I’m staring at foot soak.

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I’m staring at foot soak. My doula gave it to me as a birth present. My baby is 10mos old.

I am back in my skinny jeans. Most of them. I had to get rid of many of them because I’m too skinny for my skinny jeans. It’s been this way for at least half a year. Go ahead. Write me hatemail.

But first consider that all I wear is jeans- and t-shirts. In fact I’m in a rut. Messy bun. Jeans. T-shirt. At least they’re not yoga pants, right? At least I shower every day, right? At least I put on my 3 obligatory articles of makeup every day, right? Foundation. Blush. Mascara.

A member of the cult of Marie Kondo, I have just recently gone through the contents of my vanity. Truth be told, this is my second go-around. I had a baby. I moved to a tiny apartment. I near lost my mind. My body isn’t my own or it’s morphed into something resembling a fraction of my aunts, and in addition to my ever changing wardrobe (re: attempt to reinvent some fragment of my personality), every bit of my days seem to be revolving around child rearing or homemaking- even my arts and crafts.

And so, in addition to this foot soak, I’m also examining earrings I never wear, bracelets meant to match outfits I no longer have, dust covered perfume bottles, separated nailpolish, caked expired eyeshadow, and hair accessories new in their packaging. Who is this person?

Meet…my fantasy self.

Le sigh.

My actual self…is stressed about the dangerously low frozen pumped milk supply in the freezer and between outbreaks of chronic uticaria and nursing two different inhalers, has been caring for an onslaught of colds that my son keeps bringing home from his first year at school (my actual self is a warrior?). My actual self is rotating between skinny jeans that are baggy in the ass from my melting body, and gypsy skirts. My actual self has painted my nails 3 times since giving birth almost a year ago and has worn perfume once (my actual self has a lower cancer rate). My actual self usually only wears makeup when going to the supermarket so people don’t assume I’m terminally ill.  My actual self LOVES to make watercolor and mixed media collage and stitch little gifts. My actual self feels whole playing fiddle and doing yoga. My actual self loves to read non fiction. My actual self…blogs more than a few times in half a year.

My fantasy self thinks that self care revolves around putting on a pretty face. My fantasy self does for others to avoid the discomfort of doing for myself.

But that is not what my actual self KNOWS intuitively. My actual self knows that the next time I’m tempted buy posh nailpolishes and trendy eyeshadow that I should instead buy a NEW WATER BOTTLE because my body needs WATER to be well. And instead of buying another pair of leggins I’m too shy to wear I could treat myself to ACTUALLY SITTING DOWN TO A MEAL AT MY TABLE because my body needs CALORIES. Or instead of making yet another toy for my children I could perhaps take time to PAINT or tune my FIDDLE because my body needs STRESS RELEASE. And perhaps one day instead of obsessively cleaning my house in case one of my zero real-life not-on-facebook-friends drops by the house, I could GO TO BED EARLY because my body needs SLEEP. Shit, maybe I’ll even drop by the library one day and have an in face conversation with an actual human who can form sentences.

My actual self is the realness- the rawness- that pushes through the sleep deprivation and slave labor housework of parenting. She is no Kardashian.

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