I found these two old photos today while going through my closet. They were taken in March 1977 just after my First Communion. I was eight. Aside from our fetching 70s attire, the best part about these photos has to be my expressions in both. It’s like I haven’t changed at all. Well, wait. I have changed, but my face hasn’t changed. Well, obviously it has changed. I mean, I am like waaaaaaaaay older now. I just mean my expressions haven’t changed. I make those same faces today. Perhaps the thought behind those expressions has changed, but the face is the same.
I’ve provided, below, two potential meanings these expressions would have for me today. Feel free to share any you think seem more appropriate.
It’s my night off, so I am just barely going to post something here. It is hard to write a blog post every day for 365 days. I know I am only like 181 days into my 365 days (so about halfway), but some days you just need to give your mind a break. Today I took the dog to his puppy training, went out to dinner with my family, and went downtown to see Lewis Black perform stand-up comedy. And that is the sum total of what I accomplished or thought about today. It was a very chill, brainless day…until the ride home.
On the way home from seeing Mr. Black, my blood cursing with vodka tonics, I began thinking (via a lyric by Depeche Mode, if you can believe it) about my youth growing up Catholic. All I managed to decide is that growing up Catholic messed me up in ways that I don’t dare try to unpack here. These things, however, do explain why I am an atheist now and why, while I appreciate what some people get from religion and faith, I want nothing to do with any sort of organized religion. Catholicism made me crazy. It kept me trapped in a paradigm I didn’t agree with but had a devil of a time escaping. There are so many layers to my Catholic upbringing that I can’t decide if it was the Polish ancestry that did me in or the combination of being Polish and Catholic. Either way, it’s taken me 53 years to reclaim my brain. And I’m not going back into that quagmire of guilt and pointless obligation and ceremony and bullshit. If it works for you, God bless you. As for me and my house, we will stick to science. Maybe it was Lewis Black and his firebrand approach to reality that got me riled up and thinking about the insanity I have put up with. Maybe it is just the fact that I had to go out to a show and present my Covid vaccination card and wear a mask? Maybe the pandemic has brought me to this point where I am sick of the insanity of life these days.
Check back with me tomorrow, when the vodka has worn off and I am hopefully able to devote some time to a coherent thought. For now, I’m going to sleep because I deserve a good night’s rest. Thanks for traveling with me. We can take some more steps together when the sun is awake again. There is all sorts of absurdity in our world. It’s no wonder some of us end up a few bricks short of a full load.
Self-care. It means something different to everyone because we all have unique needs. Some people like a hot bath, but hot baths make me feel like I am sitting in a soup of my own filth. Some people swear by massages, and while I appreciate an occasional massage, my idea of relaxing doesn’t often involve some stranger pawing at me while I’m vulnerable. Some people love a good weekend with their besties, but as an introvert the last thing I want to do to relax is hang out with a bunch of other women having “girl” time in a shared home where I also have to share a bedroom. For me, self-care is more like something you would see on Parks and Recreation; I’m all about the “treat yo’self” method of self-care.
So, today I treated myself to some time at my dermatologist’s office, spending a stupid amount of money to let them abuse me because I haven’t done that in six years. They pulsed light at me and then, just for fun, I let them poke needles into my face because why not? They have to numb you before they do these things because they are just that unpleasant. The best part about my self-care is that it will leave me looking like a swamp thing for a few days, which means I get to stay home and avoid other humans. It really is a win-win. In a week, my skin will look better and in a month it will look even better still. And then I can do it all over again before the holidays, so I can have some downtime away from people before, well, it’s time to spend more one-on-one time with people. Tonight I get to sleep sitting up. WIth any luck, I won’t wake up looking like a vole (beady eyes, puffy face) tomorrow from all the swelling. Yep. This is how I take care of myself. It’s a little twisted.
It makes sense to me that this is my chosen method of self-care, though. This is what happens when you are raised Catholic. This is my self-flagellation for the sins of second-degree sunburns as a fair-skinned teenager and time on tanning beds as a fair-skinned college student. This is my mea culpa, my ten Our Fathers and fifteen Hail Marys on the rosary of life. I am absolving myself of my sun sins with a promise to do better before my next confession, er, skin-check appointment with my dermatologist. Self-care is what works for you. For me, self-care is admitting my blunders and making amends so I can face myself in the mirror every day.