What it means to be ‘okay’

I made an article about a week or so ago in jest of the phrase ‘I’m okay’ because it’s a common response that’s generic enough to not be questioned fot deviating any type of societal norm. This time, I actually wanted to talk about what it might look/mean to be okay and what that really feels like. I’ve  felt it in spurts and being okay is one of the best emotional states I’ve ever experienced, aside from happiness. It’s a privelage, really it is.

What it looks like:

I don’t mean physical characteristics or anything like that, I mean what’s around us: our enviornment. Does it contain at least one or two people that act as a support net or a person to share our problems with? Do we have a place we call home that contains our basic necessities? Is that place consistent and does it give us a sense of security and balance?

Now, this looks different for many people. You could have one of these things and be fine. You could have none of these things and be 100% okay, but, even if you have nothing you have something. For those who seek and worship a higher power, that is your house, shelter, family, friends, and balance. It’s just not as much of an outward representation of it. Things unseen are only characterized by symbols, words, and prayer of some sort that have to come from the outside to get in.

See, ‘okay’ to most people I know is dependant on money (I’m a student, so to me, that’s what 95% of people around me, including myself, worry about.) It’s normal to lean on this and assume it’s the root of all happiness, but I’ve experienced plenty of times where I had no money and I was ‘okay’. I had a best friend to rely on, hobbies of my own to support my creativity, and a pen and paper always waiting for me. My best friend was/is my support net, my creativity was/is my necessity and constant, and my pen and paper was/is my home. All of those things made me feel ‘okay’ and still do, two out of the three of them just aren’t as available due to . . .well. . .time constraint.

What it feels like:

Feeling okay . . . .feels so good. Feeling okay, for me, is huge. It’s not the same as happiness. Happiness is a moment and is perpetual dependant on the day/month/year. ‘Okay’ is a greater state of being that means so much more than the blah English word and definition it was given. Being happy can be an accessory to being okay, but it doesn’t outshine it completely. Being okay feels secure, and warm, and content. It feels nurtured and fed mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It’s waking up and knowing that the person you want to wake up to is there, whether awake or asleep. It’s feeling warm water come out of the faucet and not cold water. It’s feeling comfortable with yourself. It’s being free to do what you want in a space of time that actually works. It’s not feeling pressured, forced, broken, or all of the above. It’s being able to go outside and feeling the days optimism implode in your face. It’s knowing that anything is possible and that you are capable of all things, regardless of the out come. It’s feeling that whatever higher power you worship is behind you with each step you take. It’s being able to eat and sleep and dream and repeat. It’s feeling great about every outcome.

This state is difficult to obtain because there are so many factors that make it short lived. I have a tendency to forget why/how I managed to stay there and only remember within the time I’m experiencing it. I’ve seen people with it that never let it go. I’m afraid to be happy/stable, so I don’t allow myself to keep it as long. I don’t know if you, the reader, have experienced that state or have maintained it consistenly, but I you have I applaud you because it’s about the equivalent to walking on water for me.

This is just a thought I wanted to share. If you have comments about this or want to share perspective on this, do that please. I love personal opinions and perspectives even if they’re harsh and make me huddle in a corner. I’m about as open as an empty jar. Please spill whatever you have in, it’s very much appreciated. 

What a Response to ‘Are you okay?’ Really Means

We all have our moments where if someone asks us that, our initial response is ‘yes’ because that’s a response that doesn’t require a worried/concerned follow up. No one bothers someone after they’ve answered that way because that answer sums up words that don’t need to be said out loud. The truth is there’s a lot under that ‘yes’, and if your anything like me, you can share in the weight of it. These are my concealed thoughts to that question in different situations.

1. When my manager asks me if I’m okay

It’s clear that this was asked out of pure human concern for my well being, but if you see me dripping with sweat, wreaking of fried chicken and garbage, with a garbage bag slung over my shoulder, what do you think? My feet hurt, my face is in pain from smiling, my calves and thighs ache from constantly squatting on the floor to pick up wrappers and things, and I’m just plain old tired. . . .no, I’m not okay. . . .

2. When I’m on my cycle, and my dad asks me if I’m okay

I get that you are worried that I might hurt you or anyone else within 1 foot of me because my mood is all over the place, but don’t ask me if I’m okay. I’m cramping like my body’s contemplating self termination. I have no concept of time because nine times out of ten says I just got up because I was in bed cringing all day. There is a literal sea of red coming out of my body that I have no control over. Don’t suggest medicine, don’t suggest food, don’t ask me when it’ll be ‘done’. Ask God that question. He’s the one who gave me this ‘really cool’ physical alarm clock anouncing I’m not having babies every month through a series of terrible events. I love you. . .but please think about what it would be like for you to experience this and rethink the question you asked. I’m not okay.

3. When my brothers and sisters hop all over me and ask me if I’m okay

I was drawing something and you invaded my personal space. You’ve been coming in and out for the past 5 hours asking me what I’m doing when you can see what I’m doing in plain sight. You’ve made me mediate 5 arguments because you can’t ignore one another and you complain about being hungry despite being old enough to make whatever processed mess there is in our pantry. Then , you get all happy and jump all over me. . .no, I’m not okay.

4. When my mom asks me if I’m okay

This one is unique depending on the mom you have, but with me it’s one of the few times I release everything:

Nobody likes me at work, and I don’t want to seek validation because I shouldn’t care, but I want people to like me. I spilled a tea urn and my manager almost killed me. I think the food there is making me sick and I think I’m getting fat too. I’m tired and I miss you and all I can think about is pizza. . . .

Those were the only four I could think of, but I’m sure there are more. That simple ‘yes’ holds more than you know . . . . .

Racists

For me, they’re like unicorns, except when I end up somewhere that already seems like narnia, then their existence makes sense. I think I’m the type of open minded person that assumes everyone is just as open minded. I grew up in a suburb, and even though the school demographic always seemed to show that white was dominant, I always found that the schools I hopped to had a diverse population of people, ethnic background and all. So, personally, I never witnessed a large amount of prejudice because it just seemed too ridiculous and the schools I attended never stood for it. Also, my friends were a mix of different things, so it was hard to give an ignorant back handed comment without a sense of understanding or sympathy for what certain slurs or words felt like or meant.

Granted, I might have just chosen a group of people that kept me from seeing how other minorities or races were treated, but it never got to me. Again, I really never felt the sting or experience of racism unless it was pointed out to me or I when I was faced with it in my first year of college. Other than that, I see the world through a colorless lense and I assume I’m seen just the same. The reason I bring up this topic, which deviates from my original one about dating app stages (was supposed to be funny), is because I was actually a tiny bit shocked. The last time I was called the ‘n’ word was when I was 10, and back then I didn’t know what it meant, so I laughed. Now . . .I kind of cringe. . .

Here’s what happened: I was on the app that is Tinder and I was swiping my little heart out, kind of making a cute game of it as I let my little sisters choose the suitors that Tinder had to offer since we were kind of bored. I wander off and happen to match with this random guy. I can’t make a screen shot of the conversation because I  unmatched him after the encounter and I think if I could, I wouldn’t. One because it’s kind of rude to display something like that without his permission and it’s simply common curtousy. I want to be treated with respect and with/without the conversation thread, I would uphold the same right. Please take my word for it, because that’s really all I can ask:

Him: let’s start this friendship off by saying something we hate!

Me: Fruit flies. . . .they just. . .lay eggs everywhere. . .

-your turn O.O

Him:  Niggers

Me: *crickets* everyone’s entitled, I guess. . . .

My reaction thoughts: He didn’t answer for awhile, but it kind of made my heart stop a little. I know why, but I think it’s scary to think about it because, even though he might not be capable of much, I imagine that he’s part of that population of people that don’t necessarily want me to exist. That population becomes a little more apparent to me even with small things like this. I also realized his closed mindedness shouldn’t scare me because no matter what color I am, I’m DiAnre. Being black isn’t really on my list of things to worry about when re-inventing myself, unless God is willing to re-open my genetic color palette and make my skin lighter. I’m one of those people who believe that inside and outside I was supposed to be everything I am today, so why should that be a problem for me or anyone else?

Back to conversation:

Him: (says something about going back to work because I’m a slave (I’m so good at paraphrasing. . .))

Me: *sigh* you guys seem like unicorns to me sometimes. Thank you for reminding me people like you still exist. Have a wonderful day 🙂

-unmatches. . .-

*ehem* hence unicorn reference. . . .

So, I guess this post is more for me since I had such a weird, semi-joulted reaction to it. I’m just amazed that some people still haven’t gotten over things like that. We live in a world with so many cool people, yet we have racism and homophobia, and just . . .mean people. My attempt to give a significant word on this issue sounds like it’s from a five year old, but it’s so stupid. People, no matter where they’re from or what they choose, are amazing creatures. Choosing to have a narrow mindset and let hate invade your mind space are missing out on so many beautiful personalities. Just as an example, although black people are a minority, there are a lot of us. Imagine how much of the world you’re cutting off because of your past ancestry’s mind set? Imagine if I decided to be racist against white people because of what they did to my ancestors??. . . . .I’d have to get rid of a lot of friends at that point. I would be cutting off the majority of the U.S population. . .makes dating choices kind of slim in my area as well.

I like to sympathize with the opposition always, but what am I supposed to say. . .?:

I’m sorry for being born a very dark shade of brown that really just represents the color that my parents genes came up with when they made me, which is also representative of where their genes originated (Africa, most likely). My race is not a reflection of who I am, what I eat, what I do, or how I do things. The ‘n’ word may hold many negative connotations for  you and my group of people, but we are not defined by the stereotypes associated with it,  nor can I say I am as an individual. I can’t say my ancestors weren’t slaves. . .they were, but I’m not because of the milestones and struggle they went through to get me to live in the normalcy I live in now. It’s clear that despite that hard work people like you still exist, but I’m not organizing a group to harass/lynch you any time soon, so obviously I can deal with you on some level as long as we’re simply coexisting. Why can’t you?

 That’s all I would have to say. How do you express sympathy for someone that isn’t making sense. . .To me, racism is that wild card you play when you can’t make a simple, slightly intelligent opinion of your own. Saying ‘I hate *insert racial slur*, that’s why Pauleen is so ugly to me’ sounds way more dumb than saying ‘Pauleen’s into stuff that I’m not into and she’s too short for my taste. I’m not attracted to Pauleen. . .’ That example was kind of vague, but you get the point.
 
Why not choose to see outside the hate and make an effort to see the world as a masterpiece rather than paying attention to the individual colors on the canvas? Nobody likes the guy that’s standing all close to that one famous Picasso being like ‘this piece would be so much better without that mustard yellow in the corner. It’s just not tasteful.’ . . . .WHO CARES ABOUT THE MUSTARD FREAKIN’ YELLOW???? . . .what happened to just taking in the painting from a wholistic perspective and being cool with that? Why focus on race when  you haven’t really taken time to focus on the amazing collage that is the world and who populates it?

This was me venting both a frustration and fear. I kind of wish racist people weren’t a thing, but they are. I experienced a tiny microscopic slice today and may experience worse later in life. The question is whether to seek change or get used to it. The first option’s kind of my favorite, so I’ll go with that one. I know, for some, this may seem like an inflated reaction to one person’s words, and I’ll admit that I’m a sensitive person at best sometimes. I just felt like this was a decent place to showcase my feelings and ideals. Thanks for reading.

Rigged Optimism

I’ve learned a lot about this and I didn’t realize it was a thing until I witnessed the man that helped birth me do it. (I could have easily just said ‘dad’, but the long one sounds so much better). Here’s what happened:

My dad put my brother in basketball a few months ago. His reason for putting my brother in basketball wasn’t because my brother had an intense interest or because it seemed to ‘fit’ or anything like that. It was just one sentence uttered from the coach’s mouth: ‘the boy’s got wing span.’ What that means for basketball, I have no idea. I don’t play it, I just watch people try to do it sometimes.

After my dad heard this, he was too excited to push him into trying out. He did, but my brother made it on to the ‘C’ team, which is like the lowest grade, team wise (I sound like I know so much. . .). Anyway, he continued to play on that team and still had many problems. He was and still is working on his dribbling and passing. He still holds his hips and stands in the middle of the court while the team is playing. He still doesn’t hussle fast enough back and forth. He doesn’t practice when he’s home, he holes himself in the loft and plays games and watches anime.

My dad is saddened by the outcome and my brothers lack of attempts to improve himself. Should he be sad though? The only reason he thought my brother would have any potential is because he heard another authority say something about ‘wing span’. His optimism for my brother to be the next Derrick Rose sky rocketed. His expectations were inflated because another adult saw potential and he took that and ran with it. It was rigged. He didn’t come up with that optimism on his own. A man with a hat and a clip board did. . . .

I bring this up because I’m like my dad in many ways. I’m his daughter, so it’s only natural that he gave me some of whatever he has. I assume that if I do it, there’s someone else in the universe that does and maybe after reading this you’ll realize you’re a victim of this as well. I like to think of rigged optimism as both good and bad because I like seeing things from both perspectives. Here’s my examples for the good and bad with my own experiences:

The good one was when I was in middleschool. I drew all the time, but didn’t think much of my drawings. I still don’t, but for a different reason. Back then, it was because I didn’t feel like it offered much. Many people that I went to school with said that I was great and after awhile, it boosted my little 6th or 7th grade self esteem and I thought ‘hey. . .maybe I am better than okay.’ I sat near my dad one day and I told him that I thought I was a good artist. In response, my dad told me that I wasn’t that good because there were artists that were much better than me. Being as young as I was, and with as much respect I had for my dad, I crumbled like a little cookie at those words. I didn’t crumble because of the harsh truth that yes, I wasn’t that good and yes, there were other people better than me. I crumbled because that optimism and confidence wasn’t really mine. It was built up by the support around me and I claimed it because of how great and accomplished it made me feel.

Rigged optimism like this is good. Just because those positive feelings don’t  necessarily originate from the person they’re being given to, doesn’t make them bad. As people, it’s normal to use the optimism of others to uplift ourselves. That’s what support is for: to give the extra confidence and help you can’t give yourself. One thing that good rigged optimism does is develop confidence you have naturally within you, in turn making it your own. The support doesn’t go away, but you have whatever added bonus you find in yourself. My development in that area was snuffed out a little by someone very important to me, and I stopped drawing for a year or so, but if I had let that good rigged optimism ride, I’d probably have at least made more of an effort to make it a career rather than a hobby.

The bad one is a little shorter, but one I’m sure some can relate to. When I was in high school, I had this guy I really liked. I told him I liked him through a note and waited for a magical facebook message to appear. Meanwhile, my friends hyped me up. They told me how great we looked together and how much he liked me. I had so much optimism to the point where I was gushing. My little highschool teenage body could not handle the hormones oozing out of me (that sounds gross, but I promise it wasn’t . . .). We did go on a date, but shortly after, he admitted to me that I was a wonderful person, but he didn’t like me that way and he never really did. The only reason I kept going with it was because of the hype that me friends gave me. Without that, I would have probably been able to tell that he wasn’t into it. I say that now because I realized there were a bunch of signs he was giving me that I refused to go with.

This is a decent example of bad rigged optimism because it happens constantly to me, but I’m more  level headed enough to catch it now rather than run with it. It’s not fair to assume the biggest when you haven’t  started at the beginning. When I gave him that note, I never gave him a chance to give me an answer. In fact, I didn’t wait for him to send me a message. I asked him out because I figured he liked me because he did not say no. My friends did not help that and gave me more reason to pursue him instead of pausing and realizing that I never even asked him what he thought of me or if he even liked me more than that.

This bad rigged optimism has the same things attached to it as good rigged optimism. You have that support well of optimism that you draw from others and that well helps you create your own. It becomes bad when you count on the support alone rather than the confidence that the support creates. You lean on the words of others for reassurance and that makes you invest in their judgement rather than your own. You become enveloped in those thoughts and opinions, which makes you feel comfortable enough to be happy and excited about the upcoming future, despite not really knowing what that is. The reason you don’t know is because you’re basing it off of an inflated optimism created by someone else. . .This example is kind of similar to the one I gave in the beginning. My dad didn’t really give my brother a chance to think about if basketball was a super serious thing he wanted to pursue, he just threw him in it based off  of the sparkling potential a coach saw in his arms or wings or whatever. That potential passed on from the coach to my dad, and thoughts of my brother being a basketball star made his heart skip a beat and he couldn’t resist to seize it. Now he’s slightly deflated because the potential that was there before is fading in his eyes.

Granted there’s nothing wrong with a father seeing potential in his son. I just feel that it should come from him and not the words of someone else. It should also be dependant on what the kid wants. My brother’s a little more pumped about basketball, but I’ve always felt it was because my dad gave him a little more attention than before because of that. For other situations like this, it’s the same. It’s better to draw from rigged optimism when our logic and confidence isn’t in critical condition. When those two important things are wrecked and messed up, we tend to lean on the words and positive opinions of others rather than our own. It’s okay to have rigged optimism when it’s  a situation where it’s boosting your confidence in a certain area or thing in your life, but it’s important to keep in mind that you should be just as confident on your own. The support of others is important, but making a foundation of your own out of that helps for times that you have no one to turn to or count on because that happens in life sometimes. To piggy back off of others optimism makes me sit and wonder why I was doing/starting something. Did I do it because I felt like I could or because my friend thought I could? What happens when my friend’s not there for me anymore or can’t be there and I haven’t drummed up enough confidence to go through with what I started?

I’m not a master on this, nor do I give myself the title of ‘master’. Being a master is too mainstream because you can’t ever stop learning anything. There will always be something new to learn, so are masters really masters if they haven’t learned absolutely everything?. . . .I’m going to stop there and think about that some other time since this has already grown in legnth. I hope this maybe made sense at all and that it raised some questions or made people think.

Also, I did look over this twice, but please don’t feel shy to point out errors. . . .just minor ones, because commas and things get confusing to change. I’m not an English major, I just write stuff. . .on the internet. . .for other people to read. . . .

Smile! Smiling isn’t a sign of weakness, is it?

I was training last week and the manager had said that. As simple as it was, it made me think because how many of us smile on a daily basis with that thought in mind? Whenever I’m out, I feel like my smile is more of a form of surrender or kind of like a mini invitation. I smile more now because I used to keep this grim look on my face knowing that if I did, no one would talk to me and that was kind of what I wanted back then.  In a sense, smiling was an indication that my guard was down and that I was available to say ‘hi’ to or start conversation.

Never in my life have I heard someone inadvertantly descibe a smile as being a stregnth. Technically I’ve never thought of it that way because a smile doesn’t necessarily scream ‘stregnth’ in certain situations. Sometimes we smile to seem less intimidating. Intimidation felt by others is often felt because we think someone is stronger than us, so naturally they’re smiling to seem less of that, or to kind of have a very basic facial expression to relate to. If I see someone intimidating smile at me, I naturally feel at ease because I realize they’re not going to kill me with their words or arms. This makes me want to smile back because they’ve momentarily come to my level by giving me the most basic form of kindness.

Also, because smiling is such a basic act with so much power, it could be used as a weapon rather than a white flag. If someone’s trying to piss you off and you smile the entire time, it’s a really good way to piss them off instead. Their goal was to piss you off and you blasted that smile like one million pocahontas arrows, and they’re emotionally bleeding outwardly and internally now. All the result of you smiling. . . .I’ve come encounter with many people that have been sad at times, and me smiling at them (they said this, not me, I’m not that full of myself. . .) made their day better.

In both ways, a smile can be a weakness and a stregnth, I guess. Although, thinking of it as a stregnth is new to me, I feel like I might think that way more often. After I heard that statement though,  it made me think about what a smile can really do, rather than being a sheer visual for vulnerability or surrender. It can be way more than that.

Summer Tips

I forgot to post yesterday and Saturday,  so today will be me posting more than I usually do to compensate. I’ve been trying to keep my weight under control and wrote this for anyone trying to do the same. I hope it helps 🙂

My ulcer has forced me to be on some sort of work out regiment. I have a tendency to get off track, but I’ve mentally prepared a lot of things that I’ve carried with me through my first couple years of college that have helped me both lose/maintain weight, at least, when I was doing what I was supposed to do. I also have tips that I’ve started using now that really help as well.

1. Don’t starve yourself

I have been given the advice that you should eat decent portioned meal with a good serving of fruit, vegetables, protein, and whatever else, but don’t eat a cracker, a strawberry, a piece of brocolli, and a slice of ham and call it lunch. You are supposed to leave some room in your belly. So you shouldn’t feel stuff, but should barely feel full, leaving you SLIGHTLY HUNGRY. Not starving. I say this because some people do create unrealistic meals like that and crash. Then the next day they eat pizza because they think they can’t do it. No. . .that’s not why. They can’t do it because they’re depriving their body of food. You also have to keep in mind that if your someone that eats a lot, and your body’s used to eating that way than its necessary for you to gradually down size your meals. Don’t go cold turkey and get on some crazy diet. Replace your normal go to snacks and meals with healthy things you genuinely like and work from there.

2. Drink water. . .plenty of it

This is a given, but if you drink water before your meal, or even at the start of your day, it helps. It curbs your appetite slightly and helps everything move smoothly on the inside. I also recently learned that sometimes hunger pains can be confused with the feeling of thirst, which happen to be the same. If you find yourself hungry after a meal, it might not be hunger, but simply your body’s need to be hydrated.

3. Pick a workout you don’t hate

I’ve realized that I hate running. You could try to get me to run for food or something new and shiny, but, unless I’m getting graded for it, I’m not doing it O.O I dislike it with a passion because it’s not engaging and I look like a dying panda when I do it. This has forced me to find a new way to do cardio and work other parts of my body in different ways. I’m in love with Zumba, and my parents bought a kinects  awhile ago, so that’s what I used to do for cardio. Now, I lift weights and do yoga. I’ve read articles saying that yoga takes care of mostly everything because it works your body in fifty million different ways, but I’ve also just tried doing jumping jacks because I don’t want to run. . .I would suggest doing the following if you also hate running:

-Zumba
-jumping jacks
-Burpees
-high knees
-bicycle crunches

4. If you can’t make it, find it

What this means is if you can’t make a personal work out plan yourself, find one. I sympathize with those that are too lazy to make one and there’s a couple ways I know that makes that easy. MyFitnessPal.com gives you templates and workout lay outs to set up work outs for yourself. I also think pinterest is a wonderland for work out plans (I’ll put a few below for those that aren’t hip to pinterest because I discovered it a few months ago, so there’s no telling)

5. Patience is key

Patience is the ultimate thing to keep in mind. That was one reason why I didn’t do well when trying to maintain my weight in highschool. I was really impatient and was looking for immediate results. I wanted to look like Beyoncé when I woke up the next morning and that just wasn’t happening. Being patient and understanding that physical changes to the body take time is the only way you’re going to get through this.

6. Accept the way you look

This is important too. I know that working out is kind of based on how you want to shape yourself to look after, but, like I said in the last point, impatience sets in when. Immediate results aren’t seen. I’m not saying to get super comfortable if you’re in the process of trying to lose the weight, but just take a few mom ents to recognize that your body’s a beautiful thing. Your body may take time to become that perfect victoria secret shape you want, but it’s helpful to take a step back and realize that the skin you’re in is okay and that there’s more to this physical transition than what you think. I learned to do this recently because I would work out and look at my body afterwards and just hate what I saw no matter what the scale read. Even me being lighter now, I still have deep seated body issues. It’s important to give yourself a mental hug and say ‘I love my body and will love it no matter how it looks/changes’.

7. Cut down on smoothies

I’m not an expert on the detox thing, but smoothies in general are kind of a no-no unless you plan to burn most of that in the gym an hour later. Fruits and vegetables are great for you, but when you blend them and condense them into one drink, you have to realize how many calories you’ve just pushed together and you also have to think about the nutrients you’ve just destroyed. Blending fruits and vegetables slightly diminishes the health value because it involves breaking down the natural composition of whatever you throw in it. It doesn’t mean you can’t get anything good out of it, it just means that you would probably get more eating the fruit itself verses blending it. Granted, I’m an advocate for Jamba Juice or places with fruit smoothies, but I realized after freshmen year that drinking a large one of those for breakfast and lunch actually made me gain weight when I thought I was being ‘healthy’. You could throw metabolism in there (mine is very slow) as well as other factors, but try to steer clear of them if your someone that doesn’t have time to work it off later.

8. Swap out bad snacks

I love replacing my  bad snacks because I can usually find a healthier option that tastes ten million times better. It’s easier than revamping your entire eating plan and it gives you room to indulge in something  that tastes good, but is still good for you.
Here are some things I eat at school to replace the bad things I like:
-Cocoa almonds
-Nuts and raisins
-veggie chips
-lentil chips
-apple chips
-Bananas
-Apples
-Baby carrots
-Izzie/izz pop (I can’t remember the name. . .)
-Cliff Bars (more a last resort morning snack, because of the amount of sugar and carbs)
-fruit leather

They’re really easy to swap out with. When I can’t have a decent lunch or breakfast, those are perfect for me. I love eating a banana in the morning with a gigantic water bottle. I also love eating  veggie chips (specifically the ‘Way Better’ brand). Nuts and raisins are also my favorite. I realized that they fill me up within a few handfuls and make me feel happy 😀 Choose things that you know you like that are decently healthy for you or even try some that I listed. It makes being healthly less painful.

Hopefully some of these help. Summer time is usually when most people start trying to be healthy, or that’s what feels like to me. Try to stay healthy. . .a don’t die.

Bean Bag Chat: Make Up

I’ve wanted to make this post for awhile and I finally have the gumption and the pictures to back it up *pumps fist* I’M AMPED!!

So, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to what goes in my body, but I’ve never thought about what goes on it. I’m not the type of person who really has many care/beauty products at their disposal: If anything I pride myself on smelling and looking ‘good’ (my standard) on less than 5 or 6 things. You can imagine how I crumbled when I found out everything I was using was harmful for my health. Once I found that out, I was like a mad, crazy, obsessed woman bent over the edge searching for reasons why my make up could possibly kill me and searching for every alternative so that I could keep my black eyeliner and bright red lips. I was going H.A.M on the internet for weeks. . . .

Fortunately, I found answers to my questions and an alternative that ultimately seemed easy, affordable, and appealing to my creative side: making my own make up. I’m sure there are other bloggers who’ve advocated this several times over and beat it to a bloody pulp with reasons why it’s great, why buying make up from some of your favorite brands is bad, and tutorials, but I’d like to beat it in extra extra extra hard (I feel like that sounded wrong inside my head, but my mind is an unclean gutter at times, so ignore. . . .please. . .) First, I’ll start with a basic list of the chemicals found in makeup that can be harmful. There are way more beyond this, but these are easy to pick out on any bottle or beauty product. I’ll also leave at least two or more links to websites that’ll give you more information:

#1. PARABENS

Whether it has an ethyl-, propyl-, or any other type of fragment of letters attached to it, it’s bad. It’s a chemical used to prolong the shelf life of things like lipsticks, mascara, lotions, under eye/overnight creams, and a list of other things. Although it keeps your lipstick from rotting, it’s known for causing cancer, specifically breast cancer.

#2. MICA

This is what makes that lovely shine and glow on your lips when you throw on one of your favorite lipsticks. One thing that’s not so bright about this powder is that it’s dangerous to inhale. Now, most of you, I’m sure, don’t snort your eye shadow or lipsticks, but these powders, when applied, can disperse in the air as tiny nano-particles that can’t be seen. It’s known to cause severe lung damage with use over time.

#3. TALC

You’d find something like this in loose foundations and other powder care products. This is a substance that can be compared to asbestos and is just as dangerous. This one likes to create tumors in your lungs and ovaries . . . .fun 😦

#4. TITANIUM DIOXIDE

Titanium Dioxide is commonly found in make up as well as other products that may promote ‘protection from UV rays’ and can even be found in the food we eat. It’s a simple white powder, but carries the same respiratory hazard as Mica if inhaled and may even cause minor damage to the brain. This one’s hard to avoid since it’s in a majority of products we use and even if you don’t use products that have it, your favorite candy’s dye might have titanium oxide, your best friend’s sister’s aunt might have this sunscreen she loves and every time she hugs you, you’ll be exposed to small amounts of it, or you’ll just encounter it walking passed someone wearing something that contains it. Titanium Dioxide is also tricky because the harm of it is ‘down-played’ to calm consumers. With it’s ability to protect you from the sun and it’s non-ability to absorb into your skin, it seems safe at first glance, but to stay away from it will give you a life with less complication and more days to live on your calendar.

WHAT TO DO?

If all this is new to you, I just want to say I’m sorry for crushing those who’s lives are nothing without a little powder and blush. You’re probably looking at your compact with both betrayal and deceit in your eyes and I know that feeling all to well: I relived that feeling while picking up my make up and dumping the contents of the containers. . . .Yeah, I said it: I dumped EVERYTHING. It’s worth it, trust me. For those who still want to revel in the glory that is shopping for make up, Bare Minerals and LUSH both are known to sell all natural make up. LUSH has a category for those who want to go completely vegan and have the complete organic experience. There’s also Red Apple Lipstick, which is quite pricey, but sometimes good things come at an expense *shrug* life’s rough.

BUT. . .BUT I DON’T WANNA *sobs*

If you’re someone who can’t afford the good stuff, you’ve got two options:

-Make it yourself

OR

-Have care and beware

When I say ‘have care and beware’ what I mean is ‘know what’s good for you and make a conscious decision about what your using’. It’s okay to want to slink back to your L’OREAL lip stain whatever, but try these few things out:

LESS IS MORE:

Try using a little less make up. I know ‘contouring’ is the new make up craze, but let’s try to show off our best assets without the smoke screen of 7 layers of foundation. People LIKE to see your face. . .show them your face O.O

OPEN WINDOWS:

Apply powders near an open window to lower the chance of inhaling it. Maybe apply it in the car with the window down in a parking lot before work or if you have a room with a window, crack it a bit. You could also invest in pressed powders.

EDUCATE YOURSELF:

I’m sure there are tons of cheaper options for less harmful make up out there. I’m no genius *points to self* I just like to write stuff and post it. Do research and find products with only one harmful substance. It’s a small step, but a start for those too sheepish to get away from high end brand make up, or even cheap make up. All websites should have a pull out menu with a tab labeled ‘ingredients’ for each care/beauty product. Knowing what you have on your face is a click away. Ignorance is bliss, I know. Just realize that knowledge is power 😀 and use it to get passed the pain XD

FOR THOSE COOL DIY PEOPLES. . . .

When you read the word ‘make’ you had a slight twitch in your left eye. . .I felt it. I had that same twitch after the trauma of losing all 3 or 4 of my make up products. For those who like to be creative, there’s a number of recipes and tutorials at your disposal, but first I’ll talk about some oils, butters, and wax for some of the make up you’ll be making.

BUTTERS:

I’ll admit, I had trial and error with this on my first run which I’ll explain when I get to it, but even when you’re going for a more natural approach, it’s good to know the benefit you reap from the ingredients your using. Here are three butters that are used for DIY make up:

-Shea Butter
-Cocoa Butter
-Mango Butter

SHEA BUTTER

-Shea butter contains vitamin E, A, F and D. It also has healing properties that repair damage on the sensitive skin of the lips. Not only can you put this in your lipstick and balms, but it’s great as an under eye cream or even a moisturizer. It absorbs directly into your skin, so it doesn’t leave a noticeable greasy residue.

ONE THING, THOUGH. . .

Coming back to my mistake I made with this particular butter. . . .I bought a 2 oz. bag of unrefined shea butter only thinking about the great benefits it would give to my homemade make up. One thing I forgot to keep in mind: I’m allergic to tree nuts.

Okay, so for those that don’t know where shea butter comes from, it’s extracted from a nut and these particular nuts grow on trees similar to a walnut, pecan, or any other nut that comes from a tree. When shea butter’s refined, you have a less chance of having any type of allergic reaction BUT if unrefined, that’s an entirely different story due to the fact that it hasn’t been processed through anything and it’s in the purest state it could possibly be. I was fine for the first couple of days because my allergy is mild, but when I used more lip balm I noticed that my lips were that of a blow fish (which isn’t a good look because I already have huge soup coolers for lips)

If you’re allergic to tree nuts or all nuts: DON’T USE THIS!!! Your lips will swell like a balloon and if your allergy to nuts is more severe, it may be a life or death situation for you to even be surrounded by natural shea butter. Instead, use the next two I’m about to mention.

COCOA BUTTER:

Other than smelling like chocolate heaven, it has just as many benefits as shea butter. It’s hydrating and healing to the skin, and serves as a powerful antioxidant. It also reduces stretch marks for those who want to use it for more than just make up.

MANGO BUTTER:

With softening and healing power, it also has a light sweet smell. Other benefits to this is the protection it gives from UV rays and it’s ability to soothe irritated skin.

CARRIER OIL:

The list goes on and is practically endless, but I’ll list the ones with the most use in homemade make up:

-Olive Oil: basic oil that cleanses your skin and handy for wiping off make up while moisturizing your skin

-Coconut Oil: anti-viral and antibacterial properties

-Jojoba Oil: good for acne and oily skin (if you wanted to use it alone, too) Also contains anti-inflammatory properties

-Castor Oil: This gives your balm, gloss, or lipstick shine

-Sweet Almond Oil: Gives a nice scent and is good for soothing itchy or irritated skin

-Vitamin E Oil: This will act as a preservative in the make up you make

There’s Avacado, Rose Hip, Borage, and a gang of other oils that are great. I’ll be leaving a link for those at the very bottom because this post is already extremely long. Next I’ll move on to. . .

WAXES:

Beeswax and soy wax are the two most common ones. Beeswax is protective against outside elements and locks in moisture. Soy wax is similar, but an alternative for those allergic to beeswax.

PIGMENTS:

There are a few I personally suggest because they’re more likely to give you the color that you want verses natural color you purchase from somewhere else that have already pre-mixed a color for you. Pigments can be used in balms and lipstick, but you can also mix oil and pigments to create blush and powder foundation with them:

IRON OXIDES:

These are safe for DIY make up use, but I wouldn’t recommend considering it as a pigment for the use of permanent make up because it has a different effect when it’s on the surface of your lips versus coursing through your blood stream. It’s harmless when on the surface of your skin and produces deep vibrant shades.

MICAS:

There are FDA approved natural Micas you can use if you wish. This contradicts the ‘Micas are bad’ speech I gave earlier, but if you’re dying for that shiny color, a little goes a long way. Also, some Micas sold in craft stores or online wholesale shops are safer than the ones that are untested in the make up we go out and buy. Some examples are DIY Cosmetics and TKB Trading. Often, Mica will be found in already crafted lipstick powder shades. They can also be found in tiny amounts in iron oxide if the pigment is shiny or metallic.

BENTONITE CLAYS:

These are simply colored ground shades of clay which will give you brilliant, bold, and bright shades. If you don’t want to worry about oxides or micas, clays are for you.

COLORED DRINK PACKETS:

Yes. . .Kool Aid and Crystal Light and other powdered drink products. . .I know . . .slightly childish for us sophisticated ladies *whips hair while wearing a shirt with talking chili peppers on it* but they are extremely pigmented (you’ve seen it stain your hand for days. . .) and as long as they don’t contain Aspartame, I would DEFINITELY see it as a cheaper option for a make up pigment.

SPICES:

Cinnamon and nutmeg make good brown pigments and are also a cheaper option. Cocoa powder and beet root powder are also good options.

ARROW ROOT POWDER:

This is similar to corn starch and is used for cooking. It has no real scent and blends well with brown and neutrals to create a decent powder foundation.

ZINC OXIDE:

This will make your colors brighter and protect you from UV rays. It’s a thick white powder that will add body to the color.

Now that you know about what supplies you can use and how they can help out your face space, it’s time to create. Here, I’ll put down every single tutorial I watched and articles I read to be able to make the make up you can see below in the picture frames. I hope this post helps anyone reading it 🙂 :

HOW-TO: Lipstick

-http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=blcYzqOakJ0

-http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ts3u1nQVC40

-http://wellnessmama.com/5830/homemade-lipstick-recipe/

HOW-TO: Lip balm

-http://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLfPjpfMpIEqfEN6wArRNop8gSjwswc0-x&v=yYpoViAKbME

-http://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLfPjpfMpIEqfEN6wArRNop8gSjwswc0-x&v=9VdePEOcqcI

-http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=guN1jEt-Aik

-http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VPkq_9wepE4

-http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YMtwzdffP7M

-http://wellnessmama.com/5837/tinted-lip-balm-recipe/

HOW-TO: Blush

-http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VK6vS_oRRTs

HOW-TO: EYELINER

I haven’t found a good one yet. . .but I suggest this:

1 tsp of shea, cocoa, mango butter
1/2 tsp of beeswax
A pinch of oil

-heat ingredients and add in as much pigment as you wish.

HOW-TO: Foundation

-http://www.thankyourbody.com/homemade-foundation/

Helpful YouTube Channels:

+ Kin Community

+ Ecoistas

+ lisapullano.com

+ styleken

DIY Websites To Order Materials:

DIY Cosmetics:
http://www.diycosmetics.com/

TKB Trading:
http://www.tkbtrading.com/

Scentsible Crafts on Etsy:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScentsibleCrafts?section_id=14600264

Carrier Oil Info Site and Shelf Life Info:

Oil Info (SOURCE):
http://www.theresearchpedia.com/health/aromatherapy/most-popular-carrier-oils-and-their-benefits

Shelf Life Info:
http://www.gardenofwisdom.com/carrieroils.html

More Info On Harmful Chemicals (SOURCES):

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-risks-of-titanium/

http://www.ecouterre.com/6-toxic-ingredients-you-should-avoid-in-cosmetics/cosmetics-avoid-2/?extend=1

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5971/12-Toxic-Ingredients-to-AVOID-in-Cosmetics-Skin-Care-Products-Infographic.html

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.nuts.com/cookingbaking/leavenerthickener/arrowroot.html

SIDE NOTE: Notice I didn’t put crayons as an option. Sure, it’s non-toxic. Sure, it’s safe for a 2 year old to ingest and shove up their nose, BUT crayons probably contain more lead than the lipstick you use normally. . . .I won’t bother putting a reference or article for this because as soon as you put in ‘the danger of using crayons. . .’ in the search box of any search engine, there will be plenty.

Again, I hope you guys enjoyed this. I spent hours on this post, but if there are any errors, please let me know in the comments.