Sometimes I’m not funny. I apologize. If you struggle with weight or body image, please read on. If you don’t, please stop reading and email me immediately, I need to know your secret. If you’re just not interested come back tomorrow. We are going to talk about hair.
I used to blog over here. This is Blog to Lose, if you don’t know it, it’s a great site for weight loss support and I blogged almost daily there when I was losing weight a few years ago. I lost, in fact, 60 pounds over the course of about 7 months. (Reader’s Digest Version: I was depressed. I worked nights. I ate to stay awake. I got fat. I felt bad. I lost weight. The end. Well almost the end. Read on.) Anyway… not so much. I weigh about 10 pounds from the weight I was when I started that blog and my life isn’t the same.
I know it’s not that easy. Oh believe me. I knooooow. But here’s the thing.
You are the way you look.
But the way you look is not *you*.
I know this doesn’t apply to everyone. I also know that skinny people have body image issues too. I used to be one.
I’m on the left (the one on the right is my little sister. She’s 22, single and in grad school if anyone knows any nice guys). This was taken less than two years ago. I can give you a laundry list of things I don’t like about my body in that picture. (I’ll spare you, but use your imagination. If you’re a lady, you know the hot spots.)
Anyway now I’m not skinny.
And I could still give you a laundry list of things I’d change. (I’d put on a swimsuit if I thought it would illustrate my point better but I don’t have one. Also I apologize for the poor quality of this photo. I had the 15 year old snap it quickly, because it’s rare to get a photo of me without a baby attached.)
So, why am I smiling? (Besides the fact that it’s sunny and beautiful outside and I did yoga.)
I should be crying my eyes out right? Because I used to look like that other girl? And now I don’t.
Well I refuse. I will not cry over my thighs. Or butt. Or stomach.
See we went to the beach this last weekend and I sat in the sand with our sweet little baby, watching my Big Kids play in the surf and I people watched.
Mostly I just kept seeing girls in bikinis and thinking to myself, “Welp self. Your body is just never going to look like that again. Ever.”
And I was just a little sad.
Ok I was a lot sad.
But just for a minute.
I’m going to be honest… I was trying really hard to enjoy the sound of the ocean and the smell of the salty water (both things I big puffy pink heart) but I was intermittently thinking horrible things. I was imagining how my husband must surely find me hideous and wondering how many women on the beach he was looking at thinking he wished I looked like them. (He wasn’t. Just to clarify. He’s not that guy.) I was thinking about how it’s only going to get worse because I’m only getting older, and saggier. I was thinking about having another baby and what that might do to my body. I was thinking I’d never ever wear a swimsuit again. Ever. Never.
I wasn’t having a very good day emotionally speaking. I’m blaming PMS.
I was sad. Also PMS.
(Also I wanted a chocolate bar. Bad.)
Then I was sad that I was sad, and sad that I was sad that I was sad. Did you get all that? And I talked to the Man about it. Because that’s what I do. And he did like he does. He told me he loved me and that he wanted me to be healthy and happy and not worried about the scale. Or my stretch marks. Or my pants size. Or. Or. Or. He told me I am beautiful and he loves my body the way it is. Round. Shapely. Soft. Curvy. And I thought, why can’t I love myself this way too? Or any way I am? Oh this makes me mad at myself. Just mad. MAD. And so I consciously decide to I love myself. Yay. I’m smart. I’m beautiful. I’m a good person. Phew.
(Then something happens to make me critical (pick ANYthing) and thus begins the cycle again.)
But you see it’s not about being skinny or fat (or whatever), it’s just about loving who you are, how you are. However you are.
It’s gonna be ok.
You look how you are.
But you are not how you look.
I like shampoo.
Well, in the spirit of honesty I’m going to honestly tell you what I think about being shampoo-free.
First let’s review:
*Two weeks ago, I went poo-free (the Man followed shortly after)
*We did this in the interest of being more eco-aware and chemical free (and it’s cheap, which is a nice feature)
*We also did this as an experiment because we like to use ourselves as subjects of research but you know, not the dangerous scientific kind where we might be scarred or permanently damaged
*We did this because shampoo is a detergent, much like tide, and washing your hair with tide sounds like a bad idea. Probably.
* I personally did this because I was intrigued by the idea that ceasing the use of the artificial things in shampoo would make my hair actually look better.
Yeah, so far, not so much.
Be ye not dismayed.
I will not go into the dark night (with shampoo).
My hair looks well… not HORRIBLE but not great, I’m not going to lie. The ends are dry, the scalp is… well let’s just say not dry and there is about a 2 inch section in between that is perfect. Well crap. You should know I’ve been growing my hair out for what seems like about 13 years. In reality it’s only been a couple but my hair grows that slow. For this reason I am abysmally bad at getting regular haircuts. I gave myself an ends trim last week in fact. But, despite the fact that I do very little to my hair, aside from washing and letting air dry (with the occasional use of a heated styling tool), it is bipolar. Which is to say the scalp is quite oily (ala my face) and the ends are quite dry. And the resulting attempt to balance these out often fails. Miserably. Even with the use of innumerable styling products. I refuse to cut my hair for this reason. Not happening.
However, I have hope. For I have been told there is an ‘adjustment’ period of a couple of weeks to a couple of months. I do not know what this means. I hope it doesn’t mean my hair is going to look like this for two months because I. Would. Cry. Since the Man is gone to the bay I’m experimenting this week. Today: Less baking soda. More vinegar. So far it’s looking pretty good. I think.
I’ll keep you posted.
The other thing I’m starting this week is the oil cleansing method (for faces).
I am doing this because it seems logical. Oil dissolves oil. Also oil is a moisturizer. And oil doesn’t cause acne, dirt causes acne. And acne is why most people obsess over their face. Also oil contains no chemicals. Which is what all this business was about in the first place.
But don’t trust me to tell you about it. Read about it here. I’m doing this on a week when the Man is gone because, despite what I have read in like 87 internet sources, I am terrified that my face is going to break out like a teenager. Which it has at least once a month since I became one so many many years ago. My face is that oily. Like really oily. Monumentally oily. Epically oily.
Anyway, oils vary in their comedogenic-ness (that is the pore clogging likeliness) so I chose one low on that scale. Sunflower, mixed with castor, in about a 70/30 ratio respectively (purchased at Whole Foods). I added a few drops of peppermint oil because I like it. I have heard of some using just plain oil without the castor but again this makes me fear a breakout as the castor acts as a cleansing agent. So that’s what I’m doing. You can use extra virgin olive oil if you can’t find sunflower (which is not always readily available). I also have some tea-tree oil which I may add because it is a great antiseptic. Not yet though. So I started with this yesterday. Rubbed it all over my face before bed (trying to enjoy the massage while the Man bounced the crying baby, not very effective). Got a washrag nice and steamy hot and washed it off (like 3 times) and… My face is absolutely not oily. At. All.
I’m freaking out.
Don’t worry I’ll be ok.
So what about skin in general…
Again in the spirit of complete honesty you can’t count on me to tell you what I really think. I have always had an oily face. The hormonal breakouts I suffered as a teen I typically tried to cover with various makeup (to no avail). My father, in his hippie-like spirit, begged me to cease the use of all products but I refused.
Turns out he might have on to something. Despite mineral makeup (and every other kind of makeup) saying that they won’t clog your pores, I think they probably do. In fact, I think all the cosmetic companies may actually be working together to take your money.
Wear makeup to look beautiful.
Uh oh. Now your pores are a clogged up mess and you have acne.
OK. Use this product to cure your acne.
Uh oh too dry? Use this product as a moisturizer.
Etc. etc. etc.
Makeup made my face look worse. It’s a cycle. It makes you feel like you look better but it is damaging your skin and thus making your skin look worse? That’s my theory. I’m no expert (except on pie).
As an adult my acne did not improve to my dismay. In fact in some ways it got worse. I began having some cystic type acne in the typical hormonal areas (cheeks and chin). I was seeking solutions. Around three or so years ago I began wearing less makeup, and then less makeup, and around two years ago makeup for special occasions (like date night kind of special) and then zero (except for our wedding). I pay attention to my skin, but in a different way. And here’s what I noticed, I apologize if you don’t like this answer.
My dad was right.