I had a conversation with a coworker in the bathroom yesterday at work. Yes, women talk in the bathroom at work.
Coworker: Wow, your hair is getting really long. Do you dye it yourself?
Phi: No, I go get it done professionally. That was one of my mom’s mandates after Tony died.
Coworker: To get your hair dyed?
Phi: To take care of myself. Get my hair dyed. Get my nails done. Get waxed.
Coworker: And does she pay for it?
Phi: Nope. I do. She made me promise to budget for it.
The point of this post is inspired by @Innermind’s reminder of the importance of self-love, and I don’t mean masturbating which we all know I’m a big fan of anyway.
My mom might be a little bit superficial, but she wasn’t wrong. I’d let myself go. I didn’t care enough to maintain the standard of caring for myself that I’d had before life got shitty. I’d gained eighty pounds, I was self-dying my hair and it showed, and I wore unflattering jeans and leggings all the time because I couldn’t be bothered to groom my legs.
Frankly, I’d just stopped caring.
She paid for my first visit to the hairdresser the day after the funeral. It was $200. As she pulled out her credit card to pay for it, she gave me the lecture.
“No more boxes from the drugstore. You go find a hairdresser you trust and you budget for this. No more shaving. You go to the waxing center and you get your brows and legs taken care of. No more chipped polish and calloused feet. You go to the nail salon and get your mani/pedi every two weeks. You make room for this in your budget. You make this a priority.”
She knew this was something I had to be forced to recognize as a priority, because living as the codependent caregiver for a depressed hoarder, I’d not been one for a long, long time.
Later on, when we were going through my expenses trying to get a handle on my budget, my dad suggested I could afford to keep cable television and home phone and take on a new car lease.
“No,” I said. “That goes. That’s my pampering budget.”
My mom was so proud.
It’s been over a year now. I have no idea what’s happened on any of the TV shows I used to watch regularly, but I take care of myself in all the ways my mom suggested. Not only do I do those things, but I’ve also lost the weight and then some, and treat myself to occasional massages and frequent bubble baths. If she’d been paying for it, I’d have been doing it for her. If I were doing it for the sole purpose of attracting a man, I’d be doing it for him.
It’s because of my Mom-Dom that I found a way to do this for myself. In the process of doing something so seemingly superficial, I relearned to value myself on on a much deeper level.