My Skin

My Skin

My skin. What I at one time proclaimed to be my worst enemy is now something I’m really working on loving.

It sounds like something easy to do, a switch you can flip but it’s proven to be a lot more challenging than I expected.

You see, I realized that I was being incredibly unfair to myself. The voice in my head had a very strong opinion that there was some thing wrong with my skin and it had to be fixed.

Now this comes from 10+ years of painful, embarrassing, predominate acne on most of my face. Something no one could figure out, and given the other healthy issues I’ve had most of my life having people tell me they can’t figure something out that was wrong has always been a part of my existence. A part that as a result of being “hopeless” caused me to create many walls, many beliefs, and many hidden insecurities.

At the last full moon I set the intention to love my body differently. To experience what was happening within me differently. To add a level of ACCEPTANCE where there was none.

The deeper I went into this the more twisted I realized it was. Things like not enjoying swimming, or avoiding sweating, or not wanting to travel with others all stemmed from the need to not be seen without makeup. Talk about a mind blow. Dude, SWIMMING. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy being cold and wet in any instance but the truth is, I don’t swim because of insecurities. Hair being wet. Makeup running off. Bare. Exposed. Talk about major fear.

Nope. I would dip into the lake. I would dip into the pool but it’s a rarity that you see me jump off the side of the boat or the end of the dock into the water. I never realized until recently that a large part of that had been because of the condition of my skin.

I’ve been diligent with skin care for 7 years. I can count on one hand the number of times that I went without washing my face at the end of the day and if it did happen it was because someone knew was around that I’d rather have a new breakout than risk them seeing my acne without anything over it. See the bags under my eyes without concealer on. Nope, not an option.

I wouldn’t answer the door for a delivery person or run out to my car without makeup for fear that someone might actually force me to have a conversation with them bare faced.

Seriously, twisted right?

The thing is, I’m not the only one who has feelings like this. So many people have these same insecurities. They stem from a lot of things like acne or unrealistic expectations of what we think is “normal” for your skin to look like. Expectations that are set from watching movies, seeing models, etc. Things that were ingrained in me long before Instagram was a thing.

I remember a time a few years ago that Kim Kardashian posted a photo of herself without makeup on on her Snapchat story. I took a screenshot because I was so happy to see that she has darker circles and imperfections. I still have that photo in my phone.

Recently, I was having a conversation about this situation with my skin and how I’m working on it and I realized that I was still not seeing it clearly. I was still thinking that I was on this journey to FIX it. That I just needed to be patient and stay consistent with my routine and there was light at the end of the tunnel. I was planning for monthly professional facials and treatments to improve my skin. And while there is NOTHING wrong with that, I am all about reverse aging and investing in that. BUT the thought that I had to FIX something, like something was WRONG with me? That was the problem.

So, I’ve been working specifically on accepting my body, all of the things that make it unique. All of the things that maybe do make it a little challenging, not focusing on the negative side of that but instead accepting that I am this way and how I can work WITH my experience versus against it.

Last night I went to bed with inflamed red bumps all over my chin from this new thing my skin has been doing and felt super annoyed… nothing short of how I’ve spent a lot of years looking at myself in the mirror. Instead I flipped it, I put the treatment on it that it needed and chose to nurture myself instead of beating myself up.

This morning I woke up and actually enjoyed my complexion for the first time I can actually recall… ever.

I responded to a video message from a girlfriend of mine and thought, now is the time Jamie. Share this.

So I recorded a short video about my relationship with my face and posted it. I was scared to death. I still am not feeling super comfortable about it be honest. BUT it is a massive step. Because the truth is, I have made huge progress in healing my skin not only from acne but discolorations, dark circles, and what felt like endless cycles of scaring. I’ve been so diligent and I’m proud of that.

So, here it is. I wish I would have taken some photos of my acne when it was at it’s worst but here are the ones I do have. Here is a little glimpse of a piece of me I’ve never share with you. And here is a LARGE step in my own growth, in my own acceptance and in my own shining.

Hearing the people who love you and admire you tell you that you great without makeup really doesn’t mean anything at all until YOU believe that. Until you can look in the mirror and like what is looking back at you. That’s an inside job.

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If you’re interested in the process I’ve taken to heal my skin, keep reading;
Just like everything else, consistency is key. But using too many different products is not the key. I tried everything. I went all natural with oils and honey and home made cleansers, it help a little for a while. I tried spa grade products from Sephora, I stuck with it when my skin was purging more and the dryness kicked in and then still after months and months of that no progress. I used Rodan & Fields for a little over a year, switched from one of their lines to another. My skin would yo-yo, it would get angry and feel burned and ultimately felt trashed. So, I went to my plastic surgeon’s office, they have a medspa there. I got a micro-dermabrasian and consultation. I bought one cleanser, one moisturizer, one eye cream. I started seeing results and was happy! Then wanted to go more natural… started to do that and went back into full blown inflammation, cystic acne mode. I learned that my skin does NOT enjoy anything that contains botanicals so I went back to my medspa regimen and that’s where I’ve stayed for close to two years now. I have gotten hydro facials monthly for the past 6 months that I can’t really say clearly if they’ve helped or not because my skin tends to cycle weird when I get one. I’m still documenting the data I collect from my own experience and will keep perfecting this as I do. And that is what I advise anyone to do. We’re all different. We all have different experiences with different things. I’m not saying there is anything all bad about any of the methods I’ve tried, they just weren’t the right fit for me personally. I’ve tested SO MANY things from products, to how many times to wash per day, to ways to dry and I have serious data on what has made things better and what has made things worse. So here are some details from my experience if you’re interested:
-Drink lots of water. I can tell a visible difference when I’m dehydrated.
-Wash your face every night. Get every bit of makeup and dirt gone.
-Pat your face to dry, don’t rub.
-Change your pillow cases at least once a week.
-In the morning, rinse your face. Unless it’s feeling really oily, don’t wash. If it’s oily, wash with a very teeny amount of cleanser.
-Exfoliate using a facial cloth at least once a week, with your same cleanser on it.
-Use one face wash. I use ZO Skin Health- Hydrating Gentle Cleanser
-Use one moisturizer. I use Alastin Skincare’s Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer
-Find an eye cream! I use Alastin’s Restorative Eye treatment every morning and Coloresense Total Eye Concentrate at night. If my skin is very dry, I’ll apply the restorative over the concentrate
-Refissa Tretinoin Cream is a prescription I get from my med spa that I use to treat my acne. I apply every other night before moisturizer
-In dry months I use bareMinerals Butter Drench Restorative Rich Cream at night. It does not clog my pores or cause breakouts. The ingredients are super clean. It just helps when i need extra moisture.
-Limiting the number of products I was using has been the BIGGEST game changer for me. Sticking with these few things only has been key. And I just added the rich cream at night these past 3 months during winter. I have now introduced a Hyaluronic Acid Serum and Vitamin C serum in the mornings and it’s improving the skin tone even more.
-SCARRING. I’m not using it anymore because thankfully I have healed my scarring at this point but I did it with pure, top grade Frankincense oil. I applied it after washing, before moisturizing twice a day. Most of the time the depth of the scars I had require medical grade treatments to get rid of and my boy Frank stepped in and worked some miracles.
There is my large book of data about my skin and what it needs and responds to put into the smallest nutshell I can possibly fit it in.
If you’re in this struggle, don’t quit trying to find out what works for you. You’ll get there. I never thought I would and honestly, I’m a little scared to even be writing any of this for fear of jinxing myself.
That’s just based off a very deeply rooted fear though… I’m working on it. All a work in progress.

One Of The Best Gifts I’ve Been Given

One Of The Best Gifts I’ve Been Given

Permission to exhale in the most non-elegant or “abnormal” fashion when breathing into my body has proven to be one of the best gifts I’ve been given.

You listen to guided meditations and watch your yoga instructor or favorite guide and they look so exquisite with slow controlled exhales, that’s all you are taught to do. That’s what you try to mimic in your own practice, never knowing that there might actually be another way, a more helpful way to release.

I think there is a definite time and place for slow controlled exhales, I still use that technique all the time, several times a day in order to reset my thinking, lessen my pain, or calm my nerves or feelings or emotions. Continue reading “One Of The Best Gifts I’ve Been Given”

I AM A PRIORITY

I AM A PRIORITY

Every Monday afternoon I have a video chat with my Therapist.

Once a month I meet with my Psychiatrist.

I also work with an Intuitive Coach and other healers regularly for different things.

My mental health matters to me.
My emotional health is a priority.
I am a priority. Continue reading “I AM A PRIORITY”

Put The Sword Down

Put The Sword Down

PUT THE SWORD DOWN.

Just because you know how to fight doesn’t mean you have to.

I’ve spent a lot of my life “fighting” to get to the next thing. Fighting to get recognition. Fighting to figure out what is wrong with my body. Fighting to get respect. Fighting to be seen. Fighting to be heard. Fighting to move out of and past old patterns and situations.

About a year ago, I stopped fighting.

I actually thought I had quit battling a long time before that point but in a moment where things had quite literally gone up in flames around me, I was reminded by a friend, “It’s only a battle if you choose for it to be” and in that moment I realized that while yes, I had stopped battling in most capacities, I still was in ways that I didn’t even notice.

So, I put the sword down and started to take another approach. After all, fighting or battling every day is fucking exhausting. Just saying those words brings my energy and vibe down several notches.

Here’s the thing, just because you know how to wield that sword and battle every demon or warrior that comes your way doesn’t mean you HAVE to. It doesn’t mean that has to be what defines you. It doesn’t mean you have to be in that state or operate with that as your desired position or stance to take.

Do you know where true power comes from?
It comes from KNOWING you can fight and then choosing not to because you can SEE past the moment and see the big picture where choosing not to fight is actually what accelerates everything.
It comes from choosing to stand within your own power and take the path of acceptance and learning to work WITH what’s happening, not against it. Continue reading “Put The Sword Down”

Motivation

Motivation

8 years ago I posted this pic as my motivation. I printed it out and hung it in my house. I tried to create it using what I always thought “working out” meant. None of it worked. I stayed skinny, sometimes toned up my already super thin core but other than that, nothing really changed. I still felt weak and sick most of the time then too.

4 years ago I found myself in constant pain and with zero strength. So I turned to yoga. Using yoga I was able to build a solid core and some lean muscle but more importantly, a mindset around taking control of my body. With the help of the guys at our local S2 I started learning more about being a hard gainer and ways I could combat that. It helped but still, this physique in the photo was no where in sight. Continue reading “Motivation”

Workout Consistency

Workout Consistency

Truth is, I know the right way to stand to look the most flattering in a photo. I know the angles and what works best for my frame. So, when I started taking the daily progress photo for the #75Hard challenge it was a bit off-putting at first.

Like “whoa, that’s not now I look in photos.” Um, actually YES that IS what you look like in photos, without flexing or posing. I can’t wait to post before and afters when this is all said and done but for now, it’s day 7 and I’ve already started to see a difference. Continue reading “Workout Consistency”

75 Hard Challenge

75 Hard Challenge

I’ve contemplated doing this silently for a while. I’ve started it several times and barely made it a week without missing something on the list… but nobody knew so it was okay.

Bullshit.

I knew.

I knew that I missed a mark and started over day after day. At first, I was proud of myself for starting over and not beating myself up about it, but then I realized that was bullshit too. The fact is, I wasn’t committed. Which is I wasn’t following through. So I stopped re-starting but it’s still been on my mind. Like “when am I going to start again?” had been in the back of my thoughts ever since. Continue reading “75 Hard Challenge”