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.

You’re Allowed to Feel

You’re Allowed to Feel

She came to me looking for a way to find herself again… perhaps actually find herself for the first time, really.

You see, she was recently retired, her kids were grown and without raising kids and being a boss in her industry she wasn’t really sure what was left for her. Searching for a purpose, we started.

Now the path we went down was deep and personal so I’m not going to share the details BUT I do want to share a moment that stands out to me the most about our work together.

I remember so clearly the day this happened. We had a few weeks of sessions that were really deep, diving into things that have happened and her feelings around it. During those conversations, I worked hard to remind her that she is allowed to have her opinion, allowed to feel the way she did, and it was not right for ANYONE to ever tell her she was wrong for that. Continue reading “You’re Allowed to Feel”

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”

Honoring every piece

Honoring every piece

Sometimes you have to be your own motivation.

In those moments when you find yourself slipping and it feels like you’ll never get fully back on track I’ve learned that nothing motivates me more than reminding myself where I’ve been and what I’m capable of.

This picture is from last summer. I had built more muscle than I knew was possible and honestly, I felt uncomfortable as fuck about it. I loved the body and curves I built but it was just unlike the shell I had lived in for most of my life so it seriously took some getting used to. Continue reading “Honoring every piece”

Honor Where You’re At

Honor Where You’re At

I felt like shit about myself earlier. Questioning my appearance. Pissed that I lost 2 inches in my thighs and 1.5 in my hips. I felt gross and annoyed and just ugh.

Pushed to go to the gym anyway. Sort of in a fog the entire time but intentionally focusing on the detail of every move I made, every set, every muscle engagement. That’s what pushed me through and the whole time I kept feeling like I wasn’t doing enough.

Like what in the actual fuck is that? I just did the same workout I did on leg day for 2 years to build that size to begin with. That’s a savage workout. Continue reading “Honor Where You’re At”

Down 11 Pounds

Down 11 Pounds

First picture, I’m standing at 128 lbs and feeling excellent. I hadn’t been lifting consistency but my nutrition was pretty solid.

Second picture, I’m down 11 lbs… Most of which was probably muscle but that’s just an assumption.

This loss was not on purpose. Not even a little bit! It followed a month long battle with a cold, then influenza mixed with a bunch a stress that ended me up in a pretty ugly bout with my hypoglycemia. I haven’t had an episode that bad in over a year. It took days to recover. I could barely move, let alone stand. It took everything I had to drink water or 3 bites of oatmeal. It was terrible.

I felt lifeless. I was scared. I remember waking up my boyfriend telling him it was worse than I thought and I was scared to go to the hospital. We decided I’d get strict and try to fight it, even if that meant him reminding me to drink pedialyte every hour because it was the last thing I wanted to do.

Do you know what being in that kind of physical state does to your mental state? It makes you think you’re the worst person in the world. It convinces you that you’re a burden on those who love you. It convinces you that it’s all your fault and if you weren’t such a terrible person then you wouldn’t have let your body get to this state in the first place. It makes you feel ashamed for something you truly can’t control. you find yourself apologizing for asking for help even though you really need it. Continue reading “Down 11 Pounds”

Real Change

Real Change

7 years ago I posted the picture on the left as my “goal” physique. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to have curves. I wanted to look that way AND feel healthy.

I had zero idea how to get there.

I would try the regularly suggested methods of eating and all the “fad” ways to get the booty and abs… guess what? None of that worked. And I would go through cycles of consistency, not feel better, not get stronger, and in turn would get discouraged and then give up. Continue reading “Real Change”