My Year in Self-Care Purchases

Blue and gold shopping bag

You see, dear readers, when a clusterfuck and a shit show love each other very much, they get together and make something truly terrifying: the year 2019.

I don’t want to dwell on the bad things because we have so many fun new topics to explore this year. So let me sum up what has kept me away from you all… with shopping.

Today’s post is my year, in self-care purchases.

1. EltaMD physical sunscreen

The hideousness of this year really started last year when my mother (who is bipolar schizoaffective) decided to stop her medication. Now, being a firm believer in firm boundaries (and firm bananas; no brown spots, gross), I gently explained that I loved her unconditionally, but access to my time was based on the condition that she stay on her meds. I told her I would be happy to take her to her psychiatrist or anywhere she could get the help she needed. When she told me that this was her life and her choice and I could go fuck myself, I held fast to my boundaries. She, however, did not.

This was in September of last year. Autumn: a great season, but one that can be hard on your skin. It is important to continue to use sunscreen even after the dog days of summer. Studies show that incidental sun exposure causes 78 percent of all your sun damage. Whether you are just out for a short while to check the mail, go out for groceries, or forcibly toss your mother onto the front lawn after she tries to wrestle your cell phone from you and pee in your living room in a manic rage, those rays add up to premature aging.

The EltaMD sunscreen has no white cast, which is important because you don’t want to look like a Batman villain, deranged mime, or professional wrestler when the cops pull up to your house for the third time that week and you are hurling your mother around, screaming your superhero catchphrase, “Boundaries, goddamn it!”

It masks pores, is actually for post-procedural skin so is incredibly sensitive, and is a physical sunscreen blocker and not on any creepy, “turns male fish into female fish” list. It makes my skin look so good that it has replaced all of my foundations; truly the skincare product of the year.

2. Rothy’s loafers

Much like the Facebook ads for Rothy’s loafers, these surprise pop-ups with my mother continued for months. She would bring men around to my house, leave long and threatening voicemails, and corner my loved ones and friends.

The police department has a new policy in my city that “mental illness is not a crime.” Which is a fine sentiment but in reality translates into not getting people the help they need.

My mom’s life was falling apart. She was assaulting strangers and having run-ins with violent men, one of which left her with a hole in her lung from where her ribs broke through. After her eviction, her apartment was full of feces, animals, and one TARDIS-full of garbage. Once It became clear that the cops would not be taking my mother to a mental health facility, my sister and I decided to hire a lawyer, get guardianship, and physically drag her into the crisis center ourselves.

Yes, this post is about shoes.

The night we brought her in we drove around for hours looking for her. We interviewed her old neighbors, questioned patrons of the homeless shelter, visited her less-than-savory local haunts. For months she would show up at the most inopportune times, kicking at the windows of my house or cornering me in the grocery store, but now that it was time for one last showdown, she was nowhere to be found.

Near sundown I spotted her about to get on the city bus. I bolted out of the car while it was still moving, literally jumped through a thicket of bushes, and latched her arm as she was taking her first step onto the bus. The rest was a blur.

Into the car
Through the doors of the mental health center
Concerned faces
My cheek throbbing with a fresh bruise
8 security guards in a circle
A crying nurse wrapping her arm
My knees on the hospital linoleum

The next day I went to visit. Which in retrospect was a bad idea.

She spewed venom at me, screamed insults, wished death on herself, on me. My mother.

I stepped outside of the high security psychiatric care facility to catch my breath as I watched the orderlies sedate her through a barred window. I covered my face in my hands and clenched my teeth. “Don’t scream.” I felt the heat of pain and sadness rise through my body.

“Life…” I thought, “is it even worth living?” And then, “In shoes this comfortable? Yes. Yes it is.”

True story. That’s how comfortable they are.

“Rothy’s: your life is fucked up but your feet don’t have to be.”

At the end of the world, at the end of my limit, at the point of questioning if life itself was even worth living, my feet felt undeniably great. If that isn’t an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

*The pointed and ballet flats don’t work for my narrow heel and wide toe box but the loafers fit my problem feet like a dream.

If you want 20 dollars off, use my code.

3. A rain shower head for my basic-ass shower

There’s nothing I love more than a long shower. But I always find the water pressure to be a little off. It either rains down in bullets, or has a dribbling, slow, drool-like quality; a parallel for life, no? I just figured water pressure varied from place to place and I had to live with it.

Speaking of live with it.

The hospital kept my mother for a month. This was enough time to curb the violence and reestablish a medication routine, but not enough time for her to be able to take care of herself again. Which is when she moved in.

My husband and I walled off a part of the house that had its own separate entrance and bathroom. Furniture in, our stuff out, my mom is starting her fourth month in our home. Our downstairs bathroom, now our only bathroom, is functional but the water pressure was terrible. Tired of showering myself with my own salty tears, I ordered this baby right here.

Holy God. This is like being rained on from heaven. It evened out my water pressure into a gentle yet strong consistent flow. The spout head is so large it’s like a trip to the spa. Luckily you don’t have to wait for your mentally ill mother to move in to treat yourself to this thing.

4. The Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card

It’s been a tough year, my loves. When I left you last I was full steam ahead with Damn, Girl, enveloped in the WordPress community and loving every second of it. Nothing short of this hell would have kept me away so long.

Things are coming around now. My family all chipped in and bought my mother a condo, which we are remodeling for her to move into. She is stable, and things have slowed to a somewhat deafening stillness.

Beyond emotionally exhausting, this year has also been financially exhausting. Last month when the opportunity presented itself for me to get away for a few days I took it. Thanks to the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card.

They are running a special right now where you get 400 dollars in flyer miles for signing up, aka a free flight. Yes there is a $70 annual fee if you don’t cancel within a year. Yes, you have to spend $1,000 within 90 days on it. And yes, it’s a credit card. But in a pinch, when I needed to put that distance between me and my problems, I let Southwest treat me to that distance.

Don’t sign up for a credit card that you don’t want or need and then forget to cancel it. That would make DGGYST very sad. But if you want a free flight and can trust yourself to either responsibly manage a credit card, or cancel within twelve months, use my link to get yourself a free flight. (You don’t have to use my link but if you do, I get like 100 miles or something.)

I am so excited for the New Year and have so much in store for you. Everything from new insights on family, boundaries, and mental health to fashion and relationships. Please join me for Damn, Girl number 2, the one where I get my shit together. (As always, pun intended.)


40 thoughts on “My Year in Self-Care Purchases

  1. I LOVE this, I love you, and I’m so glad you’re back. 🙂 As a bonus, you made me feel a little better about my own mom, which…is pretty hard to do. So thanks for that. I’m glad your mama is on the mend. Fingers crossed that she stays the course. She’s so lucky to have you!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. OMG YOU ARE BACK!!! I’m so so happy! I hope everything goes well for you and your family. You should be proud of yourself for holding tight in a situation like this.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. First of all, holy crap, 2019 was one hell of a shopping year! What was it that so many of us had SO much that we were so silent? I forgot what an amazing writer YOU are too! I’m glad you’re back and made all those excellent purchases. Damn, girl, you know how to take care of yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Time has not dampened the power of your prose, dear DG, you are still the best in the biz.

    I’m still 2nd. 😝

    All kidding aside (no, not really, that would be weird) my mother was a paranoid schizophrenic all of my life. She would do and say weird things when I was young that I thought were just weird things. I was a full-on adult near 30 when I learned the truth. She was on medication forever, but sometimes she simply wasn’t and that’s when folks would “read her mind,” “park outside for hours,” or “talk about her in their heads.” She had, literally, a beautiful mind. In the coherent times we’d joke about it, cuz that’s the relationship we had. Whenever I hear Rob Thomas sing “Her Diamonds” I think of her and cry. Miss you, Peggy Sue.

    But I’m totally ordering one of them shower thingees. Tommy needs!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Dude. I am so ridiculously proud of you for making it through what I can only imagine was hell. I am so sorry it has been such a struggle for you and your family. Very happy though that you have come out the other side with your perspective and humour intact, and that your Mom has stabilized and is safe. Christ, I can’t even imagine. You are amazing and I am so glad a comfortable pair of shoes helped keep you in the game. I don’t blog anymore so you won’t see me around but you know where to find me if you ever want to chat. It’s so good to know that you are okay and to hear your voice. Here’s to 2020 – may it be boring as shit but fabulous. Lots of love,
    Tanya (that dreamer chick)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Tanya, I totally still stalk you on FB when the rarest post comes up. Why are you so mysterious you sexy minx! I just want to boringest 2020 imaginable!! You know, I read your last posts on your blog, I am sad at the notion of starting up again without your blog to look forward to. Love you muffin!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Holy Shit. You are a gifted story teller. I couldn’t help but laugh when you jumped out of the moving car to grab mom before she got on the bus. We have had some major challenges (nothing as broad as yours) with our mom this year and without humor we’d be in the fetal position in the corner at Baskin Robbins. Write when you can. Take care of you first!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like a tough year, that I can unfortunately relate to (in the form of 2018, bleh). This post made me laugh and cry! Love your writing and can’t wait for more. Glad you’re back and happy 2020!


  8. Welcome back! Knowing that you are back brings me great joy. I want to say that I’m sorry to hear last year was so tough. I want to thank you because it was you that kept me motivated when I first started my blog. While you were gone, I was very worried. I wished that I could message you and speak kind words like you did for me. I wish nothing but great things for you this year. May it bring peace, love and positive adventures! So glad to see you back. I’m looking forward to whats ahead for DGGYST!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So happy you are back, you were one of the first blogs I started following when I started blogging. Sorry about your year, what a shit show! Got to look into those loafers I have a wide toe box too. The shower head sounds glorious! Hope your year is 2020!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Yikes. Did not want to guilt you last year with the hounding and pestering but really did miss you while you were gone. Is it weird to say kudos for surviving? Well, big time kudos.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I loved this post, even the Rothey’s part, lol. I’ve been wondering why those damned things are so expensive, but your post proved that if they can withstand all that shit, they are worth the buy!

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a rough year, and I thought my mom was bad, but you win hands down. I know this isn’t a contest but more power to you, strength, love and happiness in the new year!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. You are a true super hero. I always feel 1. Honoured that you take the time to reach out and help others via giving great and original advice on your blog and 2. That you are absolutely qualified to dish out whatever advice on whatever subject. I’m sorry about your year. I’m very happy to see you back. Your readers are here just as before.


  13. Holy macaroni, Girl. You survived – nay, THRIVED – through 2019. It’s always fun to say the new year will be better, but sometimes it isn’t, so I won’t. It is incredible to glance back at our battles and realize we are so much stronger than we believe. And it’s good to be able to share the stories. Someone might need hope.

    It is good to hear from you again. I remember feeling like I had discovered a treasured book on a shelf when I stumbled on your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for visiting my blog. My late mother too was Schitzoaffective. From the time I was 8 and she had a convo with the TV. Mom was a gentle person so no violence, but she had no judgement either. I had to become her parent in effect. She hated to be a bother and ultimately that is why she died of lung cancer. Love your mom while you have her. She is damaged but it is worth it for your own self worth to be kind.

    Love and Respect,

    Liked by 1 person

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