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And you may tell yourself

August 22, 2008

My God, what have I done?

How did I get to be almost 30 with no idea how to perform most beauty routines that other women in the first world could probably do in their sleep? I think about my best friend, who actually has her clothes organized, you know, in drawers and on hangers, and then I see the pile of laundry on my own floor. I own one bra that sort of fits, and two that don’t, and none of them are flattering. I broke my foot two years ago, and inactivity led to obesity, and none of my clothes fit anymore — and even if they did, I doubt I could get away with wearing them. There were two years in my life where I felt like I actually looked good, but even then most days felt random. Sometimes I lucked into looking hot, other days I at least looked presentable. And then my life turned into a soap opera; death, divorce, financial ruin, broken bones and hospitalizations and serious manic depression.

And why did I care what I looked like, when there were larger issues in the world, things that were more disastrous than the cashier at Kmart thinking I’m a slob? The notion of actually buying clothes, of trying to look good, it was all so much vapor as I struggled just to accept that life was worth living. And once I got that far, I felt selfish for “indulging” in a new bottle of shampoo when, you know, there were starving kids in China.

And honestly? I still feel like it’s a little frivolous to invest time and money and energy into looking good. But days when I actually take care of myself, see: On those days, I feel capable, not so much like a woman at the end of her rope, no, more like a woman who’s in charge of her own destiny. When the universe covers you in crap, sometimes washing it all off and curling your hair besides is a great way to assert that no matter what, you are worth it.

So this is it. I’m done feeling like a slob, of feeling like an alien when I read that other women spend more than thirty seconds on their hair when I have no idea how to even use a round brush and a blow-dryer. I am worth it, dammit. I’ve decided right now that my self-esteem needs my help. And I know that I need to take care of myself before I throw myself into the wheels of the world again, that if I don’t believe in me, nobody else will either.

Much of what I write here will probably be so remedial to any woman whose mother taught her how to pluck her eyebrows, or how to put on makeup, or when to wear perfume, how to feel like a lady. I was surprised, after my mom died, to learn from her cousins that she was a real girly-girl in her youth. My memories are mostly of a woman struggling with her self-image, and I think she lacked the faith in herself that she would have needed to instruct her daughters in the ways of beauty. My husband and I want to have children, and I don’t want them to see me as someone who hates herself. I want them to be confident, proud of what they can do, and yes, I think knowing how to wash your hair properly is part of that. I’ll never be high-maintenance; that’s just not in my nature. But looking good does help you feel good, and I need to learn to look good.

I’m not financially flush, and this will probably be an agonizingly slow process, but I hope it will help someone else, somehow. I know it will help me.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. snappymom permalink
    August 22, 2008 10:43 pm

    I have always been amazed by those women that are so POLISHED. Just how is it done? I am especially puzzled by make-up, getting the eye shadow right….It seems even when I dress up I look nowhere near the way I want to. My mother never taught me how to take care of myself, and I am still working on it and I am OVER30!

  2. August 22, 2008 10:53 pm

    I don’t know how they do it, but I aim to find out!

  3. jolie permalink
    September 3, 2008 10:29 am

    i have to say, i’m looking forward to what you write here, ’cause i feel much the same way about girly things. however, i LOVE shopping, so i don’t think i’ve got a problem in the clothes department (aside from completely not understanding how to layer properly or accessorize). also, my aunt used to wax my eyebrows for me, and i did manage to figure out how to wax/tweeze them myself…whenever i make the time to do it. come to think of it, my two main problems are lack of know-how and lack of motivation. i’ll buy all the stuff i think i need, but i generally just don’t get around to trying it or keeping up with it. egad, being girly is like exercise!

  4. September 3, 2008 10:38 am

    Oh my gosh, it totally is. That doesn’t bode well….

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