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