Pretty Girl in the Room

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Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.  So, in the spirit of growth and healing, I will admit that I want to be the pretty girl in the room.  I need to be the pretty girl in the room and not just any room, but every room.  I am afraid that my obsession with any product or tool that promises to erase all flaws and send me dewy-complexioned back to the age of 19 has reached critical mass.  An intervention may be necessary.

My extreme desire to pickle and even enhance my appearance is evident if you look in my master bathroom.  Every possible inch of storage space is occupied.  The middle drawer of the double sink vanity is filled with makeup sponges, Q-Tips, and moisturizer creams.  Whitening toothpaste, hair ties, facial scrubs, hand cream, two anti-aging lotions, under-eye cream, and more moisturizers sit on the vanity.  Apparently, I am preparing for a Dust Bowl style drought to occur in my bathroom and on my face.  Under the sink, three shoeboxes of various half-used makeup products lay in wait for their second shot at glory.  If only I could figure out how to apply the stuff, I could transform into a Kardashian, before Kanye West forced Kim to look more natural, of course.  Who needs natural?  I want perfection!

To the left of the vanity is a separate cabinet.  A set of hot rollers, two curling irons, a flat iron, a lighted magnifying mirror, and an 1800 volt hair dryer litter the top of the cabinet.  (I either really need my own power grid, or Al Gore should explain global warming to me personally, as I am clearly playing fast and loose with my electric bill.)  The first shelf of the cabinet is filled with talc, anti static fabric spray, body sprays, nail polish, nail polish removers, face masks, fabric fresheners, and more lotions and creams.  Good, Lord, exactly how dry is my skin?

The second shelf contains a basket full of the makeup I actually wear on a daily basis along with makeup brushes, pencil sharpeners, tweezers, lash curlers, and tiny scissors, just in case I need to cut something tiny.  I’m not sure what that tiny object might be, but I must have the tiny scissors in case of a tiny emergency.

Next to the basket of daily makeup and tools, is a basket of hair products:  hair spray, root lifter, straightening spray, anti-frizz cream, styling mouse, styling gel, curl boosting mouse, and curl defining cream. I do not have curly hair.  I have curly hopes and dreams.  So, the curling products are completely useless, but I keep them.

Lastly, the bottom shelf is filled with every beauty-concious Doomsday Prepper’s dream:  big, multi-compartment traveling cases, tiny lipstick cases, quilted bags, and stain proof, vinyl cosmetic bags, all waiting to be filled and thrown in a suitcase or tote bag in case I have to bug out.

Now, you may be forming some pretty accurate criticisms to send in my direction, but slow your roll for a minute.  I recently learned that Allure magazine tests over 2,500 new beauty products each year in order to give out their coveted Allure Beauty Awards.  This means that I am far from alone in vanity boat.  I have many women, and probably some men, too, riding along with me in search of the skin, hair, and body of our youth.

So, after careful consideration regarding the contents of my master bathroom, I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. I put way too much pressure on my 37-year-old self to look 19
  2. I do not and will never again look 19, so I must find a way to accept this truth and be happy with the face, body and hair I have now
  3. A fool and her money are easily parted, especially if standing in front of the empty promises in a cosmetic counter or CVS beauty aisle
  4. Sephora and Ulta are the two most dangerous stores for me to enter with any method of payment available
  5. I seriously need to clean out my bathroom
  6. And, finally, I should seek fulfillment in more substantial areas of my life rather than focus on the size of my pores, daily additions of new fine lines, my inability to create the perfect smoky eye, and the fact that no matter what I put in my hair, three hours into my day it will part down the middle and fall flat, beckoning the other drowned rats of the world, “Follow me!  I am your leader!”

Yes, indeed.  I should focus on the more substantial areas of my life:  family, career, being a good and decent person.  I’ll get right on that, right after I tweeze my eyebrows…


Tabata Torture Update

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Yes, I went back for a second Tabata workout and made it through alive!  So what did I learn on Day 2?

1.  The beautiful Australian woman is actually from Great Britain.  Ooops.

2.  The half balance ball thingie is called a “Bosu.”  (Are you impressed by my knowledge of exercise equipment?)

3.  Receiving a high five from a 6’4″ man after completing a set of mountain climbers is great motivation to attempt another set.  (I have no clue why he was so freakishly happy while torturing himself, but he was.  I think his exercise endorphins kick in much faster than mine do.)

4.  My backside jiggles in disturbing ways when doing jacks from a plank position on the bosu.  (Go ahead, try it.  Position yourself in a plank with your hands on a bosu and your legs, feet together, stretched out behind you.  Now stay in the plank while jumping so that your legs spread as if doing a jumping jack and then come back together.  Parts of my body were bouncing that should never, ever bounce!  Thank God I was on the back row!)




Torture, Tabata Style!

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“Did you just start working out?” asks a beautiful Australian woman of probably fifty years old as I literally lay on the fitness room floor of my local gym praying that I don’t vomit.  She continues, “I’ve been working out for about four years now, and I promise, it gets easier.”

Well, good for you! I think and consider kicking her in the neck, but then I realize that I can’t lift my leg that high.  And, no, I didn’t just start working out!

“I hope you’ll join us again on Thursday,” the beautiful woman says and smiles at me so genuinely that I honestly feel guilty for immediately hating her.

After a sad attempt at stretching, I push myself up to a standing position and start to clean my sweat off the equipment that I used to torture myself for the last 45 minutes:  one of those half balance ball thingies, a body bar (the leader of the group told me not to use anything under 9 lb.), two 7 lb. dumbbells (“Anything under 6 would be a waste of your time!”), and a blue mat completely covered in makeup colored droplets of sweat.  (I forgot to remove my makeup before going to the gym, which meant for 45 minutes my makeup mixed with my anti-aging creams and pooled in my eyes.)  Red faced, red eyed, drenched, and stinking like a wet dog, I forced a smile, “Absolutely, I’ll be back!  See you Thursday!”

The workout was called Tabata, high intensity interval training that requires the participant to do ridiculously cruel exercises for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and then repeat until you either pass out or die.  For 45 minutes I attempted squats with side kicks, cross over jumps and squats using the half ball thingie, three different types of sit-ups, jumping jacks, renegade rows from a plank position, burpees with dumbbells, and, my personal favorite, crab walks.  Lil, the beautiful Australian woman, an adorable Asian woman who apparently doesn’t have sweat glands, and the one man in the group lapped me twice while I prayed for the strength to lift my ass off the ground with my arms and crab walk across the floor.  Pure, complete, total torture!

But in the spirit of renovating my backside, I will go back on Thursday.  I am now determined to be able to crab walk.  I don’t know why I need this skill, but I now feel like I must be able to crab walk.  So, here is my new challenge:  for the next four weeks, I will crab walk with the beautiful Australian woman on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  (Less tortuous cardio workouts will be completed on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays.)  After four weeks, I will take my measurements and re-evaluate my need to crab walk.  Maybe in four weeks, my ass will be smaller, which would make it much easier to lift off the ground.

For now, however, a short prayer is in order.  (Please pause for a moment while I try to get out of this chair and kneel.  Ouch.)

Dear Lord, please protect me tonight from debilitating leg cramps that will catapult me from bed and onto the floor causing me to scream out Claire Huxtable style, “Cliff! Cliff!”  For my Cliff is away.  No one is here to hear my cries of agony.  I will be forced to lie on the floor until you finally grant me the strength to stand.  I could be there for weeks.  Amen.