*** warning, very girly post ***
First off, just want to say huge thanks for the support received on my last post. And thanks, J., for the email check-in, I realize I’ve been a bit absent. Thought I’d pop over here to give a little update.
Last Friday, one week ago, I woke up to some amazing comments on this blog, which completely buoyed me up from my momentary pit of despair. That same day, probably thanks in part to that lovely supported feeling, I ended up doing some massive self-care.
After dropping off the kids and running some errands, I walked by the local beauty shop and saw a cute dress hanging in the window (they also sell a few clothes and things). I don’t go out shopping much (though I do have a passion for fashion, luckily most clothing shops are far away, hehe) but I couldn’t resist this one, and went in to try it on. It fit perfectly and a nice price too, so I bought it, and then on a whim I asked if she had any slots for a facial available. She did, and so I had one.
I’m pretty low maintenance, I get a haircut for €15 about two or three times a year and I mostly don’t buy expensive lotions and potions or what have you.
I’m not sure why I feel I have to justify this – I guess basically because I feel guilty about self-care. How many of us feel this way?
In our case we’re lucky to have plenty of money at the moment (but we live simply, that is part of the reason why), but we’ve had times where I was literally digging through bins of clothes that they sell by the kilogram at the local friperie (— a kind of second-hand shop in France, but this one’s more like a castaways warehouse, with mountains of strange clothes in deep bins—), one kid on my back and the others running around like banshees, while I debate whether we can afford this kid-coat for €3 plus that pair of kid-shoes for €2.
Point being, if you are reading this and feeling envious, I hear you. It’s absolutely amazing to be able to walk into a store on a whim, buy a dress and a facial on the spot and I’m seriously grateful. I believe your time will come if you keep thinking it will, and working toward it.
Anyway. It was wonderful just to lie there, no phone, no computer, no demands, no expectations, and just let this lady rub creams on and off my face. Afterwards she asked if I wanted a free makeover and I said why not.
I rarely if ever wear makeup since on the times that I do, I end up looking scary by the end of the day or night — my eyes water easily and makeup just doesn’t stay put.
The fact that I said “why not” goes to show how far I’ve come as a woman since when I was a young gal. I’m mid-forties now, but when I was in my twenties I was incredibly self-conscious and also (though I didn’t truly admit it or maybe realize it) kind of controlling, or wanting to be controlling but not knowing how to be assertive and ending up being passive. So instead of risking having to tell a make-up artist how I wanted something to be done, I would have simply avoided that situation.
In this case I had no care at all for the outcome. The lady brought me back to the front of the shop, put a chair in the middle of the space, facing the front wall of glass doors and windows. There were about 10 women in the shop all of a sudden, a total hen fest; and it was pure heaven to listen to their girly chit-chat about fabrics, make-up, and mild gossip. They were all impeccably dressed; meanwhile I’m bloody well in my pyjamas (well okay my pyjamas are yoga pants and a stretchy top but still I know they are my pyjamas so it felt a bit uncool/uncooth/un-French/untidy) plus winter coat plus runners. But I still didn’t care (too much).
In the old days if someone had put me in the middle of a room full of strangers, facing the sidewalks no less, in bright light, so everyone in the small town could watch me get full make-up done, I likely would have keeled over and died from embarrassment. But this time I just truly enjoyed every second and didn’t care who saw.
I didn’t say a word, I just let her do her thing. She used this big chunky makeup brush and this creamy foundation (I never use foundation!) and then contouring blush or something and then eyeshadow and liner and mascara and lipstick. It was an absolute dream to have someone touch my face and just pay attention to it. I wonder how many of us women miss this or don’t have this, or long for it?
It was like a warm den of estrogen and I just sat with my eyes closed most of the time listening to the other women talk to one another, and soon she was finished. Voilà! She said, and asked me to go look in the mirror.
I did look, so that I could exclaim the appropriate phrase in praise, not expecting much, but wow! I was a bit shocked. She had given me a gorgeous wash of blue shimmery eye shadow and plum lips. My face is kind of colourless naturally, so it was as though suddenly I had features. I chuckled inwardly about the blue eyeshadow (retro flashback reasons, hello, first makeup ever circa 1986) but I liked the overall effect.
I went home, put on my new dress, completed some to-do list items, cleaned the house with good music, and then in the afternoon I just lay down and had a completely disconnected rest (another thing I hardly ever do) till my husband T. came home.
“Is it some kind of special occasion?” he asked, looking at me bemused when I later greeted him at the door. He’s not big on compliments lol.
“Yes, you coming home,” I flirted. But to be quite honest it was more for me. Amiright ladies? ;))
Self care… and if we don’t have the money? A bath, a shower, a short nap; a browse around a local free museum or library… and a moment to write a page in our journals, with some nice things about ourselves, to cancel out the stress and any negative “radio me”— i.e. write the kind of nice things our kindest friend might say to us.
And a pot of herb tea always helps.
Again, thanks for your amazing comments on that last post. They truly touched me and made me feel deeply understood and heard. I feel very grateful for this community. There’s none quite like it.
~ sobrietytree.home.blog; 7 months 26 days alcohol-free
oh, herewith, selfie from last Friday…
I have a face. :))