A New Leaf for the New Year

02_01_2015_01

My posting this month has been sparse because – gasp! – internet is out at my house. We are waiting on a fix but it will be a few more days. Harumph. Here is my long overdue post about personal goals for 2016.

This is going to be a big year of changes for me, I can feel it. In fact, I’m going to make it happen. I am on the tail end of what could only have been a prolonged depressive episode and I’m ready for it to be done.

I don’t get very personal on this blog because I want to focus on homesteading and the skills we are learning and want to share. But in focusing so hard on the things we are doing I ended up really neglecting myself for the last 2 or 3 years. I feel it is important to share my experience to help others who may be feeling the same way but also as a way to facilitate healing for myself. The move had been in my mind for several years before it actually took place, but it became an imminent event hot on the heels of a horrible year of confidence-destroying office work, which itself followed the end of my 4 year marriage. In essence, I was desperate for a fresh start and some critical distance between the events that had taken place and the people I no longer wished to see. I entered a new relationship that I can now clearly recognize as being way too soon, but knew it was too important to pass up. Lucky for me J was willing to stick it out while I struggled with big life changes as well as my own mind.

For the last 2 years I have bought virtually no new clothes, shoes or even underwear. While in some ways this deserves a pat on the back, it is also indicative of my lack of care for myself. I didn’t cut or dye my hair (something that I have always enjoyed doing), and often didn’t even wash or brush it. I quit wearing makeup and contact lenses most days, which, again, should earn me some level of applause but also lead to my feeling down about my appearance fairly regularly. My personal style was entering “I didn’t expect to get out of the car” territory. Getting up, getting ready and leaving the house in under 10 minutes is impressive, but not if you spend the whole day feeling grimy or unpresentable… it’s hard to carry yourself with confidence under those circumstances. I retreated into books to provide me with a distraction from every day life, and would often spend 2 or more hours sitting alone in the bath to do it. Upon reflecting on these actions it’s pretty clear that I was in a serious funk.

This raises a very interesting and relevant point about how we portray ourselves in our social media lives and on the internet. The casual reader viewing my posts likely assumed I was a motivated and creative woman all of the last two years; learning to bake, crafting, caring for my animals, and so on and so forth. But mental and emotional turmoil often remains hidden behind a facade as we don’t want to expose our suffering or failings. We create a standard for each other that is unattainable, unrealistic. This benefits no one.

SO. In addition to taking control of my life financially (no more living paycheck to paycheck and I really mean it this time!) I am turning over a new leaf for myself physically. I bought a small number of new clothing items (and they are NEW new, not thrifted), collected some new makeup items, and am giving myself a mini-makeover. When I started the blog I initially didn’t want to spend too much time on “beauty” type topics, but oddly enough these posts tend to be the most popular so I will push to blog more about cruelty-free beauty in the new year as I once again find my confidence and re-learn how to present myself proudly. I have already started to get up 20 minutes earlier than usual and put a little effort into my makeup routine. The results of this minor change were immediate and very encouraging. While it does sort of frustrate me that I right away began getting compliments on my face/makeup, it also gave me a little boost. Maybe people noticed that I had stopped trying and are now encouraging me to take pride in myself. Or maybe the world is just superficial, haha. Either way I am feeling good about working on these things this year and am open to sharing the journey.

The first picture is a “before” of sorts, and the following two are “afters” – I dyed my hair, did some new makeup, got some new jewelry, and had my script put into my new glasses frames. I also did a small undercut to get rid of some hair that had tangled badly and broken off to a bunch of weird lengths at the back of my neck (lucky for me undercuts are on trend currently) My ear is super pink in the bottom photo probably because I burned it with my straightening iron. I was out of practice! Happy new year to everyone.

02_01_2015_03

02_01_2015_02

6 comments

  1. Thanks for writing this post – I’ve been going through a lot of the same things lately. Blogging is funny because you want to project a certain image, and to a point I felt like I have to keep producing producing producing or people would stop reading or something? I started writing more “personal” posts like this, and they have been more popular than my homesteading posts! I think there is a certain level of emotional uncertainty and exhaustion that comes with the homesteading lifestyle. Provisioning for yourself and your loved ones is a lot of pressure! Best of luck with your “makeover.” I love reading your blog and am so glad I found it!

  2. I’m glad you shared this, too. I’ve been going through something similar for the last few years and sometimes it’s really hard to know how to take care of yourself. I stopped wearing makeup because I don’t think I should have to wear it, but then I don’t feel great about how I look, and just putting on eyeliner makes me feel (1) good about myself and (2) bad about the fact that I’m giving into that sexist cultural standard. But I’ve never enjoyed that stuff, makeup and nail polish and doing anything remotely interesting with my hair, and it sounds like you do enjoy it. If it makes you feel good, that’s what you should do. For what it’s worth, I think your glasses and messy bun are fantastic, and I also love your new hair and tattoos. 🙂

    • Thanks for this!! It is a strange balance between wearing enough makeup to feel good, but not so much that you feel like you are dressing up for other people. As an artsy person I like to think of it more as an artistic exploration than the patriarchy telling me how to look haha. It’s fun putting on makeup! It’s performance. I know I look great without it too. And thank you! It’s fun to mini-makeover sometimes ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s