Doing relief work is fabulous for your inner beauty. On your outer beauty, I should warn you, it can wreak havoc. My skin is breaking out around my mouth and nose in a line that precisely marks the place where an N95 mask sits on my face for a few hours a day. My hair always seems to contain some remnant of drywall dust - which looks suspiciously like dandruff to those who don't spend their days prying nails out of ceilings while sheetrock particles rain down on their faces. I've developed some serious biceps, just in time for Cosmo to inform me that too-muscley women aren't hot (give me a break. Whoever keeps subscribing me to that magazine, it's not funny. Kindly stop). Things like eyebrow grooming have fallen by the wayside, as I've been burning the candle at both ends just to get my work done this month while leading volunteer groups almost every day. The good news is that my pedicure has held up a record-breaking three weeks; I suppose being constantly encased in steel-toed work boots helped.
On the other hand, I feel pretty fabulous. I'm using my body every day, and not just to raise and lower myself from my office chair. There is a physical confidence that comes back to my when I'm regularly active, and it's showing up big time as a result of swinging a sledge hammer and hauling buckets of mud. Which I guess sort of makes up for the fact that Irene Boot Camp hasn't done a thing to reduce my size. Apparently being in my mid-thirties means that 6-8 hours of physical labor a day still isn't enough to kick my metabolism into action or reduce the annoying fat that has deposited itself around my stomach and hips. For the most part I'm really enjoying my thirties, but they could take that part back. And the heartburn, to which I say, where the hell did you come from?
These are the things that I notice when I come home from days of doing the heaviest, most disgusting work of my life, when I don't want to think anymore about the house that sat for three weeks full of mud before anyone touched it, or the trailer park that was battered against the nearby grove of trees, or the woman who started crying when we pulled into her driveway because she had been gutting the house alone for the last three days. And I understand a little bit of why so many people around my already seem to have forgotten all about this whole situation, because it's really easy to just think about how irritating my skin is instead.