A couple weeks ago, I did an experiment.
You see, I’m the kind of person who would rather write, read or Internet rather than take care of herself. And lately, I’ve been so busy I’ve gotten into a rut. I don’t sleep well, I don’t drink enough water, etc., etc. Essentially, I’ve been treating my body as more of a vessel than anything else—something that houses my brain, and that’s about it. I go to bed late, wake up late, and end up frazzled and not nearly as put together as I’d like. And not surprisingly, I’ve also noticed a dip in my self-confidence, too.
So I decided to change that.
Here were the rules: I was to drink more water (as close to 1L as possible), go to bed earlier, and exercise when I could. I would do at least one face mask, exfoliate twice that week, and actually bother to use those acne treatments I’d started to skip. In the mornings, I’d set my alarm an extra ten or fifteen minutes early so I’d have time to fix my hair and do my makeup. And last but not least, I’d take a picture of myself (me, the selfie-abhorrer, who hates almost every picture of her ever taken) every day, and I wasn’t allowed to edit any of them.
The experiment went from Monday to Friday. And I’m going to be honest: not everything went to plan. But the results were still pretty awesome.
I’d prepared the day before with an overnight hair mask (coconut oil + olive oil for my curls) and a face mask from the Body Shop. So even though I was a bit trepidatious that morning, I pushed forward.
With the extra time in the morning, I found I wasn’t nearly as stressed as usual, and I even had a little time to relax. I also had a bit of time to work on The Hair and cajole it into submission, as well as do something other than the BB cream + mascara shtick I’d been rocking for the previous weeks. (In Alex terms, that means translucent powder, slightly more comprehensive concealer use and liquid liner.)
All in all, I left for school in the morning feeling more confident (and in a much better mood) than usual.
After school went well, too. Although I didn’t actually, like, go on the treadmill or anything—I was lazy and opted for a couple routines on Wii Dance Party instead—I still managed to hit my water goal, and I was in bed before ten.
Combined with early morning Orchestra practice, a lunchtime/spare doctor’s appointment and a 4-9 shift at work, I didn’t have much free time that day. Despite that, I still felt more confident than usual, and my skin was improving, too. Water goal was managed—as well as part one of my exfoliating goal—though I didn’t get the required nine hours of sleep.
This was probably the day I felt most confident. Not only was my skin the best it’s been for a while, I’d managed to do a not-too-bad cat eye and was thus full of satisfied happiness for the rest of the day. I also got in lots of water. Unfortunately, I had to deal with an unexpectedly time-consuming project and didn’t get to sleep until close to midnight.
Though still fairly tired from my six hours of sleep (early morning Orchestra again), I still left the house in a good mood. There wasn’t much time in the morning for hair or makeup, so I settled for putting my hair back and throwing some eyeliner on my waterline. I still more confident than I had just the previous week, even if my face was on the verge of breaking out.
AKA the last day of my lovely experiment. Well, I woke up in the morning despite facial treatments and drinking a fair amount of water (my mother’s promised magical acne cure) with not-so-clear skin. But otherwise, my face was doing pretty well, barring a lengthy struggle with my eyeliner. But! It was Friday and I looked nice and I was in a good mood.
So, you might ask, what’s the point of this post, other than to bombard you with pictures of my face? It’s to say that there is a connection between how you feel about yourself and how you treat yourself. If you treat your body as something not worth paying attention to, you might start to feel like you’re not worth paying attention to, either.
The thing is, I can look at these pictures of me and I still pick out flaws on instinct. My skin isn’t too great, my teeth aren’t pearly white, and sometimes my face makeup oxidizes. Taking care of yourself is not going to change your life. You’re not going to wake up one day with perfect confidence. You aren’t going to immediately love yourself. I’ve been trying for years and that still hasn’t fully happened. But I’m getting there. And taking care of myself is the first step.