2019 Resolutions

Happy first month of 2019 my lovely friends!

How are you all coping?

I’ve been feeling quite anxious lately. I find the new year to hold a lot of pressure over us. We are expected to make all these changes and improvements on ourselves, but a lot of the time what happens is we set these unrealistic expectations and then are disappointed when we can’t keep up with them.

Personally, I do like the idea of resolutions. I think it’s an awesome time for people to step back and reflect on their lives and see where they would like to improve or see what things are not making them happy.

For myself, there are a few areas I would like to improve on.

2018 was a great year for a lot of realizations (que Kylie Jenner reference). I realized that I do let a lot of people occupy my time and energy that don’t necessarily deserve it. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. I simply mean that these people weren’t giving me the growth, support or companionship, I was willing to give them.

I also realized how unhealthy the relationship between my body, food and exercise still was.

And lastly I realized that I have let my focus and goals drift from where they once were and this year I’d really like to get them back on track.

I am extra thankful for my struggles this year. They forced me to focus on myself and my friends around me and I really think that both the relationship with myself and my small friend group has never been stronger.

So without further ado. Here are my goals for 2019:

1) Stop ordering in food so much. With Skip and Dishes and Uber Eats, ordering-in has never been so tempting and I never in a million years thought I would be guilty of abusing this luxury, but this past year I got real bad. My goal for January was to cut this out completely and after a couple weeks into January, everything is going smoothly. This goal not only will save me money in the long run, but will help motivate me to cook more (which is another thing I’d love to improve on).

2) Decrease my alcohol consumption. This is something I have wanted to do for a while. I really really wish I could stop drinking all together and hopefully one day I will, but for now, I’d love to decrease the amount of alcohol I consume. I am definitely a social drinker and love indulging on the weekend after a long and stressful work week, but I’d also love to see myself take a step back from this.

3) Decrease the amount of “things” I keep buying. I have full on indulged largely in consumerism over the past few years and I really want to shift my focus back to solely what I NEED and not what I WANT. For the month of January I have also banned myself from buying clothes, makeup, etc. that I don’t NEED in this very moment. This has really made me realize how easily I throw my money at things I don’t need.

4) Continue to build a healthy relationship with myself. After suffering for years with bulimia, distorted eating and body-dismorfia, it has definitely been a journey in finding a healthy balance with all these things. I want to push myself, but not push myself too far. This next year I would really like to set some realistic goals when it comes to this area.

5) Refocus my goals. I really want to take a step back and refocus my goals this year. I would love to cross off a few travel destinations and also get my financial goals caught up. I would also love to put education on the top and front of all my to do lists.

I hope you all have an amazing 2019 that is full of growth, love and happiness! Cheers to you all!

-A

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Life Update.

What’s up What’s up!

I feel like I haven’t just taken a second to sit down an debrief my current life situation. Even if none of you care, I think it’s healthy for myself to see where I’m at, where I want to be and everything else in between.

I just finished doing a talk with a few teens at my old high school. I think it’s absolutely amazing, that mental health and well being is talked about so much more now than when I was there 10 years ago. I wish more than anything, that when I was in grade 10 they brought in someone like me to talk to them, to tell them that everything would be okay and that the things that seem so life-threatening and important, will be so small when you look back from where I am now.

Work. I took a quick trip to Calgary for my birthday and for a breather. I love Regina, but sometimes it’s suffocating. This place can feel so small and intertwined when you’ve grown up here. Calgary really helped me reset my goals and made me appreciate the smaller things about Regina. I’m hoping to move to Calgary in 2019. So that is my current motivation to keep me hustling.

Body. I am probably the most out of shape I’ve been in a while. But that is OK. Of course, there are things I would like to improve, BUT I feel happy in my body. I feel motivated at my workouts again after taking some time away. I like my curves. It’s all about balance. I’ve also been loving yoga lately. Taking an hour a day to slow down and be mindful.

Love. Non-existent and I’m loving it. Every time I start missing someone, I stop and think about what exactly I miss about that person. A lot of the time I miss companionship, so I will just text one of my best friends instead. I still get that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think of certain people, but I think the fact that they’re making no effort to reach out, is a realization enough that they don’t miss me. The chase should be equal on both sides. I had a good conversation about this with one of my friends. There is something about when someone is pursuing you. It shows they’re making an effort. When a relationship is one-sided in that aspect, let me tell you, it gets old and frustrating REAL quick.

28. I am surprisingly cool with being 28. I thought I would have a mental breakdown because I usually do around this time of the year, but the worst thing to happen is I spontaneously got my 11th ear piercing because I got bored one day. hahaha So I’ll take that over questioning all my life choices and completely shutting down. Plus, I’ve heard nothing but good things about being 30, so I’m excited about that chapter.

I think I rambled enough. I am happy (most days) and in a really good place. I’m excited for what 2019 has in store for me because I have a good feeling it’s going to be a big year.

Sending everyone who took the time to read this ramble all the love in the world. I hope someone or something makes you smile and feel thankful today.

-A

28 and Great. #Old

27 was great. But I guarantee 28 will be even better. I can’t wait to see what this year brings me; love, challenges, new beginnings, endings.. I’m open to it all.

Usually, I get super anxious about birthdays. Another year older. But this year, I’m weirdly at peace with it. I am thankful to be given the opportunity to grow older and continue to learn lessons about this crazy thing we call life.

Last year I wished my 27th would be the best year ever. No problems, no bumpy roads, just a straight peaceful path. But really.. what fun is that? What fun would life be if everything was perfect? There’s no room for growth in perfection.

This year I’m wishing for light. Light to guide my path to where ever this year takes me. Light to help me continue to grow. Light to lift me on dark days. Light to shine on myself and the people around me.

The biggest lesson I learnt this year, is that everyone who comes into your life serves a purpose. A lesson, a memory or just simply for a smile. I am thankful for all the people who’ve both came into and left my life. I’ve learnt to never dull my light for a person and to never let another person’s actions second guess myself. I’m not for everyone. Whether it be something as simple as my laugh or something bigger like my intentions in life. Never change who you are for someone.

Happy Birthday to any of my birthday twins out there. May your day be full of smiles, positive memories and cake (or tacos in my case haha).

And just like that. I’m no longer in my mid 20s. Bring on the late 20s baby. xx

-A

Scar Removal Update #5

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It’s been a hot minute since I posted one of these. So I thought I would let everyone know where I’m at! If you have no idea what this post is about, I have linked all my previous posts above. Long story short, I am getting my past self-injury scars removed at a local clinic here in Regina, using laser, microneedling and plasma lift.

I am still getting treatments, about every 6 weeks right now (to allow healing time between each appointment). My scars are looking better and better after each treatment and I have noticed a huge difference in both the appearance and texture of my scarring.

We have been sticking to mainly microneedling on my leg because the scarring there is quite sunken in, the microneedling will help plump the skin back up.

On my arm, we have been mainly doing laser and this past appointment we also tried plasma lift, which is a tiny needle that delivers heat to the skin.

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(Here is what my arm looked like directly after the plasma lift. If you look close enough you can see tiny dots where the heat was transmitted onto my skin. This treatment is the most painful out of the three for sure. After the dots started healing they turned into scabs and were very itchy.)

**If you want to see videos of the treatments, you can find them on my Instagram highlights.

I also wanted to share two photos below of that microneedling healing looks like. I went for a treatment and got quite deep microneedling done, so the healing ended up looking a little different than usual. Usually, after the microneedling treatments, the skin is just a little swollen and red, but after a more invasive treatment, my skin peeled very mad.

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It has been almost a year since I started treatments (which is so crazy) and I am very thankful for this opportunity I was given. Ultimately, I know my scarring will never completely be gone, but I am very happy to be able to share this experience with you all and show people out there, that there are options to remove or lighten past self-injury scarring!

-A

28 Will Be Great?

Every year, I write up a list of things that is the number of the age I’m turning. Last year I did 27 things I was going to work on, the year before I did 26 things I had learned and the year before that, I started this blog.

I am very thankful and happy for this blog. It has given me the ultimate outlet for my emotions, stress, heartbreak, frustration, happiness and everything else in between. Though it hasn’t made me famous yet (just kidding), I have been able to connect with a lot of people. People who experienced similar things to me, or people that were able to see me in a different light due to the things I’ve gone through.

Life isn’t all smiles. Life isn’t all parties and celebrations. Life is about learning how to smile again after having your heart broken. Life is about learning to dance in the rain and getting back up after you’ve fallen down.

Life is about finding what you were meant to do and using that to make the world a better place. Life is about balance and learning to give and take equally. It’s about being the bigger person, even if it hurts on the inside.

27 was a great year. Lots of wonderful memories were made, and I really don’t want to remember it for anything other than that.

Now to get brainstorming on a list of 28 somethings.

-A

Why Do Women Love to Chase Unattainable men?

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I think the topic of this post pretty much speaks for itself. Women love to fall for and chase unattainable men. I don’t think women seek out these type of relationships on purpose, I think it’s more of a subconscious action to continue to seek out the familiarity that these relationships may bring to them.

Let’s take this to a psychology level. A lot of the articles I’ve read and personal reflection I’ve done, says that these self-destructing type of relationships can be rooted back to self-esteem. A lot of women who have a low self-esteem will gravitate towards relationships with men that will ultimately never commit to them. Psychologist Seth Myers says that women have the “following unconscious motive: If the unavailable man finally comes around and commits, they’ll—at long last—have proof that they are worthy.”

The “come here, go away” type of men that Monica Parikh refers to them as can also be used to create the start of self-growth and realization. Parikh takes a positive twist on things and says that though these type of relationships are not ideal, they can prove to be a good opportunity to look within. She explains that it’s a good time: “To examine our past. To get stronger. To speak our truth. To set boundaries. To become comfortable in being alone. To stop settling.”

So why do women (including myself) continue to turn to these type of relationships?

These two reasons stuck out to me the most are a little similar, but here they are:

  1. We haven’t healed from the past. This could be past relationships, past trauma or past heartbreaks of any kind. Regardless, these types of relationships give us the ability to have a surface level feeling of what an actual relationship would feel like, without us having to completely commit. Relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein says: “If you’ve suffered a heartbreaking loss, you may be loath to risk 100 percent of yourself again. By chasing someone who won’t fully commit, you can ‘play house’—dressing up, flirting, and sharing secrets. And, you can also avoid the risk that is inherent [to] real love and intimacy”.
  2. Childhood trauma. Anyone who’s taken psychology in university probably knows that our childhoods and how we were raised contribute a lot to how we turn out when we’re older. Aimee Hartstein again explains: “Many children suffer from heartbreaking neglect. Their moms and/or dads may have been emotionally unavailable—preoccupied with work, romantic entanglements, addictions, or mental illness. Children internalize the neglect, believing that they deserved the bad treatment. These children grow up and pick partners who are similarly distant or critical, reaffirming a feeling of unworthiness”.

Elite writer, Sabrina Alexis, explains it well. She compares these type of men to “super sexy shoes that are brutally uncomfortable”. When you see them, you need to have them but when you wear them you’re in agony. As soon as you take them off, you get some sense of relief. This feeling of relief doesn’t come from gaining something positive. It comes from removing something negative. This experience is the same as dating unattainable guys.

The constant knots in your stomach as you wait for the next text or the next sign that he might possibly care about you. And when he finally gives you some sort of reassurance that he does, it will quickly be grabbed away from you and you’re back in the uncomfortable shoes.

Alexis wrote in her article about an experience she had with this type of relationship. She was push and pulled over and over again until she finally hit her ending point. She decided to sit down and ask herself these questions: “What was I getting out of this relationship? Why was I so drawn to him, even though I objectively knew he wouldn’t be a good long-term partner? What had he even given me? I did a lot for him, but what had he ever actually done to show me he cared?”

Alexis’s answer was ‘nothing’, as I’m sure it would be for a lot of us if we stopped and asked ourselves these questions.

We get nothing out of unattainable men other than brief validation, temporary company and good sex only when it’s convenient for them.

Next, Alexis stopped and questioned herself why she kept going back to this man. What it was about him that kept drawing her in. She found that in her case, it went deeper than just the validation he gave her. He filled her void of being lonely.

Finally, Alexis asked herself what she was giving to the relationship. This one really hit me when I stopped and applied it to my situation. What was I giving to this man that I had chased after for a year, hoping that he would finally choose me? A few good laughs, the support if he ever needed it (which he didn’t), but realistically I probably gave him as much as he gave me. The only difference is I would have given him everything and he wasn’t willing to do the same.

These type of relationships are not worth your time. They are not worth your heartbreak or your sadness. Time is a precious thing and love is something that should be valued and shared equally between two people.

I hope this post is not only my rock bottom and end of these type of relationships but also for anyone who reads it.

-A

Articles I talked about in this post:
“Why You Keep Going After Unavailable Guys, As Told By A Relationship Expert” by Sabrina Alexis
“Why Women Love & Lust After Unavailable Men: Traumatic Love” by Seth Meyers
“Keep Attracting Emotionally Unavailable Partners?” by Monica Parikh

Adult Acne 101 (Pityrosporum Folliculitis/ Fungal Acne)

I promised myself that once I found out what was wrong with my skin, I would write a blog post about it to try and help anyone else who might be struggling like I have for the past 6 months.

First off, I’ll give you a little background about my skin. I’m 27 (almost 28 **cries inside) and I have had little to no major skin issues all my life. Even going through the typical teenage years, I never really suffered from acne. I would say I have oily/combination skin. I’ve never really had sensitive skin to products and I’ve always kept up with a decently good skin care routine.

This past January, I started getting very clogged pores in my T-zone (so my forehead, nose and chin). These clogged pores looked like little bumps and got progressively worse over the past year. At first, I just ignored them because makeup did a decent job at covering them. After they continued to get worse and I stupidly started trying to pop and pick at them, they started looking terrible. It got to the point where I was embarrassed to go in public without or even with makeup on.

At this point, I would advise anyone to GO TO A DERMATOLOGIST. I was too embarrassed to, so I decided to try and fix the issue myself.

First thing I did was reach out to my friend who is going through school to be a naturopath doctor. I wanted to see if there was a natural way to fix my skin.

** Side Note: I already don’t eat gluten or dairy and try to consume a minimal amount of artificial sugars.

She recommended that I start taking Vitamin A, Zinc, Fish Oil and a good probiotic. I am still continuing to take these vitamins and probiotic, but I have reduced to taking Vitamin A and Zinc to every second day. I definitely found that taking these helped reduce the inflammation in my skin and dried out my skin a bit (which I didn’t mind because like I mentioned above, I have very naturally oily skin). But after a month of taking these things, my acne or clogged looking pores did not go away.

Next, I decided to go to a skin clinic. I went to a local one and took all the current products I was using on my skin with me. I wanted to see if any of them were the root cause of my skin issues. The medical aesthetician told me my lotions, cleansers, scrubs and creams were all good BUT one.  I was surprised to find out that the lotion I had been using twice daily for almost a year actually contained shea butter in it, that can be very skin-clogging. After she told me this, I immediately stopped using it and started using the lotion she suggested. She also recommended a few skin treatments, dermaplaning and a medical facial (which included extractions, aka a safe way to pop pimples or unclog pores). I had never had either of these and decided to try them out.

I gave my skin a two-week time span to purge/breakout (which usually happens after facials or treatments and when you change skin care products), and then I was hoping to see results. I saw a few results, but my clog pores on my forehead seemed to be very stubborn. They looked a little better for a while and then took a turn for the worse. Again they got to the stage where I didn’t want to go to work or be in public because I thought my skin looked terrible. The worse it got, the more I wanted to pick and try and pop the enlarged pores which in result just made it look even worse.

Finally, I got to my ending point and book an appointment with my family doctor so she could prescribe me something strong for my skin. Of course, the day I go into the doctor, my skin has a good day and the doctor sat looking confused as to why I was even there in the first place. Luckily I had taken a photo of my forehead a couple day earlier when it was really bad. The doctor explained that the type of acne I was experiencing was not cystic, which is one of the most well-known types, it was a different less serious one (I can’t remember the name she said). She prescribed me Retin A topical gel to try for four weeks.

Now, this stuff is extreme, and I didn’t even get a high percentage of it. It dried the HECK out of my skin and made it peel so bad. It did help my pimples on my chin clear up, but again did not really do much other than making my forehead immensely dry and shiny. My immediate thought was that maybe I needed a stronger percentage Retin A. I was planning to ask for this at my next doctor visit.

I was searching YouTube recently, looking up forehead acne and seeing what other people were using to help theirs and a stumbled across this video below.

My mind was blown. Literally, everything she explains in this video is what I was suffering from. I don’t even think I finished watching the YouTube video before running to a local drug store and picking up the shampoo (yes I said shampoo), that was supposed to be good at helping clear up forehead acne.

And guess what??

I noticed a huge difference after the first time I used this shampoo on my skin. I finally found out what was happening with my skin!!

So what did I find out?

Firstly, I found out that the type of acne I am suffering from is a fungal acne, not a bacterial acne. A big sign that distinguishes between what type of acne you might have is the fact that usual acne medications and treatments do not work at clearing your acne or might even make it worse, which is exactly what I was experiencing. Pityrosporum (malassezia) Folliculitis is the scientific name for fungal acne (try saying that three times fast haha).

Right now I am currently experiencing a flare up because after doing a lot of research I found out that the majority of lotions and creams I am using on my skin is actually feeding and making the fungi grow. And yes, I use insanely expensive, medical grade products, but the tricky thing with fungal acne is most fatty acids and oils feed the fungi and make it grow bigger and bigger. Of course, the fatty acids and oils that do this are found in basically 99.9% of all skin care. Awesome.

What I am using that I find helps right now is the shampoo I mentioned above, which is called Nizoral. Nizoral contains 2% ketoconazole which is an anti-fungal. I was putting this on my face as a face mask every morning and night for the first week. It helped a lot but dried out my skin and because I currently haven’t found a face lotion that doesn’t make my skin flare up, I have started using Nizoral every second day to make my skin less dry.

I also found that using apple cider vinegar as a toner helps take down the inflammation of the bumps (but let me warn you, the smell is almost unbearable). Again this tends to dry out the skin. So right now I’m basically battling to help kill my fungal acne and not dry the heck out of my skin.

I know this post is insanely long, but I want to write quickly about why I think I got fungal acne after not experiencing any type of acne for my entire life.

  1. I get a lot of UTIs (aka urinary tract infections). Sorry, I know that’s probably TMI, but it’s actually a major cause to this type of acne. Basically after being on and off of antibiotics so much, my body started to create an excess amount of yeast, which in result showed up as fungal acne. Gross, I know.
  2. I was drinking a lot of kombucha, which again contains yeast and was probably just adding to the problem.
  3. I have very oily skin and am also a face sweater when I work out, which again are both things that feed the fungus and make it grow bigger.

This article is amazing (click me)!! I highly recommend you read it if you think you might have this type of acne. It’s long but very, very helpful.

I really hope this helps someone that may be in the same spot I have been in. Yes, appearance is not everything, but I never realized how insecure having acne would make me feel, and in result ended up impacting a lot of my life.

-A