Here in the South the term, “let herself go” usually refers to a woman who got married, gained some weight, and stopped taking care of herself, or at least no longer prioritizes her health and beauty routine over taking care of her family. I think a more accurate phrasing would be she “let go of herself.” That is what I did. I let go of myself. I stopped trying to control my weight, a lifelong issue. I stopped trying to care for my rosacea. I stopped trying to find cute clothes for myself, or cute underclothes. I stopped getting my hair done and wearing makeup. I let go of things that make me feel happy, and pretty, and feminine. It makes me sad to think about that.
Why? Why did I let go of myself? I think the main factor is having undiagnosed bipolar disorder. It is hard to take care of your outsides when your headspace is in chaos. I am so thankful my husband did not give up on me or our marriage as I went through years just struggling to cope with all these crazy emotions all the time. There was so much anger and anxiety. It was like being on a treadmill going just a little bit too fast and just a little too high of an incline to feel secure all the time. It was exhausting.
Now things are different. I was diagnosed as bipolar type 2. I am appropriately medicated. I see both a licensed counselor, who I love, and a psychiatrist, who is the gentlest soul I have ever met. Keeping me mentally healthy is now a team effort. I have found relief from the constant struggle inside my head. So now what?
Well, my house is a wreck and never clean, so that is always on the list. The kids have school stuff, and the hubs has hubs stuff. The toddler is a rambunctious handful who seems to have my temperment, poor baby. I do love his cranky little butt though. So I spend a lot of time and energy on all of them. So where do I fit in?
I fit in the space I make for myself. At least that is what I am finding. I have to make time for myself. Which means I have to have a plan of attack or I will continue to be fat with bad hair and red skin. Unacceptable. My Mawmaw, rest her soul, would have disowned me if she had seen the state I am in. So I made a plan.
First, get control of the weight issue. I am becoming a familiar face at the gym. It has daycare, which is awesome. Next is handle what I eat and drink. This means really cutting out the soda and sweet tea and sugar. That is first, and then the rest of diet will follow.
Next, is tend to my hair, which means regular appointments at the hair salon. I tried a new lady today and liked her. She cut a whopping 6-7 inches off my mane. I feel like a new woman. Tomorrow I will see what my hair looks like after it is dried and decide if I like my new haircut.
Then there is makeup. I am going to start wearing it again, not just on special occasions. I LIKE makeup. So I am now following this awesome beauty blogger, Lex Gillies, at TalontedLex, who has rosacea and does tons of product reviews and comparisons. I have purchased some foundation and primer and a new face cleanser. Love the cleanser (Neutrogena Hydroburst cleansing gel), hate the primer (Neutrogena Healthy Skin Primer) , indifferent to the foundation (L’Oreal Match Super Blendable Makeup). I have a wishlist of skincare and makeup that I will gradually purchase and try. The purpose is to just keep trying, not to be perfect every day.
A and I are discussing going back to school together to get our MBAs. I am unsure of whether I: 1) can do it, 2) can get a job after it 3)find ways to get experience before trying to get said job. My counselor was more enthusiastic over getting an accounting degree, but A is adamant about the benefits of an MBA. I just really want to go back to school and will find a job when I get out after Elijah starts school.
So those are some of the plans to get myself back. To carve space for myself that is beyond my family. I am thinking that if I can get some of my outsides in order, it will help me keep my insides in order. This is my hope, anyway.