How are you today? I hope you are feeling inspired.
I am sorry that I have been rather MIA over the last little while! I don’t really have any specific reasons as to why aside from life being busy and I haven’t felt very inspired in terms of writing. Life has been good; mostly just settling into the ebb and flow of the New Year and new elements of my life (such as living in the city with my girlfriend, etc).
I have also been really focused on things like my to-do lists, long term/short term goal setting, trip planning and things like that. At a glance, all good things! When your anxiety decides to act up, it completely transforms into OCD. I have to have lists upon lists to feel like I can function at a normal level or have any sense of control over my life. I have to write reminders in my day planner for the most mundane or ridiculous things, as if GOD FORBID I forgot to do the dishes or check the mail, what heinous things would be unearthed???!
I have also been completely consumed with my skin. That sounds like a weird thing to say, but if you know me it makes sense. I’ve dealt with adult acne (due to inflammation from food, stress, hormones, etc) for a number of years now, and I finally reached my quota of how much of it I could take about 6 months ago. I have completely revamped my diet (no gluten, no dairy, less sugar/salty things, less coffee… that’s a hard one!), so that has been a big experiment and a huge time suck recently. But so far- it’s yielded nothing but impressive results! I feel lighter, less tired, have less headaches/stomach issues and my skin is clearing up in the sense of not breaking out. Not even ¼ as much as before! It’s pretty great. My biggest thing I’m dealing with now, is the residual inflammatory hyperpigmentation/scarring. The combo of the right diet, right topical products and some professional treatments has really helped, but nevertheless, after a few years of struggling with this it has embedded itself as an obsession in my brain, and not always in the healthiest sense.
So, as good as life has been in general recently… there have definitely been a few mental illness related moments making me feel rather scatterbrained and not quite myself.
I was having a conversation with a friend the other night about the kinds of insecurities we face in our daily lives, or that society at large faces in general. This got the juices flowing a little bit, in terms of maybe sharing some of my own current insecurities, and what I have learned from them so far.
So no further ado, I present…
MY CURRENT INSECURITIES (AND WHY), WHAT THEY FEEL LIKE AND WHAT THEY HAVE TAUGHT ME (IF ANYTHING) THUS FAR, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: ← WHAT a title!
INSECURITY #1: MY MUSIC.
You may or may not know this about me, but I used to be QUITE a young, upcoming, blossoming musician. I had a myspace page, ok? And a token eyeliner style that made all the neighbourhood raccoons jealous. Joking aside, it was my thing; it has been for a long time. I used to come home from school and bang out decent song in 20 mins (complete with actual structure, a hook, and creative lyrics – keep in mind, they were age appropriate in my teens aka semi-juvenile, but still relate-able). I loved performing and competing, I loved writing and recording and sharing, and playing with others. When I finished highschool, I went on to study music. I Didn’t complete my program due to mental illness, as well as overall not being entirely sure of what I wanted to be doing at 18 years old (and I still don’t really know). I still sometimes feel guilty that I never persisted and finished what I started. After I returned from that year and settled back in at home, I was the biggest critic I had ever been of my own music. I no longer wrote fearlessly and honestly, and I shied away from sharing and performing a bit more. Any projects I joined up over the years fell through, and I became discouraged. Through all of this, I have never STOPPED, but I definitely haven’t been as committed. Due to that, there are days where I lay my hands on my piano for maybe 5 minutes, and then become ridden with anxiety, sadness and desire for a time where my art came more naturally to me. A time where it was playful and I was unafraid. I didn’t have a context of what I was up against, I didn’t worry about the opinions of others, and I hadn’t yet lived through 10+ years of anxiety and depression. Those were simpler times. Again- despite this, I still try. I have written less music, but what I HAVE written has been some of the best I have ever written.
What this insecurity has taught me: I’m still learning a lot from this one everyday, and overall it’s an insecurity I have a long way to go with. I guess more than anything, I’m learning that it’s OKAY to be vulnerable and insecure about it. For awhile I was feeling like solely because it is something I have spent more than half of my life doing, I should be rather confident in regards to it. So the fact that this was far from the truth has been painful in moments. It has taught me that we really have to trust the timing of our lives, and that reflecting back on the desires of teenage me (Ie; expecting to be a full fledged touring musician by now) is totally unfair and unrealistic to CURRENT, wonderful, amazing me. I have accomplished a lot of great things in my life. Just because it doesn’t look like the one that I imagined for myself 10 years ago….that really means nothing, because i had no idea about what real life looks like 10 years ago. It has taught me that when something holds your heart, it never leaves you even in the shittiest, worst parts of your life. So at the very least, THAT is something. It has taught me that it’s always something I can come back to, and that it is something more important to me than I have acknowledged in the last couple of years. Baby steps.
INSECURITY #2: MY SKIN
All my life, I have adored my skin. I was genetically blessed in my teens to have flawless, relatively pore-less, clear, even, glowing skin with rare breakouts. My mom introduced me to skin care around the age of 12 or 13 (when I started playing with makeup), and it was probably the original Noxema cream from what I can remember. From there, Christmas and birthdays I would typically get some form of skin care and makeup products or gift sets – and I was hooked. So about 12 years later and here I am, saying my skin has become one of my biggest insecurities. How did this happen? Over a decade of regimented skin care, NEVER sleeping in makeup (…okay, once or twice), and religiously researching beauty trends, ingredients and ways to keep my body healthy and somehow I am the one suffering with adult acne? It’s a classic story, really, that affects so many people in their 20’s and 30’s. It fucking sucks. There is no sugar coating this. I have learned a lot of lessons about my health through the last almost 3 years of dealing with adult acne, and as I am on the verge of finally having it under control and healing my scars, I am happy to share those things. That being said, I have to clarify the insecurity part a bit more before I can do that. Listen: I work in the beauty industry. In the SKIN CARE industry. Period. It’s shitty to have awful skin in this job. It has been rare for me to feel ‘professional’ unless I wear a full face of makeup, which I only enjoy doing once in awhile. It starts to feel like to doesn’t matter how perfect my outfit or hair is that day, because it’s not going to be all nicely pulled together when my face is a mess. See, I know this is not entirely true. I inherently know that people shouldn’t treat me any differently, regardless- and if they did, they would be a shitty and judgmental person. But I am only human, and all humans are vain on a spectrum of some kind. I long for the days of the perfect skin I once had, no matter what I ate, no matter how much makeup I wore, no matter what time of the month it was, no matter how stressed I got. And now, when I see people who have a seemingly perfect, clear, smooth base underneath a full face of makeup, I tell myself if I had their skin… I would never take it for granted that way. But of course, that is stupid and immature ‘cause those people can do whatever the eff they want.
What this insecurity has taught me: WHAT HASN’T IT TAUGHT ME? That might be a shorter list. At the root of it, it has taught me that confidence comes in so many forms, and that a positive, fearless spirit shines brighter than anything else. It has taught me that it’s not gonna kill me (or anyone else…) if I don’t wear makeup. It has taught me that some people will treat you differently in a full face of makeup, but that’s not necessary because of your acne- that’s actually because of the societal standards set on women and what the term “POLISHED” means by those standards. It has helped me learn even further what it means to treat skin conditions from the inside, and also to discover how some big, plant based, clean changes in my diet are benefiting me in so many other ways than ONLY my skin. It has taught me that bodies change, hormones change, and needs change over the years and that’s okay. It has taught me that gentleness is the most important part of treating acne- treat your skin gently, your body’s systems gently, and your heart gently. It has taught me that I am me regardless, and that I am still beautiful. It has taught me that it is only a temporary condition, and CAN be fixed with the right treatment options. It has taught me that life really has a weird sense of humor sometimes (“you will work in the beauty industry while simultaneously looking like a goalie for a dart team…” NO, WHY!!!!?). That’s what it has taught me, among many other things.
So there you have it lovelies!
Believe me, I COULD GO ON. I am only human, and I have had many things- large and small- that I am insecure about in my life. I just thought I would dive into detail about a couple of the big ones for me, just to share that sometimes insecurities are beautiful things because they teach us some of the most important lessons. Also to remind myself of that.
In the mean time, I am still dealing with OCD, and I am still going to obsess over my skin and nit-pick at my musical abilities, all in some warped effort to ‘feel better and gain control’ – but I am working at these things everyday so that I can be a happier, stronger, better person. I’m going back to counselling too, and I have no shame in that. it helped me leaps and bounds before!
As for today, wishing you all the happiness and health in the world! And I hope you have an inspired day.
-Spirit Sister, Nicolle-