I think it stems from having severe acne as a teenager and then into my early 20s.
If anything was going to touch my face, it better be "clean." That has always included my soap.
I've tried liquid soaps and scrubs in dispensers, but for some reason I've always had the best luck with simple cake of soap like Dr. Bronner's bar soap in the almond variety, or one of those uber-natural lavender- or pikake-scented bar soaps from your local "crunchy" market. Right now I alternate between the Oil Cleansing Method with coconut oil and my Dr. Bronner's bar soap.
I may keep my daily face care rituals fairly minimal (soap or OCM, moisturizer with SPF, sometimes lipstick), but how I "protect" my soap takes a little more diligence.
You see, I wash my soap. Let me explain what goes on in my brain a little bit.
In my bathroom there are two bars of soap. One for hands, one for my face. They may even be the same BRAND of soap, but they are NOT interchangeable. I have my husband trained, and when we have guests I've gone so far as to make cute labels or just hide my face soap.
I should remind you that right now we live in a tiny Japanese apartment where someone thought it would be a HILARIOUS joke to put a miniature, airplane-sized bathroom (that description is not redundant, I've seriously marveled at how roomy airplane bathrooms are) in our home instead of a bathroom for humans with limbs. Our "sink shelf" and "shower shelf" are one.
Anyway, even if my face soap goes untouched by grubby, post toilet-using hands, I'm fully aware it sits out all day exposed to sneezes, free-floating fecal bacteria, back splash, and all manner of grossness.
So when it comes time to wash my face, I remove my soap from its special dish that allows water to drain effectively (soap dish choice was no small matter), and I rinse it in warm water for a moment. In order to slough off the outer layer of gross, obviously. If I drop the bar in the sink (EEEEEEEEEK!!!) or it has HAIRS in it, I've been known to work up a lather and "scrub" my soap a little.
It is after, and only after, my soap gets "washed" that I can happily go about cleansing my face.
No, my bars of soap don't turn into mushy slivers within days (I think they last a normal amount of time), and yes, I wash my hands with the hand soap before handling my face soap. Trust me, I know how this sounds.
And I know someone in the comments will feel the urge to "hate to break it to me" that my bar of face soap is just as bacteria-ridden or whatever after it gets a bath, but I don't care. Washing my soap makes sense to me, and makes me feel better. So I do it. And no major skin flare-ups since 2010! So huzzah!
We all have our delightful, weirdo habits that no matter how much logic tells us are unnecessary, superstitious, or backwards, we have to do them. Maybe it has something to do with anxiety, OCD, germaphobia, or what have you. But whatever it is, I see no harm in having little rituals in your life that make you that much more content.
So in the hopes that you'll share some of your rituals that are on par with my soap-washing, here are a few more of the regular "must-dos" that are a part of my life.
My Pre-Bedtime Bell Ringing
A few years ago, a friend of mine gave me a lovely little Tibetan Prayer Bell. When struck, it makes the most soothing sound. I've used it to meditate or just to clear my head a little.
Something about the sound of this bell FEELS so good to me. I can't explain it. There have been times simply striking the bell makes me smile.
Part of my bedtime ritual is ringing this bell. I feel like I'm clearing the air before bed. There have been times I'll be lying in bed, feeling like I've forgotten something, when I remember I haven't rang my bell. I'll scramble out of bed in the dark to get my bell, which lives on my nightstand carefully out of reach of curious kitty paws. Afterward I always feel a little bit better, more at ease.
From what I understand, Tibetan Prayer Bells are traditionally used in prayer or chanting in order to dispel tension or worldly concerns. I don't know if there is something scientific to the tone of the bell, if it's all psychological suggestion, or if there is indeed a spiritual element. All I know is that my "bells before bed" ritual is an important and comforting part of my night.
Straightening My Ladies
This is not quite as "deep" as my bell-ringing ritual, nor does it have anything to do with arranging my boobs.
I have two paintings. I'm pretty sure they're Fernando Botero copies, but I'm embarrassingly uneducated when it comes to fine art. Anyway, each painting is of a nude or semi-nude woman in different states of getting ready, or grooming. One is brushing her hair; one is gazing into a hand mirror, her red dress falling off one shoulder.
I love my ladies, I've moved with them six times, and they always live in my bathroom.
Because it's hard to get nails or tacks into the walls of our Japan apartment (the ladies live in the hall outside our bathroom because, well, see above about our airplane bathroom), each lady is balanced on only one hook. They stay on the wall quite well, but because of my husband and my going in and out of the front door, as well as the almost daily earthquakes here, the ladies get off-kilter all the time.
I start my day with my ladies and end my day with my ladies.
While my coffee or tea is boiling in the morning, I straighten out the ladies. After I brush my teeth, I straighten out the ladies. If I run out the door or fall asleep without straightening my gals, the pangs of crankiness descend upon me as soon as I remember.
I guess it's just one of those things that make me feel like my life is in order. The ladies need to feel pretty.
The Filth Under My Desk
I'm not the tidiest person, I'll be the first person to admit that. I have a cat so she sheds everywhere. I have long, crazy hair, so I shed everywhere. And at the end of the day, sometimes I just can't be bothered to pick my discarded clothes off the bedroom floor.
But the area under my desk — be it my home office or an office out in the world — MUST be debris-free. If the place where my feet go (usually at some point barefoot) is cluttered with junk, miscellaneous particles, or EGADS food crumbs, I'll stop all work until the issue has been rectified.
My husband has often noted that the area surrounding my desk can be a dung heap of books, papers, socks, lost souls, and such, but the spot under my desk where my feet go will be a glowing zone of pristine joy.
Nothing says "Let's get to work!" like a squeaky clean floor beneath my feet.
I don't quite get me, but I like me. And this is a little bit of how I do me.
So what are some of your must-do habits or rituals? What are some of the "perfectly normal" things you have to do regularly to keep your life flowing, fun, and fancy-free?