care and feeding of your pandemic self…

Before I get too far into this post about self care while on my annual 2 week vacation in March I feel compelled to warn you that down there below the first two gifs is a gif of a movie scene that gave me a lifetime of nightmares… The melting nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I mean I’m glad he melted. He was an awful person. Well character. Based on a lot of really truly vile people. But I swear my parents letting me watch that scene so young is responsible for about 3% of my childhood trauma. Which isn’t much but… wow do I remember it. So… just know that that face melting really holds up and it comes into play down below.

Where was I? Oh. I stopped taking care of myself during the pandemic. I mean I’ve managed to keep myself alive. But I’m just kind of gross lately. Like…

By the time I’d been on vacation for less than 24 hours and I was already doing a better job taking care of myself then I have all year. I realize it’s only the beginning of March but still. Two full months is a long time to let yourself go.

Don’t get me wrong. I do something to take care of myself and clean myself up every day. Something. Like I brush my teeth. I do that every day. At least I think I do. Let’s just pretend that I am almost quite certain that I brush my teeth at least once a day and sometimes twice. And some days I brush my hair. But not all of them.

Days. I always brush all of the hairs.

I shower some days. And I moisturize my face like, I don’t know, three times a week? I know I floss at least once a week because I’m scared of my dentist. But just scared enough of my dentist to floss at least once a week. Not scared enough to do that every day.

I mean, it’s not like he’s Steve Martin or something.

I put on this special hydrating lip treatment every single night. Like every night. Sometimes I apply a second layer because I’m one of those people who needs lip balm all the time and this stuff soaking into my lips and hydrating them at night has significantly reduced the number of times I feel compelled to apply lip balm during the day.

It’s for efficiency, really.

I don’t even bother with the hair dye anymore. That’s one part lazy two parts “What if I can grow a wicked gray streak?” But my brows? I dye those like every three weeks or so just so I won’t have to stare at their strange blondness in the mirror and feel compelled to put makeup on.

What other things do people do to take care of themselves? Exfoliate? I do that when my face starts to look like it’s detaching from itself. Personal grooming, I’m not going to get into that with you. But I cut my nails when one breaks and becomes ragged and snaggy but I only do it to keep myself from gnawing it off. I cut my toenails when they start to snag my socks or the sheets.

This one time… I used one of those crazy skin shedding foot baggie treatments. But it was because I hadn’t had a pedicure in 10 months and I wasn’t sure how much of my foot was live healthy Cami tissue and how much was a gross mass of skin that had died but didn’t know it was dead so it was still clinging hopefully trying to make it just one more day.

This may be one of the grossest things I’ve ever written. I’m so sorry you’ve read it. I’ll get to the point.

I used to do all of these things on a regular basis. Like super regular. I used to be clean and polished and shaved and painted and had a spring in my step. I bathed every day even though I worked from home. I had a manicure and pedicure every 6 weeks. Actually I had a manicure probably far more frequently than that. Especially when I was traveling a lot. I mean, the place is literally just up the block. I’m saying I made the time to care for myself.

Long story short, I used to make a practice of expending energy to do things that made me feel healthier and happier.

Right now? Not so much. I literally do the best I can do. Some days, all I can manage is to take my meds twice a day when I’m supposed to. I have alarms that tell me to do that. Eat at least two meals. Drink enough water that I’m not dying of thirst. And put on clean underwear.

Full transparency… I ran out of clean underwear at some point last week. That is not a thing that used to happen to me. Ever. But in these times I was so not surprised.

I’d like to think this time off will be a reset. That it will enable me to find a new baseline for self care. But I don’t know if that’s true. And well… That’s not really good enough.