I am just swooning over my sweet babies tonight, each of whom is sick with a rather mediocre cold, (thankfully Dave and I are the hardest hit) and all in need of extra cuddles. It’s hard to extract yourself from the tangled embrace of a sick three year old whispering sweet nothings in your ear, even if his entire bed does stink faintly of urine and peanut butter. This boy is destined for great things.
At any rate, they’re finally abed, and I can finally bang out a blog for the first time in days.
The Wellness Project will hit day 30 on Wednesday, but thanks to some dead Presidents and a loving husband, I was able to go out with a big bang a few days early. Enter the dragon:
Blurry iphone selfie in the mini van marking my triumphant return to blonde. Never again, chestnut. Never again.
Three uninterrupted hours in an honest-to-goodness salon was pretty blissful, though I did commit the epic faux pas of forgetting mine own reading material. Listen, I enjoy the occasional trashy magazine as much as the next red-blooded American girl, but after the third back issue of People life starts to look a little … bleak. Still, I’m now up to date on all 3 successfully-married couples from the Bach/ette franchise. (Make that 4 now that Sean and Catherine are lawfully wedded.)
While I was sitting back, choking on the bleach fumes and waiting for my color to process (your what to what, honey? asked a concerned Dave back on the home front, shushing a starving and angry breastfeeder) it dawned on me that all this self-care and pampering had really awakened a part of my identity that I had been denying, or perhaps was simply unaware of: I’m a bit of a girly girl.
I guess I sort of recognized that any woman who gets semi-regular pedicures and enjoys interior decorating was fairly feminine, but I’ve kind of downplayed this part of my persona since becoming wife + mother, which is sad. I guess, subconsciously, I was waiting until I was looking/feeling better to go ahead and own that part of me that likes costly shampoos and wearing an apron to cook dinner and putting on mascara to go to Costco…but how sad is that? Why would I squelch this part of my nature, simply because I was unhappy with how I might look in this phase of life?
I think a big part of it was fear, and the hope that if I didn’t make myself vulnerable by admitting I cared about looking or feeling pretty, then I wouldn’t be crushed when someone (I don’t know who. The world, my mirror, a stranger’s glance in Target?) disagreed with me.
So that makes perfect sense, right? Don’t want to be called out for being ugly or frumpy or past one’s prime, so dress in tattered yoga pants and forgo makeup. Um…
Anyway, sometime during this whole project my little sister pointed out that there was never going to be a time where I would be perfectly happy with my appearance, so to stop waiting for that time and to just put on some mascara. Every day. Her point wasn’t that I looked bad, but that while agonizing over how different I might look from high school or college Jenny, I was, in a very real sense, wasting the pretty.
I don’t want to wake up and be 45 years old and sporting an androgynous haircut and a mock turtle neck because I gave up on life, you know? I want to gracefully embrace my changing (but not destroyed) femininity as the years pile up.
Not to get too deep here over beauty products and ‘me time’, but if this past month has taught me anything, it’s that when I take some time each day to value and care for myself, I have much more to give to my family. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter whether I put any makeup on or showered or brushed my teeth…but if in forgoing any of those things I was less patient, less kind, and less loving toward my family, then actually, it matters quite a bit.
So here we are, almost 30 days in, and I think the thing’s been a smashing success. In fact, I think I’ll keep it up, this whole business of wellness.
Starting with my little post-bedtime wars cocktail hour. May I present my immunity-boosting and milk-producing combo? A little Guiness plus a little spinach, though not necessarily in the same glass.