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

Myth of Male Attention

20140319-213122.jpg

“So why do you dress up if not to get male attention?”

I rolled my eyes. “The issues isn’t about attention, it’s about attention from whom.” It amazes me that guys don’t get it. It amazes me that girls don’t get it either.

It isn’t about male attention. It’s about positive attention. Women dress nice for attention from themselves. To give attention to themselves. Equivalent to self service.

Don’t believe me? Think about it.

Women, like myself, get out of the shower after tending to their bodies for several minutes relished in the warm healing heat and drying off with a luxury plush towel. Careful to dry our legs with deep satisfaction as we feel not a single catch of our freshly shaven legs. Silky smooth. Best feeling ever.

We wash our faces, put on those ugly green masks we paid quite a bit for at the pharmacy, to make our skin glow. We spend countless amounts of dollars for those creams and primers to treat our faces to an individualized spa day, then we paint our faces with sparkle and color. I don’t know if any other women love glitter as much as I love glitter. But, it’s a magical thing. Especially on your eyelids. Oh, and perfume shimmer body powder? Don’t even get me started! Love it.

We frame our faces with the perfect hairstyle, now softened by $20 conditioner (that makes your hair smell like wildflowers and feel so soft). A ritual that pays careful attention to detail of the self. We curl our hair with passionate heat into ringlets, or use that same passion to flat iron those unruly tendrils. The heat not only controlling that creature on our head, but making it gloss and shine as if it were a brand new being.

We really do it for ourselves. We love to take care of ourselves. To make ourselves feel good. To give ourselves much needed maintenance and TLC. The makeup isn’t even necessary sometimes. Just the lotions, conditioners, and the occasional perfume with a necklace. The attention from others, is merely the affirmation. Icing on the cake. We love the security of the routine. We love the artistic expression of putting on makeup. Putting on that pretty brand new dress and being able to walk in those glittery seven inch heels….looking fierce.

Only some women of course. Not all women are raised in this way. I wasn’t. I became this way by choice. It’s both a burden and a relief. With beauty comes responsibility. Why? Because beauty gives women power. Over themselves. Over others. We desire beauty for the sake of self respect. For the sake of control over ourselves.

At least, that’s what it should be. Beauty has become something else entirely.

Beauty has been built on insecurity. Fear of looking one way and a desire to look another. To hide who we really are. Moderation has gone to the wind. We lather ourselves in color. We dye our hair to hide grey, or to look different. For a change. For something new, because we will never be new again. We ought to use it to make the beauty we have shine. To make those blue eyes pop, or those perfectly shaped Cupid’s bows look particularly glossy. Because those features are fun! They’re lovely. They are quality! But no, we do it to whore ourselves out to people. Making them our soul affirmation. Our purpose. The reason we dress up. It’s beyond self sufficiency. Self respect. It’s become about approval. The need for approval. Not just a desire, but an unrelenting craving.

I hate that. It makes my desire to prove myself to myself by taking good care of myself seem desperate. Too many women have fallen prey to that lie. They buy into it. That in order to get attention they have to put themselves through more than necessary because what other people think about them should matter more than how they think of themselves. Their own self respect falls away to the opinions of others. It makes my cause weak. My beauty fake to others. It lessens my desire to care about my appearance for myself.

No I am not selfish….okay there is an innate selfishness within me, but that is not my whole reason. I think though I am a troubled human being, that I am valuable. Taking care of my appearance, is a way to prove to myself that I do care and it’s necessary to care. I have to care about myself.

I don’t doubt that there is a bit of insecurity in my desire to feel pretty. But I do not feel that I need that affirmation. It is nice. On the opposite hand, cutting words hurt. Sure, but it can’t hurt more than someone already hurts? When you suffer from depression it all feels like the same old. If I want to be affirmed, I want it to be from people who’s opinions matter to me. To people who know and love the beauty within, and appreciate the beauty on the outside. I want first and foremost to affirm myself. To respect my own opinion. To love on and be loved by myself.

So I strive to look like the kind of person I can respect, and to be the kind of person I would need. I would love to be able to say that all women dress up to enhance their own natural beauty for their own satisfaction….but the ideal of seeking male attention is no myth. I wish it would be. Desperately.