How Your Indulgence Improves Your Friendship With Yourself

Ann Morgan Guilbert as Grandma Yetta.

Image via Wikipedia

I remembered my grandma’s hair today.  She had this little vanity.  Used to roll it up at night and put her net over.  In the morning she was careful about it.

She had good hair.  In her 80’s it was still pretty full and it was white.  Really white like forgiveness.  Something about it carried a message.  “Here is a woman who has beauty.”

When my grandfather died, I am told that there were men who wanted to marry her.  Men with farms, a business or something to offer.  Grandma, when she thought the time was right, would introduce them to her four sons.  Big sons, with big bones and the quietness from working in the inconsiderate conditions of nature and element.  Sons who had a father once but lost him, like a ring that slips off your finger in the water without you knowing it was gone.  Worse than that.

It’s important to have a message when you live under working conditions, where horrors happen.  A little sister burns to death in front of you.  Your finger gets twisted off in a washing machine like a bottle cap.  You canned.  Canning was never a hobby for Grandma but I never had the sense that she disliked it.

What made Grandma’s hair stand out so for me and my brothers was that it was her indulgence.  Why an old woman with no teeth, in a wooden farm-house sleeping next to a man she didn’t marry for love, (although she loved him), would roll her hair every night as if she was going to have family pictures in the morning – just has to make you smile.

She used to leave her dentures in a cup of water by her bed and her mouth would leak a little when they weren’t in.  How good her kisses were.  I’m glad I didn’t know to think they were gross.  Even when Grandma got really old, smelled like medicine and her rotting insides, I didn’t think so.

Mom would go in and roll Grandma’s hair for her because her fingers turned at odd angles.  She couldn’t do her hair and she couldn’t play piano.   Later, when moved into a nursing facility, there was a beauty contest.  My mom found out about it and enrolled my grandma without her knowing.  She told Mom afterward that she won because of her hair.  I had never heard Grandma talk about her hair like that, even though the rest of us had, and my brother’s and I laughed until we cried.  And then we cried some more.

Question:  What is your indulgence?  What is the message in it from your secret self out to the world? What does it bring to your ability to be your own friend.  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Celebrate your indulgence, acknowledge its message about you and see what it brings to your ability to be your own friend.

26 thoughts on “How Your Indulgence Improves Your Friendship With Yourself

  1. I also love my hair…I might have to roll it when I’m older to make it fluffy but if it turns white I really want to dye it purple. People will notice me yet.

  2. Ha, my hair. I have short hair (I’m 50 now and feel better with it short) most of my life I had long hair until I was in my late 30’s. Then I cut it short and there it stayed. I have a really good stylist and was blessed with wavy hair. I never have to curl or blow dry, just finger brush. I wear a pretty funky cut usually and like it. I don’t want to be a slave to my hair, just to have it short and fun.

    Also, my feet. I used to hate my feet growing up. I would look in a full length mirror and say “ugh”. They were duck feet. Wide and odd looking. In my 30’s (hmm seems to be a theme of the 30’s here) I started to really care for my feet. I cannot STAND to have dry feet and take very good care of them and a pedicure is one of the very best gifts anyone can give me. I actually take better care of my feet than my face. My face gets the usual but my feet, they get extra!

    I have come to love my feet. I love how straight my toes are because I never wore high heels, I love how the tendons move and I can see the fine muscles (remember . . fitness instructor) I love the shape of my toe nails they look like tiles when they are painted. I have shapely ankles as well.

    So here can come the negative stuff about the rest of my body. But,I figure if I work from the head down and the feet up all the good vibes will meet in the middle! : 0 )

    Love ya


  3. Thanks for the pingback. My indulgence used to be my legs. Muscular and lean and beautiful. Then I got nerve damage and they dont work so well. They are covered in cellulite. Now, they are my shame.

    • why are they your shame? you cannot help that you got nerve damage and your legs have a “new normal” it wasn’t anything you did and even if you did do something (which seems highly unlikely) what is the shame? i have done a lot of work around lies today the lies other people tell about us that we believe or the lies we have told ourselves. i bet your legs are lovely!

      • Your response brought hot tears. They aren’t supposed to look like this. I’m too young and active to have no muscle tone. It makes me feel….ashamed. And you’re right. It was nothing I did, it was just something that happend. But the shame of their dimpled appearance along with flab on what used to be fit, thick legs is such a shock. It appeared over 3 years time as the muscles atrophied and I find I tend not to look at them much anymore. It reminds me I can’t hike six miles anymore, only one. But if I flip the coin, it’s a slight miracle I can walk at all. And I am thankful for that. I can still swim. I even tap danced all last year, without falling in the floor–too often. 🙂

        • i am a fitness instructor,and if you looked at me you would never guess. i have battled with food, fat and pain in my body for a long time. its a long story. i am very good at my job because i know pain, i know having to heal, and take care of our bodies as best we can. and when i am sitting in my pitty pot (which i have been known to do in my humaness) i think of a woman in the gym who was hit by a vehicle on the way to work 12 years or so ago, and she comes into the gym with her walking braces, very over weight due to pain and just not being able to move and she gets on a special bike and then, uses her sticks to go to the ELLIPTICAL of all things and she slowly climbs on and does a bit and over to the chess press and works her way around, and other days she off to the chair class. i told her that when i am feeling low because of the injuries in my body and the pain, i think of her and shut my yap, she smiled and told me she would kick my ass if i needed it. there is always someone to learn from and take inspiration. the person who thinks the least of themselves because of inabilities still brings the most profound lessons for all of us. i have watched people recovering from acquired brain injuries, heart disease, hip replacements etc. and just not taking care of themselves (ME) and getting back on track because they realized they were worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!!!!!! I AM WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE ALL ARE WORTH IT!!!! we live in a society that is so focused on what we look like instead of the human beings we are that have the profound Light of God inside of us glowing. keep glowing, swimming, walking as you can, chair glasses, FELDENKRAIS (brain body movement) there are so many things. its just a new normal to explore. i know its so hard when we want to do what we want to do and can’t. and grieve for what was. i get it, really i do and i am sorry you are in this place, and when i want to get grumpy about moving my sore body i will think of you and have gratitude. could you belly dance? that is lots of hip and belly and upper body, and not so much on the legs or a belly fit class too. do you live in a city that has paddling some where?

          love you!


          ps thanks for your honest sharing, its so hard when we have shame. i get shame really really well.

          • You’re right, of course. I have to remember things could be much worse. Your friend from the gym puts things into perspective. She pushes on anyway. And that is what we have to do. Because life is short. And we are worth it!

            • I am doing a lot of Soul work right now in a Soul Circle with amazing teacher. She constantly reminds us “be gentle with yourself”.

              What other people rise to should never diminish where we are because it is your truth and you are in a painful uncomfortable place and I honor that with you, however . . . it helps me to be encouraged by others. I would never want to take away from you where you are right now. That wouldn’t be fair. We are each in our own lanes traveling along! But, darn some days I do wish I was in some other peoples lanes! : o )

              That is why I love this website and the blogs Sana sends. It means a great deal to me that we have a network like this and she is fearless in her leadership. I am so grateful.

              take care

              • No, I didn’t feel you took away from me at all. Your post and comments really made me think. Especially your words of “new normal” and “be gentle with yourself.” I’ve been chewing on this for days. And I thank you.

                • new normal was something i had read. a woman writing about her son’s death and all that surrounded it. our daughter had been in a very bad accident and had been in a coma with an acquired brain injury and our other child having to survive as we all had to. it was a tough time and it affect us all profoundly. she’s now in university 4th year and will take an honors degree and going on to graduate school with honors as well. she’s amazing as all our children are and as all children are and we had to learn a “new normal” that helped me immensely.

                  i have chosen to be gentle because i can be very hurtful in thought and deed to myself, (keep the cycle of abuse going you know!). so i need to remember that for myself.

                  hope you had a great weekend and blessed week ahead.


            • Sana – Why does shame burn? When we “feel” shame in our bodies even behind our eyes and throughout our head it burns. What is that? Why? It seems just so physical. And how to heal that burn of shame? Honor it and flow through it as it just being what it is and then it will release?

  4. If I have an indulgence, it would be my skin. I’ve always had unusually good skin, especially on and around the face. At 63 I do well to have few wrinkles and soft skin. Everyone seems flabbergasted that I’m my age.

    But really, I have no right to brag. I don’t do anything special to acquire and keep what I have. I moisturize daily and stay out of the sun. That’s it. It’s a gift to me from the Heavens and I accept that. It’s my main vanity, and being human I have at least that one. I’m sure I have others.

    I’ve been blessed in my life, for which I’m grateful. My eyesight night be almost nil, and I carry far too much weight, which I’m getting a handle on with an exercise program and healthy nutrition plan. However, I know how very fortunate I am, regardless of the daily aches or pains. I thank God each day for what I’ve been given, and pray for those who need more attention to heal their wounds of whatever kind.

    Grandma’s hair is a marvelous denominator for equating indulgence on the personal level. Thank you so much for the question and the example.

    Take care, all, and God’s blessings.

  5. I always wear high heels. 15 cm, every day.
    I’m in a mental hospital, and I notice how many people arrive here wearing decent clothes, and soon they start wearing nothing but jogging pants and old T-shirts. My heels are my indulgence, I think… They make me feel better…

    I loved the story of your grandma, by the way…

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