When you go through the shitter for a while and start realizing maybe you need to put on your big girl panties and find a way out, I THINK that the first step is (I am no self-help expert. This may surprise some people) to probably do something nice for yourself.
When you have spent weeks barely doing anything for anyone else, it might be hard to make that first step be all about you.
You might be like me and just add it to the to-do list.
My son’s birthday is coming up and we don’t have anything planned for him at all. And he is going to be 9 – an age where birthdays are still fun and exciting and not a reminder that you are just getting closer and closer to a broken hip.
I know they say the thing about the oxygen mask and whatever, but lately I have been feeling like the plane is just plummeting, and the pilot is all “Screw that fucking oxygen, people, and just grab the tequila…. Cuz WE are about to be splattered into the ocean, BISHESSSSSSS.”
(My pilot can be very unprofessional at times.)
But, as I rub the crust out of my eyes and blink around and look at all the shit that needs to get done, I am starting to realize that maybe it’s time I take care of myself again.
Because lately, I look in the mirror and I see Anne Ramsey looking back at me.
And I just know its time.
My grays are out of control. I know there’s a whole movement of women in their 40s who are embracing their grays like a walking Dove Soap commercial but I am just not there yet. I am not “trying to hold on to my fading looks” as I have heard some asshole men whose profile pictures are ugly as shit troll on Faceboook pages, but I also don’t feel it is time to rock my grays loud and proud. I am vain. Despite the fact that I have holed myself up in misery-land and look like Smeagol emerging from the swamp, I still do give a fuck or 2 about how I look. I know it is not deep or enlightened to admit that. But it is also not deep and enlightened to lie.
As I am typing this, I have fingernails that have turned into jagged claws. I have toe nails that have taken chunks out my husband’s legs in the middle of the night. I have been rescheduling my waxing appointments since December. It is now mid-March. I will spare you the details of what’s going on under my pants. But I am pretty certain that JJ Abrams could make a very disturbing, confusing movie about it. All you would be left with would be nightmares and lots of unanswered questions.
I also am currently rocking a goatee (thank you, midlife hormones, cuz what the fuck are you thinking? Let’s cheer a sister up for having a screwed up menstrual cycle with a ballin’ beard? Fuck you, mysteries of womanhood. Seriously. Fuck. You.)
So, between my grungy outfits as of late, my stringy greasy gray hair, and my hipster facial hair, I could essentially put on a knit hat and walk around Williamsburgh Brooklyn and would probably be invited in to a bar for a pickle-martini and an invite to join a band with other bearded men who harmonize.
But I can’t sing.
So…. It is time to wax my entire face as well before I am put in that awkward position and feel even worse about myself.
Yup. I have officially let myself go.
I need to acknowledge that “self-care” is more than getting a massage for myself or mowing my body lawn or dealing with the attack of the killer-spiders on my eyebrows. It is more than getting a gel manicure or filing down my horny toes.
This whole self-care concept is about me realizing that I am responsible for my own well being so that when I DO finally crawl out of this cave and go about my business again, I can not only do it with the perfect brows, great manicure, and awesome shoes, but also without anyone making me feel like a throw rug.
This is not about not being able to tell whose legs are whose when I’m lying in bed with my hairy husband.
This is about standing up straight and not being defensive while protecting my vulnerable bits and saying “fuck YEAH – I matter.”
Audre Lorde (another one of my favorite poets, by the way) once said “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
I will be arrogant enough to agree, although I am not sure what political impact I am making by not exposing my curlies when wearing a bathing suit this summer. But if looking on fleek will maybe make Trump go the fuck away, then it’s a win-win for all of humanity.
Audre is on to something here. When I am aware that I start to matter, my plummeting airplane rights itself. I don’t feel like we are headed straight into the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t even need the oxygen mask. Or the tequila. (OK maybe I’ll take the tequila).
My inner polite can go back to being professional and competent when my hair is all one uniform shade.
It is time for me to matter again.
I need to matter again so that I can show my son and my husband and stepdaughters that they matter again. So I can wake up every morning and feel that the day matters again. That getting out of bed matters again.
And, ultimately…. that life matters again.
I am ready to start embracing that life matters again.
Starting with my eyebrows.