Skin Care 101… and beyond

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Typically, I like to muse about more meaningful topics.

In recent months I’ve been asked a lot for skin care advice, as well as for information about what kind of make up I use and how I apply it. Each time I would type out an email or message with all my tips and tricks, it would take about an hour and soon after someone else would ask. Wash, rinse and repeat…

So, I am going to throw everything here in one place, and just refer all further inquiries to this blog post from now on. First, I will post a picture of me.. yes, it’s a selfie. Yes, I am ashamed that I take them. But, I think it showcases my skin and my make up, and my hair is pulled back in this picture which it rarely is in real life.

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Okay, so does my skin look like this when I wake up? No. The goal is to make my skin look flawless, airbrushed and youthful without it looking as if I’ve spent a ton of time, money and make up doing so. I think I’ve perfected my routine at this point where the cost financially is minimal, it only takes me about 15 minutes to apply in the morning, and although there are a large combination of products that are used, it doesn’t look caked on.

First, let’s start from basics. Skin care. If you aren’t taking care of your skin, there is no amount of make up or creams in this world that will hide THAT. I refer to this skin issue as “party girl syndrome”.

Party girl syndrome happens when you are a social butterfly. You are going from work to the bar, stumbling in at 2:30 am and passing out in your stilettos AND your make up because you have to be awake at 8:00 AM for work the next morning. You’re probably consuming alcohol and possibly nicotine. You aren’t getting a lot of sleep, and you certainly aren’t concerned with exfoliation and moisturizing before bed at night.

This causes many issues. Acne from not washing your make up off at night. A dull, dry complexion from excess skin build up and improper circulation to your face because of the lifestyle you’re living. Combined with under eye circles and an overall malnourished look. It’s not cute.

These are the things you MUST do.

1. Wash your face EVERYDAY! Twice a day. First thing in the morning I wash my face, and before bed at night, I wash my face.

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2. Exfoliate. I use the Clarisonic which I will take more about later, as well as a face wash with beads in it to scrub all the dead skin cells off my face. It brightens your skin, makes it looks healthier, and makes it feel softer.

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3. Change your pillowcase every three to four nights. You don’t have to change your sheets that much (if you don’t want to)Regularly-change-your-pillowcase-300x168

4. Don’t touch your face!!! I know we all want to, and it took me many months to break the habit of resting my chin in my palm, but the oils and dirt from your hand transfer to your face and clog your pores.o-TOUCHING-YOUR-FACE-570

5. Steam your face once a week. This could be slipping into the sauna at the gym or just heating up a big bowl of water and putting a towel over your head so the steam stays under. This opens your pores and all the gunk that’s trapped in there can now come out a lot easier. It also brings a nice glow to your skin because of increased blood flow.

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Okay, so those are the five things that must be done. Now here is my skin care and make up routine.

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First I use a Clairsonic Mia 2. I don’t think it matters which one you use, Adam got me mine for Christmas and it’s teal and it says “I love you” on it, awwww. They come in all sorts of colors, shown above is the pale pink, they have hot pink, white, blue, purple, and so on.

I use it in the morning and at night in the shower. It comes with a little sample of the Clairsonic face wash which I did use one or two times, but I like a little bit of a stronger face wash. In the directions it says you should not use it with exfoliating face wash because the beads in the face wash will get stuck in the head of the Clarisonic. But I did some further research online and if they beads are very small and fine, it’s fine. So I do use an exfoliating face wash with it. In my humble opinion, you cannot exfoliate enough. It makes your face softer, smoother, reduces acne as well as fine lines.

There is something I should warn you about when beginning to use toe Clarisonic, which the products site does state clearly. If you have acne, it will GET WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER.

There are pimples and impurities in your skin besides the ones you can see. Look at your pimples like an iceberg. You can only see 10% of the iceberg, the other 90% is hiding behind the water. With your skin, especially if you have break outs, the biggest problem is hiding underneath.

When you start to use the Clarisonic, it will begin to dredge up all those hidden impurities and clear out pores that have been clogged for months, maybe years. All the pimples that are hiding will come to the surface, but then they will go away and there will be no more secret break outs or hidden clogged pores. It does get better. Not only that, but your skin will look smoother because you have cleared pores instead of dirty ones.

This can be a little pricey initially, but it’s a worthwhile investment. Not like that juicer I bought when I was going on that fast, only to find out that kale tastes just as bad when it’s juiced as it does when it’s not. So Gross.

The Mia 2 can be bought for $99 on line, there is also a Plus model that looks to be about $250. I have not tried it, it looks fancy, maybe one day. For now mine works just fine.

I highly suggest it. I’ll never stop using it. It’s worked wonders for me.

With the Clarisonic, the face wash I use is Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub. It uses Microclear Technology, which whatever that means, I like.

This has salicylic acid in it. A lot of acne medications have benzoyl peroxide in them, but I am allergic to benzoyl peroxide. Very, very allergic. When I was going through puberty that was what I used and I would wake up with my eyes swollen together and hives all over my face.

A lot of people prefer the benzoyl because it’s more effective and stronger, but I like the salicylic acid because it gets the job done and it’s more gentle, which means your skin won’t get red as it’s healing. Anyone whose ever had an angry pimple knows that the last thing you want is for it to become MORE red. Yuck.

This is okay to use with the Clarisonic because the exfoliating beads are small enough. It smells like cucumber and doesn’t dry your face out even though it’s oil free.

 

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This face wash will run you about $7.99 at Walmart or Target.

 

 

After I wash my face I use Aveeno Clear Complexion Moisturizer. This is a little bit more expensive than your Clean and Clear brands, but it is the one facial lotion I found for your face that does not compound the break outs. It does have salicylic acid in it as well, but all the other ingredients are all natural. It has a total soy complex additionally that smoothes out the skin. You can get it at Target for about $13, my sister told me she found at it Walmart for cheaper. I’m sure Amazon sells it for even cheaper if you don’t mind the wait.

The scent is no unpleasant, it smells very clean. It never burns, doesn’t make my skin peel, and makes my face very soft and smooth.

 

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So the wash and moisturize before bed. Go to sleep on a clean pillow case. Repeat in the morning.

When I do have a break out, or one stubborn pimple during highly stressful times, I use Clean and Clear Rapid Clear Acne Spot Eliminating Gel. I put it on the pimple as many times a day as I can. On days off I won’t wear any make up at all and I’ll apply it through out the day probably four or five times.

I like this because it not only takes care of the pimple, but of the spot that sometimes gets left behind by the pimple when it is healing. It reduces redness immediately and usually clears the pimple up within three days after it appears. If I get a little tingle which notifies me a blemish might be getting ready to rear it’s ugly head, I throw that on it and the spot usually never makes an appearance.p0cf0c5dd42371a3ec7881cdc81f245642e1b0944

This will run you anywhere from $8 to $10 bucks depending on where you get it and if there is a sale going on.

In the morning I do all that over again, and then I apply my make up which is as follows.

First I put a Primer on. I do it immediately after the moisturizer because it goes on and sets best that way. I never used to apply a primer before my make up, and would notice that half way through the day it would start coming off or I would look shiny. The primer has really put an end to the half way through the day let down.

The one I use is Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer. Revlon-Photo-Ready-Color-Correcting-Primer-Revlon-Photo-Ready-Perfecting-Primer-1

They have two. The one on the left is a Color Correcting Primer, but I don’t have a lot of uneven skin tones going on. I use the one on the right, and it works miracles. I have used both, they essentially do the same thing, so in a pinch they can be interchangeable.

Here is a picture I dug up on the internet of a girls face, one half without primer, the other half with. This will show you the differences.

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As you can clearly see, the side of her face that has the primer is more matte, and you can see less imperfections. That because primers use a reflective pigment which, when light hits it, reflects the light back instead of letting it shine on your skin.

I apply the primer all over, including my eyelids, because whatever make up I put on next will stick better with the primer. Putting it on your eyelids avoids that eye shadow crease you’ll see about an hour after you put the eyeshadow on. It’s not cute.

This primer is not cheap, there are cheaper ones out there and there are more expensive ones out there. The cheaper ones don’t work as well, and the more expensive ones work about the same. So you see the logic here. It’s about $12, I’ve found it at Target for $10 at times.

After the primer, I apply a liquid foundation. I use Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation. I have about three bottles all in different shades, and depending on my skin tone I will mix and match to get my skin color right.

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I like the mousse because it goes on really smooth and it doesn’t smear or streak. Some people use brushes to put on the concealer. I know I should, but I do not because I don’t use a ton. I put a couple drops on the back of my hand to warm it up, and use the tip of my clean finger to apply dots. One under each eye, two on my forehead, one on each cheek, and then one on my chin. Then I use the tips of two or three of my CLEAN fingers, and blend it all together.

At this point it will look a little dewey, which is fine. But I prefer a more matte, airbrushed look. So on top of this I apply a pressed powder. Clean and Clear Oil Control Clean pressed powder to be exact. This is a compact and it comes with one little circular pad to apply the powder. Clean and Clear also sells three refill pads separately which I also purchase because I switch out the pad every two weeks or so. That keeps it clean and also cuts down on break outs because I am not using the same pad that my face oils have built up on.

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The foundation will run you about $9.50, and the pressed powder about $7.00. Walgreens does a special a lot which is buy one Cover Girl Product and get one 50% off, and because I use some other products from Cover Girl I will often take advantage of that.

Next, I apply a little bit of blush. I don’t tan a lot now because it’s Winter and it looks unnatural if I am walking around Rochester NY with a Miami tan. I still don’t want to look like a Walking Dead cast member, so I need a bit of color. The blush I use that I have fallen in love with is Maybelline Master Glaze.

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I use the brighter pink one. My skin tone is naturally more pale, so the pink works well. Using this product, you will need a LIGHT hand. A little goes a long way. There is a line between looking alive and looking like a circus clown, and with this blush that line is thin.

I dab a tiny bit right on my cheek bone at the outside corner of my eye and sweep upwards and a little down on the apples of my cheeks.

This blush costs about $8.00, but will last at least three months.

Now on to the eyes, which I believe to be the most important part of any make up routine because that is where people look the most.

I use two eyeshadows. They are both from the Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments line. They come in cute little jars and you need a brush to put them on with. On my eyelids I use Barely Brazen which is a light cream color. Under my brow I use Breaking Bronze which is more gold tone and highlights your eye brows.

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These you can find at Target for $5 each, and they also last quite a while. The brush can be a little more expensive if you find the right one, but if you take care of it, it will also last a while. I use on from Avon, Ulta has many fine brushes, as well.

For my eyeliner, I have a trick of doing a winged look. It makes your lashes look longer, your eyes look bigger, and I think it’s more interesting than just outlining your eyes. It took me a while to perfect the winged look. There are YouTube tutorials to help you, getting the right eyeliner is also crucial.

I use Maybelline Lash Stilleto in Blackest Black. It’s a great dramatic, inky black. Most importantly, the tip on the liner is very thin which makes it easier to create the look I use. line-stiletto-ultimate-precision-liquid-eyeliner_pack-shot-crop

This eyeliner will cost about $7.00. I have to admit, eyeliner and mascara is what I go through the most of. So the less I mess up my eyes and have to start over, the better on my budget…

Mascara comes next, and I like to use a lot of it. I want my eyes to look dramatic and my eyelashes to be very long and dark. I’ve been using Cover Girl Lash Blast in Very Black for as long as I can remember, probably since it first came out. I’ve been interested in other mascaras, and who knows, I might branch out, but if it’s not broken I usually dont try and fix it.
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It’s not too expensive, only about $6.00 everywhere. I like it because it typically doesn’t clump and wears comfortably all day. It never flakes, which is a big problem I’ve had with mascaras in the past and one I cannot tolerate. I also use this mascara for darkening my brows, so it serves a dual purpose.

 

And there you have it. Everything I do, everything I use, and my routine from A to Z. This has taken many, many years of trial and error but I think I’ve finally gotten to a place that I’m happy with.

I hope this helps anyone, and if you have any other questions concerning skin care, please reach out to me. My husband always tells me I’m the “vainest” person he knows, so I do enjoy talking about all the trivial stuff that goes into getting there.

Remember, your skin will not transform over night. Do not give up, don’t get discouraged, and keep doing the right things and you will get there.

 

 

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I Don’t Care For Your Fairytale…

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There was a time in my life, a simpler time, where being someone’s princess was the end all be all. That was my ultimate goal in life.

I was also nine.

Point is, I am not that little, simple girl anymore. Being someone’s princess is not enough. Knowing that another person values me is amazing, and necessary to a healthy relationship but I do need to value myself. It’s more important that I value myself. At a very pure and basic level, I know myself better than any other person will ever know, or could ever know me. I know myself better than I would ever let anyone else know me.

There is still a child inside of me, sitting in front of the television with a plastic crown on in Cinderella pajamas waiting with breathless rapture for the glass slipper to finally find my foot. Because although I am doing my best to be my own best advocate and champion, who doesn’t want to be loved at fairy tale proportions.

And it’s not just women. We all have standards, we all have expectations of what we want in a relationship. Whether it comes from a Disney movie, or the model of our parents as we grew up watching them interact. We know what we expect out of our counterpart, and we are hesitant to settle for anything less.

Are we setting ourselves up to be disappointed, or is it proactive and intelligent to know exactly what is going to make you happy in a long term relationship. In fact, there are certain deal breakers for everyone where they will truthfully NEVER be happy if they don’t have them. So, if we compromise our initial set of non negotiables, if we feel that maybe our standards are a little too high and lofty for a normal mate to reach, we are in fact setting ourselves up for disappointment… and failure.

They call it “settling”. I call it selling yourself short. Compatibility is amazing and sometimes initial, but there is no guarantee that this instant chemical reaction will evolve into the type of bond you want. The type of bond you NEED to find and feel fulfillment in a close relationship with another human being.

So if I want a relationship in which the other person is my best friend, the one I go to when I’m stressed, the one I go to when I am troubled and in turmoil knowing he will calm the hurricane whipping through my brain… am I going to ever be satisfied completely with the “bond” we have if he is not those things to me? Will I even feel that there is a bond?

In no time isolation develops. And it’s not one persons fault over the other. It’s not really anyone’s fault, because even though our initial spark burns brightly still and we still find our way back to each other, we are never the same as we were back then. Before we started disappointing each other, before things were said and done that ensure the slate never gets wiped clean. The spark does not burn bright enough to get through the brick wall that can build between two people over time.

We try to change each other. We vocalize our discontent hoping that the other person will love us enough, will value the relationship enough to adjust themselves to fit it better. But that’s not really fair. Any change this person would make would only be temporary as it goes against their nature to be the way you want them to be instead of the way they’ve been for x amount of years. When they revert back to their natural behavior, it just makes things worse.

So when do you differentiate between a “bond” that needs more work, or a bond that does not exist. Just because two people live together, sleep together and share a life does not mean they share a bond.

I don’t mean to pose these questions as if I have an answer. This is not an advice column or a self help blog. These are the same questions that every single one of us has pondered, and that I am pondering now.

It is not my goal to have a prince take my arm and lead me to his castle where I will forever be his arm candy and waltzing partner. It is my goal to have an open, nurturing, beautiful,. understanding relationship. It is my goal to have a BOND within this relationship which makes it unbreakable, whether it be from inside factors or outside factors I will no longer tell myself that I am idealizing what love is, or that I am expecting too much from my significant other. I will no longer sell myself short, or allow someone who is looking for something from me to sell themselves short.

And someday I will have the answers.

The Love of My Life

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When I found out I was pregnant, I crossed my fingers and wished for a girl.

I already had a little girl who was bright, sweet, and easy to deal with. It was a fear of the unknown more than anything, most likely, I already knew what it was like to braid hair and purchase anything with a Disney princess or Dora the Explorer on it. I didn’t want to venture into the world of rough and tumble boys who had equipment that I wasn’t familiar with and didn’t know how to use.

But, as we now know, Aidan did turn out to be a little boy. And I couldn’t be more in love with him.

Three years ago today I held him in my arms for the first time. I’d like to say it was love at first sight, and of course I loved him because he was mine and he was beautiful, but to truly LOVE someone you have to know them. Over the next few months we got to know each other very well, spending many sleepless nights together because he was a fussy baby and not easily calmed.

Eventually I learned what made this little human being happy, which was mostly being near me. Through weeks of trait and error, hitting and missing, sling shorting between extreme elation and soul crushing frustration, I learned who he was and how to love him. I found out he really liked his hair played with, he loved to be sung to whether it be Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Adele. His favorite place to sleep was at my side, tucked under my chin, his little chubby hand firmly grasping my shirt as if to say “you aren’t going anywhere”.

At the hospital they said not to fall asleep with the baby in bed, that he could be rolled over on and smothered. I knew without a doubt that I would never crush my son, that his place was supposed to be next to me, him being there made us both the happiest and most comfortable.

So fast forward three years and he’s a little boy now, and we have to teach him to be a little man. How to be brave, how to give love, how to take in the world around him and make sense of it. He calls me his girl, and that is probably more true than anything else. The amount of love he had for me is directly related to the amount of love I have for him. Kids are simple. They don’t love you because they think they should, they don’t love you because they HAVE TO. They love you because you’ve earned it, and I have never felt more entitled to anything else in the world. His love is my reward every day. All the hard work, all the sacrifice, the lack of personal time. It’s all worth it when he puts his arms around me and calls me his girl, when he tells me he loves me, when he says he doesn’t want me to leave.

So I not only want to say Happy Birthday to this child, but I want to say “thank you”. There is no closer, more unique relationship than a mother and her son. Everything is new to the both of us, but no two people know each other more than we do. We learned each other in the very late hours of the night and the very early hours of the morning, we spent days together trying to find our rhythm and our rhyme. Now that we’ve found it, we can never lose it.

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Getting Back To Basics… and liking it

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Life gets crazy. Between work, Aidan’s soccer and swimming classes, Nev’s new business ventures every other week, and all the stuff in between, it is CRAZY. You forget about a time when you weren’t completely connected to the outside world 24/7. You forget about a time when you had to wait until you got home to check your email, or even when there was no email, just a mailbox or an answering machine to check.

It took a little boy and a couple big cows to bring me back to basics. And even if I was only there for a short time, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay.

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After a very busy, stressful day at work I picked up Aidan from his grandmothers and drove home in silence, preoccupied with things I’d encountered during the day, feeling I had come up against roadblocks that I wasn’t going to be able to get past. I was feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, I was feeling defeated. 

Suddenly, in that shrill and high pitched voice kids don’t realize is like kryptonite to anyone over the age of 18, Aidan screams out “COWS!!!!”

Sure enough, because we live in a somewhat rural area and there is a farm next door to our town house complex, there is a field full of cows milling about just steps away from our front door.

Now, keep in mind, I was tired and the perceived weight of the world was on my shoulders. But my little, curly haired son was looking up at me with his eyes literally shining. I thought to myself, “When was the last time I’ve been that excited about anything?” The thought made me sad, but it brought me back to reality. A reality where nothing in the world was more important then keeping that happiness in my child’s eyes. A reality where I knew that the l would do anything to keep at bay for him the grown up feelings I was feeling now.

So I took his hand and I grabbed my camera and we walked over to see the cows. 

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He reached his hand through the gate and two cows came right up to him, as if sensing his innocent interest in them and feeling their own in him. He laughed so hard and so loud I felt my own mouth pull up at the corners, and my heart lifted a little bit, too.

By the time we had been canoodling with those cows for fifteen minutes, the burdens that I’d brought home with me were no longer there. 

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Getting back to basics. It doesn’t mean quitting your job, throwing your cell phone in the toliet, or giving up on indoor plumbing. It means, when you are at work you’re at work, but when you’re at home, the important stuff starts. Spending time to take in the very precious moments you have with your kids, with your spouse. In a couple years my little Aidan’s eyes won’t shine over a couple of cows, something else will make him squeal with joy. And a couple of years after that, he won’t want to take my hand and show me what excites him anymore. 

It blows my mind that 30 minutes sitting on the hard ground, watching this little boy reach his pudgy hand out to these animals and looking back at me as if this was the best day of his life, made it the best day of my life. 

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Why I’m Afraid To Buy A House

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I’ve been asked before, sometimes politely and sometimes not so much…

“Why don’t you guys have a house yet?”

I know, we’re 30 years old. I know, we have two children. Believe me I know, we’re wasting money on rent.

But I’ve never really known what’s holding me back.

Thing is, life is filled with these milestones. Important, incredibly memorable moments in time that change you, that you never forget. But there are a lot more of these milestones at the beginning of your life, not too many as you get older.

You graduate high school, then you go away to college. You graduate college. Then comes your first real job. You fall in love, you get married, you have kids. Now you’re a family. Then you buy a house…

All these milestones are behind me, except for buying a house. Isn’t that frightening to you? It scares the shit out of me.

These important, incredibly memorable moments for me are done. I’ll never go back to college, I’ll never experience the excitement of walking into your first job interview with all the hope and anticipation in the world. With all the faith in myself that I have my whole life ahead of me, that all my dreams still have the chance to be transferred to reality because I’ve got time to make them happen.

Not trying to be overly dramatic. I’m not fifty years old, I’m thirty. I still have plenty of time to walk this planet and see the things I want to see. But the larger than life dreams of youth, the ones that a very small percentage of the people in the world ever realize, those are pretty much off the table.

So now you want me to buy a house. You want me to take the last milestone I have left and put it behind me. And I’m afraid to. I am frozen here, renting a townhouse that is too small for us, complaining that the kitchen is too narrow and the neighbors are too loud, and still (a little bit happily) feeling like a twenty-something who hasn’t got it quite figured out yet, who is still on her journey, who still has milestones to conquer.

As is human nature, we get in our own way. We hold ourselves back, but we have our reasons. Maybe we aren’t ready to move forward, maybe we aren’t ready to grasp what is in front of us until we’ve mentally wrapped ourselves around the concept that life has a start and a finish. There is no rewind button, there are very few “do overs”, and when the easy part is over we have to put the effort in to find excitement and rebirth in the moments outside of the milestones.

And I think I can do it. I think I can find just as much happiness in the birth of my grandchildren that I found in the birth of my own. I think that my joy will be as insurmountable when my daughter walks across the stage to get her college diploma as it was when I took the same walk. I might recall, with some aching melancholy, the day when those incredible moments were my own. The little bit of tragedy is that I never fully appreciated how HUGE it all was when I was there, and I rushed it. We all do.

I wanted to get through high school, college was stressful and it was all about just getting out so you could start your “real life”. I wanted so badly to fall in love and I spent a good amount of that relationship wondering how he would propose and then wondering WHEN would it finally happen.

Then I opened my eyes. A wife, a mother, working a job I love and living a life that is more than what I could have asked for or deserve. And all the things I rushed into and through, I miss.

If I could pass on any advice, it would be to just slow down. Be young, be free. Learn about life and about yourself. Just enjoy thinking about yourself, being responsible for yourself, and nurturing only YOURSELF. If you spend more time being aware and thankful of every milestone you encounter and pass through, you will be less likely to be frozen in fear when talking about mortgages.

Finding yourself in the most unexpected places…

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For three days I was away for a conference in Syracuse. These things are always exciting and learning experiences for better business practices. I did not expect to learn something about myself in the process.

We were asked to think of a “great” person. My father immediately came to my mind because I admire him beyond words. Directly following we were asked to brainstorm words that described this great person we had previously thought of. Shouts started coming from the other participants in the room, words like “loyal, caring, supportive, patient…”

Imagine my perplexed feeling when I realized none of these words described my father at all.

He moved to the USA when he was 19 years old. He was born on a huge farm in Morocco where he and his 14 siblings were handed a pitchfork or a pail when they learned to walk and were sent out to keep the farm running. When he got here he didn’t know the language, didn’t have any friends and knew that his cow milking skills were not going to get him where he wanted to be. So he found a skill, bartending, and eventually he soaked in everything he needed and wanted to know about owning a restaurant and he opened his own.

Being a self made workaholic, he was not around much. I could talk about how he missed all my soccer games and school plays, but we’ve heard that story before. What I think is much more important to mention is that he was a very judgmental, impossible to please man. My grades were impeccable, I was the star of every school production and the stand out in every soccer game. When I would tell him later of the winning goal I scored or the spot on solo I had performed, he would ask me why not two goals? Why not two solos?

Eventually, I began to see myself as he saw me. Always falling short of my potential, always a disappointment. What’s worse, I saw others like that, as well.

I am very thankful for his part in my life, and I don’t think he knew that he was being detrimental to me. I don’t think, as parents, we realize the enormous impact we have on our children. We have so much going on in our lives, and sometimes family can seem like such a small part of all the many balls we are trying to keep up in the air. But although for this moment, your kids might not seem like your entire world, YOU are their entire world.

They look to us for how to act, how to feel, what to think. It’s not going to be easy to find the right mixture of personality traits to showcase to your children. You have to open the door for them so they can explore and learn, but know when to call them home so they are safe. You have to love them, but not spoil them. You have to hold them close so they feel cared for, but let them go so they feel independent. You have to teach them things, but lean life teach them as well.

Most importantly, they should always be supported. Although I was not beaten or abused physically, my heart and my ego took a beating. I went on to become someone who always had to be the best, who always had something to prove, and never felt that they had proved it. I am also someone who has a hard time seeing the good in someone, or the potential, because that was never given to me. I am quick to write someone off the very first time they disappoint me, and that is not the legacy I want to leave behind.

It’s time to establish better habits when dealing with people. My son is two, and he gets frustrated easily. When he can’t do something with his ineffectual little baby hands he yells out “I can’t do it!” Without hesitation, without thinking, I say to him “Of course you can do it! Just try again.” He may only be two, he may have no concept of what it means to keep trying, to never give up. But this is my habit with him, because one day when he does understand, that’s what he will hear me say. That will become his mantra, the words he has heard since he knew what words meant. My kids will always hear those words from me, and of course, that they are loved.

If I can channel the way I feel for my kids, like they will never get from me what I got from my father, and balance that with still standing strong in the values of hard work and perseverance that he did teach me, I can be a person that affects other people. I can be impactful and important in others lives. In the end, this is all the immortality we will ever have a shot at.

Sorry I’m Not Sorry

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I have a social awkwardness that is hidden…

Normally, I am perfectly okay to handle my own emotions. Unless it’s one of those days where I’m running on three hours of sleep, didn’t have time to get coffee before work, and have a run in my stockings. Then I’m an emotional basket case and I’m not afraid to show it. Beware of dog, stay away, there’s an electric fence around this residence.

I think I am also pretty adept at handling others emotions, mainly friends and family. If you know someone it’s not weird at all to talk to them about your relationship problems, or something that’s been on your mind and needs to come out.

What am I terribly awkward at? Caring or appearing to care about total strangers emotional outpours at the most inappropriate times.

I must have that kind of face, the one you want to tell everything to. Maybe I remind you of an old friend, or there is some misguided maternal aura coming off me because I swear, people tell me the most personal things. It’s happened way too many times to write it off as a fluke.

Yesterday when I was at work, another rep’s customer called me over and began to sing to me the song he had written about his ex wife leaving him and his five kids. Last week a woman broke down into tears because her Verizon password is her cats name and Juju is no longer with us.

Everytime this happens, I have to physically fight the urge to run and hide. My facial expression is a frozen mask of “what the hell is going on”, and my mind is a frenzied whirl of “can they tell how awkard I feel right now?” thoughts. It’s as if I’m a robot and someone just pulled my power cord.

I know what you’re thinking, this chick has no feelings, maybe not even a soul.

It’s not true! I feel a lot, and I have a very BIG soul. Maybe it’s not very pure, but it’s large.

Pehaps I feel too much, maybe I want very badly to empathize with these forlorn and lost people, and yet I’m at work and I need to be able to come back to this place tomorrow and not have anyone think I’m weak or suceptible to emotional highs and lows. At work I need to be percieved as a don’t-cross me-or-else, high heel wearing, machette yeilding bad ass mofo. There’s too many times, as a woman, I’ve hit the corporate world only to be automatically labeled as ’emotional, unpredictible, soft”…. and truly, anyone who knows me would never describe me that way. I guess you could say that it’s unpredictable as to where I’m going to kick you the next time you prejudge me just because I have a vagina.

So, sorry I’m not sorry. This is the world we live in, and if I have to be “manly” in order to keep my place in it, I can pull out the ruler and measure with the best of them.

It’s probably for the best that I ended up in sales where emotional distance helps me, instead of psychology (my college major) where I probably wouldn’t have had many patients after staring at them with the “this is so awkward” look for enough sessions.

Have no fear, I have  a heart and am very capable of relating to emotions, especially from those of you on the internet. This way I can hide my frozen mask of fear behind a keyboard.