helpful things I learned from the worst book I’ve ever read (no, I’m not telling you the book)

Be a good representative of your community.

No matter which hat of my many hats is most prominent on my head at any given time, I want to represent that hat in an honest way. It’s not about proving why I’m right as the only American in the room, or only feminist, or only Penguins fan, whatever – it’s about being a positive representative of that group and acknowledging, not making excuses for, fellow group members behaving badly.

Don’t present your opinions as facts.

In your heart of hearts, you know if a strong opinion is really just that: an opinion. Even if it’s a core value of yours. You can express that idea if you need to, but to paint it as a fact is irresponsible. It’s not even so much about the people you offend, but the people you mislead.

Don’t tell half truths.

You’re misrepresenting yourself by doing this, and people will notice. If you’re presenting yourself as something, be that something. Do the thing, even if it’s ugly or embarrassing. Don’t do a “version” of it. Do it for real.

Check your privilege.

Please. Especially if you’re up on a soapbox telling people to live a certain way. Acknowledge such things as systemic barriers, whether it’s to do with racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, allllll of it…before you go off on someone about what they’re doing wrong and what they should just *poof!* go off and change about their lives. PS: If you goof up, (I’m already questioning if “systemic” was the right word to use – I think so?) own it! Let people teach you. Make an effort to learn. Grow.

If you used to be an apple and became an orange, your former apple-ness is no excuse for you to shame other apples into also becoming oranges.

Yeah…no. “I used to be lost, too” is not something to say to someone who is living their truth and harming no one. If you used have…let’s say, “a similar lifestyle” to someone you’re preaching to, that doesn’t make it okay! What in the world! You could have been a literal sex worker and changed careers, that doesn’t give you any more of a right to slut shame anyone. Dang, people. I’m getting angry again.

Do your research.

Just because you think you are sharing a humorous, uncommon, groundbreaking secret does not mean that the rest of the world is on the same page. “Everyone, I have a big secret. I [insert pretty tame and normal grooming habit]. I know, I know! This information makes me quirky and bold and real. Please clap.” Maybe try talking to people, or reading articles or books by people on similar subjects, and then don’t publish something that makes women think “am I supposed to feel weird about this?”

Anyone can write a book.

Biggest takeaway. So go for it! Follow your dreams! If you can help it, try not to write something that makes people cringe (unless it’s in the Stephen King spooky-cringe sort of way) but otherwise just have at it. Heck, try to get it published. I can just about promise that whatever you write, as long as you write from a place of truth, will be 1000000x better than something it seems too many people have read.

🙂

first of all, how DARE you buy me groceries

Séan and I were away this past weekend for a disconnected opportunity to recharge. (Disconnected from the internet, phones, etc – not each other.) We did the things that I grew up with and miss so much when summer stomps her way into the city. Not that there aren’t hundreds of great events and opportunities around the city during the summer, but summer can be very “go-go-go!” here, with all the concerts and rooftops and baseball games and whatever else. Back home, everything slows down. Summer at home is still all about getting outside, but not for a ‘gram-worthy picnic in Central Park or the switch over to rooftop bars for the season. Please reference the pictures below.

Anyway. I’m not going to tell this story in any sort of a way that makes sense, and you’re going to have to be okay with that, because only one small smidgen of it matters. Let’s not even call it a story. Here’s what happened: I woke up grumpy about something the day before we left, and immediately transferred all of that anger onto things that it really…just…wasn’t about. I can’t remember what nonsense was pissing me off that particular morning, but I do this a lot (I did it yesterday!) so you’ll get a more detailed example in a moment. Point being, I ended up apologizing to Séan and saying “I’m still working on being upset about the thing I’m actually upset about.”

I am still working on being upset about the thing that I’m actually upset about.

I also told him that I used to be worse! It’s true!

I don’t know if this hits home with anyone, but it is so freaking difficult and yet so necessary to trace anger back to its actual source. That’s probably true of any emotion, but I struggle most with anger and frustration.

Yesterday’s head-about-to-explode moment of the day happened when Séan brought home a load of groceries. Grocery shopping with Séan is a major anxiety trigger (you’ll soon know why) but I learned yesterday that it’s just as bad when he shops for the two of us.

He bought what could in my universe easily be a year’s supply of paper towels. I saw these paper towels, and the fire of my frustration ignited. Even in the moment it happened, it didn’t make sense to me. My discomfort was so instantaneous. I had to check in: alright, why am I feeling anything at all over paper towels?

It took some time, but maybe ten or fifteen minutes later I pieced together all the steps my brain had jumped between “excessive paper towels” and “resentment”. Do let me try to explain. Here is an outline of my reflective thought process (aka me talking to me):

  1. Oh wowza. That amount of paper towels makes me uncomfortable. #Tbt growing up and my mom treating paper towels like they were made of gold. Shouldn’t we be trying to use washable, normal towels? Wouldn’t that be better for the environment and less expensive? Plus we have so many dishcloths.
  2. We should calm down with the AC and plastic water bottles and the water usage, too. That’s how I always wanted to keep my household. My apartment. If I had my own.
  3. I never did end up having a space that was just my own.
  4. Y’know, I don’t feel any ownership over this space, or any right to a say in how we do things.
  5. …but I also don’t feel a real claim to living here because I can’t financially support myself.
  6. And if I had the money to do so I’d also just buy groceries at my own pace. And he’d see how that ends up working out for the way I eat, compared to him.
  7. But hang on, I really am bothered by our general waste of resources, whether it’s paper towels or food that gets thrown out before we eat it because it isn’t bought in a logical way with our schedules.
  8. Yeah, that drives me insane. I hate waste.
  9. I have waste anxiety.
  10. Because I don’t feel secure about any of my resources, like all of this might just go away, so I have to make everything last as long as possible and also save every penny.
  11. Oh.

So there we go! I have deep-seeded issues that present as freaking out over nothing. ~lol~

But alright, for real now – tracing my seemingly erratic emotions back to their source has been a huge help in stopping my anxiety from growing and turning into the horror show I know it can turn into. I’m not always successful, and I know that there are times when my physical presentation of anxiety is so strong that no logical thought process is even possible. I wanted to share this train of thought all the same, because the act of writing it down for this blog has given me a much more accessible (I think) way to present to Séan what happened yesterday. Working on my mental health is my job and mine alone, but it’s also important that I do what I can to help the person I live and spend my time with to understand my…well, particular “quirks” (some of my quirks are just straight up trauma so using the word “quirk” here isn’t too comfortable, alas, I can find no better way to explain my damn self).

Anyway friends, everyone already knows that I feel like I’m spinning in circles a lot of the time. It’s just nice to have a moment of clarity. Like Hannah B on Monday night. Where are my Bachelorette fans at?! Crossing my fingers for a strong cross-section of health blog readers and Bachelorette junkies!

My wish is that this post brings someone besides myself a little hope that we really can work on ourselves, and that progress is possible. I feel a tiny victory when I dig deep and learn something about myself, and I hope you’ve experienced those moments, too – and that you continue to. Especially my friends with anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, any and all of it – just trying to present your true self can be so much more work than we deserve! But we do the work. Keep doing the work. 🙂

if I get one more recruiter email for a vague marketing position I swe-

Hello! It’s Wednesday, so according to my boss (who is me) I must share something today.

How about a recap?! This past week, I:

…went jet skiing for the first time (as a passenger, anyway). Séan loves being on the water and I believe this is his favorite way to be on the water. Mine is kayaking. Or a pool float. But it was pretty cool to see the Statue of Liberty from an unfamiliar angle and to fly past the piers & under the Brooklyn Bridge. Plus it was my own Hitch moment, minus getting kicked in the face. And Will Smith.

…tested out the newly-tidied back patio with a couple of friends. We startled the most precious tiny skunk family by intruding on what is rightfully their space late into the night. I also didn’t realize the wifi wasn’t reaching out back and used all my phone data playing a lively “BBQ playlist” whilst outside. Good.

…sampled beautiful Chinese food at brand new restaurant that I don’t believe has opened officially, yet. Also, took a gamble on a Mexican restaurant in Hoboken and a bar/bistro in Jersey City, both of which were new to the two of us. Everything was delicious, and I’m not even hungry right now so you can trust my judgement. (I don’t love going out to eat while unemployed but I only fight Séan on the subject when it’s getting to be a lot. I’m trying to stop being the brat who takes enjoyment away from him. I’m a very cheap date, anyway, and obviously great company so come on.)

…found a coffee place nearby that brings out my productivity!! This is huge for me. I moved here in April and it took me this long to start exploring…but hey, it’s happening. Not to “not appreciate the now” and all that, but I’m looking forward to the weather cooling down even more now that I’ve discovered this cafe. It’s a long enough walk away, but it will be such a beautiful walk in the fall and coffee will be even more enticing when it’s not 9000 degrees out plus humidity.

…had a nice 14.5 hour workday on the set of a project I know very well, and got to watch my favorite actors play my favorite characters. I don’t usually act in anything I watch, or vice versa, but this was the most perfect exception.

…applied to so many jobs! I’m finally zeroing in on jobs I truly want to do, which I’ve found requires looking outside my usual sources. Which makes sense – those websites haven’t served me well thus far (except Craigslist, I ❤ Craigslist) so I was due for a change in approach. I’m now on just about every job-search platform in existence, and have learned a very valuable lesson: TURN OFF THE THING THAT LETS RECRUITERS REACH OUT TO YOU.

…posted some of my writing (the stylized, poetry-type variety) on Instagram for everyone to see. That’s a scary new thing I’m doing. I stand by my man Austin Kleon though, and his insistence on sharing your work throughout the process. It won’t serve me well to wait until I’ve been confidently writing and editing for years and then start sharing. You just gotta do. And be imperfect. And get there eventually.

My body has been a little funky and achey, but nothing I can’t manage. Séan and I did a lot of walking around on the Fourth of July, which was a very hot and sunny day here. I’m usually good with long walks, but I’ve learned that the hotter it is, the less my body can cope. Not that anyone feels good after a lengthy walk in oppressive heat, but my bod is pretty dramatic about it. My left side gets all worked up, my face gets super flushed, and the headache comes on strong. (I always wonder if my light sensitivity is a leftover concussion factor. Remind me to look into that.)

I forced us to head home before restarting the day and took a nap so deep I may have been dead. I knew I needed it, and I was able to bounce back because of it. I’m in the endless process of trying to pace myself a bit more and not be the “hell yeah let’s do it” girl I want to be, at least not all the time. I have to parent myself a bit more, but I’m getting there. I have a tendency to carry the “lost” moments (or the things I said no to) with me, but looking at that list of things I did do last week, I can take a deep breath and smile.

I’ve been reading a lot of good things lately but I also keep discovering more and more artists to fall in love with: would y’all prefer a list of independent artists who make weird/awesome things and could use some support, or a what-I’m-reading-lately type post next time? I realize no one will answer this question, like when beauty bloggers say “hiiiiii guys, SO MANY of you have been asking for me to do a (blank) video-” and literally no one asked. But just in case anyone has an opinion, please bless me with it. Thank you.

Don’t forget your sunscreen and chins up, you’ve got half the week left. Do something good with it.

guess what? complaining! THAT’S what.

I keep trying to summon this lovely positive feeling about July to start this month off on the right foot, but I’m trying to dig that out from underneath the bevy of things that have me on edge lately and that’s just not working.

I know we all love it when people complain on the internet, especially over trivial things, but here’s the fact of the matter…I can’t sit with all this nonsense in my head and get anywhere at all.

Not that this is new or rare, but I’m even struggling to write coherently at the moment because there’s too much “AHHH” in my mind. Do you know what I’m talking about? When there’s this buzz you can’t turn off? You can’t sort out your thoughts because you’ve got a blender in your skull, whirling everything around into a load of mush.

Side note: I had a cool metaphor about pieces of glass in a smoothie but then it didn’t make any sense and I have a headache and anyway let’s carry on.

Also I keep adding caffeine to the mix which is definitely not helping.

So here’s a list!

things that are currently making my head buzz that will NOT be making my head buzz by the end of this glorious July:

  • for too long, every single decision that I make on a daily basis has been entirely based on money and nothing else. whether or not I go work in a coffee shop, or take the bus downtown to walk around the park, or use the last of some item in the fridge…this is at the forefront of my worrying mind. I don’t even feel that great about booking work because I see those paychecks as nothing more than what bill they’ll need to go towards (in which those checks will barely make a dent). i’m looking at everything as steps towards balance that just aren’t big enough and it’s sucking the enjoyment out of everything. BLAH.
  • it’s so f r e a k i n g hot out and I’m not even living in a part of the world that’s really feeling the results of global warming. i’m worried we’re going to elect a president who doesn’t treat this as the urgent issue it is. this is actually a really valid concern, I realize that. but it’s part of the buzzing so there you have it.
  • do I have to see an allergist again?? why am I having food allergy-level reactions to vegetables and wheat beer and bug bites? my mosquito bite looks like I was pegged in the stomach with a tennis ball. (I know what that looks like because one time I was pegged in the stomach with a tennis ball.)
  • not to be needy (I am though), but i’m really wondering when Sean and I will ever been on the same life schedule. it’s only ever been this way, with him working nights and me being an “early to bed, early to rise” type of gal, but I’m less patient about it lately. maybe because it’s summer and I want to take advantage of all kinds of activities…or maybe because I know I’ll have to sell my soul to a steady job soon and won’t be able to do things on a whim anymore. or maybe both!
  • I am actually very willing to give up my current flexibility for a job that provides stability BUT I can’t seem to get my foot in the door anywhere. the online application process is not great. it’s a lot of hoping, wishing, waiting, and not really being able to put yourself out there in the same way you can when you physically go to an office and introduce yourself. (it’s not easy to get a good job?! a revelation!)
  • i’m very tired thanks to stress (and who I am as a person)
  • my upstairs neighbor sings while playing guitar now. at all hours.
  • there’s a literal buzz coming from every fan in this house which is surely not helping my head, but we need all the fans because #globalwarming

*sigh* …Okay. Thank you.

I think the thing with complaining is that we don’t always need our friends to respond with suggestions, solutions, and especially not reminders of how much worse it could be (it could always be worse). Those of us who are very aware that things could be much worse might tend towards trying to swallow the little things that are ticking them off rather than complain. I mean, I feel guilty all the time over allowing something that isn’t life-altering to upset me.

But we are allowed to be frustrated! And we are allowed to express that frustration (in a non-destructive manner, of course). Swallowing those thoughts and feelings has never helped me. I’ve learned that I have to release the feelings out into the open in order to let them go. And it helps to have friends who don’t say “hey, at least you aren’t (insert a person in a more destitute situation)” because all that does is bring back the guilt for feeling anything aside from happy and satisfied. Unless you have friends who are so detached from reality that their chief complaints are along the lines of “the new Instagram algorithm is actually ruining my life” and the like. You should hand those friends a newspaper.

I’m posting this knowing full well that I’m doing as much as I can to work towards financial stability and finding steady work, and I’m grateful for so much that is already going beautifully in my life. But I also know that as soon as I hit “post” – I’m done. It will be done. The buzz will be gone. Except for the ceiling fans.

If you’re feeling a little riled up lately, I encourage you to do the same. Don’t keep the lid on it. Let it all out, then laugh at yourself if need be, and move along. Heck, comment some of your complaints on this post, and you’ll get a resounding “here, here!” or “AMEN” from me. This isn’t a complain-free zone, or a positivity-only zone. This is an imperfect human zone. Let it all goooo.

🙂 x

reminiscing in towel pants

This time last year I was strolling around London, pretend-shopping in Covent Garden and wandering back and forth across Tower Bridge. I’d visited London once before this when I was 18, a mere freshman in college, and had never before travelled alone. This time was different – I was 24, had a little money in the bank, and knew how to curate a perfect day of sightseeing and coffee stops.

I was only able to take this trip because June 15th of last year was my last day of work at the job I truly thought was going to be my “finally!” job.

I started working at my first sit-at-a-desk-for-9-hours job in February of last year, after a looong break in employment (the Christmas market had ended in December) that had me craving stability and routine. This particular position involved handling client schedules, coordinating freelance artists, and most importantly – handling client complaints. I know that this is an inaccurate percentage, but it really felt like 95% of the day revolved around resolving complaints. I enjoyed the sense of purpose I found in helping people and troubleshooting their issues, taking angry and often accusatory phone calls from negative to positive.

Still. I would leave the house at 4:50am to get to work by 7, and despite getting out at the nice early time of 4pm, I was so rattled and tense after work that I’d go to the gym (plus I felt the need to use my legs after all that desk-sitting) until 6 and end up home around 8pm – enough time to make a quick dinner and shower before going to bed.

It was a routine. And the job helped me develop some critical skills. Plus, I met some of the best ladies there, whom I still like to see whenever I can. It just wasn’t a routine that worked for me.

I’ll admit that at first, it was worth it. It was so nice to finally have money – and health insurance! But no matter how happy I think I am, if my “stable” life leads to an unstable mind, that is the most important red flag that I have to listen to. I had hours that changed on a week-to-week basis, but it wasn’t enough flexibility that I could go out for an acting gig here and there like I had wanted to. I was finally able to afford the tons of specialist appointments I needed at the time, but didn’t have a schedule that allowed me to get to those appointments. Remember the stroke story? All of that happened about a month into this job. I didn’t find time to follow up with the neurologist until at least a month later (…it was supposed to happen right away. They were not pleased with me).

After a quick five months, I said “I’m off to do other things” and went to London. I drank a lot of (mostly free) coffee and stared at beautiful buildings. I bought my mom a royal baby-themed dish towel. I took a trip to Oxford and laid on a bench in a shopping mall while my kidney had a meltdown. (Worth it. Gorgeous weather.)

I meant to get my life together again when I got back to NY. I started working a combination of super part-time and seasonal jobs. I started applying for acting gigs again (I did a lovely little 3-night show in September). Then came the trip to Scotland, which was the greatest head-clearing break I could have ever hoped for. Over the course of the fall and winter, I scrimped and saved and had to be bailed out more than a few times. I got sick and got better and got sick again. I boldly tried living on background acting alone, for a bit. Then I dipped a toe back into waitressing and absolutely lost my mind.

And here we are.

You know how people say “did you ever think a year ago that you’d be where you are right now?”

Honestly? Still a little bit broke? I could’ve predicted that.

BUT. I think saorza circa June 2018 would never have guessed the following:

  • I had my first speaking, solo role (as myself!) for a well-known company’s promotional shoot yesterday. You might actually see my face places come July.
  • I’m mostly through with the application process for my master’s – finally! And also, again! I’ve applied for 4 master’s programs over the years (acting, tourism/preservation, counseling, and now, nutrition) but this one feels the most right. It isn’t a new idea – just an idea that has simmered a long time, finally ready to be put into action.
  • This blog! It’s alive! This sweet, frighteningly public journal which I so carelessly abandoned for about a month (due to working ALL OF THE WAITRESSING SHIFTS and spending all my non-waitressing time meditating on how to get through work without strangling anyone) is connecting me with fantastic people, and looks pretty freaking decent if you ask me.
  • I moved in with a human ThunderShirt. Or, like…a human lavender candle. It’s absurd how this guy manages to calm me down. He doesn’t think that he does it very well but hey, you! (He reads this sometimes.) You do.
  • I have made peace with not going after every. single. dream. At least, not right now. A little more focus and direction is much needed in my life and I’m finally cool with taking some things off the table to give more of my attention to those which I want to prioritize.

Also – I have a great to-do list on my fridge that keeps me going, which reads as follows:

  1. JOB
  2. GYM MEMBERSHIP
  3. HAIRCUT
  4. CREDIT CARD
  5. FIND A LADY OBGYN

Number 5 isn’t on the fridge, actually, because I like how the first four look all on their own. But it’s there in spirit. I have a strong gut feeling that #5 will be a key move in nailing this wacky pain situation. Also, perhaps I should say hi to my primary care doctor sometime soon. The poor man hasn’t seen me in…a year and half? Possibly more? Oh dear.

Things were just restarting this time last year. And so they shall restart again. You have to look back sometimes to see the progress. Yes, I’m drinking cold coffee and wearing a beach towel for pants, and so might you be. It doesn’t mean we aren’t determined badasses out here doing what we have to do.

And what I have to do right now is continue my job hunt, which just to note, started in 2016.

I’ll be back SOON. Promise.

and this is why I don’t own blush

Oh hey. The thing is, I told myself if I started waiting tables again I’d schedule writing into my life in a structured way so that I don’t end up not writing for long chunks of time.

And then I didn’t do that, and here we are.

I was actually starting up a bit of an anxiety storm in myself over sleeping in today and not getting up early to write this post. However, I didn’t sleep well, I worked a busy night last night, I’m recovering from being sick, and I have work tonight. So I’m going to back off myself on this one.

Firstly, is anyone creeping on the saorza Instagram? I’m still slightly peeved that I can’t just be saorza thanks to that existing account, but that’s just me holding on to something I have no control over whatsoever. I was steadily posting on Instagram until I really started working, and then I fell off that horse, as well. But I’m going to do better.

I’m also going to get back on theme again, today! I keep veering off into mental health and anxiety/stress, etc. but I had a couple of kidney-related follows on the Insta and realized…maybe I should keep talking about the main issue at hand, here.

I’ve been relatively pain-free lately. I’m very, very, very grateful. After an ab workout Monday I was a bit tender in the left side, and I did have my UTI-like symptoms hit me hard about a week ago. However, there are some symptoms that haven’t acted up in a while, which is awesome.

My fatigue issues have been pretty chill. I think this is partially due to sleeping a bit later than I ever did before on a regular basis, thanks to a job that lets me do that.

My left arm hasn’t flared up in a while. That’s usually the sign that I’m about to be in pain up and down the left side of my body, but sometimes I’ll only feel weak and achey in the arm – which used to happen more frequently.

I also haven’t noticed a face rash in a bit. I am about to show you some VERY unflattering pictures from over the years of the recurring rash that led my doctor to believe that lupus could be a factor. I did have an elevated ANA last time I had a detailed blood panel, but the rheumatologist I last saw (and really like!) does not believe it’s lupus, and I trust her. BUT for the sake of sharing my weird ailments with you, here are some niiiiice pics.

These gorgeous pictures above were both taken in my college days…roughly around the spring of 2015. I know this because of what I’m wearing and also my horrifying eyebrows. I actually feel a little bad about subjecting you to these. BUT. What was up with that rash?! These were two different days, and the rash had been coming on and off for months before I started trying to record it. I wasn’t using any experimental skin care products or anything like that, and I never wear foundation. If anything, the rash would appear when the left side pain came out to play, or sometimes when I switched rooms with drastically different light or heat.

These two examples are from 2017. Again, so attractive. The one on the left captures the strange blank spot on my right cheek that the rash seemed to scoot around. Similar to the one on the right, where I had a yellowish mark in the middle of my left cheek. I remember that the picture on the right was after I stood up from laying on the floor, and the one on the left was after a shower. I wish you could see that I’m in a towel, not just hanging out naked. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I haven’t had such an intense-looking rash in a while, but I still get the red splash across my face from time to time, usually when I’m not feeling well. I never got any answers about why. Does anyone have any insight? Does this look familiar, or do the conditions sound like anything you’ve gone through? I’m curious and eager to find someone who might recognize what’s going on here! If it never comes back, all the better…but it’s been off and on for around 5 years so I’m anticipating she’ll be back the next time pain comes knocking.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is well and taking care of themselves this rainy May. I share lots of self-care related art and lists and whatnot on my Instagram, so if you feel that you’re lacking any of that, come visit me over there. 🙂 (@saorzanyc)

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.