No one warned me that I would become less. Less creative, less beautiful, less emotive. Somehow in the hustle and bustle of life I felt like I started losing myself, but I couldn’t even begin to tell you when or how.
I’m not a morning person. Nor am I much of a night owl. So morning and evening routines are not something I’m very strong in. I know, that probably sounds really strange to say in an era where “self care” is a huge a trend. But I just don’t care very much to set such habits, and I never understood them. I can’t really say for sure why.
My husband, on the other hand, has a very rich morning routine. Somehow he manages to get up early enough to get an hour or two of scrolling the internet reading articles, Facebook, and entertainment news in the film industry. Then he gets to his hygiene: He usually shaves if he needs to. Then he showers, washes/exfoliates and lotions his face and arms, puts on cologne or deodorant, and finishes off with doing his hair while examining himself in our full body mirror. The whole ordeal usually takes 45 min to an hour and puts most women I know to shame. Still, it helps him in some way organize his world, something I never seem to care to do, and always is a precursor to making me my morning tea. A service he provides me every morning when I wake up that acts as caffeinated bribery for committing the sin of having to wake me from my slumber.
I often wonder why he bothers putting so much effort into his morning routine? Is it vanity? Is it habit? Does he find pleasure in it? He must. He must in a way that I did not, and probably will not ever understand with such a lacking in my own routine.
My morning routine starts when his finishes. I usually am asked to get out of bed once my husband completes his hair styling, because I’ll be late for work if I take time to drink my detox tea and take my pills, much less put on makeup if I feel the urge. Which is the extent of my morning routine, a whole 15 min or less, with 5 mins to get to work, which is exactly 5 min from where I live if the traffic light stays green by the time I reach it. So my morning routine of tea drinking and pill popping is usually concluded with a frantic a grand finale of me cursing and kissing my husband while I’m flying out the door to get to work on time.
My showering routine is very uneventful as well. It happens every two or three days a week (to prevent skin dryness and irritation…and I’m apathetic). I shampoo, I exfoliate (as every diabetic really ought to with dry skin), I condition the hell out of my hair, wash my body, and get the hell out of the shower because I’ve wasted time self caring when there so much more important shit to do. I’m lucky if I shave my arm pits…and usually I only shave my legs once a month and remind myself why I just wear pants and don’t bother to shave in the first place. So I lose interest until a month has passed and I’ve forgotten why I don’t shave more and try again…only to remember and start the whole cycle all over again.
The truth is I have always struggled with self care. When I was a teenager my mother had to beg me to take showers, which I hated doing, because my diabetic skin was so sensitive that showering daily was irritating and there wasn’t a single body wash that didn’t dry out my skin so much that I could see dry skin marks and dust on my pants and shirts. Not only that but it dried out my curly hair and made it feel like cotton, no matter how much conditioner it took. But besides the irritation daily showers caused, I had little to no motivation to take care of myself, because I really just was apathetic about the whole thing.
Now that I’m older, I’ve come to realize the importance of presentation in a professional environment, and I have adapted my life accordingly out of vanity and professionalism, and while I do shower much more often than I did as a kid, I really only shower about 3 times a week. I don’t do daily face washing. I don’t spend long hours in the bathroom making sure I’m shaved and primped for the day. I wake up with 20 min to get to work if I’m lucky, because I love sleep and procrastination to a fault. It’s a dangerous love affair, but one that has an exciting amount of risk if I’m going to be late for work or not in the morning. I’m lucky if I remember to brush my teeth in the morning (I’m more of an evening brusher anyway).
Still, what is odd about me is that I often have night every so often where I really focus on my self care even more than just taking a shower which is usually a requirement for basic hygiene in my book. An obligation rather than a luxury. I wash my face, do a mask, shave and lotion, do my nails. It’s like I suddenly get an urge to have a spa night, but it only seems to happen maybe once a month where I really go all out. Sure I’ll go all out with makeup pretty regularly, but even then I don’t really take my makeup off like I should. In fact I’m notorious for the big no no…I’ll wear my makeup overnight and just fix it the next day for work.
It’s a miracle that I never seem to smell bad.
When my vacation time was officially approved, I felt a sense of dread. I enjoy visiting family for the most part, but it’s the freaking driving I cannot stand. Five hours through two large cities. I can’t handle it. Not this week.
Still, I’m doing it.
Unfortunately, my husband does not do long distance driving. Firstly, he isn’t a good driver when he doesn’t know where he is going. Secondly, he tends to fall asleep at the wheel. Thirdly, he is anxious. Very anxious. Which clouds all his rational thinking. So of course, I have to drive. Which is exhausting. He never even offers to drive, it is always assumed that I will.
It’s days like this that I miss pieces of the people I grew up with. People who were good friends and familiars. Mostly, old exes sometimes that I think about who used to take me on drives because it helped me sleep in college. Exes I used to call dear friends now long since unhappy from the breakup and much more distant in spirit than in miles. It’s days like this where I whisper their name to my heart and while I feel no romantic love for them, I still feel for them and some days I miss the friendship even if I don’t miss the romantic relationship. I miss the acts of service they provided gladly towards me to show they valued me. I miss being able to give to them in the manner that showed them I cared. I wish that something, whatever it was, never got ruined the way it did.
How interesting it is that years can go by without a second thought of that person, and then suddenly, all at once, they become some kind of fixture in a pivotal point in your life that you refuse to let go of the memories of? Still, while important, they still hurt. How much more interesting that you start to inspect the flaws of whomever you’re married to and still compare them to people you were once attracted too? What people never tell you about marriage is that you still find yourself attracted to past or even new people in your life. It never stops, and while you’re in a marriage it doesn’t make your ability to become attracted to someone new, or even someone old, comforting, and familiar. Perhaps more familiar than the spouse you have now.
While no one teaches you these things happen, there is still that part of you that is glad that exes are exes. There is still that piece of the puzzle that helps you keep that in check: the hurt. The hurt of the end and whatever betrayal that caused it. While it isn’t the best reason, nor is it the most healthy, I think it’s still a good point to recall and feel over and over again when you need to remember it. While most people in life try to avoid hurt, I find that it’s important to learn from it and recall why it hurt.
I tend to have the perspective that life is not about being happy. What it’s about is doing the right thing, and while doing the right thing can be messy and painful, it makes the right thing no less the right thing. Because I am now married, and have made the choice to be so, I have to do the right thing and not let my mind, heart, and body stray away from loving my husband, so I remind myself that no one else can love me the way my husband does. No one else tucks me in bed after long days of work that exhaust my introverted nature. No one else can make me cry tears of joy. No one else is worth my tears of sorrow. No one else has ever tried so hard to understand. No one else has ever come so close to understanding.
Still, I wish he would drive so I don’t have to.
When I was younger, I wanted desperately to be the kind of woman that people noticed for all the right reasons, if I were to be noticed at all.
I wanted to be a muse. The kind artists wrote of, painted, and photographed.
Now, I’m lucky if I go out to do anything. I’m lucky if I get to go out and dress up and look pretty. I’m lucky if I ever feel pretty at all. No amount of likes on a selfie can change my mind even if I wanted it to. It is seldom that I look in mirrors and am satisfied with the result. The days I do feel satisfied are usually days I spend a lot of time to look that way.
My husband always tells me he thinks I’m gorgeous. I wish I believed him more often than not. I don’t always find myself “beautiful” or “sexy” or even think I’m close to being “hot.” I’ve known myself to be “cute” if anything. A round face and my father’s big eyes to thank for that, but most of the time I don’t think I’m any of those things at all. I’m no Helen of Troy. I’m no Aphrodite.
I’m not even close to a muse.
I don’t know any woman who really loves the way she looks all the time, and I wish I could say I was an exception. Because I don’t want to be that way. I want to love myself and to see the beauty that others tell me I have. I want to be beautiful inside and out, and most of the time I’m not even sure I’m either of those things.
There are plenty of days I wish I was less “Marilyn Monroe” (as my father calls it) in my body type and a little more “Audrey Hepburn” in my features. I wish my hair was less frizzy and more manageable. I wish I wasn’t so childish looking, but more womanly so as to be called “beautiful” instead of “cute.” I wish I could put on dresses and gowns and look like a woman and not a child playing dress-up. I wish I could wear street clothes and not be mistaken for a teenager or ignored by sales people because I look too young to be shopping without my mom. I wish people wouldn’t look so shocked when I tell them I’m married because I look “Too young to be married.”
I just want to be thought of as beautiful. A muse. An inspiration. A woman. A kind woman. Because most days I don’t feel like I can inspire even that much.
You told me “I think you lean on that label as a crutch. I don’t ever recall you being an introvert as a child.”
So you think I use it as a crutch? That’s fine. That’s fair. I do excuse myself using the term introvert a lot. I’ll give you that.
But momma, do you really think I want to be this way?
It’s resurrection Sunday. The most joyous Sunday in Christian holy days. The day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, but not just that, we celebrate the metaphors of dying to self and resurrecting as a child of God because of the sacrifice of Jesus as Christ, Son of God, and Fully God Fully Man. Read more
I am easily discouraged lately.
I’m discouraged because work has been very tense with toxic communication and disrespect for other people’s job descriptions. Read more