Every week I screw up a little.
But that’s alright, because every Sunday I shed my skin. I strip away an old layer, on myself, in my house, and left a new one shine through.
I’ve become interested in ritual, particularly since seeing a psychiatrist a month ago. Truly, I’ve always had some interest in ritual, dating back to when I was a child and deliberately limited my own TV watching to only a specific two hours a day. This took on a different when I was older and become interested in Wicca. I was limited in how much I could practice, but I enjoyed what of the associated practices I could incorporate into my days.
I became firmly atheist in my early 20s and remain so, but there was an aspect of spiritual life that I missed, and that was ritual, focusing on my intentions for the next week, the next year, the next hour. I know one can do that without the confines of religion, but religious structures more easily provide a blueprint for ritual and mental and psychological exercises like meditation and directing intention (something that various individual atheists and atheist organizations have worked on, so far all I know there’s been a huge breakthrough there, but I don’t follow the atheist community as closely as I used to).
So Sundays have become a day of reinvention for me. Beauty, my home, my food. I prepare food ahead for a week. Bake, make sauces, make grains for breakfast. I clean. And I turn myself into myself.
I spent ever day of my life from birth until well into my twenties hating the way I looked. Every single thing. I would look in the mirror in the morning and find nothing. Despite that, I always loved clothes and make-up, even though I eschewed make-up and feminine clothes for years due to absorbing the prevailing social message that feminine is to be weak. Feminine is dumb. Feminine is bad.
I can’t tell you what changed exactly, but let me tell you, from despising looking in the mirror, I have grown up into the vainest motherfucker you will ever meet.
And I’m happy about it.
So Sunday’s are about refreshing myself. I’m not trying to beat aging*. As far as I’m concerned, I already look older than I am, and fuck it, we’re all going to get there. But there are things I do to feel myself, to feel complete. And as I do them, I focus on how I want this next week to be better than the last one.
I wash my hair. This week, I want to stick to my diet, and not eat sugar EVERY day like I did last week.
I start my hair colour boiling on the stove. I don’t think I’ve hit my best formula yet, but this week was four bags hibiscus tea, three tablespoons of cinnamon, and one-and-a-half of cloves. This week, I will judge my work days by words or pages produced rather than time. I’m more productive that way.
Nail polish base coat goes on. By now, my hair formula is done, so I strain it into a cup, and put it in the fridge to cool. This week, I will not skip dance practice.
Nail polish colours are selected. This week is Die Another Day by OPI, and Inside My Mind by The Lady Varnishes. Three coats. Wait a few minutes. Then top coat. This week, I will fold my clothes and sort them properly each evening, not get lazy and dump them on my chair. I don’t like it when my husband does it; I shouldn’t do it.
Nails are dry. Hair formula is cool. I pour it into my little spray bottle and start spritzing, combing, and eventually dumping, until it’s gone. Now my hair smells like slightly burnt spice cookies. This week, I will go to have my quiet hour before bed every night, and write in my journal.
Sunlight helps the formula develop once it’s on. I take my dog for a walk. This week I will take him out for a full play session every day which will involve working on training.
I’m back at home now. I’ll rinse my hair again after dinner. Right after I start the rice for the week.
Because this week I will do better.
Last week, as I was leaving my building, a cheerful young couple told me I reminded them of Helena Bonham Carter. What a compliment indeed. And it brought to mind this quote that’s frequently attributed to her:
“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.”
On Sundays I make art.
*I reserve the right to entirely reneg on that statement the second I find a grey hair or one wrinkle too many