The $12 Wash

I opted to partake in something I haven’t attempted in quite a while, something previously only reserved for dates and interviews, something in which I used to take great pride.

I gave myself the Deluxe Wash – the ostentatious, time-consuming, lotion-slathered Deluxe Wash.

My aunt and uncle, still dewy from a recent vacation, volunteered to join us yesterday afternoon. I was so thrilled when they arrived, I jumped up and quickly asked, “Can I take a shower?”

And then my uncle said it.

“Take your time.”

Take my time? Take my time? Oh, the things I could do!

Spa Utopia Vancouver - Hydratherapy Room

As I ascended the stairs, I imagined all the things I could do if I took my time – shave my legs, blowdry my hair, put lotion on my feet. Put lotion on my feet? I became downright giddy. I hadn’t put lotion on my feet since, uh, well, never mind. It’s been a while.

I was in moderate fear that all of my body care products were expired since I hadn’t touched them in so long. I actually had to read a few of them to reacquaint myself with what they were and what they did.

Long story short (this is a family show), the oil was changed, the undercarriage flushed, the hair was conditioned, and lotion was applied.

Halfway through chiseling away at my heels, though, a strong wave of guilt washed over me. How could I be so extravagant?

But I was all in by that point. There was no turning back.

I shined up like a new penny. My pores were virtually invisible, my skin like freshly-spun silk, I could actually feel the floor against the soles of my feet. It felt good. It felt so good, in fact, I even called up a few spritzes of Givenchy.

And then I felt worse.

What business did I have spritzing on Givenchy? I was taking my son for a haircut, for God’s sake. And was it really necessary to lotion head-to-toe? I could have gotten him, the twins, and a few neighbor kids dressed during the time I lavished in the bathroom. What kind of mother was I, anyway? And how did it ever take so long to get ready to leave the house before?

Clearly, I was experiencing some sort of crisis.

Maybe it was the combined aroma of competing beauty products or sheer, unadulterated guilt, but I found myself caught between silky smooth and nauseously ill.

I wondered how I’d wasted so much time on myself in the past. And to what end? To avoid feeling like a piece of jerky for less than twenty-four hours? I wondered why I now called it wasting time, when I had simply used to call it ‘getting ready’.

I felt terrible. Clean and delicious, but terrible.

When my self-care odyssey was finally complete and I’d considered myself ‘ready’, I was left feeling empty. Did I really feel that much different (you know, besides guilty)? Lord knew, I wasn’t trying to pick up guys, I didn’t have anyone to impress, and I found that my feet were sliding uncomfortably around in my sandals.

No better than when I started, maybe even a little worse.

So, I learned something about myself. Sometimes what we think we need or think we miss, we really don’t. I learned that my time is too precious for all the activities I once felt were essential. And none of them actually make me happier. Now, I’m not knocking personal care, and rest assured, if someone called me today and invited me to a spa, I’d be there post-haste. But needing it? I just don’t need it anymore.

In fact, unless I’m meeting with the President, or accepting an Academy Award, I may not be doing it again.

I ultimately got more satisfaction from seeing my little man proudly hop out of the hairdresser chair to show off his new ‘do.

Another of the things about me I imagined would never change, has, indeed, changed. And this, too, is alright with me.

Go figure.

Now, shopping? That’s a completely different story…

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on IGNITE and commented:
    So glad I am not alone!!!
    To understand that unless I take care of me occasionally makes taking care of others easier!!
    Take you…. Sometimes the self justification process is hard, but we still undergo the thought process!


  2. murphymusthavehadkids says:

    So true! I can get ready so quickly now (especially on my favorite no-hair-wash days- lol)! It feels so foreign to spend all that time pampering myself when I could be sleeping.


  3. Jo Eberhardt says:

    I used to work for a skin-care company. Once a week, I’d recline in a warm, milky bubble bath and give myself “The Treatment”. From face masks (one for purifying, one for hydrating!) and exfoliators (different ones for face, feet, hands, and body!), a hair mask and revitalisor, to hair removal treatments. I’d lie back and enjoy the experience. It could take an hour or more. Then I’d get out of the bath and slather lotions and tonics all over my body. Ah, bliss.

    Last week, my husband was (shockingly) home of an evening, and he suggested I go have a bath. I was so excited! I raced in, ran a nice hot bubble bath, and relaxed.

    Five minutes later I got out. I was clean. What more could I want?

    Long story short: Totally buying what you’re selling.


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