I recently wrote an article about how I’m so far down the rabbit hole of despair, there’s nothing to grasp for help.
It’s been rough. Finances are brutal. A devastating heartbreak is brutal. Feeling out of touch with my married friends is brutal. My job is brutal. Only seeing my kids half their lives is brutal. My body issues are brutal.
I’ve cried an ocean. Even with standard depression, I can manage to feign the appearance of happiness. It’s a good thing I work from home because I’ve gone two or three days not showering. My house looks like a tornado blew through it. I’m ready to tell my kids to eat over the trash can instead of plates that need washing.
Yesterday, I finally made a small effort toward change.
I have a cute little notebook a friend brought me from Paris years ago. It sits by my desk, too pretty to get inked. This is crisis mode time and I’m pulling the In Case of Fire switch.
At the top of the page, I wrote Lifestyle Changes. For the day, whenever I caught myself doing something that I know should change or was a bad habit, I wrote it down.
I tried to imagine sexy, magnetic women and how to be like them. I was at a blank. Then I remembered a woman’s profile I once saw when perusing Hinge under the guise of a male profile (to scope out the competition in Southern California). I remember rolling my eyes thinking, “Yeah, like that chick has problems attracting men.”
Unknown Woman (I mentally named her Sarah) is very pretty. Not gorgeous in her pictures but probably would be if dolled up in real life. She had a picture of herself in a Bass Pro Shops trucker hat. Another photo of her grinning all cute while fishing on a boat. (Yeah, every middle-aged man’s wet dream.) Her next photo was of her playing in the snow in winter. One picture was of her trying on a hat in the mirror and she’s quite lean, with a thigh muscle shadow that indicates she goes to the gym. Two more photos were random with one of them featuring a dog.
At the time, I viewed Sarah as my invisible nemesis when dating. It became a competition knowing this younger, amazing woman would always beat me. I bet she wears felt fedoras in the fall despite living in Southern California.
With my notebook open, I imagined Sarah. I imagine being Sarah but like, not in a creepy Single White Female kind of way. What was most attractive about her was that she radiated happiness. Well, that and a perfect body.
Keeping her in mind as well as knowing the bad habits in my life that need changing, I began my list:
- Unless I’m quickly running to a single place, all errands require dressing up. No more dirty hair in a bun with jeans in desperate need of laundering. I’m going to always look the part of someone who has her stuff together.
- Thursdays without my kids are date nights. Whether it means with a guy or going by myself, it’s a date night (there are only two per month without my kids). If I’m by myself, I have to dress up and go somewhere non-ghetto to eat.
- Once a day, go outside for ten minutes even if it means sitting on the porch. I loathe nature and the outdoors. Sarah loves the outdoors. (I bet that bitch knows how to surf.) While working from home is awesome, the downside is that I can go days never leaving my house.
- Find a way to incorporate the beach into my life. I don’t know how since prime tourist season is coming up (plus parking is tough). Beach people seem happy.
- Take up a new physical activity requiring me to leave the house. Working out in my garage doesn’t cut it. Pickleball? Golf? Indoor rock climbing? Join a walking group?
- Drink water daily. Eat at least one fruit or vegetable per day. Yes, my diet is crappy. I’m at the point where my entire day is just cookies and chips.
- Find a way to detox sugar.
- Make time for the time-consuming beauty treatments that I shelled a ton of money for but can never find time post-divorce: NuFace, NuBody, expensive facial peels, and derma rolling.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve written. As I look at it typed up, it seems overwhelming.
The biggest challenge will be adding a physical activity requiring me to leave my house. I reached out to a women’s-only golf group but so far, all their events happen on days I have my kids. The same went for pickleball classes; because my schedule alternates each week, I can’t stick with a consistent night.
I found two walking groups. Most of the nice hiking trails are close to the beach. I guess people who walk want to see the ocean or some crazy stuff like that (why am I knocking it, it’s probably great for one’s mental health). With lights and traffic, it’s a big commitment and I want to make sure it’s realistically possible to do consistently.
Indoor rock climbing is the easiest option. There is a nice facility close to my house and when I got a tour, everyone there was so nice. I could start with drop-ins so I’m not wasting money on a membership given my limited schedule.
To look the part of being put together when running errands, that means I’ll wear the clothes I reserved for time with the ex, Jeremy. Cute dresses. Slutty dresses. Crop tops. Skirts. Gulp. I imagine myself going to Costco or the post office dressed like I’m going to a romantic dinner. There’s only so often I can go around town dressed like I’m ready for a guy to bone me.
Listen, I get that everyone hates fast fashion. It’s the evil of factory worker conditions and environmental waste. But I’m on one income and extremely depressed. If that means I’m buying loads of $3 polyester tops and $5 dresses from Shein, so be it. In their defense, they have free shipping and their return policy is phenomenal.
Finding time for the beauty treatments will be rough since some of them need to be used daily or else it’s not worth doing at all. But I don’t have the beauty budget my married self had and everything I paid to be held up with Scotch tape is crumbling. I’ll need timers on my phone and the discipline I once had in my former married life.
Maybe this is the project I needed? Not a home improvement project or something for work.
I’m the project.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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