The appearance 

Carving out time to write seems like it should be easy in my new world, but for some reason, I still don’t do it. Not because I don’t have the time, but I just don’t make the time. Why? Eh, probably avoidance, but we’ll see what we can do. Anyways, on to better topics.
As a catch-up, I finally feel like the dust around me is settling. I have my route to work under control, and other basic routines. I know where my go-to grocery store is and my home goods stores. There’s a small shopping mall near my work that has good clothes shopping (send help!) and nearly all of my remaining boxes are stored away in my closets. Furniture still alludes me, but we’ll get there. I have barstools so that’s a solid first step. Overall, I’m settling in quite nicely and I feel strangely…at home. I knew I liked Detroit when I visited, I knew I wanted to move, but Seattle has felt like home for so long, that it was strange to think I could feel the same way here. But, turns out, I can. This place has relaxed me in a lot of ways. I take long weekend walks with Ginger, I smile at everyone I pass. I chat with random strangers on the street, and I take myself out to dinner and/or drinks whenever I feel like it. I’ve gotten very comfortable sitting at bars or asking for a table for 1.

A couple of weeks ago though, as I sat restructuring my new budget (praise the Lord almighty!), I discovered that I have more income than I expected, a direct product of being someone who tries very, very hard to keep her expenses low, and tries to live a pseudo-minimalist lifestyle. Paying off debt is something that will be my primary focus for the next year so that I’ll have even MORE income to play with, but with a solid plan in place, I was able to determine that I can actually devote some money to my own self-care. For the past several years, my primary method of self-care was my weekly therapy session and then I added in routine hair care (head and body). Oddly, I don’t feel a major void from my therapy which to me says that it was a good time to move on from it. Doesn’t mean I’ll never go back, or anything, but for now I’m doing well. She gave me all the tools I needed to strike out on my own for a while. So, that prompted the question of: What self-care habits can I make here in my new home with my new life? And it began to blossom in me that my biggest and only concern here is me, and thus, I must treat her very, very well.

Going back to my (neglected) 2017 planning, something I had said was that by the end of the year, I wanted to feel 1000% confident in my own skin. So, thus, I decided to focus some of my money into my outward appearance, something that I’ve always either avoided, ignored, or half-assed. My biggest expenditure was to find a Crossfit gym. Crossfit is something I have done a couple of different times in my life and have truly loved it and seen the best results from my body. I felt so badass and I missed it. But, the cost associated with that membership is steep and I was never able to get it under control with everything else going on in my life (and my underpaid salary in a high-cost city). But I digress. Now, I can afford it, and I’m truly lucky to have a gym 5 blocks from my apartment. I’ve started the Foundations class this week and am looking forward to easing myself back in. Since I don’t have friends here, I’m hoping I’ll be able to create a good routine/habit since I never have plans after work (#NoExcuses) and can begin to feel that sense of pride and accomplishment for taking care of myself.

Another way I’m choosing my appearance is by finding new professionals for all the fun things that ladies do: routine hair removal, routine hair care, routine skincare, and routine nail care. All the things, head to toe to keep me looking put together, like the professional mid-30’s woman I am.

 Finally, my appearance has to include clothing (unless I decide to move to a nudist colony). Now, let’s just preface all of this with a reminder of how much I hate shopping. It’s time-consuming, expensive, makes me cranky, disappointing, and feeds into the consumer culture of having more than we really need. Ok, now that I’ve bashed it to hell, let me explain how I’m trying to approach it all these days. Again, until I live with the naked people, clothes and accessories will always need to be a part of my life. However, that doesn’t mean that I need 30 pairs of jeans. In fact, my 400 square foot apartment would absolutely agree that I do not need 30 pairs of jeans. But, when my last pair of jeans (as in final, only pair I owned) ripped, I realized I need to stock up my wardrobe again. I tend to go on buying sprees (because might as well get it all done at once, right?) and then wear all my clothes until they fall apart, and thus start all over again. Mostly, I like this approach. I like knowing that I’ve worn something out to the point that it requires me to get rid of it. The accountant in me knows that I’ve fully depreciated my asset, I’ve worn my money’s worth. But, there is a distinct difference in culture between Seattle and Detroit, and people here really step up their wardrobe game. Everyone looks put together all the time, and it pushes me to also take pride in my look so as to be respected by them, to show that I’m trying to live on their level, and ultimately, it makes me feel better too. So, I’m hoping to even out these giant buying trips into more frequent, less items at a time, trips that can be continually adding to my look, with intentional and classic pieces that will be worn until they’re threads.

All of these things that are focused on my appearance will hopefully transform me internally as well, both mentally and emotionally. I’ve focused a lot on the internal parts of myself but have avoided the external because it has just been such a hard reality to deal with. I feel like now is the fresh start that I’ve been longing for, to give myself space and time to just deal and I feel really good about the ways in which I’m going about this.

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