Tuesday, December 29, 2015

This Is (Actually) Why I Can't Have Nice Things

Caveat: there is a 100% chance I am writing this from a place of depression.

I didn't go to practice again tonite. It's the off season, and I don't have to go, but I should. Healthy-me knows that I like roller derby, and that roller derby makes me feel good, even when it's hard, and so, I should go.

Healthy-me is not home right now.

Needs-otters-me is in that place where practice is far, so I should stay home. Practice is independent study, and I don't do well on my own, so I should stay home. It's mostly been A team skaters showing up, and I am not A team, so I should stay home. Roller derby is for people who are capable of doing good things, for people who want things more than I do, who are better than I am, and so, clearly, I should stay home, because trying is hard and failing is easy and why leave the house when I can be the architect of my own disappointment from right here in this spot?

Thank you to ThePhotoForum user Overread for taking a bunch of really incredible pictures of really sad looking otters.

And, hey, since I stayed home, thus satisfying my terrible proof of only good people go to practice, I did not go to practice, I am not a good person, how about I just spend the rest of the night self-flagellating? That seems like a good idea, right? Of course it does.

I have a tendency (it's not a tendency, tendency implies that it only happens sometimes, this is a course of thought that I have roughly 100% of always) to believe that I am not worthy of good things. "Good things" is a catch-all term, but it often includes things like a base level of happiness, proper nutrition, and access to healthcare/medication. Without even looking at what wider circles of that clearly flawed logic include, it causes me to exist in cycles where I deny myself access to things that I should not be denying myself - my anxiety meds, decent meals, anything one could deem a "luxury" - in an effort to satisfy the part of my lizard brain that is more concerned with being right than being healthy. (My lizard brain is a jackass.) (I almost said dick, but I am making a concerned effort to remove gendered insults from my lexicon. Note to self, keep working on that.)

Which brings me to the point of why I opened my computer - I don't want to keep satisfying my lizard brain. Because it is a jackass. I want to figure out how to keep myself in check, to hold myself outside of that base instinct that I do not deserve nice things (kind things, healthy things, things that make my life more tolerable), and to not fall in to its clutches. I want to take my anxiety meds, even if I don't feel like I need them, because they don't just stop my anxiety after it ramps up, they are useful in preventing those feels in the first place. I want to go to practice, even if it's hard and I suck and I'm still afraid that I won't make Brawlers again, because I like roller derby. And because two shitty hours on the track are still better than two shitty hours sitting at home feeling shitty about myself. Because I understand that while the act of denial is in itself a trigger for the pleasure center, it is a terrible one, and there have got to be better ways of indulging those synapses.

I made a Facebook post vaguely about this last week, in an effort to hold myself accountable and not do the thing I just did all over again (skip practice and feel shitty about it.) Will writing a blog post about it help? Probably not. But writing out why I do these things to myself at least sucks a little bit of how terrible I feel about myself out of my insides, and that's helpful. Sort of. Take your meds, Marissa.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Influenster POND'S Original Fresh Wet Cleansing Towelettes Review

I received a sample of this product for free from Influenster. I took these out for a test run the night before Halloween and used them to remove zombie blood from my face after street teaming with my roller derby team. It was a light night for FX, and I was able to remove all visible traces of the blood with meticulous use of one cloth, which was impressive, but I still felt like I had to wash my face afterwards. When I used them the next day for regular makeup, it was much easier. Would not substitute these for actually washing my faces, but I'd use them while travelling or in a pinch. As far as using them for FX makeup, I'll just stick to baby wipes.

Single towelette, full of a minimal amount of zombie goo.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Thanks for That, West Philly

I had a snarky two-liner FB post ready to go about how West Philly never lets me down. Then I had another 40 minutes to think about it on the drive home, and I remembered: the kyriarchy hurts everyone. And that sucks.

As I was heading out of Center City tonite, I saw the traffic up on 76 right before I hit the on ramp, so I hustled around 30th Street Station and headed out via Market/Walnut. Since I was already going to be passing it, I decided to stop for Crown Fried Chicken at 40th Street. So I parked, and then, for the first time in a long time, a homeless guy hit me up for change on the corner, and then followed me in to the store. And I made the decision that buying him fried chicken was probably an easier way to get him off my back than ignoring him while he continued to pester me. Especially since he was now in the actual store with me, and lord knows the CFC guys have their homeless interactions set to Ignore all the time.

So I bought him dinner and figured that was it. Only in his profuse thanks, he ended up cornering me outside the shop as well, and I honestly don't know if he was hitting me up for more money for a Septa token (probably yes) or just trying to talk to someone (probably also yes.) Because at this point, I had my City Girl Hankles up, and my general social anxiety kicking in, so making small talk with a homeless vet who was definitely not 100% there had me in full on Flight mode.

And so I was going to sarcastically thank you, West Philly, because of course you do this. But on the other hand, how much of this was me? In retrospect, the guy presented minimal danger to me. I'm just trained to Ignore All Strangers when I'm out. I bought him a meal, which cost me all of $4, which I definitely have to spare, and he most likely did not. And I could listen to him tell his story (VA hospitals dicking him around, which, whether or not that's true, is absolutely plausible), though, it's not like I'm actually at liberty to change that particular system any time soon.

Instead, I politely (maybe?) frantically (yes.) pretended to listen and shifted my weight a lot, and gave him my fake name and shook his hand more than once, and every time he said "Semper Fi," I glanced in all directions past him, maybe hoping that a magic warp portal would appear and I could disappear my way out of there. Was he off-kilter, or genuinely just excited to talk to a person who had done something kind for him? Was I legitimately in some sort of danger, or just gobsmacked by the awkwardness of forced small talk? Would this all be better (or just different?) if I didn't have to think that d-d-d-d-danger's out to find you, or if the fucking VA system didn't shit all over its patients on the regular?

TL;DR, I bought dinner for a homeless vet and felt really uncomfortable about it, and then spent the next hour thinking about the systems in place that bought us both to that specific situation and have nothing to show for it but this blog post.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

L'Oreal Ultimate Straight Influenster Vox Box Review

I received a set of L'Oreal's new Ultimate Straight hair care supplies to experiment with as a free trial from Influenster. I was pretty excited, as my supplies showed up just as I was about to run out of my regular shampoo, so, hooray, no trip to CVS for me!

I received the full set of the new 4-step line:
Step 1: Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight – Straightening shampooStep 2: Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight – Straight Boosting Pre-conditionerStep 3: Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight – Straightening conditionerStep 4: Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight – Straight Perfecting Balm

I also received the headache of secret steps 5 and 6, blow drying and straightening.

The thing I was the most excited by about this line is that it's paraben free. It's getting easier to hunt down paraben free supplies from the drug store, but it's still not exactly easy. Having a box of them delivered to my front door was pretty swell.

The thing I was LEAST excited about was a 4-step system. I'm pretty low maintenance, and on the best of days, I can manage to shampoo and condition my hair before passing out with my wet hair scrunched up on top of a towel. If I'm REALLY lucky, I'll dry and slap some argan oil on there to keep the frizzies down.

It turns out that the 4 step system isn't so bad. There's one extra step in the shower, the pre-conditioner.It doesn't need to be rinsed out, so it really only adds a minute or two to your usual routine, which is nice. The perfecting balm is used after you towel dry your hair, which is exactly how I use my argan oil, so no real time difference there, either.

What isn't clear about this system is that purported results come as a result of not only use of the 4 products, but also of blow drying your hair, as well as straightening it, if needed, after you blow dry it. These are steps that I almost NEVER take, and was not excited to find out needed to be a part of the Ultimate Straight regiment. (Though, I understand how stick straight hair works, so I can't say I was surprised.)

I tried this system 3 times, once using the whole system less the secret steps, once only using steps 1 and 3, and once using the whole system with the secret steps. My thoughts:

No Secret Steps:
Hair is definitely softer, thought not necessarily straighter. The routine isn't so arduous that I wouldn't keep doing it, though I'm not sure if the results are any better than what I usually do with my three step routine.

1 & 3:
Hair is still pretty soft, but definitely not straighter. If anything, I have MORE flyaways than usual - possibly a result of not using a post-shower moisturizer? Using steps 1 & 3 as an independent straightening system is probably useless, but I might use them in conjunction with my argan oil. Will have to try this.

Secret Steps:
I feel like if you have to use styling tools to achieve perfect, optimum results, the products aren't really delivering 100% on their promises. Of COURSE your hair will be straight if you straighten it with a blowdryer and an iron. You don't really need a straightening product regiment for that. But I was resolve to try this, so I did. Result? The same, if not marginally worse, than my usual hair straightening routine. My hair is still super soft, which is great, but I have plenty of rogue frizzies, and it still doesn't lie as flat as I'd like it to


As a simple hair care regimen, this seems fine, though it leaves my hair feeling pretty light, which I'm sure contributes to my frizzy/flyaway look. I'm a natural brunette who is actively going grey, so I need a lot more weight to keep the greys down than what this system seems able to offer me. That said, I'm ok with keeping up with the 4 step system til I run out of product, but I'm not sure if I'd purchase steps 2 & 4 independently. I'm not convinced that step 2 actually does anything, but I would purchase it again, if I can get a good deal on it. Step 4 I will probably just trade out for my usual argan oil, which seems to be more moisturizing for my hair. I don't think I'd endorse it as a revolutionary new straightening regiment, but it is adequate.

#Ultimatestraight was provided for me for free as part of a 2015 Influenster VoxBox. Thanks for the products, Influenster!