For a while I was feeling like I wasn’t using my time wisely. Hours would pass and I didn’t feel like I had much to show for it. I researched different modes of productivity but never really came across any one thing that made me feel anymore productive.
One day, I thought it would be interesting to keep track of how long it takes for me to get “dolled up.” At the time I didn’t really see the connection between my productivity and the amount of time I spent on my looks; it was merely a curiosity. Of course I want to look good, but at what cost?
“In Search of Lost Time:”
After several days of tallying my grooming, it was clear where this “lost time” had gone. I created many daily rituals that were supplemental, excessive primping, such as: eyebrow maintenance, make-up application, washing my hair, shaving, exercising, etc., etc… These rituals were all things that I deemed necessary as a sign of respect to myself and others. Simply harmless because none of these activities were much time on their own, cumulatively though, the minutes really began to add up.
The reason why I bring this up as a FEMINA topic is because I believe that women are expected to do a lot of excessive grooming that truly is unnecessary. Yet, so many woman feel they have to. And we all know what those things are! And I bet you, that for those of us who have dated men can say some of their partners couldn’t even be asked to do regular grooming maintenance such as cut and file their nails, clean their ears, bathe… All the while moving ahead in their career, their passions, maximizing their time, while “we’re sitting pretty.”
Admittedly, I played into the desires of the male gaze and had fun in the pageantry that came from it even on a personal level. And, I don’t think I engaged anymore or less than the average female.
How could we allow this to be the norm? Competing for attention, inauthentic connections while our ability to grow takes a back seat? (Clearly not every relationship but perhaps more than we’d like to admit.)
What are some other things we spend time on as women because we’re “expected” to? What other ways may we be “allowing” men to get ahead?
A little piece of my story:
Several years back when I graduated art school, I was pretty haughty and thought I would concentrate on finding a partner because I believed my career would take care of itself. Years of failed relationships created even more crazy thinking, which eventually lead me to spending hours getting “dolled up.” The funny thing is, I convinced my self that it was good for me, that feeling pretty was the medicine I needed to deal with all the “bad” in my life. I innocently believed that I used my clothes and looks as a source of self expression.
The truth, my choice to invest more time in my looks than myself began attracting the wrong kind of people. I didn’t realize the pattern I had created because I chose to see the best in people and I also believed I had the best intentions for myself. I was attracting people who were very superficial, narcissistic and self absorbed. These people didn’t care about me like I thought. My outside seemed to hold more weight to them than I cared to realize and I was blind to the fact that it was to me too.
One ex thought I was gorgeous, but said he didn’t find me sexually attractive anymore and used that to manipulate me any chance he could get. Another ex, who I thought was the love of my life, didn’t like my body, and it created a deep sense of shame that even today can sometimes rear its ugly head.
What I realized:
Instead of being disgusted by these people. I agreed with them. I thought something was truly wrong with me. No matter what they said or did I wanted so much to be validated by them. I thought they were amazing people. I thought they made me a better person. I thought they loved me. How could I have been so wrong and see it in such a distorted way!?
…I had lost my self worth. I was waiting for them to give me my worth, instead of giving what I needed to myself. They didn’t want to accept me as a whole person and sadly neither could I.
After thirty day of recording my primping, it added up to around 3 days. I had lost three whole days. Mind you, I didn’t add showers, brushing my teeth; I only accounted for what I considered to be unnecessary, excessive grooming.
The hours I had lost began to redefine themselves. Lost time for making art, dancing, reading, doing the things that light me up.
Was most of my time invested in bringing me closer to my joy? Or was too much time dedicated to things that really didn’t matter? Of course self care is essential but had I taken it to the extreme? For me the answer was a hell yes!
This experiment that seemed out of the blue, completely changed my life. It was exactly what I needed at the time, a look into my shadow self that clearly was being highlighted.
Ever since then I have been more conscious of where my time goes in general. I actually created time sheets so I know exactly where my time goes. I have time sheets for all my individual clients, projects like my art work, music, IAAH… Then I can see where I would like to devote more or less time to a specific project. I make sure I am doing the things that make me grow and fill me up.
I also allow myself to do things that save time or break unecessary “social rules” I put on myself, like go to the grocery store in my post workout clothes, which I wouldn’t be caught dead in before. I also don’t apply make-up everyday anymore. It never took a lot of time, I choose to use it only for special occasions, not just to keep up appearances. A big one was that I stopped counting calories. I have no desire to become obese so I trust myself now instead of taking the time to account for every calorie I eat. If my clothes start to fit too tight, I make adjustments. I use my common sense.
I have made it clear to my self what takes priority and I honor that. I set boundaries. It’s all the little things I decided to let go that brought me back to me!
Do you need to make some adjustments to come back to you? I’d love to here! Feel free to comment below!
“I spend my time nourishing my joy and to the things that will bring me closer to who I truly am!