As I write this, I am ensconced on the ugly couch, my feet on a footstool so that there is room for my laptop to sit comfortably. It’s not easy to get in and out of this spot, so I made sure I had water, my phone, snacks, and everything else I might need for a long session of work. It is even more difficult to get up when the dog is occupying the other half of the ugly couch.
This is not my ideal spot. It is, however, the best I can do in my tiny apartment. I do have a desk…it sits at the entrance to the kitchen. If I’m sitting there, family have to squeeze past me to get to the fridge. The desk is currently covered with junk, a side effect of living in such cramped quarters. I might try to clear it off before NaNoWriMo.
There are many small comforts I’ve carved out of this temporary home, but there are hundreds of discomforts that range from mildly irritating to hugely infuriating. Hubby usually sets his clothes out in the living room each night so he won’t wake me up when he gets dressed in the morning. If two people occupy the kitchen, they will be touching each other unless they do a very carefully coordinated dance. There is only one bathroom for our family of four.
I am haunted by tips in women’s magazines and online that talk about little ways to do self-care. Getting enough sleep. Having things organized so they work smoothly for my needs. A little pampering here and there.
One woman’s self-care is another woman’s extravagance.
I do carve out time for sleep because I know that, without it, my health and the overall well-being of my entire family will quickly go to hell in a handbasket. When I take a bunch of clothes to the laundromat, it’s self-care that has me bopping next door to Subway for an inexpensive and reasonably healthy, tasty lunch. Yet, when money is tight, that’s an extravagance, not a thrifty solution to lunch on a busy day.
I asked on facebook today what my friends’ ideal bedroom set-up would be, particularly whether they’d prefer magazine-photo beauty or utilitarian practicality. My current bedside setup is pictured above. Someday, the heel-cream and orange-ginger lotion will be bits of self-care I apply liberally. For now, they are indulgences I ration carefully. I need to keep things like my water bottle and alarm clock right by my bed, so it will never be perfectly magazine-quality beautiful. Several years ago I spent sixty dollars on a nice bedspread, which was both an indulgence and an investment. It is still in very good condition and is usually the only bedding we need besides the sheets.
There are small indulgences I make for my writing habits as well. For stories that I hand-write, I get cute fabric to cover the notebook and make it so it can fold over the edge and keep it closed. Some of my favorite places to write are restaurants or coffee shops with a quiet corner and power outlet. Of course, I can’t do that unless I spend at least a little money for food or drink. I don’t do that very often.
Side note… when JK Rowling needed to finish the Harry Potter series, the first books had already made her wealthy. She realized that she could throw money at the problem, and she checked into the Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh to complete the final novel.
I’d love to have room service and privacy while I write!
I currently have a long list of things I need and want to accomplish, and a less-than adequate space to do it in. Yet I persevere. I persist. And I don’t get everything done, but somehow manage to forgive myself.
It’s a little indulgence.