Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Land Of Pretty

Once upon a time I was deliciously high-maintenance. I spent lots of money to keep up the appearance of an attractive woman. The $200 highlights, pedicure and acrylic nail fill every 2 weeks, monthly eyebrow and Brazilian waxing, tanning salon trips topped with self-tan cream galore. Its a good thing I worked in prestige cosmetics and was given more than I could possibly use or I would have squandered the farm on face creams and makeup as well! I spent plenty of time in the salon. The beauty parlor is a phenomena in and of itself. It is not only a place to leave looking better than when you came in, but is a place to unwind, relax, and know that you are doing something decadent and purely for yourself. It is a symbol of bonding female sensibilities. It is (or was before life could be conducted on a cell phone) a place to let your tensions melt away as your manipulated fingers were filed and nails formed or hot wax slathered onto your skin and hair painfully ripped from your body. Its a necessarily luxurious break from the demands we as women endure, be it from significant others, children, work or the myriad of other expectations that fill our plates. Since becoming ill the beauty parlor has become less and less of a presence until it finally fell away almost entirely. I still get my hair cut 2x a year, big whoopee do.

My best friend, feeling sorry for pathetic little 'ole me, gave me the awesome Christmas gift of a mani/pedi! It had been so long... So I prettied myself up and used GPS for the first time (it rocks!) to navigate my way to the hand and foot spa where she had a gift certificate waiting for me. I entered the long-forgotten environment of the salon and waited to be called. While waiting I observed the other women, some in their business suits or medical scrubs, a few mom-daughter duo's, a sprinkling of high-school girls, and reflected back to a time when life at the salon was a standing appointment. It was hard to break through the pain and years and put myself back there, for before the pain and fatigue life was normal. I did not know it then, and laugh at what sweetly innocent me deemed "problems". I did not know I was carrying on a life I would become unable to live because of an illness I got at the age of 28. The irony of the lessons I have learned and person I have become because of Fibromyalgia was not lost on me, and it was a nice reminder of how carefree life once was. I  sure enjoyed the pampering and left with sparkling toes and shiny finger nails. Besides not having to break my back self-pedicuring I enjoyed the experience of it all, enjoyed remembering and putting the beauty parlor in proper perspective of my life. I have put that part of me away for now, but am a do-it-yourself girl dreaming of the day I get to become salon dependent once again.

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  1. Your timing is always impeccable. I have indulged in a show called "You're Cut Off" and watching these spoiled girls whine about everyday life has given me quite a laugh. I have been musing for the past few days on who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. It takes so much darn energy to even shower, let alone put on make-up or blow dry my hair- but I do it. It's been my desperate attempt to cling to that version of myself. After watching that horribly guilty show (favoring this hellish flare with Snickers and bad reality TV is probably so foolish, but oooohhhhh how it feels so good!)I am considering stopping with the make-up... at least for awhile. It's freeing to know I can let it go, and still be girly... and to know eventually I'll maybe want to get dolled up again. P.S. I am so hating taking pictures of myself. I used to take pictures all of the time. McPuffy face is not the bee's knees. ;)

  2. I have to say, Leah.....I had never had a manicure or a pedicure until I was in my 50's AND they weren't in the same year. To have either is still an expensive treat for me. It's so funny how things become the norm. This past year, I started to have my nails done regularly for the 1st time in my life. It only lasted a few months before my nails became dry and cracked below the quick and I had to stop. For now. I may go back but it is an expensive luxury I can't bring myself to become accostomed to doing. It's not that we don't have the money. It just seems like so much money to spend on something I really can do myself, if I want it done. Not important in the scheme of things.

  3. I spend 5 days a week in a salon, pasting on a smile, lifting a heavy blowdryer, hoping desperatly i wont forget which color in the bolns are which (labeling them works), and praying i dont have a case of the dropsies and shatter yet another expensive tool. I was four years into this career when I was diagnosed, and have fought every day since for just one more year. i define myself as a hairdresser, almost my entire identity is tied into that title. I do it because I love it, I love making people smile and feel better about themselves. At the same time, I am finally dealing with the realization that this may be the last year I can squeeze in. How can I book appointments for clients 6 weeks out when I have no idea what I will feel like tomorrow? My FMS, CFS, and RA clients make it worth while. With them I can be myself, no smiling through the pain and exhaustion, no worries if i have to ask three times how short they wanted the bangs. They inderstand what I am going through and I understand them. Touch of another person can be healing, and to know know how gentle to touch someone in these circumstances is a blessing I wouldnt have if I didnt also have FMS. Thank you for this entry.