Confessions: I Suck at Beauty Routines

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.

Advertisements

Fallen Tree

Days passed. As they did, the demise of the felled tree in the neighboring house’s back yard became more and more apparent. The leaves turned a triumphant gold before withering to brown and wilting to the ground. The remnants of crab apples clung to the dead and dying branches, their last chance at life, withering hopelessly as they clung.

Our neighbor had died some months ago, and while the yard was still being kept, nothing was done to remove the old fallen crab apple tree from the yard for several weeks. I inspected the thing the day after it fell. During a storm, the night before, the winds had howled ominously and the rain beat the ground hard, as if the earth its self had committed some kind of terrible crime they sky could not, and would not forgive. It was no punishment for the ground, despite the violence, because the ground took in the water, practically dying of thirst from the many dry and hot days that came before the storm’s relief.

I contemplated the dying tree as I sat with a large cup of tea in one hand, and my feet planted firmly on the freshly cut grass. How long until all things fall and die? How long did that tree stand for before it’s unexpected demise? How long had the old widow next door (who I can say I never saw nor met) lived in that house and for how long alone? I could not and cannot say. We saw the ambulance take her away, and heard from another neighbor she had passed.

She was as much a mystery to me as her death. No. As death itself.

Hospitals

I never really enjoy going around them, even if it’s for minor checkups. There’s just too many things wrong with them. Waiting room seating is uncomfortable. The furniture and floors everywhere are ugly. The television programs are really boring. The smell. The atmosphere. Everything about them seems to be uncomfortable.

The people are usually pretty friendly, as well as the coffee, which is not terrible as some might tell you…at least at our hospital. Because so many people rely on that coffee for so many things.

This time around it’s not an appointment for myself that I’m sitting in a hospital for. My mom needed someone to drive her. She’s getting an MRI for what she thinks might be another bulging disc in her neck, but of course you never know unless you get heavily sedated and shoved in a tube. She hates that part. I’ve never had an MRI before but I can’t imagine they’re very comfortable. Especially if you’re as claustrophobic as my mother is.

Recently a coworker of mine had their father-in-law pass away in this hospital. Which makes being here a little eerie. While I know hospitals that are associated with life and wellness, there is always that little shadowed part of the hospital for people who will not be getting better, and probably will not leave…and being so close to my late sisters birthday and the anniversary of her death, as well as the death of said coworker loved one…that shadow feels like it whispers a little louder than usual.

My coworkers father-in-law was not an old man. He’s younger than my own mother and about the same age as my father. Which puts life a little more in perspective and gives me somber and realistic realizations of the kind of deterioration I can expect for them in the years to come. Time that is flying so quickly it seems.

Sobering thoughts.

Thoughts on “Boring” People

“I hate working on the assembly line. It’s so boring!”

I shook my head as I overheard the conversation. Despite trying to curb my habit of eavesdropping I’m a sucker for a good story in the workplace, so I end up unintentionally eavesdropping on lots of conversations that happen near by my office door. Hoping for a good one. It’s easy too, because for some strange reason, people at the printer just outside my door seem to think that because the printer is printing they cannot be heard over its sound. So I listen, and every so often, there is a good story or two.

Her story was not a good story. Sorry to disappoint you.

Recently our factory had a bunch of no-call and no-show terminations on our assembly line. With the assembly far behind and tons of orders coming in for our jerky seasoning, an emergency mandatory schedule was made of office workers to assist in two shifts a week on the assembly line stuffing our jerky seasonings into their boxes. It’s a pretty mindless job once you get a rhythm going. It consists of repetitive motion, and lots of it, in a very small area. Her particular story was…well…of how boring she found it, and wished her team had been able to go faster so she could feel busy. I had to sympathize a little, because my team also went much slower than I felt my pace required, but thankfully I did not find the job very boring at all.

There is nothing quite like a factory assembly line to daydream in, and if you can function pretty well in a rhythm and still have a rich inner life, assembly line work is wonderful. My experience had been different than hers because of this. As a story lover and teller, as well as a maladaptive daydreamer, I find that I am nearly never bored. I always have a storyline going in my mind. So as I stuffed boxes to the beat of a whirling and magnificent automated machine, I was also having a mystical fantasy adventure in the back of my mind, where the world was never boring and the story never had to end.

I often wonder how sad the inner lives of boring people must be, if they have any inner lives at all. I knew so little about this coworker, and yet, all I did know was about her dislikes. She hated cold, hot, rainy, or bright weather…which pretty much covers all weather. She disliked her vacation to the Bahamas because her phone got wet and stopped working…and somehow being unreachable makes a vacation worse. She’s a mother, but tends to only complain about motherhood. Over all, she seems to be the kind of person…who is unable to be pleased unless she is at home, her kids are gone, and the AC or heat is just right, and her husband isn’t bothering her, and she can just watch TV, or if people see her as some kind of victim in life and resonate with her struggle.

That’s just what I found out in the bits a pieces of conversations just prior to her comment about the assembly line. It isn’t much, but it’s enough to make drastic assumptions off of…especially if you’re a storyteller. So I will.

I wonder what those people are like in the head. I wonder if they just worry about reality all the time? Do they get caught up and stuck in it? Do they dream about things that are surreal? Do they have any imagination at all? I shudder to think they don’t. I worry about people who don’t daydream. I worry about people who live too much in the now, and don’t get to take a break from it. What must that be like? Do I even want to know?

I put a great deal of pride in having a very rich imagination. I like working on an assembly line and pretending I’m in a gold mine shoving bricks into sacks so my fellow dwarves can present them to the dwarf king. I like pretending that the large plastic mold machine in the other room is actually the engine room of an air ship flying high over an industrial Steampunk city unseen beneath my feet. I like pretending that the cardboard warehouse (where we keep the unused boxes for product) is a cave of layer upon layer of different rocks that I have to venture though to find the treasure I seek. I like that my world is more than it appears, that my mind is bigger than it seems, and that my imagination is free to wander during my waking hours as I wait to return to my evening dreams where I feel more at home. I have a really hard time relating to people who lack vision or imagination, and I worry if they are worse off over all because of it.

What baffles me about this coworker is that people seem to really like her.

I’m in a bit of a catch 22 over it, because a I find I also envy people to are really grounded in reality. I feel like more often than not, they’re far more relatable than people like me. They don’t seem to struggle with maintaining friendships like I do, because somehow they can craft small talk in a way my mind can’t. They aren’t awkward, because boring people can keep conversations going about simple things…and most people can follow that kind of conversation…while people like me tend to feel their soul getting ripped from their body when caught in small talk. People seem to gravitate to boring people. People seem to like to gossip with them and talk really rationally and plainly about stuff rather than wishy washy, awkwardly, and outlandishly like I do. People hang out with grounded people. People don’t know what to do with people who have their heads in the clouds like I do. People know what to expect with a boring person. The conversations will be comfortable. Nothing will get passionate or heated. No one will have to think too hard or use their imagination, and I feel sad for all of them.

Age Spot

At first I had thought it was a smudge of something on my hand, but upon several attempts to wash it off and a moment of staring stupidly at its resilience, I realized what it really was.

It was an age spot. My very first age spot.

It’s a very faint light brown color, just like my mothers had started, and of course on the very same hand, just like her mother before her. I recalled when I first noticed my mothers hands changing and I recalled how my grandmothers hands changed too from my mothers account. Now it’s my turn and I’ve got it where they all seemed to have theirs start. Dead center on my left hand…only a faint shade of discoloration and half the size of a dime. Kinda shaped like the silhouette of that famous image of the Lochness monster.

It’s strange to think about getting age spots, since I’m only 27. Still, it isn’t a surprise either. I’ve been fortunate enough to have clear skin, few breakouts, and decent coloration most of my life and I’m sure it has run its course by now. My health isn’t all it could be. Diabetes is no laughing matter and has a habit of taking its toll on skin. It was only a matter of time before they would form. My grandmother’s started around the time she turned 35. My mother in her 30s. Both of them started out this way, on this hand, in a very faint shade of brown. My grandmothers had turned very dark blackish brown when she turned 60 which sent her to consult a physician only to find out it was nothing more than an ugly colored age spot. My mothers darkened, but not unattractively, when she turned 55 and has not changed much since. I only hope to be so lucky.

The reality of growing old strikes unexpectedly, and as I look in the mirror I find I haven’t really noticed my aging ever, and other than this age spot, I still don’t. I still have a very childlike round face and big eyes. My skin is still fair. My hair is still curly as ever and still it’s same color. Not much feels like it has changed, and yet emotionally I’m reminded that I am so much older than I once was. I know so much more. I’ve experienced so much more. I have witnessed so much more.

And there is still so much more to do.

Unhelpful Criticism

“I don’t mean to use such harsh words, but this look like something our China team would come up with.”

Please tell me what in this phrase is a helpful direction? What does that even mean? I guess you would have to be a racist to know.

Clearly, my boss really struggles with giving constructive criticism.

This particular phrase really bothers me, firstly, because it speaks badly of a team that the owners of the company chose to work with overseas and that we are trying to have good communication and relationship with. I haven’t ever seen our China team come up with a design, and if they work for us and were chosen by our leadership, why are you insulting them? Aren’t we all working for the same goal? Aren’t we all supposed to be on the same side? Saying things like this puts a bad taste in the domestic team’s mouth and just makes you look racist.

Secondly, “don’t mean to use harsh words,” is not an excuse to then use the harsh words. You do mean to use them. We all know it. It only makes people more aware of how much you actually mean to use and are going to use harsh words. It means you are aware of how you sound. It means the words you have chosen to use, were selected and intentional to be harsh and you know it. Foolishly, you are trying to remove yourself from your own responsibility, which is an indicator of bad leadership. To be a leader is to have responsibility, and to show you wish to remove yourself from the responsibility of your position and the tact you know you ought to have while holding it lessens your dependability.

Constructive criticism doesn’t use “I” or “Me” statements. It explains why a design or photograph does or doesn’t work based off of brand goals and statements. It doesn’t use insulting analogies. It builds up where it needs to and it makes helpful….emphasis on helpful…suggestions to give a better direction.

Consider this a public service announcement.

Confession: Lost Boys and Long Drives

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.