The Disappearance of Vanity

 

I’m not entirely sure if my current period of social withdrawal will help or hinder my ability to interact with people in the future. I do think it’s beneficial to think about, but it’s such a weird thing to wonder what it’ll be like to talk to people again. God, I’m such a recluse…

I do know for certain that I’m fucking glad I’m not at Coachella right now along with the rest of my generation. That’s just not me, and will never be. I’m sure some of the festival goers don’t 100% match the negative stereotypes I picture, but the whole atmosphere of that place just does not interest me. The absolute worst type of festival.

hideout-festival-amazing-stage

So much competition. In money, looks, and in who can wear and do the most outrageous things. The main reason you go is to show off your style, decked out with as much glitter and bling as possible. And the more skin shown, the better. It’s a Vanity Fest. [And that is exactly the kind of segway I was looking for to start my topic 😉 ]

This is what was rattling around in my head when this post concept first came to me:

You know what’s not important? The blemishes on your face. The wrinkles in your smile. The tangles in your hair.  The imperfections that occur within our appearances as signs of our mortality. 

We get so caught up in our own image that we forget to look at anything else. The mirror isn’t the most important thing to read; try a book every once in a while. Maybe give some attention to the people around you, rather than your own reflection! 

I then began to think about how relationships have become such a joke these days. The norm for people my age (that would be 21) is to “meet” someone online through their carefully-selected selfies, go out on some boring date, hook up, and drop all contact. Any other type of interaction has become plagued with the expectation that the people you meet have that in mind.

We are the hookup generation.

We get uncomfortable when we have to actually talk to someone about something serious or even confront them. You can’t really get to know people anymore because that’s not what we understand. We know short and shallow interactions. And because of that, society has evolved in some very negative ways. We’re so self-absorbed that we can’t look outward anymore. I’ve become so detached with people my age because I just don’t want to relate to this impatient and selfish mindset.

[But enough about my thoughts on the deterioration of genuine human connection, which I could go on about all day.]

I’ve recently been struggling with my own vanity.

I suppose it was built up during high school. I was so fond of my shocking blue eyes and long, straight hair. I built up my ego with every compliment I received. The shattering of this self-praised image began when my body started to go through a second puberty in college, and my skin changed for the worse. I had new issues I’d never dealt with before.

Before, a simple daily cleansing of my face was all I needed to keep it clear, and I treated my hair decently, aside from the bleaching and harsh dyes. Then my balanced skin became extremely sensitive, and the products I had been using for years suddenly aggravated my skin. My hair became a grey and dried out mess, stripped of its former radiance.

The solution: I chopped my hair at my shoulders and abandoned my skin routine.

The period that followed was my lowest point of self-esteem ever. I hated how boyishly short my hair was, and everything I tried out on my skin made it worse. I had to deal with the shame of being in public and having people see my damaged and acne-covered skin. This bothered me more than it should have. Through my battle with acne, I discovered that the real enemy was my ego. The issue wasn’t that I had acne, it was that I didn’t like not being attractive. I held my appearance to such a high standard that I made it impossible for myself to be comfortable when I knew my makeup wasn’t hiding anything.

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I just couldn’t get over it; I tried so many things to fix my “broken” face.

What helped me escape my self-loathing in the end was an acceptance that I’m not perfect and shouldn’t expect to be. I’ve made some progress in improving my skin and am a lot more comfortable with myself than I used to be (even though I still have some flaws). After months of not liking what I looked like, I think my vanity is at a much healthier level. No one ever treated me differently because of my acne or unattractive short hair. It just showed me how unimportant my looks are to the people who love me. Even if I have skin problem in the future, I won’t let it get to me in the same way because my vanity has no control over me. I mean, who cares if you’re not perfect? 🙂

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Money Ruins Everything

It really does.

I look back fondly to a time before I tried to make money from blogging. From a hobby. That’s what this platform was originally intended for, and that’s how I intend to keep it from now on.

I just got so jaded with publishing perfect pieces and trying to advertise things that people would want to buy, and I ended up really tainting my writing through trying to make a profit from it instead of just doing it to feel good, as my site is named. It’s not Blog-to-money, after all.

And because of that strain of editing my work to perfection or adding images and links and videos to get people to care, I lost all interest in creating. I didn’t even want to think about my blog because I knew I’d just get discouraged that I hadn’t reached my “goal” of earning a profit yet and wasn’t gaining followers and views fast enough.

I was looking so hard for ways to make other people care that I stopped caring about my writing myself. After a while, I couldn’t even bring myself to write about anything because I didn’t enjoy it anymore…

I’m here to write about my thoughts. To admit I’m confused or lost or just upset with my life at the moment. It’s my journal in a way, and I ruined it in the past with greed. You can’t make money off a journal.

Every time I hadn’t posted something in a while, I felt pressured by myself to apologize for not keeping to a rigid schedule. Looking back at my work, I’ve come to notice that a good majority of my posts are just about “Coming Back”, “New and Improved”, and all that. Just writing about how I’ve been struggling but on how I plan to pick up the slack in the fiture. If someone  were to ask what I blogged about, and I gave them an honest answer, I’d say I’m a struggle-blogger. That’s what I write about. Just being shitty at things and wanting to do better.

Well I think “doing better” is rejecting the idea of making money for once. Who needs it anyways…

Today, for the first time in months, I actually had a desire to write something for the world to see. Just something simple and concise. I believe that simply doung something rather than nothing is a success of its own.

And it isn’t about the damn VIEWS!

Not anymore 🙂

A Slave to My Mind

I’ve been overthinking things.

Complicating parts of my life that I should be able to simply enjoy. I can’t enjoy most of the things I do throughout the day because there’s a part of me that’s just not satisfied. Never content. Other parts of my mind may be on board with playing video games all day or taking a 2-hour bath, but the piece of me that’s causing me discomfort at the moment is my over-active mind.

This was developed during my many years of schooling. You go to a school or two (or many) for the first chunk of your life, and it becomes engrained in your system. (at least, it is for me). It’s what you grow up doing, and it encompasses all your childhood memories. The friends you made were the ones you met in class; the books you read were for an assignment; the free time you had was marked out for you in time segments between being here and there and going to bed at a good time.

There was so much to do and so many people to talk to and deadlines to meet each week. And though you may have felt discouraged at times, you still completed what you could and got through it. Your time was in someone else’s hands throughout the week and most of the weekends. They told you what to do, and you did it.

No one’s telling you what to do now.

Everything is different.

Your friends are beyond reconnection. The ties you let loosen are now completely untied. Your time is all your own besides the time you’re on the clock working to earn money to pay for food and rent at a place you don’t really care to live in all that badly, with people you get along with most of the time but who aren’t very close or interested in the same things you are (or what you have to say at all), but what else would you spend your money on if you had more of it? What else would you be doing with your life if you weren’t here, doing the very things you’re doing? What else is there…

what else is there…

…is there a what else?

Is this just your post-education self? Just paying to exist to work to pay…

These thoughts and more plague me daily over my warm bagel and quickly cooling cup of tea, and I’m paralyzed. So many why’s…

And it’s these purpose-questioning thoughts that make it very difficult to function on my days off. Anything I could possibly fill my time with is just not enough. Not enough stimulation or whatever. This is how people develop anxiety of extreme levels. Just sitting and stewing…

My inner commentary is a very critical one, and I’m crippled by the fears it bestows upon me of completing nothing of value. It insists I do something productive (what even is productive…), or else I’m just wasting my time,  and to waste your time is to waste your life…

I fear the onset of many useless years, having gained absolutely no wisdom or experience to better myself or improve my standard of living. Still broke, still anxiously failing to come up with something “better” to do…

Is this even something to complain about? Having too much time on my hands?? How do I have the nerve to be ungrateful for such a safe and secure life, just because it bores me… can’t answer that either. I am hyper-aware that the very act of complaining about something so meager is an offense to the real sufferers out there in the dark places of the world. I just want to get my mind on board with the fact that everything’s alright. I’m fine. I have very little to worry about. And yet I find little meaning in my life at the moment. I have to fight the strong urge pushing me just to run away from it all, abandon everything and everyone I know and just escape – if only to escape the terror of my mind, enslaving my every movement and sabotaging my ability to be comfortable and content in my own house.

I may think I can hide from the monsters of the world but I could never pretend to have the ability to escape my mind…

 

Coming to you in a most restless state this wintry Wednesday morning. Lift your mugs of tea to the gray skies, and have a splendid week!

Just Wanted to Write Today

Lately I’ve been thinking. I’ve been a brewin and a stormin. My mind has been creating and tearing apart. I can remember my dreams again. I feel instantly energized without having to sleep or consume coffee.

I’m changing.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly which part of me is; I don’t have the means to understand the level at which it will happen. I just know that my life will not be the same anymore, and for that I am grateful.

It’s impossible to assess if I’m terrified or even ready for things to cease being comfortable and familiar. I’m just beginning something new that I haven’t been able to describe in the past. I’m jumping into a new way of loving and living…

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to find the ability within myself to write anything in terms of a finished post. Just daily musings about my constant internal strife and interactions between others, and most of the time how I feel about… everything.

The holidays brought about quite a bit of change, altering the pattern my weeks have been in. As we enter this new year, I am thankful to note that my life did not feel unaffected by the time spent away from home, in the warm comfort of family. My kin, to sound more interesting. I didn’t make quite as big of a deal financially as I usually do during Christmas time, but I found a deep satisfaction with seeing my family that I’ve been away from for so long. Moving farther away than ever before definitely has more of an effect on you than you might think.

I haven’t been extremely productive lately, even though the only time I don’t have to myself is when I go to work on the weekends. I’ve been working 16 hours a week and still get nothing done at home. I feel as if I’ve had too much time on my hands, and haven’t had any type of urgency or constraints on my time to be able to fully appreciate it. Now that I’ve gained an extra day of work during the week, I feel like I’m more in balance and can more deeply appreciate my time for play when I’m not on the clock. I’ve been away not because I’ve been too busy, but because I’ve had too much time to myself.

I’ve been distracted

This new YouTube interest of mine is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. The first video I made was more myself, and the second was me trying to be something I wasn’t. I got really stressed about trying to make the video look really good and have the perfect perspective and all that. (And keep in mind that I’ve spent absolutely nothing on this new project, plus I have zero experience at it, so the quality isn’t that great so far). And I didn’t enjoy making the second one and almost didn’t post it, but I figured that in order to get better at this I just need to get it out there before I just give up entirely.

And it’s hard. It’s hard to be bad at something. To think that you look ignorant or incapable is very difficult to come to terms with. No one likes to be vulnerable in case you’re misunderstood. I’ve found a new peace with being able to have an imperfect piece of work. To have a simple video where I just talk and dispose of the desire to make money from what I do. Or a post where I just write, not giving any mind to how many people will read me or care what I have to say. I need to care what I have to say.

So, here I am

Just Put a Banana in Your Hair

Today I want to share with you my natural hair care journey. On the hunt for tips and tricks to get my hair to grow faster, I stumbled across this thing called a Hair Mask. I had only heard of such a thing in legend but had never experienced its powers myself. There are many reasons one might seek the aid of a Hair Mask ritual, from healing and detoxing to stimulating growth, to just increasing smoothness and shine and wonderfulness.

I wouldn’t exactly categorize my hair as damaged anymore since an extreme trim that removed over 5 inches of bleached, faded, and neglected hair. But I have been interested in trying natural things I can do for my hair’s health, and I figured that the only potential setback of soaking your hair in a bunch of food products would be a funny smell. I’ve had good results so far, but who knows? I’m no hair expert; I just own my own head of hair.

I decided to venture into this hairy territory. I left the comfort of basic hair care behind and ventured into my kitchen with no boundaries. I don’t exactly have the income for the lavish ingredients in some recipes; I just used what I had. In the end, this is an inexpensive and unique concoction that is capable of all the magic healing power in commercial masks.

Mask #1:

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My Simple All-Inclusive Hair Mask:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 tsp olive oil (also known as 1 TBS)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ½ banana (eat the other half)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk

Coconut oil:  Helps your hair grow longer, thicker, and faster, AND it smells super nice in your hair

Olive oil: Moisturizing and contains magical antioxidants

Honey: Helps return some needed hydration to your hair and even strengthens hair follicles

Banana: Full of a lot of greatness (natural oils, carbohydrates, vitamins like potassium and calcium) and will help your hair grow, be softer, and also reduces breakage

Egg: Has a lot of protein and vitamins (A, D, and E) which helps hair grow

Milk: Packed with calcium and other vitamins to return strength and natural shine

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I used a fork to mash the banana

I began this process a couple days after washing my hair, letting it absorb its own natural oils. I applied this goopy mixture straight onto dry hair and wrapped a warm T-shirt around my head, then let it sit and soak for 25ish minutes. I then washed my hair as usual and let air dry.

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The soaking process 😀

Likes and Dislikes:

I have to say that I did not mix the banana thoroughly, and it made a gross mess everywhere in my bathroom while I applied it to my hair and when I washed it out. I also used too much milk, making the mask very thin and runny.

My hair’s softness lasted longer than the first day of washing. I also noticed a lingering banana smell, which was interesting. I absolutely loved the sensation during the soak. There’s really something therapeutic about soaking your hair in food, wrapping something steamy around your head, and just letting your hair be itself for a few minutes.

Mask #2:

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For my second trial, I approached the mixing process with more experience. I removed the banana because I didn’t feel like dealing with the mess. I reduced the milk as well because I didn’t need so much, and would rather eat most of my food than wear it.

The Revised Recipe:

  • 1 TBS honey (also known as 3 tsp)
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBS milk
  • 3 TBS coconut oil
  • IMG_7496

    It looked like this after settling

(I used the most coco oil because it’s the most magical).

And all the rest is all the same story 🙂

So, there it is. Super simple and cheap. Add whatever you have on hand. Include some essential oils and/or some avocado magic. My main goal was to see if anything happened, and potentially encourage some healthy growth. This recipe is a super basic, all-in-one product that will do miracles for your hair (and mental health).

I needed to pamper my hair after neglecting it for so long. I chopped off the damaged parts to express a new beginning, a time to mend the bond I tore with many abusive hair dyes. They might have brought me fleeting excitement, but each one faded to gray eventually. This decay crept slowly inward as I lost interest in caring for my appearance, losing my joy and sense of self. Ah, depression…

(Joining you fresh from a very bubbly bath. Mmmmm, it’s soo nice to sit and steam out your problems).

Till next time…

A New Mission

I’m changing things up around here! I’ve decided to focus my blog and try to follow a general theme now for the majority of my writing on here. I’m not sure how long that while will last, but I want to stick with it for a while. This is a fresh start at how this blog operates.

The reason: Lately I’ve been going through some drastic changes in my personal life and experiencing a lot of personal growth. I’m just feeling happy again finally. For the first time in forever…

“It feels good to be running from the devil

Another breath and I’m up another level

It feels good to be up above the clouds

It feels good for the first time in a long time now” (High, Sir Sly)

            I took a look at my horoscope earlier this year out of curiosity, and it said that this year was going to be a year of more inner growth than outer growth. Now, I don’t know how much all of that talk about the stars really affects our lives, but it was interesting to check out. It also was aligned with the way my life has been because this year has been an incredible journey to self-discovery and of improving my living situation. With all of this change occurring in my life, I believe that it’s about time to get serious with my posts and focus my blog on a couple of topics of interest rather than wrote about every random thought that enters my mind. I have 3 or 4 things that I want to dedicate the majority of my focus to, but I may veer off the path every once in a while. I’ll outline them here just to outline some goals for myself.

  1. I want to document what I learn and experience on the path to healthy living.

This topic can encompass a lot of subtopics. I want to change up how I eat (while still managing my budget), how often I exercise, and other lifestyle choices that will be beneficial to my body and give me more energy to work with during my day. These posts would be about what my typical meal plan is in a day, or what my workouts look like, or the new product I’m trying out that helps me sleep or keeps me hydrated or lightens my skin – things like that.

2. I am going to learn how to start making my own beauty products.

Before I get started with this process, I want to test out some affordable natural skin care and then begin to develop my own formulas when I know what works for my specific skin needs. When I get into the creation process, I want to use raw ingredients that are easy to find around my house; I’m going to try to limit the amount I allow myself to spend on this project, especially while it’s still in its beginning stages and doesn’t have much output besides personal interest and improvement.

What I want to try out first are face scrubs and cleansers, masks, moisturizers, exfoliants, and acne treatments. Facial products will be the most beneficial and interesting stuff for me to learn about right now. I’ve made significant progress already with my skin’s condition and have gotten my blemishes down to a manageable level, but I want to continue to work at maintaining healthy-looking skin and improve its quality even further. When your skin is wonderfully healthy-looking, you can show it off without any heavy makeup. I want to get to the point where I’m alright with my appearance even if I don’t feel like my skin is “good enough”. I want to work on my confidence level and decrease how much I worry about the imperfections on my skin that no one notices. I want to accept my skin the way it is naturally and not care about using a mask to pretend I look flawless every minute of every day. I know it’s a pretty simple concept to just go without wearing makeup, but I’ve had a lot of psychological damage in terms of my self-esteem; I need to work on reversing the effects of insecurity I’ve felt so long that was largely due to my own self-deprecating mind.

And when I do wear makeup, I want to feel good about the products I’m using and be aware of the ingredients my skin is absorbing. My sensitive skin will react to strong chemicals, so I’m going to be searching for gentle vegan makeups that I can use comfortably. Then I’ll report what I experience in future posts. I know that I’ll experience many beneficial side-effects beyond just changing how my skin looks and feels.

3. I want to post about intriguing science discoveries.

I’ll be throwing in some posts about new discoveries and technological advances in the fields of biology, genetics, nutrition, and other scientific topics that interest me. I just finished an Associates of Science in Biology, so maybe I can actually put it to use somewhere; it sure doesn’t seem to have much use to me in the real world until I have more education to pair it with.

4. What I experience as I get used to city life.

I might include some “Day in the Life’ kind of posts that talk about my jobs and my adventures. These will often be in the rant format when I just need to untangle my thoughts from busy days.

So… ya. This is the new base of what I want to focus my attention on. It’s been difficult for me to dedicate my full time and energy towards anything that doesn’t guarantee a good grade or a paycheck. I’ve always been devoted to my school work and my job, but I’ve spent less effort on myself. Just improving my own happiness should be one of my main goals. I want to change up my old routines and dive into a process that I enjoy being a part of. It’s good to try new things, and I’ve just been so hesitant before now to push myself beyond my boundaries and step off the beaten path of what I’ve always done. I need to return my attention inward to what I really want to be doing and let go of the pressure to do well at school and advance in my career and all that. This next phase of my life will be shifting my focus away from impressing other people on how successful I seem and more towards appreciating myself and making sure that I really enjoy living my life.  With making my own products from raw ingredients and with getting more serious about my blog, I’ll be investing time into myself for once and not just forcing myself to do well for a high score. I think in our American society, we don’t realize the importance of just taking a break from the mad dash to earn money to consume things we don’t really need.  We need to realize that some things in life are slow processes that take a lot of effort to make work.

I cherish the progress I’ve made on my small little blog from its founding a few short months ago. I started out at the bottom with no knowledge of how this kind of thing works, and now… well, I guess I’m still pretty inexperienced. But I’d like to think that I’ve improved a little bit from when I started out and that I have a little more of an idea of what I want to do. My goal now is to be a bit more consistent with posting and just improve my work in general. I want to be proud of this thing one day. Here’s to trying harder to enjoy my life!

Till next time…

 

 

Free Your Face

I’ve been thinking a lot about how my skin is changing, and I thought I’d share some amateur advice so that I might possibly help some other lost souls out there…

Did you know that your body (and specifically your skin) undergoes multiple transformations throughout your life, even after puberty? They call it: Second puberty.

I’m sure that anyone who’s been through young adulthood is nodding their head right now. “Yup, my body is growing tons of hair and aches 24/7 and I never eat sugar anymore. The good old days are gone.” Or something like that…

I don’t want to get older and have my body mature again! I thought it already matured and was done with that. I’d rather stubbornly stay youthful forever and never have any more responsibilities than I do now. Finding out about this second puberty thing feels like I just woke up out of a coma. My life is a lie! I thought that as I got older maybe I’d know what I was doing a little more. Nope! I get more lost with every step on this journey through life.

I need to start caring more about being more healthy because it’s going to get more difficult as I age. If you never think about taking care of yourself, you’ll suffer in the long run. Now that I’ve noticed a couple warning signs of my body aging, I’m absolutely terrified! I feel a wee bit dramatic here, but this is actually pretty devastating when you first come to notice what’s happening in your own body. It’s just not an option to be apathetic about my health anymore; I need to change my lifestyle now before I create permanent ugly reminders of the damage I’ve done to my body. Drinking = bad skin and kidney damage. Sugar = diabetes. Veggies = good. Excercise = GREAT. Coffee = bad but also good. Bubble baths = my only hope…

Hopefully, in the next 10 years, I will make some solid good habits (not likely) before I just deteriorate into nothingness. I know I need to work on my discipline because I haven’t put that tool to use in a while, and it’s a little rusty.  I need to be a more conscious consumer and read the ingredients on my food and consistently work out and take care of myself and my skin. Relax time is vital, and I need to think about how my actions impact my body and my mind and my craziness levels.

***

As I’m aging I have new problems to deal with. I’ve graduated from keeping my grades up to keeping my bills managed. And my body has gone from a lightning fast metabolism to one that can’t handle a few pushups. Now that I’ve climbed over Mt. Decade #2, my skin acts like it doesn’t even know me anymore. It’s trying to adjust to and prepare for this long-term state of being alive and all that. I guess I’m entering the middle of my life where you don’t feel young and alive anymore, but you aren’t close to dying either.  Between creation and destruction: that’s where we are right now.

The 1st major factor of this adult puberty that affects me is the changes occurring in my skin. My face requires a completely different treatment than it used to. And that has been a tremendous adjustment. But I have found a solution that works (there is hope!!!).

I think this all started earlier this summer as I was finishing up at my community college. At first, I had trouble even comprehending that my skin was changing and needed an updated treatment to keep it healthy and happy. Throughout high school and up until my 20’s, I had pretty typical skin; I tried to be gentle with it for the most part and listened to its signals of what it needed. I usually didn’t bother with foundations and face makeups (and still don’t) because I felt good about my face back then, and don’t really think I needed that stuff to look good. It’s just not worth it to me, and it takes way too long. My skin responds better and looks healthier the more I just let it be on its own and show off its natural glow. Just go without makeup for a while, it’s good for you!

When my face began to transform into a new creature, I wasn’t treating it how I needed to anymore. I was embarrassed by all the blemishes on my skin and how red it had become from irritation. I stubbornly thought I could treat it as I always had because I thought I knew my skin well enough to diagnose its problems myself. But I sure didn’t, and I needed a new acne remedy to save myself from the shame of not knowing how to feel good about my face anymore.

I was also terribly insecure about the entire thing and had a lot of other self-image issues at the time as well. I was convinced that I could just cover up all my blemishes with makeup rather than diagnose the problem. I was out of options. This began the downward spiral of the battle against my face. The worse my face got, the more makeup I wore because I didn’t want anyone to see my damaged completion. But then, of course, the more often I tried to combat my acne by scrubbing and ripping parts off and covering and clogging it up, the worse and worse it got! It fought me aggressively during that period. There was no hope for me; I wouldn’t even take advice from other people with their own complicated faces.

The thing that finally lifted me out of this ravine of self-loathing was a meditation about positive body image. It emphasized that you need to accept yourself the way you are right now, without changing or improving anything. I listened to the uplifting words through my headphones even though I was far from that mindset. Eventually, I just cried it all out felt better and ready to give my face a second chance. Meditation helped me quiet that malicious inner voice that doesn’t want to see me happy; the devil in your mind that distracts you when you’re trying to be productive (or finish a post), and who interrupts your progress in any way it can. There are mind demons in all of us, no matter your beliefs. Demons of anxiety, of jealousy and greed. They plague us all when we are weak and don’t have any power to combat them.

Meditation helped me quiet that malicious inner voice that doesn’t want to see me happy; the devil in your mind that distracts you when you’re trying to be productive (or finish a post), and who interrupts your progress in any way it can. There are mind demons in all of us, no matter your beliefs. Demons of anxiety, of jealousy, greed, and sloth (the most powerful of all). They plague us when we are weak and don’t have any power to combat them or when we just aren’t paying enough attention.

Anyway. Implementing positive meditation and focusing on your thought patterns will have a ton of healing potential. It gives more volume to the voices of love and truth and harmony – the optimistic ones that will encourage you and not tear you apart from the inside. Inner peace and all that (A little cheesy, but isn’t that how meditation is?)

But the thing that really helped me with my insecurity was finding peace with myself. It wasn’t some secret magical remedy that grants you instant happiness and beauty. You have the potential for happiness within – you just have to love yourself. Whatever it takes, you have to get there before you can live happily. I focused on my self-love to heal internally what I could not heal externally; the reason for my suffering was not solely based on how I washed my face or how healthy I ate, as I had thought before. Once I felt more confident about my natural face, the healing really began. I stopped wearing as much makeup and even went without for a little while, despite the imperfections. I also started being more gentle with how I washed my skin and stopped being so persistently aggressive about it. And it has made a huge difference!

“Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle” 

With my younger skin, I found that exfoliation was my friend. One of my favorite exfoliates was the Clean & Clear Deep Action Exfoliating Facial Scrub. It tingles when you put it on your skin and has tiny little blue scrubbies that do some high quality deep- cleaning work against the bacteria in your pores. It leaves behind a very soothing and refreshing feeling when washed away. I loved this stuff because it really did the job thoroughly and felt great in the process. It’s an intense and deep cleanse, so be careful if your skin is more on the sensitive side. What I like most about it is that it’s inexpensive and widely available in most grocery stores or here on Amazon.

However, my skin now hates that scrub or anything too intense like that. It likes to be gently caressed. Now, I switched to Burt’s Bees products and I’m obsessed (didn’t rhyme on purpose there). I have two of their products right now: the Burt’s Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream and the Orange Essence Facial Cleanser. I didn’t realize that I had them both because I bought them separately, but I’m glad I have each of them because they’re similar enough that my face is used to them but different enough that I feel like I’m mixing it up sometimes and don’t get bored.

While I know there are a lot of other good cleansers out there, this is the best one I’ve tried for a lot of reasons. They smell and feel really great and are 99.99% NATURAL, which your skin loves a lot more than all the preservatives and other damaging substances that many commercial face products are loaded with. Both of these products have a moisturizing effect, and the Soap Bark and Chamomile one feels cool and soothing because of the ingredient menthol. Neither of these two products lathers up much or exfoliates aggressively, so look away if you’re into face products for that.  But if you need a sweetly gentle and natural way to cleanse and pamper your face, this is for you.

The orange essence cleanser contains two vital ingredients: olive oil and aloe vera. This cleanser contains a lot of other natural oils, which makes this a very smooth and moisturizing product. You might know that olive oil has been used for skin since ancient times and that it’s packed with antioxidants and doesn’t clog your pores like you’d think oil would do. Aside from cooking and promoting hair and nail growth, it can be used as a makeup remover, moisturizer, mask, in baths, and a TON of other things. Aloe vera is already pretty well-known for its magical properties. It’s a powerful antioxidant and antifungal, and works wonders for clearing, soothing, hydrating, and rejuvenating your skin. The adaptations this plant made to the harsh desert environment made it into a modern necessity for wounds, irritation, and general skin care.

The main ingredients in the soap bark and chamomile cleansing cream are chamomile, aloe, and menthol. Chamomile is another super ingredient that is mainly known for its soothing properties in tea (it’s so mild that it can even be given to babies). It is also an anti-inflammatory, which helps with sensitive or damaged skin. Menthol is derived from peppermint and eucalyptus plants and has soothing and pain relieving properties that can be useful for irritated or hot skin.

***

I decided that I need to stop subjecting my face to the carcinogenic chemicals in popular makeup as much as possible. It’s not healthy for our skin or bodies at all and can be just as toxic as the chemicals in the preservatives in the food we eat. I found some shocking info in this article about what’s in your makeup. I didn’t recognize most of the chemicals, but what I did know were the hormones, lead, formaldehyde, parabens, and a bunch of scary-sounding compounds that we expose our skin to when we use some products. It’s insane!! (I might even revisit this topic in depth at another time because it’s mindblowing to me what we willingly put on our skin).

I prefer natural remedies over all the chemicals and hormones I’ve been slathering on my skin to cover up all the damage I’ve done to it. I’ve already noticed my skin clearing up because it isn’t suffocating from all the muck I used to cover it with. Just let your pores breathe. Then clear them out gently, and tend to them with natural treatments, and your skin will thank you for freeing it. Give it a break! A lovely natural break.

“Know yourself, and you will win all battles.”

Just take the time to treat yourself better. Be conscious of what your inner monologue is telling you. Meditation dude – that’s what I used to heal my skin initially. The cleansers I use just help to maintain the good balance I have going. I’ve also just started using olive oil on my skin, and I will report back with my results on that very soon once I have solid results…

So if you want to try out the magic of Burt’s Bees for yourself, check out what this amazing brand has to offer. Stop with the face abuse!

 

 Here is the soothing exfoliant I used to use. Very effective against stubborn acne:  And the natural products I use currently:

 

Till next time…

Dispiriting Day 1

So my post I’m working on now is taking longer than I had anticipated. I’m in the process of moving right now and my life is not organized in any way, especially not enough to be able to sort my thoughts into a full-length piece.

But let me tell you about my day. My horrible, awful, no-good,  really bad, and really sweaty and stressful day. I’m hardly in the mood to create anything good right now, so lower your expectations as far as possible for today. I just want to rant right now.

It began first thing when I woke up. Because it wasn’t anywhere near the time I wanted to be awake in the morning. So that set my mood off to a poor start because of that disappointment in myself there. Once I actually got out of bed, I collected my things from my suitcase to take a shower in the place I’m staying at, and walked across the house with it all in hand. Once undressed and ready to go, I realize that I forgot my face wash. Not that big of a deal, even though it did upset me a little because I was already undressed and didn’t feel like retrieving it just for one shower.

Anyway. Then came the difficulty with the shower itself. I’m not used to the water conserver type of shower head, the type where you have to pull the cord to resume water flow and all that so that it doesn’t waste any water while you’re waiting for it to heat up. So I turned on the water and started to wash my hair, and the water just abruptly turns off, mid-shampoo. I just wait for it to turn back on, as if the water pressure got interrupted momentarily because of some other water being run in the house. Even the spout at the bottom wasn’t letting any water out but drips.

Finally I just turn it off and rinse my hair out in the sink. Then as I’m drying off and cursing whatever unknown misfortune prevented me from doing a real thorough cleanse, I hear weird noises coming from the wall behind the spout of the shower. So I turn it on again, and sure enough it’s running. Then I switch it over to the head, and sure enough it’s running! I turn them back off and jump back into the tub.

I figure I might as well condition my hair if possible, so I squeeze a small amount onto my hair (thankful that it’s now a lot shorter than it used to be), and then turn the water on. To my dismay, the water won’t come. So I turn on the spout at the bottom and crouch down into the bottom of the shower under the mini waterfall to rinse my hair, feeling utterly ridiculous and pathetically undignified.

So once I dry off and get dressed, I start making myself and my boyfriend some breakfast. Bagels looks good. Sure. That should be a safe bet. Nope. I have to cut open the bagels myself because they’re the Costco kind that aren’t pre-sliced for ya. And as I’m cutting through that last inch of the bagel bread, milliseconds away from breaking apart the two uneven halves, I angle the knife toward my hand and slice through the tip of my finger!

Now, at this point I’m halfway showered and shaved and am bleeding into the kitchen sink, and am really considering just calling the day quits and going back to sleep next to a peacefully dosing Chandler for a couple years. But no, I valiantly tighten a band-aid over the stream draining from the deep gash in my skin, and continue making breakfast. Unfortunately, I am not yet accustomed to the toaster-oven at this house, so I nearly burn the bagel that I’d been looking forward to all morning. And there’s also no cream cheese of course, because of the unspoken rule that a household can not contain both of these breakfast essentials at once. The same rule where you never have the correct ratio of milk to cereal. But anyway…

I start applying to jobs online, which was the thing I had originally planned to do today before all the mishap. And that went decently. And by that I mean there was little challenge but little feedback. Just hours and hours of paperwork and filling out applications to childcare jobs and a nearby Starbucks. Once I had worn myself out on that, I decided to grace the world with my presence and turn in a resume in person to a comic book store.

I start fantasizing about how exciting it would be to hang out with nerds all day and sell games and little super hero souvenirs. I even made sure I had my Lord of the Rings tattoo showing to possibly provide a conversation starter. But no. My dreams at making friends over Marvel vs DC debates were shattered as soon as I walked in the doors.

I hand this old balding guy my rumpled resume, which he looks down on as an absolutely insignificant and disappointing piece of paper. He asks me a couple things about what I wrote down, and I answer with some short unprepared mumbles. Then we establish that I don’t have the retail experience he’s looking for. (When really, how hard can it be to pick up something like that? Did I not put down I’m a fast learner at the top of the page…)

Then comes the worst part of this demoralizing exchange. He asks if I have general knowledge of the stuff they sell in there (what, like the flashy characters coating every available surface?) And I say “Yeah. I mean I haven’t read any of the comics, but I’ve seen all the movies.”

Immediate cringe moment. I basically just told this guy I was a complete poser! I hadn’t read the books but I had seen the movies!?!?! Like that made up for my lack of nerd culture at all. No, it just made the whole situation worse. I had nothing to say after that. I blanked. I panicked. I was stunned and insulted at my own ignorance, and had no possible way of knowing his thoughts at the moment. They were most likely: “Oh, I see. What you’re trying to say is that you aren’t a true fan, just a pretend one. Like one of those hipsters, ya? You think I’m into hiring young fake hipster white chicks? You’re not nearly nerdy enough to work at a place like this. You’re one of those dull pretty girls who wears an Avengers shirt to look cute. Your type disgusts me and you are too pretty to work with the people who come in here and don’t care about appearances and just want to be comfortable being geeks. So I could absolutely not use your lack of previous retail expertise and have you intimidate my nerds. Move along!”

I mean… I’m sure it’s not quite as extreme as that, but he had very little humor for me to go off of, and I was very uncomfortable at my lack of nerd material at that moment of questioning. The sad thing is that: I AM A NERD! I swear. As I said previously, I HAVE A NERD TATTOO ON MY ARM! I have seen every Marvel movie that has come out (besides Guardians of the Galaxy… I know — I am ashamed). But no, it’s not enough. Today I found out that I am not nerdy enough for a nerd shop. And that was the worst part of my day. I was humiliated.

I am undoubtedly a nerd, but just not the right kind. I’m not such an extreme nerd that I can recite all the Marvel and DC knowledge I possess at a second’s notice. It’s not that I’ve  just watched the movies. I have played the games. I have dressed up as the characters on multiple occasions. I have quoted notable lines more often than I should. I know the Avengers like family! But no… I am merely a novice. A mediocre fan of the superhero universe. I have failed you all…

After that point, my day continued its downward spiral. It was extremely hot and my car doesn’t have AC, so every inch of my body was melting as we drove around the city. The air gets so hot in the cab of my little car that it’s difficult to breathe in the heat of the day in full traffic. It was bad enough that I had to drive my deteriorating manual in the city, which extremely stresses me out. I also hadn’t eaten anything since that crusty bagel, so I was about ready to explode, or murder someone with my car.

We decided to check out a vape shop after our short and disappointing resume drop offs, and were there long enough to realize that we were too young to buy anything. Thanks for always making great laws, California. Then we turned with heads hanging low and soaked in perspiration and headed for the haven of our temporary home.

I was glad to get home and breathe the cool air and just lay my head down for a moment in silence and let off some steam and let some hot tears fall. It was quite overwhelming for my first day of trying to make it in the city. Tomorrow will be a fresh start, an opportunity to face new challenges and setbacks. I know today wasn’t the only one of its kind, just the first of many. I just know that tomorrow I’m going to be better prepared. I’m going to wake up earlier, I’ll know how to take a full shower, and I sure as hell won’t be going outside!!! At least for the majority of the day while the sun beats down on the air  and they conspire to suffocate me. Now for some simple boxed Mac n Cheese for me and my sweetheart 🙂

Goodbye for now, and I hope you all find a way to stay cool this summer!!!

Get yourself something nerdy at Amazon.com

Avengers Movies:

Captain America Movies:

The Thor Movies:

And the Spiderman Movies, old and new



And, if you’re a superior nerd to me, check these out (though I can tell you nothing about them at all, out of inexperience)

Till next time! ♥♥♥

Avocado Hands Do Not Exist

 Be careful when preparing your avocados, they may just ATTACK!

             In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new pandemic of idiocy sweeping the nation. And it’s called: “Avocado Hands”. People are labeling knife wounds after the food that “harmed” them. This specific “condition” has lead to serious tendon and nerve injuries, and some people permanently damage their hands in this way. And this is happening because people with little experience with knives are whacking away at avocado seeds way too hard and then slashing through their skin when the blade slides off.

This guy knows how to educate people and therefore prevent further injury to the population:

There has been an incredible rise in the consumption of avocados worldwide, which leads to shortages in its numbers and an increase in their cost. But these real issues involving avocados are now being supplemented with other click bait news stories, like the one where someone joked about serving coffee in their skins (which was pretty entertaining and got people interested). But in today’s food culture, if a headline has the magic word avocado in its title, it’ll get more attention from people who want to stay up-to-date with this newly worshiped entity. It isn’t the avocado that is doing people harm here as the headlines suggest, and it isn’t dangerous to continue consuming them either.

I’ve heard of similar food-related injuries. Not everyone knows how to use a knife safely and there absolutely needs to be a higher level of education out there for those who want to get all fancy and healthy in the kitchen. British surgeons and The Times have said that there actually needs to be a warning label on the fruit: “Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it?” Something like this:

avo-cutting

What’s happening here is that people are being dumb in an attempt to eat what’s popular even though they may not know how to tackle the complicated food prep. But honestly here, if you can’t tell if a knife blade is dull and will slip on your food and injure you, stay far away from the kitchen until you take a culinary class or two. Or at least watch a YouTube video on it…

And why is this phenomenon of people hurting themselves in the kitchen suddenly so interesting, like it’s never happened before? You don’t see news stories about people’s eyes burning from cutting onions or grating their thumb off on a cheese grater, or from burning their hands by grabbing food out of the oven. The reason is that these things are boring to talk about and have simple solutions. The only reason these injuries get attention, even briefly, is for people to laugh at the stupidity of their causes. Like in this diagram.

But this news story is just making headlines because of the trigger word avocado. Like that magical word will catch the attention of any full-blood millennial for miles around. And while we’re here, what IS a millennial? I’ve seen some pretty bad stereotypes of millennials in the past, especially from places where people are not exposed to younger people on a regular basis, like the small conservative town where I grew up. The rest of the world is less judgmental, but let me define this term objectively to better my own understanding. This comes from the Urban Dictionary:

Millennial:

“Millennial is an identity given to a broadly and vaguely defined group of people. There are two wings of “Millennial” that are often at odds with each other: Generation Y (people born between 1981-1991) and Generation Z (born between 1991-2001). People of Generation Y often have characteristics similar to Generation X, which is why Generation Z will confuse Generation Y with Generation X and then claim to be the generation that represents “Millennial,” when in fact, birth years for Millennial range from about 1981-2001, just as the birth-years for Baby Boomers ranged from 1946-1964.

Both Generation Y and Generation Z can be called “Millennials,” with the primary difference between the two being technology. Generation Y grew up on personal computerscell phones, and video game systems, while Generation Z has grown up on tablets, smartphones, and apps. Yet, the common ground between both generations is that both have been transforming and altering communication and identity–not just in the United States but globally.”

So it’s not even as bad of a thing as I’ve been seeing it as lately. Here’s the problem I have with being a part of this category. It is assumed by some that every living person who is a young adult or almost adults can all be put into the same box. Honestly, as I see it, we need to stop putting labels on generations or types of people because we are all the same; there is no such thing as a generation. And by this I mean that age tells very little about someone, and those who think they can put a label on an entire generation are very wrong.

oregon-generations

For those people out there who find the need to insult me indirectly by targeting my age group: I don’t get it, and I never have. It’s always been happening – the shaming of the younger generation due to their use of new technologies, which leads them to be viewed as more “self-absorbed” than the previous generation who didn’t use it in their childhood. This happened with radio and TV, and will continue to occur as long as we attempt to differentiate between age groups with colored diagrams. This tension will exist as long as people who didn’t grow up with a technology refuse to adapt to it.

I get that this new tech is beyond some older people because it wasn’t hardwired into their DNA from infancy and that they’re likely skeptical of automatically accepting some advanced technology that could be sent from the government and may attempt to control our brains to take over our free will and overthrow humanity someday… but from where I’m sitting I would like to see a little more tolerance of people who live and thrive in the technology from the people who don’t understand how it works.

Arguing in favor of the millennial generation is an old topic, for the internet has been around for a while now and has had its effects. I know that for the most part young people are being taken more seriously and are no longer ridiculed so strongly for their “hipster” lifestyles. We are the internet generation, and there’s nothing bad about that. I feel like I have to tell myself that more than anyone else. I’m not even a “typical” millennial, being cut from the mainstream for the most part by living in such a small town, but I think the point I’m trying to make is that the term millennial needs to stop being used as an insult.  Fortunately this is starting to disappear because there has been a lot more understanding of differences among people than there was even a few years ago.

I can say that I’m proud to be entering adulthood when I am, and I look forward to proving wrong those who would condescend to my age group. I just want to stop hearing so much ridicule targeted at the upcoming generation, and for people to realize that none of us will put up with being put in a box. “Qui nos opprimere velint, illos libenter devoramus.” (Anyone who ever might wish to oppress us, we will gladly devour.) Right?

But anyway. to return to my original topic, I can see through these efforts to advertise to the generalized population of millennial hipsters or vegans by using trending food topics to graqb our attention and create problems that don’t need to exist. This Avocado Hands headline just grinds my gears because of the opportunity it creates for jeers at people who are “obsessed with avocados”. This fruit is such an addiction apparently that people my age can’t even afford homes because they’ve wasted all their money on avocados and similarly trendy, yet expensive, meals. This habit of eating healthily is completely self-destructive and must cease at once! Millennials are just irresponsibly using their money and hurting themselves while trying to handle foods outside their expertise. Stupid kids…

We should be labeling this problem as what it is: people don’t know how to problem-solve and avoid slashing their hands because they’re whacking towards their unprotected hands with blunt knives to remove a pit. It’s not that a healthy diet is dangerous and we have to expose this treacherous fruit for the hazard it poses to our safety. Just sharpen your knives, people. That is all. Thanks for your time. J

Be safe and sharpen your knives!!!

PriorityChef Knife Sharpener for Straight and Serrated Knives, 2 Stage Diamond Coated Sharpening Wheel System, Black

 And keep that special fruit safe with these clever food containers!

And if you must whack out those seeds towards your hands, wear these:

NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves – High-Performance Level 5 Protection, Food Grade. Size Small, Free Ebook Included!
(See – it’s nearly impossible to cut yourself with these on, even if you try!)

Till next time…

Come Dig With Me

Writing is a bit like digging… just hear me out on this.

When you put your pen to paper (or your fingers to the keys) and start writing, you begin to scratch the surface of the material your mind is made of. The longer you work at it, the deeper the hole gets, but in a good way. The utensil you use for mining depends on how concentrated and mentally sharp you are. At your most focused state, you’ve got that diamond pickax equipped, and you’re digging away at ridiculous speeds. God only knows what depths you’ll end up at with that glorious earth-devourer at your command. 

I already want to play Minecraft right now, don’t you? You can follow these links to get in on the action…

(See what I did there? 😉 )

For PC, PS4, or the cute little pocket edition

(Alright now, I actually didn’t try to relate this idea to the game when it first came to me, but it works really well, and makes more sense the longer I think about it).

First of all, when you write down what’s stirring around in the fog of your head, it’s like your digging into a chunk of earth. You begin to uncover what lies beneath your skin. You have this inaccessible piece of information that is stored away in your head where no one can see it, much like how the coal, iron, gold, lapis lazuli, emeralds, diamonds, redstone, and obsidian are found underground in the game where you can’t see them from the surface. You have to start a mine shaft to reach the true treasures. You have to start digging into your deep thoughts. Deep thoughts like this: 

“If you lie on the ground on your back, it’s like the world is your backpack and you’re carrying it through space”  

[-That certainly didn’t come from me]

Once you do start digging, you’ll uncover more and more of these fine and dandy resources. The further you dig with your pen, the deeper you go into the thoughts buried in your mind, and the more valuables you will find. There is an abundance of valuables in everyone’s mind. And you won’t access those mind diamonds by writing one sentence.

Also along the lines of relating therapy writing to mining, you end up connecting one area to another in both. There may be some long-lost tunnels and caverns that you forgot existed, which you link together by traveling through the space in the underground of your head and connecting ideas. 

Then at some point, you stumble across some precious ore that you previously didn’t know existed that was just buried in a wall or the floor of the tunnel, just there waiting to be discovered. You have to write and really delve into your consciousness to dig things up in your brain. Sometimes you can continue down the same path you had been making progress on if you can pick up a thread you had going. And other times you’ll need to restart from the topmost dirt blocks on the surface if you run into a dead end or haven’t mined in a while and forgot where all the goodies are. I feel like I’m digging away at a different surface now than when I started writing for myself. But I have some good tools to make progress with. I sure hope it helps me get further along on the path or self-discovery. 

Now reading books is when the ore gets put into the earth of your brain. It’s the time when ideas sink into your skull for you to find later. It’s like the program for creating the game, the part where all the parts of the map are drawn out. With this knowledge, you can begin to dig. Once you read and learn some great ideas, you are equipped to write about them.

Then comes the writing/digging.

This allows you to fill your inventory with ore of all types. The more you dig, and the more you write, the better you will be at identifying the areas you need to return to find the gems. You become a better writer as you practice it and learn how to pick up a good thread that will get you somewhere.

Then talking about and sharing your ideas is like smelting this ore and refining it into something useful. You make “bars” of the resources to make weapons and armor and tools out of to improve your standard of living. You can even make things for other people when you write in an influential way or help someone with your words.

Then living by your ideas is playing the entire game. And finding our purpose is defeating all the monsters and the dragon and all that (which I still have yet to do). You use what you learn to create a beautiful life for yourself. You need to be equipped for this life. You need to read, and you need to write about it and share your knowledge with the world through your lifestyle.

It’s a beautiful thing, this therapy writing. I hope to continue doing it for a very long time, as well as playing beautiful and creative games like Minecraft for a while. Writing cuts through the barriers in your mind that prevent you from finding your inner beauty. You need to allow your consciousness freedom to explore and inspect the troubled areas of your mind. There’s so much there, sometimes you just have to dig to find it. Till next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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