vain? or just veiny?

Did ANYONE catch Miss USA last night? I’ll assume most people didn’t. I’m not living under the delusion that many people are into pageants. Just roll with me for a minute.

I didn’t have much of an opinion about pageantry at all before making a spur of the moment decision to enter one – and then getting in – about two years ago. It was a serious pageant, too – the most competitive of the state pageants leading to Miss USA. Now that I’ve seen the pageant world from the inside, I can’t help but get excited for events such as Miss USA. You feel so much more than simply “beautiful” standing onstage with dozens of other women radiating crazy amounts of confidence. I felt like my strongest, most unstoppable self. I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be crowned at my first ever pageant, and that was okay. I still felt deserving. We all did. You may not believe this, but you really are a unit up there, rooting for everyone around you and basking in each other’s light.

Anyway, that was sappy, but I needed to share in order to justify why I was fully screaming at the TV last night. If you think that pageantry and feminism can’t coincide together, I encourage you to look up our new Miss USA’s answer to her onstage question (not the one about millennials, the other one). Not only am I ecstatic that Miss USA is an incredibly articulate, intelligent woman, but we also have…for the first time ever…a Black Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America. I mean, that took us long enough. Amazing stuff.

Health and beauty really do play off of each other more than I used to believe. There’s the obvious notion that if you eat well and move your body, you’re going to look and feel better than if you don’t.

There’s more to it than that.

Caring about your appearance and giving some love to the external bits of your body really can change what’s going on within you. When I’m anxious or depressed, or even on the verge of being there, one look in the mirror can trigger a spiral. I see blotchy skin, stained teeth, and even my lack of enamel becomes a weapon my brain uses against me. It is truly nuts. I see spider veins on my left leg and suddenly – oh my God, I’m old? Time is running out? I’m this ugly? How does Sean even look at me? I’ll never get a job on-camera again, let me just go work in the mines, I’m done with everything.

The extra fun part is that my stressing out over these things 100% makes them worse. My typically cooperative skin senses my panic and decides to bless me with acne. I bite off my fingernails. I scratch at my skin, leaving bruises and dry patches.

Just as I’ve mentioned my anxiety toolkit, I have a secondary but equally important toolkit to keep this version of myself at bay…and it’s in my medicine cabinet.

Why do I even own nail polish is the real question…

There are tools in here which I use daily that leave me with a curious sense of mental peace. I’m honestly not sure if it’s the products working, or the fact that I’m not stressing out thinking that I should’ve done one thing or the other to prevent a breakout or that line on my face.

What I’m getting at: when I follow a simple health & beauty routine catered to my particular issues, I eliminate triggers that could otherwise lead to more anxiety-driven self-deprecation.

I’m posting pictures of my favorite things below, all of which were extremely inexpensive and have helped me chill the heck out.

The rose water toner is a new thing I’m trying and I’m not convinced I’m using correctly in sequence with my other goos, but it feels great after running around in the city or being on the subway, standing around a hot set, any of that. The “enrich” lotion (also from Trader Joe’s) is so light but thorough. I’ve been using it for years. Other moisturizers I’ve tried have left my skin a little bumpy or sometimes rubbery, but this one is class. I switch to the Clean&Clear moisturizer if I’m breaking out, and it usually stops things from getting any worse.

When I’m really tired, or experiencing a spree of sick days, or if y’know, it’s winter and I look decrepit, I love using self tanner to make myself look (and feel) a little more alive and well. St. Tropez typically goes for a bit more than I’d like to spend, but I can get these little tubes at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx for under $10. I don’t have to use it often and it doesn’t turn me orange – just adds a light glow as if I actually got some sun. I also buy my retinol oil at Marshall’s/TJ Maxx because it’s so freaking affordable and they have a billion brands available at any given point in time. Now the Nair, I love and hate. This particular variety is for the face, and it does work, but you have to play around with how long you need to leave it on before it will actually remove any hair. I believe it says 8 minutes max on the tube, but that has never worked for me. 9-10 (closer to 10) minutes usually does the job for me, but I have also burned my skin on one occasion when I decided I didn’t need to use my phone timer and I just barely surpassed the 10 minute mark. Don’t do that.

Last but not least…yoga! I’m becoming a yogi, sort of. I read that poor circulation is one of the causes of spider veins, and yoga can help with poor circulation…ergo…I now practice yoga. I have an app called Keep Yoga which provides me with *free* instructional videos that follow a weekly plan. I just did Tuesday’s video today. It’s fine. We’re all busy people. I don’t think yoga will resolve the cluster of veins that already torments me, but it may help prevent the cluster from spreading…and the thought of having some amount of control does make me a slightly happier lil’ bean.

Did this post seem pointless? Hopefully not. I just want to remind everyone that your external and internal self are connected, & maintenance of each helps the other. 🙂 Ya gorgeous, regardless.

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