Ghosting: Cowardice or Commonality?

Ghosting is a term that almost everyone has heard of. If you’re currently in the dating scene, you definitely know what it is and you’ve probably experienced it, one way or the other.

Dictionary.com defines “ghosting” (yes, there’s even a definition in the dictionary) as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” Urbandictionary.com extends this definition to add that ghosting is “with zero warning or notice beforehand” and it’s done by “avoiding…phone calls, social media, and avoiding [seeing] them in public.”

Maybe you’ve been ghosted; maybe you’ve ghosted someone else; maybe both or neither situation apply to you. I know my own opinion on the phenomenon, but I wanted to ask around and see how both men and women, of multiple age groups, felt about ghosting. All of my interviewees will be kept anonymous, except for their gender and age. I’ll label each person with (M) or (F) followed by a number, so we can keep each interviewee straight.

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Age Group: 22-32This group has been ghosted before.

  1. How did it feel to be ghosted?

M1(22-32): It felt shitty.

M2(22-32):I’ve been ghosted more times than I can count. From dating apps, to after meeting someone for the first time. It feels superficial and terrible to be ghosted. Like someone doesn’t want to take the time to get to know me.

F1(22-32): I’ve been ghosted so many times that it should feel easy by now, but nope! I still feel like crap every time it happens. It’s like any breakup, except without the curtesy of being told that you’re being broken up with. So actually, it feels worse than any normal breakup.

F2(22-32): It makes you feel f***ing terrible. It makes you feel unworthy or undeserving of love. It’s a really dark feeling and effects your self-esteem. If it happens enough, it almost feels like you deserve it because you start to kind of expect everyone to ghost you. It’s really sad to say but sometimes these feelings of rejection last a really long time.

F3(22-32): It’s insensitive and something that can be easily avoided with open communication.

2. Did you ever figure out why that person disappeared?

M1(22-32): A lot of introspection led me to understand that I probably set off a lot of personal red flags for them. I had to not take it personally, but that took awhile. It was just incompatibility.

M2(22-32): There are numerous reasons why girls have ghosted me. I told one girl that I don’t have social media presence and don’t want to change that. Ghosted. The first date didn’t go well. Ghosted. I wasn’t texting back fast enough. Ghosted. But overall, these are only my assumptions for why they disappeared. I’m really blunt and honest, so if I say something that they didn’t like and then they stop talking to me, I assume it was because of that.

F1(22-32): Well no, not outright. Like, they never explained to me why they suddenly ghosted out. I assume that I came on too strong, and maybe that’s what causes every ghosting situation. What’s annoying about it though, is that it’s not like I told these people I loved them after 2 dates or something crazy. I guess it’s just easier for people to ignore someone than to tell them they aren’t interested.

F2(22-32): Maybe this is my optimism, but I don’t really think it’s ever anything truly personal. I think they were maybe filling a void, like I served a purpose and then it was over. I don’t think any of it was malicious. I think they liked me at first, I did what they needed me to do, then they were done. I think most people, when they meet someone, go into dating hopeful that it’ll work out (without real expectations) and as soon as they realize it doesn’t do what they want, they are done. On the other hand, some people start dating just because they’re curious or don’t want to be alone, so they’re not really interested. When the experience gets dull, they have no feelings so they can easily cut it off.

I overthink everything and if I try to talk to someone about why I think we might not work and it doesn’t go through to them, I know that we won’t work. Usually, if I can feel that someone is drifting away from me, I let them. I let the ball be in their court because I’ll be damned if I have to force someone to love me. This might cause people to ghost ME, because I might come off like I don’t care or like I’m indifferent. For example, if I text someone “good morning” two days in a row, I’ll not text them “good morning” again until they do it first. Dating is all a stupid game.

I do try to stand up for myself in a respectful way, though. Maybe this doesn’t even effect them, but I feel like I need to make it known. They usually don’t know how to react I think or maybe they don’t even care. I might not get my explanation, but I make sure they know that what they did was shitty.

F3(22-32): Whenever I get ghosted I just ask them and most of the time I don’t get answers. It’s whatever, because there’s no point in trying to have someone in your life who doesn’t respect you.

3. Do you think that ghosting is practical or justifiable sometimes?

M1(22-32): It can be…depending on the circumstances. Do you owe the person an explanation? If not, it should be viewed as a modern part of life or part of dating in this new technological landscape.

M2(22-32): Ghosting does have its purposes. Like getting out of a toxic relationship and needing to cut ties with that person. But I don’t think that’s the reason it’s so common with our generation. Our generation and the one after ours has been very superficial since social media started to control our lives. If someone doesn’t seem interesting enough on their profile, or they don’t text the “right” way, or they don’t look the way you want them to online, we use that against them. People don’t want to take the time to actually get to know someone to the point where their “flaws” no longer matter, because there’s always someone “better” online.

F1(22-32): Hmm..well I want to say “HELL NO” because I’ve been on the shit end of the stick so many times and I know that it feels absolutely horrible. But I’m a hypocrite I guess. I’ve done it before, but it was only when I’ve made it clear to the person that I’m uninterested and they’re still not leaving me alone. If someone is bothering you to no end after you’ve made yourself clear, ghosting feels like the only way.

F2(22-32): 90% of the time, no. I think the only time it’s fair is if the person is toxic. If you need to cut that person out of your life for your own well-being and you’ve tried every other way, then I can see how ghosting is justifiable. But if you’re just being a coward and don’t want to explain yourself, then no. I think that as a society, we have problems communicating in general. Two people can both be great, but not be each other’s “person.” If you can’t communicate that to the other person when you feel like it isn’t working out, you are only creating a bigger problem. Now that person you ghosted has self-esteem issues, just because you felt uncomfortable communicating your feelings. It’s a respect thing I think. We should care more about each other’s feelings than our own comfort.

F3(22-32): Ghosting is practical in situations if the person is being clingy or aggressive. However, you can communicate that, then stop answering, because at least they have an answer.

4. Have you ever ghosted someone? If yes, why? If no, why not?

M1(22-32): Yes, because they set off a bunch of my own red flags: codependency, neediness, the like.

M2(22-32): I have ghosted someone before. She displayed some obsessive behavior that wasn’t healthy, so I cut ties. I didn’t have a choice. she would find me and message me on any social media site, or even text me from a friend’s phone to get my attention.

F1(22-32): Ugh, yes I have. And I hate that I have. Like I said before, if someone is not hearing me when I make it known that I don’t want to be with them and they won’t leave me alone, I’ll ghost. I remember in high school once, this guy I knew legitimately asked me on dates all the time and I always said no. He’d even call me, back to back to back, after I’d hit ignore. He’d text me over and over and over too. Another example: today, I still get Instagram messages once a week from a guy I met a couple years ago and turned down for dates MULTIPLE times. You can’t reason with that.

F2(22-32): I don’t think I ever have. 90-95% of the time, I play for keeps. If I think a relationship isn’t going to work, I’ll tell them why I think that. But most of the time, I’m the one wanting it to work and they will be the one to ghost me.

F3(22-32): I’m a person who expresses how they feel. So I rarely ghost; if I did it was because they made me feel unsafe. I just tell someone I don’t think this is going to work out, etc.

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Age Group: 22-32 — This group has never been ghosted before.

**Questions 1 & 2 are not included for this group, as they not applicable**

3. Do you think that ghosting is practical or justifiable sometimes?

M3(22-32):I think it’s practical because it’s easier than hurting someone’s feelings by telling them you aren’t interested in them. But it is pretty cowardly.

F4(22-32): Absolutely! But not with a significant other…when it’s someone you’re romantically involved with, you wish you could matter enough to them to not be ghosted by them, so it should go both ways. However, ghosting friends or acquaintances or even exes can actually be practical in some cases.

4. Have you ever ghosted someone? If yes, why? If no, why not?

M3(22-32): I have. Usually because she’s too aggressive or doesn’t take the hint.

F4(22-32): I just did yesterday to a person who used to mean the world to me. I’m not holding a grudge but, I dropped everything for this person for him to just disappear. I’m not playing “pay back.” I just know that he’s hard on drugs and we are in completely different places in life. I could offer him so much, but would he take it for gospel? Not a chance. Then I’d be left in the dust. Even as a friend. So when he showed up in my inbox, I left him on read and that’s how it’ll stay, for my own sanity.

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Individualized Interviews (age 60-70) — Insight from “older” generations

-Interview 1: Female; Age 64-

Have you ever heard of “ghosting?”

F5(33-60): Of course!

Cool. So you know it’s when someone you’re dating or interested in disappears on you and stops replying.

What was the time frame (70s/80s/90s, etc) that you were dating around?

F5(33-60): I do know that but it is also a term that is used in HR now….I invite someone for an interview and they just don’t show up and don’t tell you they aren’t coming for the interview! I dated in the 70s and again in late 80s and 90s. No one used that term them. Guys just didn’t call back and you knew they were jerks.

Wow! I didn’t know it was used in that sense!! Nowadays, « ghosting » is a super normal way to show that you’re uninterested, because we can just ignore a text or block a number or unfriend someone on social media. It’s especially easy because a lot of people meet on dating apps now, so once you’re ghosted, you can be easily forgotten!

So not getting a call back was the way someone essentially would « ghost » you. How did it feel to you when this happened? Was it easy to move on from or did you often see that person around afterward?

F5(33-60): Depends….in the 70s it hurt my feelings and I probably saw them again because I was on a small campus. But in my ALL GIRL dorm, we shared info on guys like that and we comforted each other in kind of funny, probably insincere ways like…”screw him, it’s his loss.” After divorce, dating was different. I didn’t care if someone didn’t call me back, because I figured that he didn’t have what I needed for me and my kids. The kids were the best temperature takers for no-call-back guys. My son kicked a date in the shins one time and I never heard from him again. Now my husband…they didn’t scare him off even though they were kind of crappy to him in the beginning.

-Haha!! Clearly if he can’t handle your kid, he’s not worth your time!!

In the 70’s, did you ever try to get an explanation for why guys didn’t call you back? Or did you just sit in agony wondering why? Or did you do okay with brushing it off?

F5(33-60): You know, I was really ok with it I think.

Did you ever not return a man’s call without explanation? If yes, what was your reasoning? If no, why not?

F5(33-60): I’ll tell you what I learned recently that I was unaware of….I think I “ghosted” a fair amount myself, or tried to, but guys made me give them a reason. Social media has produced several old dates who ask to reconnect on FB and several have ultimately sent me an IM asking why I “broke up” with them in the 70s and sometimes I didn’t realize we were really dating! Listen to this….one guy said “can I ask you something that’s been bothering me all these years….why did you break up with me?” I couldn’t believe it…”seriously? Please explain.” He said I told him I was breaking up with him….(this was not a long term relationship) …because he was rude and wore jeans and then I started dating a guy who was ruder and wore jeans too. I do not remember ever saying anything like that but I remember having a hard time getting him to leave me alone! Two of my ex-husband’s asked me the same thing YEARS later, believe it or not. I find that so interesting and maybe a part of present-day ghosting? Some people carry that shit, of what feels like rejection, around for a LONG time– emotions run deep. It’s hard to be honest if you’re a decent person or if you’re with someone who is “insecure or a hanger on-er or maybe really in love?” Maybe ghosting is easier today because of social media and technology and it’s easier to hide behind disinterest than it was in the 70s. In the 80s and 90s, we were dependent on answering machines…your only option was not returning phone calls. We are emotional beings. And we are shitty to each other at times. Shame on us.

If you had to be dating today, would you think that ghosting is acceptable in some cases?

F5(33-60): If I was dating today….which I’m extremely thankful that I’m not and hope to never again….I wouldn’t ghost someone. I’d just be honest and say I’m not interested….thats the thing about getting older. Every decade, the filters come off and you’ve learned how to speak your truth, with kindness.

-Interview 2: Male, age 69-

Have you ever heard of “ghosting?”

M4(33-70): No…what is that?

So, “ghosting” is when someone you’re dating or interested in disappears on you and stops replying to text messages.

M4(33-70): Oh.. that’s crude!! Just kinda rude and mean and nasty…maybe if someone ghosts you, you’re lucky because you never have to talk to that person again. Shows their true colors.

What was the time frame (70s/80s/90s, etc) that you were dating around?

M4(33-70): I dated mostly in the 50’s I’d say.Did you ever have an instance while dating in the 50’s where something similar to “ghosting” happened to you?

M4(33-70): My wife tried to ghost me once I guess! I took her out to a dance for our first date and a week or so later I stopped by her house to see her. I guess she didn’t feel very pretty at the moment so she told her mom to tell me she wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t talk. I guess her mom made her call me anyway so it worked out!

Did you ever try to “ghost” someone else?

M4(33-70): Hmm..I had a couple of instances where I guess I didn’t quite “click” with a girl but I couldn’t just ignore her. I’d just tell them I didn’t want to go another date.

Why do you think that this “ghosting” phenomenon didn’t exist when you were dating?

M4(33-70): Well, for one thing, we didn’t have the technology that you guys have today. I think this technology creates this crudeness, or ability to be completely unattached. We didn’t have caller ID, so we didn’t know who was calling us before we answered, therefore we couldn’t just ignore their calls. We also didn’t have personal phones, so since I lived at home with my parents when I was dating, they’d answer and I wouldn’t have much of a choice but to be handed the phone when it was for me. Not wanting to go on a second or third date was very personal and you couldn’t ignore the situation. You had to tell the other person how you felt.

If you had to be dating today, would you think that ghosting is acceptable in some cases?

M4(33-70): I think my generation sees it completely differently. I’d personally never ghost someone, but it’s because I think it’s rude and wouldn’t want it to happen to me. I have friends who’s husbands have passed away and are dating today. One friend was telling me how she just told a man she didn’t want to see him again. I think we don’t know any other way to end it, so we just tell the truth. I think it’s better that way.

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Summary of findings

After interviewing these five women and 4 men (as well as 5 other people from the age range of 22-32 which are not included in this article) and compiling their responses, I found some trends!

Trend #1: Although every interviewee from ages 22-32 think that ghosting someone is disrespectful, insensitive or cowardly, they still think it’s justifiable sometimes and most of them have ghosted someone themselves!

Basically, we know it hurts when we’re ghosted, but we don’t always think about that when we decide to ghost someone else! It’s an endless cycle. Like F2 said, “you are only creating a bigger problem.” What’s that rule about doing to others what you would want others to do to you?

Trend #2: Those who have ghosted someone else before, did it because they found the other person to be either too “clingy” (or quite frankly, annoying), or toxic to their lives in some way.

If someone needs to be cut out of your life for personal safety and mental health reasons, it seems to be a consensus that ghosting is the way to go.

When it comes to ghosting someone for being “clingy”, I think we need to ask ourselves, “was I clear with this person from the beginning what my intentions were?” If yes, maybe ghosting is fair. If no, we should ask ourselves, “have I led this person to believe that I’m more interested in them than I truly am?” If yes, TELL THEM THAT. If no, TELL THEM how you’re feeling–about how they are coming off to you. Maybe they’ll fix it or maybe you’ll mutually figure out you’re not the right fit for each other.

If you’re someone who’s been ghosted a lot and can’t figure out why, ask yourself, “was I being toxic in some way?” or “have I been hurtful with my words or actions that I didn’t see as hurtful before?” If yes, there’s the issue. If no, ask yourself, “did I seem way more interested in them than they did in me (did I always text first/double-text/give compliments but not really receive them back?)” If yes, that’s what caused it. You came off as “clingy.” If no, they played you, and you don’t need that person in your life. Like M4 said, “maybe if someone ghosts you, you’re lucky.”

I personally have learned a lot from this part of my interviews. There are some moments in time where I’ve been ghosted and I can now see that I came off as overly-eager. I’ve also learned that I have ghosted some people without first making my intentions incredibly clear. I think we all have something to learn about ghosting!

Trend #3: Those who have been ghosted, describe this specific way of being rejected to be more hurtful than a common breakup.

It’s obvious from the responses to question 1, that getting ghosted leaves you feeling small and worthless. In other words, it makes you feel “shitty.” The difference here is that many people who are ghosted seem to carry that feeling of rejection around for longer than expected, presumably because they are left with unanswered questions: Did I do something wrong? Are they seeing someone else? Is it something I said? Did they judge me too quickly? Why couldn’t they just tell me what they were feeling?

M3 mentioned that ghosting is a better alternative to “hurting someone’s feelings,” but in reality, it seems that being ghosted hurts your feelings more than if you were simply told the truth.

Trend #4: Technology is the culprit.

Not only did the “older generations” note that the use of modern technology causes feelings of detachment from one another, but even a few of those interviewed that are between the ages of 22-32. It’s no surprise that the use of social media, dating apps, texting and even caller ID have made it easy to cut ties with someone and avoid the awkwardness of explaining how you feel to someone. Maybe technology has made everyone more closed off, more socially inept, or even more insensitive. As M1 pondered, should we all just accept the ghosting phenomenon as a “part of dating in this new technological landscape?”

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In conclusion, we can almost all agree that the ghosting phenomenon sucks. Like Lizzo says, “truth hurts,” but it’s clear that ghosting hurts even worse.

Workplace Abuse: Calling Out My First Boss

I’ve always been a hardworking individual. Most of my self-esteem comes from knowing that I’ve done a “good job” at work, or that I’ve somehow helped to make someone else’s life easier by going above and beyond with my workplace duties. Unfortunately, my self-esteem is also adversely affected by things I do at work.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my own thinking while searching for ways to improve my self-esteem. When I find myself spiraling into negative self-talk, it’s almost ALWAYS set off by not feeling good enough at my job. I have numerous pieces of evidence to prove that I’m a great teacher: thank you notes and drawings from students, noticeable academic growth in my classes, obvious feelings of mutual trust and love between myself and the kids I teach. However, I’m never able to see those beautiful and positive things as they are. Instead, I find dozens of reasons every week why I think I’m doing terribly and will most definitely be fired.

Why do I think this way? I’ve found a connection from my past that seems to explain it: My first boss ever was incredibly abusive.

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I’m from a small town in southern Indiana, of around 17,000 people. That seems like a large number, but in reality, everyone knows everyone. In middle school, I went to the very small Catholic school in town, Rivet. This school was so small, that they allowed off-campus lunch for kids who were legally able to drive. Most kids, though, chose to walk to some of the cafes on Main Street for lunch. One of those nearby lunch-spots was a little cafe and caterer, owned by one of the Rivet families.

When I was fourteen, one morning at Rivet I heard an announcement over the loudspeaker saying that this cafe was looking to hire a dishwasher. Being the hard-worker that I am, I was incredibly excited by this opportunity. I’m not even 16 yet and I can get a job! I was ready to pounce. However, also being the socially anxious human that I am, I was too scared to go out for the job on my own. I asked my best friend at the time to apply for it with me, and she did. Luckily, my friend’s brother’s girlfriend was a waitress there at the time, so we got the job. I was SO excited to start. A couple of weeks later, on a Saturday at 10:30AM, my heart pounded out of my chest as I walked into the cafe with my friend in our green polos. My new boss, my first boss ever (who I’ll call “Patty”), introduced herself with a clearly fake smile and overly-chipper demeanor. I didn’t realize what I’d gotten myself into.

What it Was Like

My first day on the job was spent washing dishes from 10:30 to 4:00, being scolded for spraying the dishes with too much water or asking too many times for help putting away dishes that were stored in high places. My friend got to be trained that day as “waitress helper.” I eventually got to be trained as “waitress helper” too, but I didn’t get to work as one very much until my friend eventually quit. I knew I was hired on as a dishwasher, so I had no issue washing dishes…but my friend was hired for the same position as me and didn’t have to! Luckily, it didn’t take my friend very long to quit, so I was out of the kitchen and into the front of house. Everything seemed to be looking up, but unfortunately, it all went downhill from there.

#1: I was never appreciated.

The title of “waitress helper” was the name my boss came up with, because the role was honestly so many jobs in one that nothing else fit. After a few years of being a “waitress helper,” I came up with my own job title: “Patty’s bitch.” The waitress helpers were hosts, greeters, food-runners, baristas, decorators, table-bussers, phone-answerers, delivery drivers, organizers, errand-runners and anything else that Patty may have needed us to do. I legitimately picked up and dropped off her kids somewhere once and even wrapped her Christmas presents a few times.

I like to be busy, so having a million things on my plate actually keeps me motivated to work. What I don’t like so much is doing a million things for someone and getting zero appreciation for it. Here’s one small example: As a waitress helper, as soon as you can drive and get your own car, you are made the delivery driver. The cafe delivered lunch to hospitals and doctors’ offices as well as to some apartments. However, deliveries were always HUGE. A typical delivery to the hospital would be at least one large box full of meals in paper bags, sometimes a couple plastic quart containers of soup, and a few full drink carriers in another box. My petite self would have to carry these giant boxes through the hospital (with literally no one offering to help me, by the way) and set up all the food in a lounge. Then I’d rush back to the restaurant to grab another delivery, and the cycle would continue. Another messed up part about deliveries, was that I often had to deliver to old men in this gross apartment complex. These apartments smelled like cat pee and stale cigarettes and all of the lighting was similar to that of a horror film. I’d grab my giant box of soup and sandwiches, then I’d have to walk directly into a man’s apartment, find his kitchen table, place all the food there (with the old man watching me from his recliner) and leave. After a full day of deliveries, which I was not allowed to take tips for, I got my “delivery payment” of a whopping $5. They gave me five dollars for gas compensation. Doing deliveries made me feel SO unappreciated, uncomfortable and frankly, unsafe. I had no choice but to do it, though. If I didn’t ask “how high” every time Patty told me to jump, she’d make it very clear to me that I was replaceable, which leads me to my next point.

#2: I was constantly reminded that I was insignificant.

This was a part-time job at a local cafe. It was also my first job. I had zero expectations and nothing to compare my treatment to. I didn’t realize that I was facing daily abuse from my boss until I went to college and picked up a waitressing gig at Applebee’s. On my first week of waiting tables at Applebee’s, I made a mistake when I input someone’s order and forgot to mark that a man wanted his salad to come out before his meal. When I brought out his steak and salad at the same time, the man threw the salad across the table, and with lettuce and Ranch dressing flying everywhere, he shouted “F*** YOU! I don’t want this f***ing salad anymore! It’s too late!” I picked everything up and ran to my manager crying, apologizing profusely for messing up and assuming I’d be fired on the spot. To my surprise, my boss went over to the table with a to-go box and told the man to get out and not come back. She said his meal today was free, but she would not tolerate his treatment toward one of her waitresses. I’m still blown away by the fact that my boss stood up for me. She trusted me and cared about me, and I’d only been working for her for a little over a week! This experience opened my eyes to how unacceptable my treatment was by Patty at the local cafe in my hometown.

The reason I started this section with an anecdote from my time working at Applebee’s was so I could really juxtapose the way those 2 bosses treated me. Keep that Applebee’s story in mind as you read the following very true stories of what I endured with Patty as my boss.

Exhibit A) Remember, I started working for Patty at age 14. One summer when I was 16, she told me I needed to clean and re-organize all of the catering stuff they had stored on shelves in the basement. I was actually PUMPED for this task, because I love to re-organize and de-clutter spaces. It also meant I could hide away in the basement with my headphones in everyday for a week and I didn’t have to listen to anyone telling me what to do all day. When that week was over, I felt rejuvenated! The basement looked incredible; Patty even said so herself!

The next week, Patty hired on a new waitress helper and even hinted that I might get to be a waitress soon (which absolutely did not happen, but I think she purposely gave me that hope every once in awhile just so I’d work even harder). Since I’d been a waitress helper there longer than anyone else, Patty wanted me to train the newbie. She welcomed the new girl with that same artificially bubbly smile and had me walk around the restaurant with them to show her where everything was. We brought the new-hire to the basement to show her the freezer, laundry and catering supplies and Patty gave a fake smile and said, “Zoë just re-organized this basement! Doesn’t it look great? Zoë is our superstar, she’s been here awhile and knows how to do it all!” Her praise made me feel so special and loved, but only for a short moment. Before I could even thank her for the kind words, she turned to me inquisitively, with her fake smile starting to fade and said, “tell me, superstar, what are the soups of the day?” My stomach dropped into my shoes. I was whisked away with Patty and the new hire as soon as I got into the building. I didn’t have time to even look at the soups yet. Luckily the first three were always the same. I replied, “Um…cheese broccoli, tomato basil, potato…I’m not sure about the others. I haven’t gotten to look yet.” Patty turned her head to the new hire with a fresh fake smile and said, “Forget everything good I said about Zoë.” Then, while still facing the new hire, she said to me, “Get upstairs and learn the soups, Zoë.”

These are the exact words she used. The experience is so etched into my memory, because I was terrified of losing my job and I had never felt so small. I’m sure that Patty has no memory of this conversation. The immediate flip from telling me that I’m amazing to saying there’s nothing good about me was consistent throughout my time at this cafe; that story is just one example of it happening at a moment’s notice. Usually it would be more like one or two days of praise followed by several days of making me question why she hadn’t fired me yet. What’s messed up is that eventually, I truly believed that I deserved to be fired. Those were Patty’s mind games.

Exhibit B) After that moment in the basement, I recognized more and more that Patty was a cruel person to work for. However, I was still afraid of losing that job. Mama didn’t raise no quitter, but mama didn’t say I had to love every minute of everything I start. So later that same summer, I was at my best friend’s house for a sleepover on a Friday night. I always had to work on Saturdays from 11-4. My friend’s big sister brought up the idea of going to Patoka Lake on Saturday. All of my friends could go except for me. I wanted to go so badly. I didn’t want to miss out on lake adventures for 5 hours of torture that would leave me with only 33 more dollars on my paycheck. I was 16. I deserved to be 16 for one Saturday, so at 10:00AM I called in sick. I spoke to the front manager and all seemed to be okay. I was good to go to Patoka Lake! Then about 15 minutes later, I got a call from Patty.

Patty verbally attacked me for calling in sick. She said I probably felt well enough to work. I told her I didn’t and even added in that I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled. She retorted “Which doctor? Because most doctors’ offices aren’t open on Saturdays.” I stuttered around but stuck to my lie. She called me a liar and said if I ever called in sick again that I’d be fired. So I never called in sick again, and I worked there for 4 and a half more years.

I was lying…but honestly, who cares? Looking back on this moment as an adult, I realize that she had no right to accuse me of lying in the first place. She had no right to even ask questions. If I say that I’m too sick to come to work, ONE TIME in 2 years of waiting on you hand and foot, you should just say, “We really need you, but I understand and I hope you feel better.” But then again, Patty would never tell an employee that she needs them. She likes to bully her employees so think they’re worthless so they try harder to impress her.

I have countless other examples of mistreatment, but in order to stop this article from becoming a novel, I won’t list more. I think that a clear picture of “Patty” has been painted.

*–*–*–*–*–*

How this Abuse Affected Me

I consider Patty to have been my abuser. I trusted this adult, as a 14-year-old child, to respect me, care about me and help me grow. Instead, she used my desire to please others and manipulated my already low self-esteem to make me think she was doing me a favor by giving me the job. She constantly built me up just to quickly break me down until I no longer felt worthy to be an employee. Her abuse affected me in more ways than one.

#1: Physical Effects

In high school, one of my best friends needed a job, so I put in a good word and Patty hired her on as a waitress helper. My friend, being older than I was when she was hired, saw through Patty’s fake-nice façade almost immediately. On one of her first days of work, Patty sat down for a “free” lunch with us at the cafe. The whole time we ate, our boss spoke almost explicitly about herself. She’d say, “My life is hard, ladies, because no matter how busy I am, EVERYONE wants to talk to Patty.” She then somehow got on a tangent about how if we ever were caught smoking pot that we’d be fired and that she believed that smoking pot one time would give your future children birth defects. I was used to hearing her nonsense, but I could feel my friend’s eyes rolling into the back of her head.

My friend worked there for about a year. Before she quit she told me that every morning before work, she got a horrible stomach ache from anxiety. I never thought about it that way, but I had a stomach ache every morning that I had to work too. It was like clockwork. I didn’t think about it until my friend told me about that, but this job I had was causing me so much anxiety that it started to show up as physical symptoms. To further validate this, after I quit working for Patty, I never had another pre-work stomach ache until I worked at a terrible elementary school. By then, I knew my body was telling me to quit working there, so I got out. That’s why I teach middle school now.

#2: Subconscious Effects

I worked at Patty’s family cafe for a total of 6 years. It’s now been 7 years since I’ve worn that green polo and I’m completely serious when I say that I still have regular nightmares about working there. They usually have to do with me being scheduled to work and not knowing about it and them threatening to fire me if I don’t get to the restaurant NOW. Most of these dreams take place in present-day, by the way. They tell me I’ll be fired if I don’t get to work even though I live in NYC, and dream me is still in panic mode, racing back to my hometown and trying to find my polo so I won’t get fired (even though I have a whole career in NYC that is undoubtedly more important). How can Patty still be torturing me in my subconscious today?

#3: Effects on my Self-Esteem

As aforementioned in the introduction of this article, the 6-year cycle of workplace abuse I endured has made a real impact on my psyche. After walking on eggshells from age 14 to 20, I’ve internalized the idea that I’m insignificant at work, that I’m 100% replaceable and that for each of my accomplishments, there are 5 more mistakes I’m doomed to make.

*–*–*–*–*–*

Today, I have a career that I can be proud of. I’m able to see my accomplishments, but I’m still struggling to not let my “failures” overshadow them. I’ve even explained the issues I have with workplace confidence to the principal at the middle school I teach for, and fortunately she is the most caring and understanding leader that I’ve ever followed who hears me, sees me and wants to help me grow.

It’s through remembering my positive experiences of other places I’ve worked that I can realize my worth. My current principal believes in me. My boss at CAMPUS English Language School supported me. My boss at Infinity English College trusted me. My bosses at the other part-time waitressing jobs (Applebee’s and Red Lobster) cared about me as a person.

Last summer, I went to lunch at that cafe. Patty saw me, but pretended she didn’t. I decided to stop her to say hello and she acted like she didn’t know who I was. Patty always loved to make me feel insignificant.

In reality, Patty is insignificant in my life. I only hope that something changes at that restaurant, if it hasn’t already. She will probably never change though. At least I know that I’m growing and changing everyday, and I will no longer let my first boss have power over me.

Addicted to Everything: The Science Behind Addiction

Have you ever heard of an “addictive personality”? I used to think that this phrase described me to a T. Once I start something, anything, my brain zeroes in on it and I’m completely obsessed.

For example, when I start a project, I must finish it in one sitting. If I don’t finish it right away, my brain will not shut up about it until I do. My friends in college used to think I was insane, because instead of working on long essays in small chunks over a few weeks, I would sit in the library for 7 hours and do it all at once: the research, the notes, the drafting, the editing and the submission.

Then, at age 24 I was diagnosed with ADD. “Ooooh okay, THAT’S my problem!” Yes, this was something I needed to get under control, but even after being medicated and subsequently more able to put down a project and pick it back up later, I was still noticing a cycle of complete obsession over everything.

At age 25, I came to terms with a very destructive mental obsession over alcohol. I realized that I was doing that thing I always do, where I love something so much that I’m unable to stop. Only this time, it was wreaking havoc on every part of my life, not just my mental health. So I got sober. Everything started to feel better. “Okay, so ADD and alcoholism are my problems. Now that those are fixed, I should be fixed!”

Nope.

Actually, now that I’m no longer mentally obsessed with being drunk all the time, I have this space in my brain that needs to be filled with something else. After I got sober, I noticed that my “addictive personality” has moved to the forefront of my being and turned up to 11. It’s not an “addictive personality” that I’m dealing with. I’m just an addict.

But why am I an addict?

The downside of being a sober alcoholic and working on myself is the fact that I now can see everything I dislike about myself that I used to be able to completely ignore. After a 3-month crossword puzzle binge (seriously, it was a binge; I completed at least 6 puzzles a day) I got frustrated with my tendency to obsess over simple things. I wanted to know why I am the way I am, so I decided to do some research.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer for why I’m like this. There are actually several different factors that make a person more susceptible to being an addict. A sobriety program that I belong to taught me that we, addicts, are born this way. I like to believe this to be true, so I specifically looked for some scientific data to back that up. Here’s what I found:

-Genetics

Epigenetics play a big part in what makes someone an addict.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “children of addicts are 45% to 79% more likely” (NIAAA) to struggle with addiction compared to those with non-addicted parents. Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that although this correlation may be due to environmental factors, such as exposure to adults abusing drugs and/or alcohol, epigenetics play a big role as well. Epigentics basically means DNA being changed because of environmental needs, or by the choices people make in life. For the sake of my argument, I’m focusing only on the latter reason for DNA to change. Researchers explain how epigenetics contribute to the making of an addict with this example: “…when a person, [for example,] uses cocaine, it can mark the DNA, increasing the production of proteins common in addiction” (NIDA). This marked DNA is then passed on to that person’s offspring, and voila, a new addict is born.

So, one reason I’m addicted to everything is because my father is also addicted to everything.

Cool…but what is it about addicts that makes us the way we are in the first place?

-Wiring-

CT Scans show less dopamine receptors in the brains of addicts versus those who are not addicted.

The brain is an incredible organ. Apparently, as an addict, it’s scientifically proven that my brain is wired differently than others’. I was born with a gene that makes me prone to addiction, but that doesn’t mean I was doomed to be an alcoholic. What activated it was when I put alcohol into my body for the first time.

When a person who is prone to addiction puts a drug into their body, the part of the brain that I’ll call the “pleasure center” goes haywire. The pleasure center of our brains is where dopamine is released, or in other words, one of the “happy hormones.” When we do positive things, our brain releases dopamine. This reaction exists to reward us for doing good things, like passing a final exam or helping your neighbors fix their sink. However, drugs make an addict’s “pleasure center” confused, because it releases way more dopamine than it normally would, giving us the biggest high ever…until it doesn’t. This is why addicts need more and more and more of everything, because nothing ever releases that BIG dopamine jolt like drugs do. Eventually, drugs become the main source of your “happy hormone” as your tolerance builds. The National Institute of Health explains, “these brain adaptations often lead to…becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities” (NIH). This explains why even if addicts are sober, they find themselves doing other things in excess.

Okay, this all makes sense! But why did I have to be one of the addicts that chose to start using in the first place?

-Mental Health-

People with mental health disorders are more likely to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.

Remember, the studies I referenced above did not say that children of addicts were 100% more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol; it stated that we are up to 79% more likely to do so. I just happened to be one of the “lucky” ones.

In my program, I’ve heard people describe someone they knew as “an alcoholic who never took the first drink.” We know that addicts are genetically predisposed to addiction. We also know that when an addict tries a drug, it kickstarts that addictive motor in their brains. But why feel the need to try drugs in the first place? This is where mental health plays its part.

Sometimes, people who battle mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, “attempt to self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol in an effort to numb the symptoms associated with their condition” (Lifeworks Rehab Surrey). So basically, if you’re born with that addiction switch in your brain, but you don’t suffer from mental health disorders, you won’t feel the need to ever flip that switch in the first place. However, you might still find yourself with an “addictive personality” because everything you do that releases your “happy hormone” pushes that switch just a little bit more toward the on-position each time you do it.

_______________________________________________________

I am capable of becoming addicted, obsessed, with anything and everything. My first year of sobriety was spent being absolutely addicted to Kraft Deluxe mac n cheese. I ate it almost everyday. This is not an exaggeration. My food jags extended to a few other things too. I went about 6 months or more eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Crunch Berries everyday. Then it was cookies and cream Pop-tarts. Then it was Oreos. Now it’s sparkling water and Diet Coke.

My phases of addiction do not only extend to food and drink, however. I’m also easily addicted to activities. Remember my crossword puzzle binge? Once I find joy in an activity, I constantly think about it and cannot stop doing it. “It’s normal to want to do things you enjoy all the time!” Yes, but there comes a point where it’s no longer a hobby and has become an obsession. There is a problem with anything you get addicted to, even if they are seen as harmless leisure activities. Leisure activities aren’t just for relaxation to an addict; they are an escape from what we see as our harsh reality. They are what send us into that desired dopamine high.

I’m still trying to figure out how to find balance in my life as an addict. It helps, though, knowing why I am the way that I am. I hope that any readers who struggle with addiction or who know other addicts can find some clarity in the fact that science proves we are not crazy. We are not careless. We are not ungrateful. We are not lazy.

We are addicts.

Works Cited:

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). (2021). Retrieved 12 February 2021, from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/
  2. NIDA. 2019, August 5. Genetics and Epigenetics of Addiction DrugFacts. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/genetics-epigenetics-addiction on 2021, February 12
  3. NIH. 2018, June 6. Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction on 2021, February 12
  4. Why Are Some People More Prone to Addiction? | Lifeworks Rehab Surrey. (2021). Retrieved 12 February 2021, from https://www.lifeworkscommunity.com/blog/why-are-some-people-more-prone-to-addiction

Learning to Love Yourself as a Woman

Self-love is a feeling that most, if not all, women struggle to possess. In a society where we are constantly given mixed signals, it’s no surprise that we have a tough time loving who we are!

We have come a long way since our foremothers fought for the right to vote. Women are working hard everyday in professions that were only seen as “a man’s work” for centuries. We have the freedom to get an education and pursue any dream we have and if we want to be a stay-at-home mom, then we can be! But we don’t have to be. Hell, we even have a WOMAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE (btw, happy inauguration day, Madame Vice President)!

However among this growth, we women still have a long road ahead of us to equality and fairness. Yes, on the outside we are equal, but in reality we are given subtle reminders that we are never good enough. These hidden messages, mostly through media, are why it is so hard for women to fully love themselves.

Let’s first look at the most obviously critiqued area of a woman’s life: her appearance. TV commercials, magazine ads, Instagram models and even Hollywood stars send women everywhere a message that we are not enough. We’re told that we aren’t skinny enough or pretty enough or that our hair isn’t shiny enough and our pores are too big, but our boobs are too little. Then, we’re reminded that confidence is the sexiest quality we can have, so just be confident in your own looks. How are we supposed to be fully confident in what we look like when we can never live up to the perfection we see on television? If we can never find love unless we love ourselves first, then how will we ever find love?

This leads me to my next point: our love lives. Even though we are beyond the time of dowries and old maids, it seems like these values are still somewhat etched into the minds of society. We’re told to focus on growing our career and being happy with ourselves before we find love, but when you’re still single in your late twenties as a woman and watching your friends on Facebook settle down, it’s hard not to think, “I’ll be alone forever…with a fantastic career.”

Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, women who want to have children kind of DO have a biological clock ticking in the back of their minds. So it’s challenging to not freak out every time we see another Instagram wedding hashtag and download every dating app that exists, even though we deleted them all 3 months ago because they sucked. Then it’s a downward swiping spiral, full of overthinking and “playing it cool” because being honest about what you want will make you look crazy (because women are too emotional, of course) and men don’t want an overly eager woman because they just want to keep things “casual” BECAUSE MEN DON’T HAVE A BIOLOGICAL CLOCK. After swiping for months and being ghosted by 4 more “cool and casual” guys, we give up, delete the apps again, and tell ourselves we’ll be alone forever unless we learn to love ourselves.

And the cycle continues.

Ladies, self-love seems like an impossible feat. I’m currently struggling with this myself, so I’m no expert by any means. However, these are some things I’m doing (thanks to my therapist) that are actually quite helpful.

1. Negative Self-Talk: Catch it. Check it. Change it.

I’m so used to insulting myself that it doesn’t always occur to me when I’m doing it. I remember in my mid-year review at work last year, I had to do a self-reflection and write some “glows” and “grows.” After my supervisor read through the long list of grows I gave myself compared to the 2 or 3 glows, she said something along the lines of, “wow, you really kicked your own ass here.” The crazy thing is, I truly had been telling myself “I suck at my job” for so long that I couldn’t think of anything good to write about my performance at work.

I called my AA sponsor that day and she told me a catchphrase that everyone needs to hear and put into good use: Catch it. Check it. Change it.

Catching it, that’s step one. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself more closely. Catch yourself when you’re getting into a negativity rant. Notice it. Acknowledge it. Before anything can be fixed, it must first be recognized as a problem. From there, I wasn’t sure where to go next.

I spoke to my therapist later on about it and he gave me some awesome advice. He said, “Whenever I hear that negative voice in my head telling me I can’t do anything right, I tell it, ‘I’d like to see YOU f***ing try it!’ I laughed so hard, because it’s like you’re having an argument with yourself, but then one day I actually did it. I was so empowered. Then, every time I noticed my negative voice telling me I’m ugly or stupid or worthless, I started arguing back with retorts like, “You’re ugly, negative nancy” or “I know you are, but what am I?” or the simple and satisfying, “F*** off, asshole!”

Let’s face it, your inner negative voice is an asshole. How do we treat mean people in real life? We either ignore them and be the bigger person, or we tell them off. I’m a New Yorker at heart, so I choose the more aggressive method. It always works. Once you notice your negative voice being an asshole, check it.

The last part of this sequence, change it, seems like the hardest part. However, once you get a hang of stopping your negative voice in its tracks and telling it to shut up, you gradually begin to see a change in your thought patterns.

Imagine that your confidence is living in an apartment in your mind. At first, your negative voice is like an annoying roommate that eats all the food in the apartment and never leaves your confidence alone. Doing the “catch it” and “check it” steps is kind of like, helping your confidence kick the negative voice out of the apartment. That negative voice will always be around, though, because it only moved in next door. Now when it comes knocking, your confidence can more easily keep the door shut to it. Does my extended metaphor make sense?

2. Positive Affirmations

I get it, this sounds dumb and you assume it won’t help your self confidence. I always felt that way…until I tried it. Here’s how I went about this. The first day, I wrote out 3 compliments to myself that I already sort of believed to be true on sticky notes and stuck them to my mirror. Then, when I looked in the mirror, I read them out loud. Everyday, I’ll add one new compliment to my mirror. When I feel like I 100% believe the compliment, I’ll take it down. But I’ll never leave my mirror empty.

My best friend does something else that I think is really cool. She has a whiteboard on her door with three reminders to look at everyday. She has the categories “one thing I’ll accomplish today,” “one thing I’m letting go of” and “one thing I’m grateful for.” She changes the first and third everyday and leaves the second one up until she feels like she’s moved on with the thing that’s bothering her. It’s a simple and affective way to affirm your worth everyday!

3. Setting Intentions

Every morning, I have to set my intention for the day. If I forget to do this, I find myself irritable and negative all day. For me, setting my daily intentions comes in the form of a “prayer.” I’m not religious, but I’m very spiritual and I trust the universe. So my prayer is to what I call “Lady Universe” or “Mother Earth” or even my higher-self or passed loved-ones. I always ask for things to be taken away and replaced with its positive opposite. These are my usual 2: “Take away my dread and replace it with motivation” and “Take away my fear and replace it with gratitude.” I’ve recently added, “Take away my self-doubt and replace it with self-love.” I’ll repeat those intentions in my head until I feel ready to get up and start my day. It always makes my day better!

If you feel uncomfortable praying, you can just as easily repeat your intentions in your head without addressing it to some higher power.

This can be hard to remember when we’re busy. I wrote a sticky note and put it inside my laptop so I see it and make sure I “pray” or “meditate” before I start working.


We women are incredible, even if we don’t realize it about ourselves everyday. Whether you try out my methods or think of your own ways to practice self-love, it’s so important to keep yourself first, but not because loving yourself will make others see you as confident and maybe love you more. It’s important to love yourself because you are worth it.

Airport Tips and Tricks

It’s that time of year, folks! The holidays are coming, which means that most of us will soon be heading home. Maybe you’re lucky enough to be able to drive back to your hometown, but to those of you (like me) who cannot, you have a dreadful flight ahead of you. Not to mention the extra concerns you have to think about due to COVID. Here’s the truth: no matter how much fun it is when you get to your destination, you must first go through airport hell. I’ve compiled a list of tips that can make your trip a bit easier, internationally OR within your country.

1) Vegetarian


No, I’m not saying to stop eating meat.  That’s just crazy.  I like a good hamburger as much as the next person, but listen:  When you’re on an international flight with a hot meal included, resist the urge to order the meat.  When the lady comes around and asks, “Chicken or vegetarian?” ORDER THE VEGETARIAN.  You know why?  That chicken is going to have the consistency of rubber and the taste of plastic and your vegetarian lasagna is going to be cheesy and spinachy and everything good in the world.  So trust me, meat eaters, vegetarian plane food is worth it.

2) Window Seat


I’ve always chosen the window seat, but sometimes you can’t help what seat you’re given.  However, if you do have the option, GO FOR THE WINDOW. In this seat, you can decide when the blinds are closed or open (we all know that asshole that leaves the window blinds open the whole time and the sun shines perfectly into your retina when you finally get comfortable enough to sleep). Speaking of sleep, when you have the window seat, you are given more options to find that (limited) comfort you require to do so. There’s the wall to lean on, for one. You can also put down your tray table and lay your head on that, in the traditional school-desk-napping style, without blocking your neighbors from the bathroom. HOWEVER, if you have the pleasure to sit by the window, don’t look out the window when you’re over the ocean. I don’t care how macho you are…looking out into a vast sea of emptiness can make you hyperventilate faster than the amount of time it takes for that adorable baby next to you to stop being adorable because it’s screaming its head off.

3) The Security Line


I have a few pointers to help make the security line less annoying.


-Hats:  Don’t wear them for your flight.  I get it; they’re cute and cosy!  But as soon as you get in line you have to remove said hat and your hair is not going to be okay. Trust me.


-Shoes:  You have to remove your shoes in line and I’ve learned the hard way to never wear your lace up combat boots or your converse that are tied so tight that you can’t slip them on and off.  You’ll be holding up the line and fumbling and throwing things everywhere…just wear something easy to remove and put back on.

-Water Bottle: I always carry a water bottle with me because hydration is important (duh!), but I’ve made one mistake a thousand times– leaving water in my bottle when going through airport security.  I know you can’t have liquids, so I’m forced to chug an entire bottle of water in about a minute so that I can keep my reusable bottle.  It’s kind of like an episode of Fear Factor: drown yourself in drinking water in an airport.  So don’t do that.  Also, why don’t I just throw the bottle away?? Because buying a new one in the airport is going to cost me $20 and I’m not about to waste that.  Just bring an empty water bottle through and refill it on the other side.

-Carry on liquids: You should all know that there’s a limit to how much liquid you can have in your carry on. However, don’t forget to put them in a Ziplock before you leave home! Some airports keep these baggies on hand for you, but many do not. Therefore, say goodbye to your tiny hand sanitizer and lotions. OH and if you carry a purse or a small bag daily that you plan to bring on the flight, check for any over-sized bottles of liquid beforehand! I have lost SO many expensive creams, sprays and even cough syrups because I forgot they were in my purse and was forced to throw them away. Trust me, it’s not a good start to your travel experience.

4) Waiting to Board


This is so boring, right?  Sitting by yourself in an uncomfortable chair for hours is not something many people enjoy.  My advice is obvious:  take advantage of the wifi and for god’s sake remember your phone charger and head phones.  The most important thing I can tell you to do, though, is to talk to your traveling peers.  You’ll know who is willing to talk.  I’ve had many interesting conversations with people that I never would have met if it wasn’t for the waiting time at an airport.  It makes time go faster and also they’ll probably watch your bags so you can go pee without lugging your life along with you.  (PSA: don’t just trust anyone with your bags…use your intuition.  Most people have good intentions, like you.)

** 5) COVID

This section only applies to us “frequent fliers” while Coronavirus is a very real threat. Honestly though, I’m unsure if this will ever change. Anyway, in your taxi, in the airport and on the plane, WEAR YOUR F*%!ING MASK. Also, be sure to carry hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in your carry on. Oh, and keep your distance from others, please! I won’t go into detail about why this is so important because I’m not your mom. I’ll end it with this: follow the guidelines.

Safe travels and happy holidays! xx

The Price of Being a Female

It’s 7:00AM on a Tuesday. You roll out of bed after turning off the blaring sound of your alarm and shuffle to the bathroom. As you start brushing your teeth, you rub your tired, crusty eyes and glance up at the mirror. WHAT THE HELL? You move closer to the mirror and zoom in on the patch of brand new zits on your forehead. You quickly rinse and spit, so you’re able to use both hands on the demolition task you’ve just been assigned.

After successfully making your skin red and blotchy, you mosey back into your bedroom to get dressed for work. WHY DON’T I LOOK GOOD IN ANYTHING I OWN? You think to yourself as you throw another fitted dress onto the floor. You settle on something baggy enough to cover up the apparent 10 pounds you gained overnight. Flustered and feeling disgusted at yourself, you make your way out the door just in time to catch the bus.

Fast forward 6 days. You feel less disgusting and more like yourself. It’s lunch time and you find yourself eating dessert first. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, RIGHT? About an hour later, you’re hit with a stabbing feeling in your gut. It’s almost like someone with sharp, french-tipped nails is using your insides as a stress ball. DAMMIT. You know this feeling all too well. You’re too busy at your desk to run to the restroom, plus cramps usually start awhile before you bleed. You dig out some Midol from your purse and swallow a couple down with your iced coffee.

1 hour later and you feel that dreaded ooze downstairs. SHIT! As you run down the hall to the restroom, you realize that you’ve forgotten a tampon. Luckily, you have 75 cents in your pants pocket to get one from the machine. After assessing the damage (on your favorite pair of underwear, of course) you glance into the mirror as you wash your hands. THAT EXPLAINS THE BREAKOUTS AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM. DUH.

If you were born with a uterus, you can probably relate to this chain of events. Every month, we wonder why we are so disgusted with ourselves and then one week later, like clockwork, we are reminded again that it’s all caused by hormones. Every month we shell out an excessive amount of money on tampons, pads, panty liners and pain killers. Why is it so expensive to simply exist as a female?

Let’s have a little run-down, shall we? On average, this is how much we spend on period products:

-1 box of 36 tampons, $7

-1 package of 44 pads, $6

-1 package of 100 panty liners, $6

-1 bottle of Midol (40 count), $7

-1 bottle of Pamprin (40 count), $7

According to Pandia Health, a lifetime supply of tampons at the price listed above would cost $1,773.33. Let’s say you work full-time at a minimum wage job. You’d make around $15,000 a year, according to USA Facts, so my calculator says that’s $1,250 a month. That means you’re spending more than a month’s wages on something you NEED, that males don’t have to buy. On that note, there’s actually nothing that males HAVE TO buy on a regular basis. Razors? Not a necessity. Deodorant? Toothpaste? Ok, but women need to buy that stuff too. Also, you can argue that those things aren’t exactly a NECESSITY.

Let’s look further into that dollar amount. What can $1,773.33 buy you today?

  • 1 brand new Apple Macbook Pro AND a brand new Ipad AND an Apple Pencil
  • A decent used car
  • 14 monthly unlimited subway cards in NYC
  • 3 8-day passes to Burning Man WITH parking passes
  • A first-class plane ticket from NYC to Bangkok with only one layover
  • 7,092 rolls of Cottonelle toilet paper

Need I go on? I could, but I think I’ve made my point.

Today I read an article that Scotland has unanimously voted to make all period products free for all those who need them. Schools and universities will provide tampons and pads for free in the restrooms, and the government will provide those things for free elsewhere.

Don’t you think the whole world should follow Scotland’s example? I think free period products are a right. Period.

Ice Queen Vibes

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT: Winter is better than Summer.

Actually, I’ll go even further. Winter is better than all other seasons! Winter could take on any other season in a fight, even with one hand tied behind her back. I said it.

Before you completely dismiss this article AND Winter, check out the list of reasons I give to support my argument below:

1. Colder Temperatures = Less Sweat

Look, I know that this sounds like a prissy, annoying and superficially “girly” reason to dislike summer. But be honest, who actually enjoys sweating, other than satan himself? Summer is great, until the temperature goes above 75 degrees. Once it’s 76 and over, it is GAME OVER for the armpits of your favorite shirts, your perfectly coiffed hairstyle, the shower that you just took that morning and the skin on the back of your legs as you rip yourself off the leather seats of your car. No thanks, I’ll pass.

2. No Flowering Trees in Bloom = No Incessant Allergies

“But what about indoor allerg–” SHUT UP LINDA, THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Personally, I suffer from pollen allergies. Every childhood summer I had was spent avoiding my siblings pleas to play outside with them. I didn’t know why I hated it out there until high school when my doctor told me for the fourth year in a row that I wasn’t sick, I just had allergies. Finally it all made sense! I figured out that the sore throat, the runny nose and the itchy eyes (actually the itching all over) had a cause. That cause was warm weather. Therefore, God bless buttoned-up coats and bare-naked trees!

3. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

HELLO WINTER HOLIDAYS! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, you know you’re going to have a killer family (or friend) celebration during the Winter months. Even if you don’t celebrate any religious holidays, there’s probably still a New Years Eve party to boogie with your friends at on December 31st. I can’t lie, I love getting fancy and festive! Oh, let’s not forget the fact that even as an adult, you normally get time off from stress for these celebrations. Sign me up!

4. Cold Weather Fashion is the “Coolest”

Dresses with tights, blazers, sweaters, beanies, boots and scarves…need I say more? Much cuter than a pair of sweaty jean shorts…just sayin’.

5. The Cozier, the Better

There’s really nothing better than being wrapped up in soft blankets on a cold night, hot tea or hot chocolate in hand. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a fireplace, cuddle up next to that bad boy and read a good book! Go get yourself a hot peppermint mocha latte and sip your cares away. In the summer, all you get is sweat-soaked sheets and an angry walk in the heat to the coffee shop. Which sounds better to you? I sure know what I’d prefer.

*-*-*-*-*-*

There are some good things about warm weather. I love bonfires and beaches as much as anyone! I also can see why one might dislike Winter, like driving on icy roads (but hey, snow days!) and having to carry your coat all around the bar. However, I’ve weighed the pros and cons of all four seasons and Winter always seems to come out on top. You can try to convince me otherwise, but meanwhile I’m content with being the ice queen I am.

Why “Seinfeld” is the Most Relatable Sitcom

The 90’s was the best decade for sitcoms, with Friends, Full House, Frasier, Roseanne and many other classic t.v. shows we all know and love. The best of the 90’s sitcoms though, in my opinion, is Seinfeld.

Seinfeld is centered around a group of friends in New York City, whose main character is a professional comedian (Jerry Seinfeld). Not only has Seinfeld influenced the comedy of dozens of subsequent shows, it also reveals many character traits that we all have and can relate to, even if we’re unwilling to admit it.

Let’s all look at some ways that Seinfeld relates to the worst parts of ourselves and makes us laugh at how terrible we truly are.

1. When We’re a Bit Too Cocky for Our Own Good

I’m likable, what can I say?
Can we just talk about me from now on?
No way, I’m beautiful. If someone can’t see that, it’s THEIR loss.

2. When We Take Pleasure Loathing in Self-Pity

Don’t worry, I won’t forgive myself either.
I don’t understand why I’m not rich and carefree yet.
Please don’t let there be another me out there. If so, just put them out of their misery.
Any other pain? How much time do you have? This might take awhile.

3. When We Do or Say Inexplicably Weird Things

I wonder what flies think about all day. Do they have hopes and dreams?
How many times am I going to embarrass myself this week?
I once kept a Mcdonald’s chicken nugget as a pet. Seemed normal to me.
These plates are for eating, those plates are for decoration and DO NOT TOUCH those plates over there because they’re too pretty to touch.

4. When Our Hatred for Humanity is Palpable and Inescapable

Please don’t set me up on a blind date. I already hate them, I know it.
Why is everyone in the world so annoying and stupid?
I am so much more civilized than everyone in this city. Ever heard of manners? Don’t answer that, I already know you haven’t.
I’d rather not go anywhere or see anyone but if I MUST, please do not talk to me.

5. When We’re All-Around Terrible People

I also cry to get out of speeding tickets. Do what you gotta do.
Hit ’em where it hurts!
My favorite past time is stealing things from bars.
At least I got a good story out of it, right?

Let’s be honest, no one is a saint. We all kind of suck. We may as well laugh about it! Seinfeld is the best show to help you do just that.

Witchcraft for October 2020

Double, double, toil and trouble!

Spooky season is upon us. What better time to connect with your inner witch??

NO, witchcraft is not satanism or flying on broomsticks or cursing your enemies (although, you could, but the most important rule of Magick is “harm none” because karma is a B*tch!) However, witchcraft IS connecting to the powers of nature and grounding your spirit in the ways of the universe. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?

October is a HUGE month, so I’m not going into everything. In fact, I’m only going to write about two major days in this article.

If you’re afraid to read about witches because of a stereotype you hold with you…then run along, nothing to see here. If you’re curious about ways you can enhance your natural gifts with the help of Magick this month, then take a seat on my broom and away we fly!

October 16: New Moon

Right in the middle of month this year is our October new moon! The new moon is the very first phase of a new lunar cycle, and the moon is barely visible at this time. Since the day of a new moon is the beginning of the moon’s cycle, it’s a great time to set goals, intentions and projects for the following month. The evening of a new moon is also considerably darker, since the light of the moon is mostly hidden. Therefore, this is the best time to reflect on your “dark side” and how you can either improve it, or put it to good use. To summarize, the new moon is a time of reflection, intentionality and purpose.

Crystals to meditate with:

  1. Moonstone (for comfort during times of change)
  2. Tourmalinated Quartz (for cutting ties or freeing yourself from restrictive situations or relationships)
  3. Amethyst (for planning ahead)

Incense to burn:

  1. Rosemary (for clarity)
  2. Myrrh (for balance and wisdom)
  3. White Sage (for protection and purification)

October 31: Samhain/Halloween

Ahh, Halloween. The favorite holiday of all the spooky souls out there. Costumes, candy, jack-o-lanterns and killer parties (pun somewhat intended) are some things that come to mind. However, to practicing witches out there, October 31st is the festival of Samhain (a celtic word, pronounced sow-win). This is not only a harvest festival, but also marks the beginning of the darker seasons. In autumn and winter, when nights are longer, the veil between the living and spirit realms is thinner, making communication to those who have passed on much simpler. On Samhain, though, the veil is at its thinnest! Therefore, Samhain is celebrated by honoring your ancestors…and maybe getting to communicate with them too!

If you’re interested in partaking in some Samhain festivities, don’t worry! You don’t have to be a witch to honor your ancestors. You also don’t have to hold a seance or play with a ouija board in a graveyard. Here’s a simple ritual you can hold on your own, no matter what religion you may practice.

Go outside at night on Halloween (i.e. your porch or backyard) or if you don’t want to venture out, just shut out all the lights in your bedroom. Turn off your phone/television/computer to eliminate from distractions. Sit or lay down somewhere comfortable and hold something that is a family heirloom of some kind. If you don’t have any of those, hold a family photo! Close your eyes and begin meditation by recounting your family tree (either mother’s side or father’s side, or both). I’ll write out the start of my mom’s side so you know what I mean:

I am Zoë C., daughter of Jill C. who teaches and paints

She is the daughter of Woody & Cathy C., a carpenter and a writer.

He is the son of Woodrow and Mary-Louise C., a carpenter and a mother. She is the daughter of David and Marjorie J., a teacher who fought in WWII and a hardworking secretary.

Continue as far back as you can go until you can’t remember the names, then say “and those whose blood runs in my veins that I haven’t met and cannot name.”

This simple meditation is beautiful way to honor your ancestors, and since the veil is thinnest on Samhain, you can be certain that they’ll hear you!

Crystals to meditate with:

  1. Rhodonite (for grounding/reconnecting with Mother Earth)
  2. Citrine (for gratitude)
  3. Black Obsidian (for clear negativity and unblock chakras)

Incense to burn:

  1. Myrrh (for balance and wisdom)
  2. Patchouli (for spiritual growth and nostalgia)
  3. Lotus (to open the mind’s eye)

All Month

Meditate regularly.

The dark seasons are here, and this is often when people suffer more from anxiety and depression. Meditating (with or without crystals) keeps you grounded and sane. If you haven’t tried meditating yet, it can be daunting! So try out 5 minutes of sitting in silence with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath, and then gradually you’ll be able to meditate deeper and for longer!

Burn sage often.

Since the veil is getting thinner, what is a better time to keep your home pure of unwanted spirit or energy than by burning some sage? Focus on areas you spend most of your time in or areas that feel…off. It’s all about trusting your gut (and your ancestors)!

Get a fern or an aloe plant for your home.

Both of these plants are great to have in your house all year, but they’re even better in October! Ferns protect your home from negative energies as well as aid in cleansing the negative energy that might be hanging around. Aloe Vera also helps absorb bad energy and bring luck and prosperity your way. Can’t beat that!

I hope you found this article helpful for your practice or at least learned something new.

An’ it harm none, do what ye will.

What Biphobia Looks Like

Bisexuality: romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior toward both males and females, or to more than one sex or gender.

BIPHOBIA: THE DISLIKE OF OR PREJUDICE AGAINST BISEXUAL PEOPLE

-*-*-*-*-*-

I grew up thinking I had a firm grasp on my own sexual identity.

I didn’t really know much about sexuality in the first place. I did know (or thought I knew) that a person was either straight or gay. I also knew that I wasn’t a lesbian, because I was attracted to boys.

But-

I was also attracted to girls.

I won’t go into detail about my coming out journey, but it took many, many years of denial and swearing up and down that I was totally straight to finally give up and come out as bi when I was 23.

The feelings of confidence and liberation I was given after coming out seemed to be endless. Then, I realized how many people were so deeply biphobic that they couldn’t even realize it. Biphobia can appear in so many different ways, and just because you aren’t homophobic does not mean that you aren’t biphobic!

Here are some offensive biphobic opinions that I’ve encountered:

  1. You’re bisexual?? No you’re just (insert shitty opinion).

I have heard different variations of this so many times in the last 3 years of my life. When I tell someone I’m bi, it’s difficult and uncomfortable. THEN, just to spice up my already awkward, honest and vulnerable state, I’m told by the other person that I’m “probably not bisexual.”

Some reasons people give me to talk me back into the closet are:

“you’re just sick of dealing with men.” I hate the bullshit that men throw into my life as much as the next woman, but first of all, women suck just as much as men do! It’s not the gender of the person you’re dating that sucks. It’s dating in general that sucks. Secondly, let me ask you this: if you were SO fed up with men that you could no longer take it, would YOU (as the 100% heterosexual being you say that you are) decide to solve that problem by sleeping with women? If your answer is yes…you might be bi too.

“you just want to be different.” Look, I’m very happy as a bisexual woman, but this happiness has nothing to do with what other people think about me. In fact, the reactions I get from most people about my sexuality is what makes me unhappy. Sure, who doesn’t want to let their freak flag fly? But also, who would come out of the closet to be judged and questioned for “attention” alone? Ridiculous!

“you’re not different from anyone else. All women are attracted to other women!” This one is favorite because it’s actually comical. Just in case you were wondering…no, not all women are interested in women the same way that they’re interested in men. Again, if you are, you’re possibly batting for both teams, like myself.

2. If you’re bisexual, you’re more likely to cheat on your partner.

This is another biphobic stereotype. Since bisexual women and men are interested in either gender, they’re unfortunately assumed to be hyper-sexual creatures. Just because we can be attracted to a man or a woman, doesn’t mean that we are attracted to all men and women. It also doesn’t mean that we are destined to a life of infidelity.

3. Bisexuality isn’t real.

It’s not only aggravating to be told by someone else that your own sexual identity isn’t correct (see #1), it’s even more frustrating to be told that your sexual identity doesn’t even exist. Yes, there are many people out there that believe it is completely impossible to be attracted to men AND women. These people also consider bisexuality to be made up for attention (also, see #1). Oddly enough, this seems to apply more to bisexual men. I assume this stems from the same homophobia that tells people that lesbians are hot, but gay men are terrifying (I grew up in a red state, so these opinions are ones I’ve heard far too much).

Anyway, for those of you who still sort of think bisexuality is made up, remember that sexuality is a SPECTRUM. There’s even an online quiz to see where you fall on the scale. Also–just because YOU identify as only seeing one sex as a potential mate, does not mean that everyone else feels the same way. Thanks for attending my Ted Talk.

-*-*-*-*-*-

In summation, wherever you land on the Kinsey Scale is 100% acceptable and it’s what makes you, YOU. Anyone who considers themselves a part of the LGBTQIA community can tell you horror stories of their encounters with stereotypes, confused straight people and even downright bigots. However, 2020 is already bad enough! Now’s the time to be comfortable with yourself and just allow the haters to do their jobs.

Let yo freak flag fly.

A Guide to the Ten-Step Korean Skincare Routine

My complexion has always been a huge influence on my self-esteem. I have oily, acne prone skin with enlarged pores (and apparently that means I’ll wrinkle much later in life, but today, that isn’t my concern), and every time I look in a mirror with good lighting, I spiral into negative self-talk.

Going through puberty sucks for a lot of different reasons, but the main issue I struggled with as a pubescent pre-teen was acne. From around age 10 to 13, my forehead was completely covered in zits! I remember caking on liquid and powder foundation to try and hide my spots, but it didn’t do much.

Today, my forehead is actually the part of my face that isn’t affected by acne (besides a few pimples here and there). I’m out of my hormonal, pubescent stage, but I still have excess oil and breakouts on my cheeks and chin. Will breakouts ever go away?? (sigh)

When I lived in Ireland the year I went to grad school, one of my flatmates introduced me to the 10-step Korean skincare routine, which completely changed my skin for the better (as long as I stay on top of it). I know what you’re thinking: “TEN steps? I barely have time for ONE step! This article isn’t for me.”

However, it’s not as bad as you would expect. If you are dealing with skin imperfections that you can’t seem to shake, read on! Remember, I have oily and acne-prone skin, so the products I show will mostly be for that skin type, but products for dry or combination skin are included too!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

1. Oil-based cleanser

The reason behind using an oil-based cleanser first is to wash away your excess sebum while not stripping away the healthy oils you need to keep. This step is also perfect for makeup-wearers! It’s the healthier version of using a makeup wipe. However, this is a step that I often skip for that same reason. I rarely wear makeup, therefore I don’t find it necessary for me to do everyday. Below are some oil-based cleansers that I recommend:

Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil | Skin Care | Beautycounter
Beauty Counter: Countertime Lipid Defense Cleaning Oil $49

This oil-based cleanser is a new product of mine and I absolutely love it! It contains vitamin E and retinatural complex, which is great for dry skin and anti-aging.

GREEN CLEAN
Farmacy: Green Clean Cleansing Balm $34

This cleansing balm is incredible for a first step to your skincare routine, especially if you wear makeup, as it melts it all away! This product has sunflower oil, ginger root and papaya extract. It’s so refreshing and calming and leaves your skin feeling soft and clean! This is another great product for any skin type.

2. Water-based cleanser

Now that you’ve removed your makeup and/or any excess sebum that’s secreted and built up throughout the day, you need to balance your skin with a water-based cleanser. Any gel, foam cleanser or micellar water counts as a water-based cleanser! These products simply wash away whatever is still left behind after your oil cleanse and focus on removing water-based impurities. Below are some water-based cleansers that I love:

pores no more® PORE PURIFYING CLEANSER
Dr. Brandt: Pores No More Pore Purifying Cleanser $36

The doctor is in! This is my current favorite gel face wash. It’s a miracle worker for my skin type, with salicylic acid, tea tree and willow bark. If you have dry skin, you can still use this product a couple times a week to manage breakouts without over-drying your beautiful face!

Amazon.com: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, For All Skin  Types, 13.5 Fl Oz: Beauty
Garnier SkinActive: Micellar Cleansing Water $9

For a cheaper water cleanser, reach for a bottle of micellar water! The Garnier line of micellar waters are incredible and for a great price! Remember though, don’t be fooled by the “All-in-1” label. It’s a great addition to your skincare routine, but it can’t be your entire routine!

3. Exfoliation

This is my favorite step of all time! Your face is now fresh from steps 1 & 2 and ready to be scrubbed! I have way too many exfoliating products, but I’m choosing my top three to show you all below.

**Depending on the day, I’ll use a clay mask or any other exfoliating mask instead of a face wash and then skip step 7. I won’t be adding any of my favorite masks in this article, though!**

Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser - Beautycounter | Sephora
Beauty Counter: Counter Control Clear Pore Cleanser $26

Yes, this is the second Beauty Counter product that I’m sharing with you. No, I’m not an annoying sales rep and will not message you on Instagram about joining my team. (Apologies to BC sales reps, but you know you’re annoying. Clearly it works, though. So keep up the hustle! No shame in your game).

Anyway, I really do love Beauty Counter products because they have lines of skincare for every type of complexion. This is the scrub that I use everyday! It not only leaves my skin feeling clean with exfoliating jojoba beads and fights breakouts with salicylic acid, but it also contains aloe vera which makes this scrub very gentle and soothing. 10/10.

FIRMx™ Exfoliating Peel Gel - Peter Thomas Roth | Sephora
Peter Thomas Roth: FirmX Peeling Gel $48

Sometimes there are days where you need a little more of an extreme exfoliation, and this type of product will give you just that! Let me first name that this specific product is rather expensive, and there are definitely cheaper options. However, if you wanted to spend the $48 on this bottle, it will last you ages! These exfoliating peels are so cathartic to use. When you apply it on dry skin and rub in circular motions, you genuinely see and feel the dead skin peeling off. Maybe that’s gross to some people, but I’m a cuticle cutting, blackhead popping type of person who finds this VERY satisfying. Please try it out.

Here’s a list of similar products for lower prices:

-Dr. G: Brightening Peeling Gel $13

-Secret Key: Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel $10

-Ekel: Natural Clean Peeling Gel $11 (actually my favorite option for a low price)

4. Tone

Who doesn’t love a good toner? I’m always team tone. I’ll show a couple of toners that I personally adore, but don’t forget about good old witch hazel! Witch hazel is a couple of bucks at any drugstore, and I know that some brands even make witch hazel with rose, vitamin E or other properties for sensitive or dry skin. Aside from that cheap and magical potion, here a couple of other toners that I love:

CLEAN & CLEAR Lemon Juice Toner
Clean & Clear: Lemon Juice Toner $6

Depending on where you go, this will cost you around 5 to 8 dollars, and it’s well worth it! Lemon juice sounds harsh, but this product is alcohol free, therefore it is not over-drying. The vitamin C from the lemon juice helps to balance and brighten your skin on days that you feel a little dull. Pour a bit on a cotton ball, swipe it over your face and take over the damn world.

NassifMD Detox Pads - FabFitFun
NassifMD: Detox Pads $45

You know that show, “Botched”? This product is actually made by the dark-haired plastic surgeon on that show, Dr. Nassif. Weird, right? However, he did a fabulous job. These toning “detox” pads really leave you feeling refreshed, and using them daily or every other day as your toning step actually does reveal improvements in your complexion, specifically in minimizing breakouts. Pricy, but amazing.

5. Essence

This was the most confusing step to me, because you don’t normally see bottles of essence on the drugstore shelves. To put it simply, essence is basically a liquid lotion.

I’ll be honest with you guys, I never do this step. I know that I shouldn’t skip it, but I feel like my oily skin doesn’t need an EXTRA moisturizer. This isn’t true, though, because adding healthy moisture to oily skin helps to lessen the excess of grease you naturally create. But, I don’t do this step anymore. However, I did it for about a year and will show the essence that I really liked.

The Body Shop's Drops of Youth Essence Lotion.
Body Shop: Drops of Youth Essence Lotion $24

Essence is used mainly to fight aging and wrinkles. I was excited to see that Body Shop came out with an essence lotion in their Drops of Youth line. This line is great overall, but this essence is a perfect addition to any skincare routine!

6. Serums

Guys, serums! There’s a serum for every skin issue you can think of and I honestly think I might own all of them. I don’t want to flood this article with 28 photos of amazing serums to try, so I’ll only show you two that I cannot live without.

Amazon.com: Valjean Labs Facial Serum, Restore, Niacinamide + Zinc: Beauty
Valjean Labs: Restore Serum $18

This serum contains Niacinamide and Zinc. Niacinamide aids in calming redness in your skin and purifying your pores. Zinc is a magical property that I adore. Zinc helps with a lot of things in your body, but on your skin, it fights acne and soothes angry breakouts. When my skin is going through a period of genuinely being pissed off at me, I use this serum everyday until it chills out. It really does make a huge difference in only a few days! If you can’t find this specific serum, look for other products containing these ingredients!

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum Reviews | Beautypedia
Drunk Elephant: TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum $90

Guys…I hate how much I love this serum. I’ve heard a lot about Drunk Elephant, but never wanted to spend the money that their products cost. It’s an expensive brand. I saw a sample of this serum and a face cream at Sephora for $20 and I just said, “f*** it” and bought it. I don’t regret it because this serum is genuinely amazing, but I sort of regret it because now that my sample is running out, I have to buy the $90 bottle. I just have to.

Anyway, if you’re thinking of spending a lot of dough on your skin, (which honestly, why not spend money on keeping your skin healthy?) then this serum should be on your shopping list. I LOVE glycolic acid, and here’s why: it’s anti-aging, it removes excess sebum and minimizes pores, it exfoliates and fights acne AND it overall evens out your skin tone. This serum ALSO contains a blend of BHA and AHA– these are natural fruit acids that help speed up the process of skin cell renewal.

I know that this sounds like a sales rep list of mumbo jumbo, but it truly works. After using this product ONCE, I woke up with zero redness and my skin has never been so soft. For a person with oily skin, waking up with a soft, matte face is unbelievable.

But enough about Drunk Elephant. Serums are such an important part of a good skincare routine and what’s cool is that there’s really no limit to how many serums you want to put on. I’ll usually use two serums in the morning and two different serums in the evening, but by all means…go at it.

7. Sheet Mask

Sheet masks are such lovely creations! I’m actually wearing one as I type this. However, even being the skincare enthusiast that I am (you could also call it an obsession), I do not do this step everyday. I’m lucky if I do it once a week. We all have lives and jobs and deadlines to tend to, and it’s hard to get yourself to do a mask in the midst of it all. However, the improvements in my skin that I can see and feel after doing one a few days in a row prove to me that this step shouldn’t be removed entirely from your skincare routine.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, a sheet mask is just what you think it is. It’s a sheet of material with holes cut out for your eyes and mouth that is soaked in some sort of combination of essences or serums. (Yes, you look terrifying and hilarious with a sheet mask on). After you apply your serums in step 6, lay the sheet mask on your face for 15-20 minutes, remove it and rub in the excess liquid.

**DO NOT RINSE YOUR FACE!!!!** A lot of people I know will immediately rinse their faces after removing a sheet mask as one would when washing off a clay mask. This is NOT the right thing to do. When you wear your sheet mask, you’re allowing the serum from the mask and the serums from earlier to sit and slowly sink into your skin. The excess when you remove it needs to be rubbed in. If you rinse it off, you’ve just erased the work you’ve done from steps 5-7! I know it seems like a lot to put on your skin at once, but I promise you it will not feel like you have a lot on your face. Trust me and try it out!

Again, I have dozens of favorite sheets masks, but I’m going to show you my top two.

Esfolio Pure Skin Mask Box, Egg Essence, 11.8 Ounce
Esfolio: Egg Essence Mask Sheet $11 for 10 masks

This sheet mask is actually best for dry skin, but there are days where I feel like I need it. Egg yolk moisturizes and nourishes while also tightening your pores. It’s a refreshing mask and honestly, quite a bang for your buck! (If you were curious, this is the mask I’m currently wearing, although it’s about time to remove it now).

Coconut Gel Sheet Masks | Farmacy Beauty
Farmacy: Brightening Coconut Gel Sheet Mask $6 for 1

Six dollars for one mask is pretty steep, I know. But this mask is worth it to me. This is a gel sheet mask, and whatever gel/fabric they use to create it is kind of revolutionary. Unlike regular sheet masks, this one actually forms to and sticks to your face. It doesn’t slide around all weird or sag off of your chin. It’s comfortable to wear! I haven’t found one like this elsewhere, but if you know of other brands making gel sheet masks, please tell me about them in the comments.

Aside from the material it’s made from, the ingredients are spot on for every skin type. It has coconut water and broccoli and other plant based collagen, which softens, brightens and fights aging. When you take it off you feel like a new woman (or man).

**Farmacy also makes gel sheet masks for hydration, which I haven’t tried, but I’d recommend trying those out if you suffer from dry skin!**

8. Eye Cream

Don’t forget to give love to those dark circles or puffy bags under your gorgeous eyes. Using eye cream everyday is the best way to kick your need for concealer. Finding a good eye cream can be hard, as they are usually expensive, but once you get yours, it lasts a long time. Only use a very small amount a day and apply it under your eyes by patting it in. Do not rub your eye cream in! I’ve tried a lot of different products, but below I’ll show you my absolute, all-time favorite eye cream.

Origins GinZing™ Refreshing Eye Cream (15ml) | Harrods US
Origins: Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream $32

It’s called Refreshing Eye Cream, and the name really fits! With ginseng and coffee, this cream wakes up your eyes by brightening dark circles and de-puffing those bags. Not to mention, it smells great!

9. Moisturizer

I hope that all of you already have a go-to moisturizer. I have several that I switch around depending on what skin issues I’m dealing with, but it is essential to moisturize your face everyday, no matter what skin type you have! I’ll show you my current favorite, which I got a sample of years ago and finally forced myself to buy the full size jar of.

REVIEW] Korres Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturising & Brightening Cream | Cosme  Perks
Korres: Wold Rose Brightening Moisturizer $36

This moisturizer is another brightening product, which I love, because the vitamin C evens your skin tone. That means any redness or dark spots are faded and blended into your beautiful complexion. This product really does keep your skin moisturized all day and smells like you rubbed your face in a rose bouquet. It’s a moisturizer to die for!

10. SPF or Night Cream

We’ve made it to the final step of the Korean skincare routine! Since this routine is supposed to be done twice a day, the last step is different for morning and night. I know, doing ten steps twice is day is not always feasible! If you complete it once, just make sure to choose your step ten accordingly. In the morning, choose your favorite sunscreen or product with SPF (if your foundation contains SPF, I’d say it’s fine to just use that). Before bed, apply a good overnight mask or night cream that fights the skin issues you want to target!

Below, I’ll show you one fabulous sunscreen and one of my favorite night creams.

Mineral Face Organic Matte Finish Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 – COOLA
Coola: Matte Finish Mineral Face Sunscreen $36

Now, considering the situation we are in because of COVID, I personally don’t leave my apartment everyday. On days that I know I won’t be seeing the light of day, I skip this step. However, sunscreen is a step that cannot be skipped if you know you’ll be outside at all! Remember that UV rays can affect you whether it’s sunny or cloudy outside, so don’t forget to protect your face!

This sunscreen is one of my favorites because it really does leave your face matte. Most sunscreens are greasy and on top of an already oily face, make you shine like a light bulb…and not in a good way. The texture of this Coola sunscreen is almost powdery, if that makes any sense, and makes your face as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Plus, if you wear makeup this product doubles as a great primer!

Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel: Product that changed my skin
Beauty Counter: Overnight Resurfacing Peel $63

This is an amazing night cream for any skin type! It’s rather expensive, but I actually got it free from Beauty Counter for spending a certain amount on an order. You also only need one pump for your face and neck, so it’s lasting me a very long time!

I love a good peel, and this one contains tons of incredible ingredients that I love too! This citrus-scented overnight peel is packed full of AHA/BHA, glycolic, lactic and malic acids. It’s designed to speed up skin cell renewal which leads to softer, more evenly-toned skin with tighter pores and a youthful glow! I wouldn’t recommend this product if I didn’t see results from it, and even after one night of use, I wake up looking refreshed and feeling smoother!

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In conclusion, the 10-step Korean skincare routine sounds daunting and impossible to commit to. The only way to really make it a true routine is to take little steps and build onto it every week or so. For example, if you already have a water-based cleanser and an exfoliator you love, start using steps 2 and 3 everyday and go pick up some cheap witch hazel to add on step 4.

Start off by doing only the steps you already own and when you have the money to buy a new product, buy one for the step you think is most important for your skin! Building up a skincare kit that you love takes a lot of time, money and dedication to trying new things. I didn’t get all of my products overnight, because that would be impossible based on my finances.

**If you’re interested in finding certain products like the ones I recommended but for cheap, search the name of the product and type “dupe” on the end (i.e. “Beauty Counter overnight peel dupe”). The internet is incredible, guys!**

The 10-step Korean Skincare routine has changed the way I see myself for the better. As long as I’m allowing myself time everyday to care for my complexion, I can count on my face not being a negative impact on my self-esteem. Try it out and let me know what you think!

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Steps:

  1. Oil-based Cleanser
  2. Water-based Cleanser
  3. Exfoliation
  4. Toner
  5. Essence
  6. Serums
  7. Sheet Mask
  8. Eye Cream
  9. Moisturizer
  10. SPF or Night Cream

Being Ms. Cardinal

“Every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be.” -Rita Pierson

On August 31, I’ll be starting my third year of being Ms. Cardinal. In July of 2018, I was hired by Uncommon Schools Inc. to be a 2nd grade teacher.

Uncommon Schools Inc. is a chain of charter schools across Brooklyn, Newark and Boston that caters to low-income areas. Their mission is to get children who are born into the poverty cycle to get to and through college in order to break that cycle. Uncommon Schools Inc. truly is a chain of unordinary (or uncommmon) schools. Their teachers use very strict, though effective, methods in their classrooms in order to give structure to their students’ educational experience. Learning to teach in such a specific way is oftentimes a stressful, but usually rewarding, experience.

My first year of teaching was interesting and very, very challenging. I loved being a teacher, but I didn’t feel like working in an elementary school was the right fit for me. Fortunately, Uncommon Schools allowed me to transfer to Brownsville Collegiate Middle School, where I currently teach 7th grade English. Teaching middle school sounds terrible to most people, but I actually love working with moody pre-teens!

Over the summer, a new Instagram account was created where past Uncommon teachers or students could publicly express their issues with the charter school chain. I read all of them. I sadly agreed with a lot of the complaints that were posted, and it made me question whether or not my position was right for me. After reflection, I decided that teaching with Uncommon Schools was still the best place I could be, and so I chose to continue teaching at BVC.

Why did I choose to stay? Below is my “why.”

My Background:

I’m from a small, suburban town in Indiana. The population of my hometown consists mostly of white families. My relatively large graduating class only had a handful of students that were POC. As a child, my father was an OBGYN. I never wanted for anything. Even my friends were considered to be in upper-middle class families. I never truly saw or felt poverty.

After my parents got divorced, my mom went to college and eventually went on to get her Master’s degree in education. After my mom finished schooling, I didn’t know many people in my family that hadn’t gotten a college degree. Going to college was expected for my family and for most families in my hometown.

Since I was raised in a very white, mostly christian atmosphere, going away to college and studying abroad introduced me to different cultures, religions and ethnicities, which I believe was a very important time in my life.

Why I’m an English Teacher:

At a very young age, I expressed interest in writing stories and poetry, which my family encouraged. My mother used to buy me blank hard-cover books to write stories and draw illustrations in. Writing and reading were always passions of mine. I also was known amongst my group of friends as being the “grammar police.” I’m surprised that they stuck it out and stayed friends with me after all of the times I corrected their speech!

Along with my overall interest in the English language, I’ve always loved to learn anything I could. I also did well in school. I could honestly be a student forever if that were a possibility. School has been a place of joy for me 90% of the time. I know that I’m a minority here, but I hope to one day change a student’s mindset about school. I want to show my students that reading, writing and learning in general can be fun!

My great grandad Jackson has been an inspiration to me as well.  He spoke fluent French, taught French and AP English at the high school in my hometown, ran the high school newspaper and even worked for the local newspaper. Almost every idea I came up with for future careers was influenced by him in some way: author, French translator, journalist, editor and more of the like. However, I always refused to say that I would be a teacher. Along with grandad Jackson, most of my family members are teachers or work in education. I didn’t want to be like everyone else, until I stumbled upon a job application for Uncommon Schools.

Why I Chose Uncommon Schools:

Being an Uncommon teacher gives me a sense a purpose. Teaching anywhere is important work, but teaching at schools in low-income communities is even more crucial. My first year with Uncommon opened my eyes to the reality of poverty and the social divide between whites and people of color. I felt the necessity of creating change in the education system and the urgency to do so. I am aware of the privilege I have as white woman and I want to use that privilege to make a difference, no matter how small. I see how much the kids in these schools need a stable teacher, or simply even another stable adult outside of home, that shows them love and respect and raises their confidence so they can succeed.

Why I’m still Teaching at Uncommon:

After reading the Instagram posts that I mentioned earlier over the summer, I questioned if the work I was doing actually was good work.  One day while I scrolling through these posts, I was interrupted by a phone call from a student: Dawein. He called me just to talk and to ask me a couple of questions, and after we hung up I realized how important our work at Uncommon truly is.

Dawein came into BVC in 6th grade from a public school, at a pre-k reading level. I still cannot understand how a child can get by in elementary school without the ability to read, or more importantly, how a teacher can let that slide. Because of my experience teaching reading mastery, I got the opportunity to work with him all year on his decoding and comprehension skills. By the end of January, Dawein had mastered his first grade sight words. The day he passed the quiz, I broke out in tears in front of him and he hugged me with a huge smile on his face. Afterward, his confidence grew so much that he volunteered to read aloud in his performing arts class. He never would have chosen to read in front of his classmates before.

I’m still Dawein’s main reading teacher. Dawein keeps me grounded in Uncommon’s mission: to get kids to and through college and to do our part to end the poverty cycle. I want to continue to help our kids like I’m helping Dawein. I know that these kids have the potential to grow, learn and succeed, despite the cards they have been dealt in life.

Dawein called me again today. Knowing that he trusts me and is comfortable being honest with me is one of the greatest feelings I’ve known. I want my students to remember me as a teacher who showed that she cared about them, pushed them, loved them and did everything she could for them.

I want to be a champion for my students.