But you don’t look poor.

I have been reorganizing my make up and skin care and I want to show y’all some of the stuff I like that I get at the drug store.

I  do dabble in high end skin care and stuff, most of my budget goes for a lot of drug store items. Mainly because of sales and whatnots.

In the last few years I’ve come to realize that a lot of my skin care related rituals and purchases are used not just to keep my glo up going but as a way for me to mitigate my skin picking tendencies.

My elaborate rituals are also a good way for me to just calm the entire fuck down. I like to keep myself connected to my Femmeness, my concepts and practice of self-care and it’s just enjoyable.

When I first started thinking about writing about beauty, myself, money etc a friend of mine pointed out that I “look expensive”.

Back then I felt some type of way about that, I felt uncomfortable. I don’t have or ever have had a lot of money and when I asked her about it, she clarified that I look like I have spent a lot of money to look well taken care of.

In the intervening years other folks have said similar things to me and I understand why it looks like I’ve spent a gazillion dollars on myself. It’s not that I drop major cash, it’s that I invest major time.

Once upon a time I was deeply self conscious about looking as poor as I was. I spent a lot of time and energy fixing minor clothing issues, reading what women’s mags have to say about cheap things and expensive things, I scoured thrift stores for the stuff in the best condition that looked anything but like stuff poor folks wear.

It was such a problem.

Back then, I did not spend quality time with myself. I did not devote specific time to self-care. I considered the time I did spend trying to look not poor as time taking care of myself. It was my job to not look like I was poor. That got reinforced in a lot of areas in my life. Job interviews were the absolute worst.

I felt like every frayed seam or stray hair in my eyebrows was proof that I was not good enough. That my poverty and looking poor telegraphed that my worth was low.

At one point I saved up about 40 dollars and went and got my nails and eyebrows done. I remember the little salon was in White Center and I sat in there nervous as hell because I didn’t know how to behave or how it would go. It was actually wonderful. I remember very clearly women with raggedy clothes and their nails done, they looked like regular round the way ladies having a keke and getting their nails did and being fine.

Now, for a while after that I spent the time on myself because I like it. I liked it then, I like it now. I don’t do my nails or beat my face because I need to or because I feel like if I look closer to acceptable everything will be fine.

Most days I am not so conscious of how expensive I do or don’t look at any one time. I have severed most of the ties to my self worth I had that were tangled up in whether or not I looked poor.

These days I’m more likely to be putting in extra self-care, work because I’m overwhelmed or I’m anxious. I won’t lie, occasionally I have the thought again. The wash of anxiety or pre-emptive embarrassed when I go into the fancy grocery store in my work neighborhood or on the occasion I want to visit the Mac counter or go into the mall downtown.

It amazes me that those hooks that are deep. I hate that sometimes I still have those shitty ass feelings. That there are days when I won’t go into the Sephora or to the Mac counter because I just don’t even want to deal with the possibility of dealing with the looks and what not.

The older I get, the easier it is for me to recognize when this bullshit is driving me. That isn’t to say I can always shut it down because I hate to say it, most of the time I just don’t want to deal with it.

I thought as I got older dealing with various microaggressions would get easier. It’s not, but I’ve learned how to cope a bit better.

I’m so close to 40 I feel like I want to have this shit worked out. I feel like I should be all the way grown the fuck up by now and have figured out how to deal with these feelings other than just not dealing with it.

I’m still figuring it out.

Fortunately, most of the time I don’t have those internalized classist feelings. So if you have these feelings, or whatever, you know, are shitty and terrible feelings sometimes it does actually get better and easier.

Next time I’m gonna talk about adulting and panties. Be prepared.

 

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About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie.
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