20 June 2009

Some much needed vanity,

Traveling is a filthy, greasy business, and it looks like it may get messier in the coming months, with Borneo, Indonesia and the Philippines all on the agenda. I decided to post this photo just as a reminder to myself that I am not always a “daggy Bogan” (thanks to all of the Aussies that I have met along the way for that term – essentially meaning “gross redneck.”)

On an average day I am coated in a thick shellac of sweat, it's salt stinging my eyes, making my sun induced squint even more prominent and undoubtedly causing more future crow's feet. My hair is dull and frizzed in a halo around my head, and my face doesn't have a speck of make-up trying to pretty it up, because at 7am in the morning on a 40 degree day make-up seems like it would be an exercise in futility. Did I mention how sweaty I am?

My clothes have grown huge as my waist and ass have shrunk and they look like bizarre cotton sacks, misshapen and stained and utilitarian in purpose, meant to conceal my figure, chest, tattoos and knees. They are constantly dirty, oily and covered in the residue from stray animals I insist on petting.

I sat in a puddle of monkey pee 3 days ago. And I had to wear those pants for 2 more days while we trekked through steamy terrain from Kalaw to Inle Lake.

Today, I was walking through downtown Rangoon and was doused with slimy, stinking puddle water when a car raced by. That puddle was next to men cleaning the sewers by hand, but I wore that skirt for 3 more hours.

Showers are often cold, sometimes just scoops of water fished out of a slimy tank and dumped over various body parts. In the private refuge of the washroom some toilets are indescribably terrible, their stench leaving me feeling more squalid than when I still had to pee, and even the rooms I sleep in, the blankets I swath myself in and the towels I dry myself with are all sometimes dirtier than not. And while I used to smell of Narciso Rodriguez, Jean Paul Gaultier, Pink Sugar and Lush products, now I smell like sweat, DEET and well, yes - monkey pee.

While Sean declares his attraction to me, claims that I am still the vision that I once was (to him, at least) clearly I am not the manicured, hair-did, make-upped lady I once was. My jeans sag in the ass. I have unattended roots. My nails are dirty. Hell, most of the time I'm not even dry.

So that is why I have to look at nice photos of myself, photos where I am clean and pretty and in nice clothing. That way I can cling to the fact that while I am having my life-changing, travel-around-Asia, amazing year (or more) away there is a version of me still tucked away in Vancouver that I can return to, and that girl is in heels and wearing lipgloss. Lots of it.


Monica said...

You made me laugh, and your writing was delightful.

During a fashion-famine, I've been known to indulge and reminiscence over an especially charming photograph of myself. Hey, there's nothing wrong with reminding yourself that you're cute (sans-sweat, of course). ;)

yoga ninja mama said...

haha! this made me smile a lot. and strangely enough it sounds much like how i felt in the first few days (ok, maybe weeks) of my son's life! life with a newborn, especially the first time around, it was just as messy and uncomfortable, but wonderful at the same time :).

p.s. i am certain that you look just as beautiful with monkey pee on you as you do in that photo of you all dolled up! haha :)