Posted in beauty, Life, random, Uncategorized

What The Hell HAPPENED To Me?


I was just reading a great blog by Heather Christena Schmidt, who I enjoy immensely, and who’s blog you should definitely check out. Not NOW! I mean after you finish reading this little masterpiece, silly. Anyway, she is super duper funny, very smart, and she has the kind of sarcastic wit you probably don’t want to get on the wrong side of. She is very opinionated, and makes some really valid points in her posts. She also happens to be one of those chicks that has it SO together that even reading her stuff, I feel like a giant pile of lazy shit. I am going to encourage you to read the post about her being a 1950’s housewife– and I want you to read it, then report back to me your feeling of self-worth.

She was blogging about how she is annoyed with herself for spending over an hour getting ready every day, even when she’s got nowhere to go. All I could think was- ‘I don’t even have an hours worth of stuff I know how to do to myself!’ Seriously, I don’t. I still haven’t even figured out how to use a blow dryer correctly, I don’t, nor have I ever had an actual “hair style”, and it takes me about seven minutes to put on my make-up. I know, because I’ve timed myself before. While she wishes not to be the way she is, I am here wishing I at least knew how to fix myself all up. Maybe then I wouldn’t look in the mirror and think “Hmm…that’s IT? That’s as good as it gets?” Which is pretty much how I feel every single day now.

I didn’t used to feel this way at all. I used to do my little routine, shake out my hair, catch my reflection and think “Awesome!”. I know exactly how conceited that sounds, but it’s true. I hardly ever felt unattractive, to the point that I took for granted I would ALWAYS feel that way. I forgot to factor the whole aging thing into it. Aging sucks balls, and I’m sorry, doing it gracefully must require a lot less vanity than I possess in my clearly superficial little heart. I try not to be all dramatic about it ( there is a certain someone I know who gives Oscar worthy performances of despair and gloom while looking into the mirror and pulling her face so that it is taut and, honestly, frighteningly mask-like) because I don’t want to freak my older daughter out and give her the idea that this stuff matters more than it’s supposed to. Although, frankly, it does. At least to me.

Anyway, my 30’s have been the BEST time for me, as far as internal stuff- spirituality, maturity, financially, and just who I am altogether. So good, in fact, that it was shocking to find myself quickly sliding down  hill in the looks department. I just never considered it before. I guess I knew that someday, I would start losing my sex-appeal, my freshness, my head turning abilities. I never thought about when that would be, though. I thought I had a lot more time, for sure.

Now, don’t give me any shit, you guys. I know that 36 is not really old- there are LOT’S of hot ass women who are well into their 40’s. I know that. But those women probably work their asses off to stay that way, or have those freak genes that a small portion of the population (unfairly) have. I know that if I worked out, tried hard, lost weight, ate right, had a skin care routine and, possibly, a hair stylist, I could do much better. But that requires a bunch of effort on my part that I just don’t know if I have the energy for.

There are two cold, hard facts that I am dealing with here- 1.) There is no beauty quite like youth’s beauty, end of story. I see scads and scads of young people every day, and even the most awkward among them have that fresh and gorgeous, young beauty working for them. ‘Course, they can’t see it, which makes it a total waste, but oh well. 2.) There really is no substitute for having lived well. What I mean by this is simple- take a girl my age who has never smoked, used drugs or indulged excessively in alcohol, someone who slept regularly, drank water more than once a week, and who maybe exercised here and there. She is probably going to look a little better and/or younger than me. I have treated my body like a rental car almost all of my life, and it pains me to say this, but it’s starting to show. Let me take a break, I need to have a little cry. Okay, thanks. I’m back. Also, girls without children seem to age a LOT more slowly than those with. This is no longer shocking to me, now that I have endured 14 years with one of the most difficult children on Earth.

There’s more- a lot more. I never really learned how to take care of myself, or my stuff, or my house thanks to all those years in la-la land, so I struggle more than the average person with normal stuff. If my house is clean, my hairs a wreck. If I look great, my house is totaled. If my house and I look great, my kids are starving and my job has fallen to the wayside. I feel like my life is a giant, unending game of Whack-A-Mole, and the minute I bludgeon one thing into submission, two more pop up. No wonder I’m stressed out. I don’t know how to DO any of this stuff. I really don’t have a lot of regrets about how I’ve lived my life, because I think that is so pointless…but it would be nice if I felt a little bit more on the ball. I don’t expect to be gorgeous and slender AND have clean towels in the house all on the same day, but one or two in the same week would be spectacular.

Well. I really didn’t know I had all that rolling around this little, overused head of mine. Thank Heather Christena Schmidt for this one. And don’t forget to check out her blog! Also, it would be really great to hear what you think about this whole thing. Do you feel the way I do, that you live your life as a series of near disasters? Do you do a lot of frantic sprinting to keep yourself from slipping off the edge and hurtling into space? Or have YOU actually figured out how to keep on top of it, together? Calm, cool and collected? Let me know. I promise I won’t hate you for having a better life than me. Pinky swear.

Posted in Uncategorized

Routine Maintenance

Recently, I had the extreme pleasure of being sent for my first mammogram…although I am only 36, I had been having some increasing pain in my left breast- so much so that I finally went to the doctor to have it checked out. Mind you- living, as we do, in this wonderful age of Google and WebMD, I was already a complete basket case by the time I got there. I found myself waiting in my doctors exam room, in that thin, blue, paper “robe” they give you, fighting back tears, sure I was lugging around a boob full of stage IV cancer. I lay there on the exam table, fondling myself like a sixteen year old boy (only I was looking for lumps, thank you.)while salsa music played through the speakers in the ceiling, making me feel like I was in some bizarre indie movie. Right before my doctor came into the room, I found them- two small lumps I hadn’t been able to feel before.

She found them right away, too. Very cheerfully, I might add- “Oh, yep. There they are. Two lumps, here, and here!”  Gulp. “They feel cysty to me.” (I swear she said “cysty”).

“They don’t feel cancery?” Was my intelligent, well thought-out question to her.

“Nah. But let’s send you down for a mammo and get it checked out.”

Great! Which is how I found myself, a few days later, at the breast care center, in another room, in another robe, standing awkwardly in front of another overly-cheerful doctor type woman. I knew she was a different woman, however, as she had a German accent. And she was white, while my doctor is not. Why all the cheerfulness, I could not tell you, but I suppose it is to lighten the mood of what could become a very, very bad day.

Lucky for me, the worst part of the day ended up being the part where I had to stick my left breast into a machine that would then proceed to be turned on and used to squash that breast until it was approximately a foot and a half long. I am not shitting you, read this sentence back to yourself, replacing my breast with your own, and tell me it doesn’t sound ridiculous. It sounds more like a medieval torture device than cutting edge technology. Which must be why, looking down at my long, flat, left breast, I got the worse case of giggles I’ve had in a long time. So much so that the radiology technician also started laughing.

“What’s wrong?” She asked me, catching her breath.

“This is fucking hilarious!” I gasped, falling apart all over again. I really did say that. I have a problem maintaining my composure in frightening medical situations that are also, oddly, funny. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who has been around while I have had my babies.

So anyway, it turned out fine- whatever the “cysty” lumps were, they vanished  in the minutes just prior to my mammogram, making me look like a lunatic- which I was okay with, considering. But it did make me think about the stuff girls go through as part of the routine maintenance of being female. I’m not just talking about the medical stuff, although you would think that would be enough- the yearly subjecting of one’s vagina to a speculum, need I say more? While the men among us suffer through, what? The occasional fondling of balls by a hot nurse who asks them to turn their head and cough? Oh, brother. Must be tough. I’d like to see how well they’d fare with a glorified shoe horn in one of their orifices, being cranked open like an old garage door whose contents are about to be handled and examined. I bet there would be a shortage of gynecologists if men had our genitals- it would probably be a much riskier profession.

Having lived with a man for the past several years, and believing him to be fairly representative of your average, works-with-his-hands, every day guy, I gotta say- this is some bullshit. His grooming routine requires less than ten minutes of his entire day (not including showering or baths, which take so much time as to be a little suspicious. I don’t really want to know what he is doing in there.) He brushes his teeth, he combs his hair. If he can’t find a comb, he puts on a beanie. He puts on clean clothes. If there are no clean clothes, he sniffs the ones he thinks may be cleanest. He puts them on. That’s it. If he’s really trying to look snazzy, he may shave or put some gel in his hair and wear a button down shirt that he dead refuses to iron, so it looks like it has ruffles down the middle of his chest. No amount of pleading from me seems to make a difference, so I stopped trying. Let him wear ruffles, then. Whatever. Apparently, he’s secure in his manhood, right?

The stuff I need to do to my skin alone, before I even start putting on my make-up, takes me longer than his entire regimen in the morning. I bet you women spend a quarter of their lives devoted to their appearance- thinking about clothes, make-up, acne, fat, toenails, fingernails, eye brows, teeth whitening, underwear, hair cuts, beauty products, other women’s clothes, jackets, purses, make-up…it never really ends, does it? And that is just the thinking part. Don’t even get me started on the activities we actively engage in pursuing, maintaining, recapturing, correcting and still, never really achieving more than an evening at a time of feeling ENOUGH.

You know, I started this blog with the idea that I would do a bunch of different stuff (above and beyond all the crap I already do) to my face and my body in the hope of achieving a feeling of prettiness again, which I feel has been fading from my life lately. Over the course of the last couple of weeks, though, I have so enjoyed writing about other stuff, it has made me so happy, that I have started to FEEL really great again. Because I have felt so great, I am going out into the world with this light inside of me that people respond to like you wouldn’t believe. I am happy. And wouldn’t you know it, I had it all wrong- sure it’s nice to be beautiful, and every single woman in the world deserves to feel that way, to be that way, in the eyes of the people who matter most. But physical beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, anyway, and when it is me beholding myself in a mirror, I am always going to fall short, every single time- no matter how much time, money and effort I put into it. But should I catch sight of myself in the middle of what I am doing right now- sitting in my kitchen, in my jammies, with no make-up on and my hair in a pony-tail, I bet you I would think-“Whoa!” When I see the face of a woman passionately involved and enraptured by the thing before her. Or if I look at a picture I have of myself immediately after giving birth to my oldest daughter- the look on my face, that smile…

You know that saying, “beauty is only skin deep.”? I get what it means, but it leaves a lot unsaid. True beauty comes from a much deeper place, a place that may not exist for some of us until we are older. Which is why God makes young people so gorgeous, so that they have at least aesthetic beauty until they grow up a little and have actual value. Otherwise we would kill them. So if I have to age and get wrinkly and whatnot, at least I have this- the consolation that my true worth was never my appearance at all. Even if it means I have to stick my breasts into machines every once in a while.