comers, whether they believe in the glory of their God or not. But these days, less and less people are actively involved in organised religion. The churches that remain are becoming more politically active, and much more about telling other people how wrong they are than helping anyone outside the church. The facade of charitable actions remains, but the real heart of it has been lost, and we're left to figure out how to fill the gap on our own. Feminism is another group that likes to talk about solidarity a lot - a sense of standing together, supporting each other. Unfortunately, solidarity means shit all if the people you are standing with just want to talk about their feminist utopia, and how you and your friends aren't invited to it. Feminism looks like it should be a place full of support and compassion - but often, it's really not. The strongest and most meaningful sense of solidarity I've gotten in recent years from anyone outside my immediate circle of friends has come from the nail community.

The beauty/fashion community on the whole can be enormously judgmental, and a lot of it is really starkly cordoned off into segments for thin people, segments for white people, segments for rich people, a big room for people who are all three, and a closet for the rest of us. Partitions arranged by how you look, with a compartment for everyone. In the nail community though, it doesn't matter if you're fat, or thin, or black, or brown, or queer, or ugly. If you have nails, and you can make them look pretty, you're in. Anyone can buy expensive polish - it's what you DO with the polish you have that people really respect. A clever, detailed nail art design will win more respect and kudos than a Chanel polish, on the whole. Because creativity is so prized, and nail fanatics love nothing so much as a limited edition, making a unique limited edition polish is a fantastic way to get attention. It makes me really happy to see the talented creators like Pretty Serious getting this attention, and using their influence to help other people.

On that note, I wanted to finish with a little heads up the Femme Fatale Cosmetics is doing a limited edition run of charity polishes, starting today. This project is to help a friend in need of donations for badly needed medical care, so the cause is a fantastically worthy one. Even better? The polishes are gorgeous. You check them out here - I'm not sure if these shades will be available through their international stockists, but you can investigate here.


4 comments:

  1. This post made me cry (in a good way).

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    1. Boo for cries, but yay for good cries :-)

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  2. Thank you Cassie for your beautiful post! We love being able to contribute to charity and the whole Emma Louise experience is one that we are definitely keen to repeat. Kaz - Pretty Serious

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    1. It was absolutely my pleasure. Thank YOU for making such lovely goods :-)

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