There is that stuffy feeling, isn’t there? When you’ve left the windows to your soul closed and the air inside grows stale. You need to pay attention to yourself, to listen to your quietness, to notice and listen to your own human body.
I felt that last week, like I needed to shake myself out. Wash myself and hang up to dry. I needed to care for myself.
So I spent hours grooming myself. Bathing in hot water, massaging shampoo into the roots of my hair, washing my face with something expensive and needless, but luxurious all the same. Lying there, watching your body just beneath the surface, stretched out beyond you, is soothing. It enforces a presence with yourself.
I like the feeling of my skin without the rough hair that grows on my legs, or under my arms, and so more hours were spent removing it. Different methods: shaving, epilating, plucking. Contorting my body to find the roughest bits underneath my thighs, or long ones in the crevice of my knee. Frustrating and satisfactory at the same time; a feeling almost certainly reinforced by western beauty standards. My smooth skin glistened after rubbing in some chocolatey smelling moisturiser, and I enjoyed the end result. How lovely all the lines of my body, how gentle and peach like my skin. Never mind the patches of hair unfound and forgotten, never mind red little bumps left by unkind razors, never mind scars.
And then to paint my face, and dry my softened hair, and watch the angles change with the light in the mirror. Not narcissistically, just interested, fascinated with the idea of this body of mine; this fleshy cell from which I look out of and feel and process. And also I guess narcissistically too, as I paint angles onto my face, shapes to accentuate features I like. But it is okay to like them, it is okay to spend time with yourself.
And it worked, this grooming. I felt I had dusted out my mind, come back to myself. Centred myself. Is this what it takes to love oneself? Perhaps some of it. My body is important to my being, after all.