I have extremely poor hygiene. I smell bad, and I want to change.
Draw a line. Think of normal people in the middle. On the far right, put extremely and cartoonishly OCD people: say, the Glee character Emma Pillsbury
. I am on the far left, but I want to be in the middle.
[I am aware that actual OCD is little like the popular perception of it. Ignore this, for argument's sake.]
It has recently come to my attention that I rather frequently smell bad. Actually this has come to my attention in the past. Evidence of my smelliness:
1) Kids sometimes have looser filters than adults. A few months ago, when I was working as a tutor for some kids, one eleven-year-old refused to sit next to me, asking if I had showered. I tried to make a point of showering before meeting with the kids afterwards (but this was in the afternoon, and I was working all morning elsewhere so couldn't shower), and this issue was hinted at briefly a few times afterwards.
2) Recently I had a falling out with a particular person. In the midst of this falling out, this person mentioned that multiple times in the past (three, four, five times in the past ~nine months?) he had had to cover for me with other people regarding my smell. (Saying, "oh, this part of the bar always smells bad," or "he's been lifting things all day," etc.)
3) Yesterday, at work, the person at the desk next to me said she smelled something funny. It was disturbing her to the extent that she had to spray some freshener. In particular, she said that it smelled like "burnt hair," though I have no idea what that smells like. However, I actually could smell myself at that time. I was wearing dirty underwear, with suit pants that are worn frequently without washing (because you're not supposed to dry-clean suits often, and not supposed to wash the pants in the washing machine, perhaps? Though I'm not sure on this last point), and the suit pants are rather tightly cut -- and there was a, shall we say, wetness from sweat. Maybe the sweat of my crotch didn't cause the "burnt hair" smell, but I could smell it, and one generally can't smell oneself (right?).
4) A couple weeks ago, at work, a co-worker commented multiple times (on different days) about all the dandruff on my jacket, even as I myself was brushing it off whenever I could. As I had used up my shampoo, I resisted in my mind buying more for a *very* long time, and this clearly came to a head (so to speak). When I finally just went ahead and bought some anti-dandruff shampoo, this went away in a few days.
It is no secret what's causing this: bad hygiene. It's possible (actually, I think likely) that I sweat more than other people, but I'm sure it's not so much so that it's anything more than a contributing factor. Evidence of my terrible hygiene:
1) I don't shower every day. I have to leave early for work, and don't generally set my alarm for more than 30 minutes before I leave (probably because I need the sleep -- really, maybe I should be asleep right now), and don't always shower. I'd say I shower about 3 times a week. Probably put on roll-on deodorant the same amount.
2) I frequently wear dirty clothes, including underwear. On some level, I think "it doesn't LOOK dirty, so I can keep wearing it." Part of it may be that I simply don't HAVE that many clothes, because I am always low on cash. In addition, I never want to spend the $2.50 to wash and dry clothes. But really, when push comes to shove, I could afford this if I forced myself to afford it. Instead, I'm just far too lazy to do anything about it.
This lack of hygiene isn't just with showering and clothes. I also probably only brush my teeth about 3-4 times a week, and floss maybe once. My back has terrible acne, I think probably because I don't shower enough, don't wash my back well enough when I do shower, and don't wash the sheets often enough. (I think I've washed them about 3 times in nine months.) My car smells weird, though I never leave food in it, and I don't know what causes it. (Someone said it smelled like cinnamon. I wonder if the odd smell was caused by the use of a variety of strange-odored rear-view-mirror trees. Or, maybe, I am personally stinking it up.)
Look, this is all terrible. I know. I need to change. I think this could be actively harming my personal relationships, could harm me at my current job (as it could have at my old tutoring job), and so on. My problem is laziness, to begin with, I know. I've had depression in the past, but I don't feel bad right now, and some of this (certainly, the teeth stuff) predates the depression.
I know I need to change. I know on some level, the answer for me is "Just do it." "Just change." "Shower twice every day and scrub HARD with soap and never EVER wear dirty clothes and wash your sheets every week, etc." "Start thinking of your basic expenses as not just food, rent, and transportation, but food, rent, transportation, and hygiene." But even as I know this -- I'm still here, with this problem.
Do you have any thoughts about my situation? How can I change? Have you ever been like this in the past, and if so, how did you change?
[Also, if you can comment here without making me feel humiliated, that would be great. I am mortified when this issue has come up, and I am mortified now.]