Lately I’ve been indulging the shallow and materialistic side of myself. These are not qualities I like in others, so it’s a bit disconcerting to see them in myself.
It’s not all bad, though. Some of it has a purpose. Due to a recent pretty severe bout with plantar fasciitis, I could barely walk at all without excruciating pain for over a month. It got bad enough that I actually went to a freestanding emergency room because I thought I needed crutches. But long story short, my pain was caused by a combination of my flat feet and a lifetime of wearing crappy shoes.
I’ve never been one of those women who’s obsessed with shoes. I haven’t been able to wear high heels in years, so instead I’ve worn ballet flats or flip-flops. It turns out that those are the absolute worst kind of shoes for your feet (along with any kind of cool shoes with poor support, like Converse.) So the ER doctor told me to start wearing supportive athletic shoes, even when I’m at home. And wouldn’t you know, that cured my foot pain completely, which is pretty amazing.
But now I’ve sort of become a bit of a shoe person myself. I spend quite a bit of time online looking for cute shoes. Because I couldn’t wear heels before and all shoes hurt my feet, I didn’t understand the reputed female love for shoe shopping. Athletic shoes can be really ugly, so I want to find the cutest (yet also supportive) ones that I can…maybe to distract from the unfashionable requirement to wear them all the time.
I’m starting to get a good collection so the shoe shopping won’t last forever.
The other thing I’ve been spending a lot of money on lately is skin care and some makeup. I’m almost 46 and most women start a skin care regimen in their 20s or 30s. I haven’t really had one before now. My skin is sensitive and prone to breaking out if I use the wrong products, so it’s required some trial and error.
But now I think I have a pretty good system that works for me, including eye cream and serums and cleansers and moisturizer. Almost none of it is cheap. And of course, I’ve indulged in some largely unnecessary makeup shopping as well, mostly because the stores I frequent had some good sales before the holidays.
Even talking (writing) about this stuff sounds so shallow and probably boring. I worry about becoming too “fluffy” and materialistic. But on the other hand, I also feel good about the way I look for the first time in years. Part of that is a result of therapy, learning to actually like myself and feel that I am worth investing in my appearance.
I’ve always been a brainy sort, known more for my intelligence than my looks, even though I’m not ugly. But until recently, I thought it was a bad thing to like how I looked. I grew up with this belief, which maybe my parents didn’t realize they were teaching me, that to like the way you look was conceited. It’s taken therapy to help me start to overcome that.
I don’t think I’ll ever truly be shallow because I’m still pretty intellectual and always have been. Materialism is something I have to watch out for, though–to consciously keep my consumption under control. Left undisciplined, I don’t know what my natural tendencies would be, but I suspect they wouldn’t be good.
I still want to focus on saving money for the future and helping my kids when they need it. I’m still able to pay all my bills on time but I need to be cautious about racking up debt. So far, I’m keeping it fairly minimal, but I have enough credit that it could get dangerous if I let it.
I have to keep my attention on the fact that it’s okay to do things for myself. It’s okay if I have a shallow side because I also know that I’m otherwise a fairly serious-minded person. When I’m not shopping for shoes or makeup, I’m reading medical journals about my MS or my husband’s cancer and keeping up with current events.
I just have to remind myself that it’s okay to have some shallow interests, especially if they’re indulged with the intent of feeling better physically (as with the shoes) or about appreciating my appearance. It’s a balancing act.