Monday, February 04, 2013

When I Think About Me, I Neglect Myself

I did a bad, bad thing.

In all the chaos and stress of the last few weeks, I let myself go. I didn't pay homage to the glue that keeps shit together in this household, the humour maker, tantrum tamer, disillusioned cookie baker. That awesome chick was put on the back burner for a while.

She's the easiest to let go of. The first one to forget.

There's guilt (and possible legal ramifications) when you neglect your child. There's loud griping or, at the very least, passive-aggressive pouting that will alert you to the fact that you're neglecting your partner. The dogs will whine, the cat will paw at your face in the middle of the night and/or pee on your clothes, and if you forget to feed your hamster she'll try to eat your hand (I speak from experience.)

So when the chips are down, the to-do list is long, and the stakes are high, who's the first to get shoved into the "deal with this later" category? Me, that's who. The loud, the proud, the obnoxiously amazing Maven gets put into the corner, told to be quiet and to get those mom jeans on.

My hair was a mess. I was a good three months overdue for a trim. Like I said on Twitter, if you put Cousin It in a bra he would look just like me... Or I would look just like him. Or something. I'm not sure how that works anymore. He's older, but fictitious. Grammar hates me.

A picture of me, pre-haircut.

And my clothes are gross. They're old and some of them have holes. Know where the biggest holes are? The inner legs. As my pudgy thighs rub together, the fabric gets thinner and thinner.





This is starting to sound like bad porn. It's not, I assure you. It's just bad jean design. I'd say it's bad body design, but come on. I know a lot of women who's inner thighs touch when they walk. How about reinforcing the fabric in that area? Chubby-legged girls everywhere would love you.

I generally throw said pants out at that point and get new ones. But guess what I haven't done in a long time? Buy myself anything to wear. If my kids needed pants I'd be out the door faster than you could say "free coffee for burned out writers." If my husband needs pants I'm always insisting we go out and get him some (granted, I use any excuse to get out alone with him. We turn errands into date nights because we're excellent multitaskers.) But if my pants are worn/don't fit well/make me feel like I'm wearing old work rags from that pile in the garage, I suck it up. That's what moms do. We're shitty to ourselves like that.

My feet? Disgusting and dry and cracked. My makeup? Old and desperately in need of replacing. My food choices? Well, I don't have scurvy - yet.

My emotional state? Certainly not helped by this refusal to take care of my most important person.

Our eldest is 16. We had our children spaced an average of 5 years spart. I've done the new mom thing three separate times. I remember how hard it is to be up all night, have no energy, look like poop, stink like poop, feel like poop and have no time to do anything about it. It's not fun. Those days are a staple for most new mothers. But my youngest is six now, and this shouldn't be happening. I can make time for me. I haven't made time, though. That's made me feel worse, which then in turn makes me have less energy or desire to take care of myself.

See the ugly cycle? It's uglier than my ugly cry when I watch The Notebook. (And that's pretty ugly.)

This weekend I broke that cycle. I went for a haircut and even ordered the - please get ready for this - hair conditioning treatment. Yes, I did. I've never paid for the extras before. And it came with a cranial massage and a face treatment, too.

I sat under that hair dryer just... being. I hadn't sat with myself, fully aware of my surroundings, for weeks. All I've been doing is making sure life doesn't fall apart while the house is on the market. Making sure the gremlins get off to school (not always successfully). Making sure we make all our appointments. Making sure I meet my work deadlines and responsibilities. Thinking ahead, playing the "what if" game several times daily. Being crotchety (I see the irony.)

So to sit - just to sit without thought, without purpose, without expectation - was such a gift.

Today I went to the gym for the first time in about three weeks and made it my bitch. In a few hours when I'm rubbing Rub-A535 all over my aching, overworked muscles, I'll be singing a different tune. But until then: gym  = my bitch.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that I'm mad I neglected me. Glad I stopped before I became a thigh-hole-ridden, nasty-haired freak show. It's so much harder to showcase my awesome like that.

PS: Incidentally, if you type in "A535" into Google to make sure you're writing it correctly and the first suggested search is "Rub-A535 on your balls," you realize it's totally fucking Monday right now.**

PPS: Also... On your balls? Really, guys? Do I even want to know?