Quitting My Job, Finishing My Novel, & A New Skincare Routine

I have been busy.

In light of my south node moving into my tenth house, I quit my job.

Kidding, kind of.

Nothing changes if you don’t change it, and I realized I couldn’t do anything else to make myself happier where I worked than what I’d already done. So, I quit. No safety net.

It was scary! But somehow I feel better unemployed than I can remember feeling for a while. I’ve written so much and I feel so good about it. I finished my novel! That’s a thing. And I’ve been editing that and re-writing my first project, too, and I’m getting so much done every day even between my job applications.

Everything is new, even what isn’t new feels new. Even my skincare routine is new! Even the perfume I’m wearing is new!

Anyway, I was gone but now I’m back(ish). Novel updates and some hauls coming soon, and a comparison of the Colourpop Blotted Lips to the Glossier Gen G’s.

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Being Borderline + BadBrain FOTD

I’ve mentioned being Borderline in passing on this blog before, in addition to having Bi-Polar Disorder and other co-morbid fun times. I wanted to do a little post about what that means in real life terms since I’m toeing the edge of an episode or a downswing or whatever and ready to chat about some of the things I’ve been feeling and thinking recently with regards to mental illness and interacting with the Neurotypicals(TM).

Borderline Personality Disorder is a Cluster B Personality Disorder, and it hinges on instability with regards to interpersonal relationships, emotions, and identity, among other things. Upon hearing this, a lot of (neurotypical) people try to say that everyone gets mad at their friends, or needs validation they are doing a good job, or feels lost sometimes as to who they are and what they want. And you know, on a good day, I know that everyone does.

But BPD is not that. It’s not that for me, and I don’t think any actual Borderline would agree with it, either. And it is very hard to not get pissed off when you have to hear it again and again, and are expected to listen patiently like a “good mentally ill person,” since they are “just trying to help.”

If you are chronically or mentally ill in some way, hearing things like that undercut your very real symptoms and the very real impacts they have on your very real life. It’s near gas-lighting, and for myself having or being BPD, this especially grates. One of the worst catch-22s of BPD is that it can become your identity so quickly once you finally have a diagnosis or a name to call how you’ve been feeling that even if you hate it (and boy, do I hate it! 🙂 ) having someone try to take that from you is like changing the forces of gravity. I don’t want to be sick, but in some ways I feel like I have to be in order to “be” in many senses of that word. If I’m not Borderline, who or what am I then? What is left if you take that part away?

Worse yet, because BPD makes you question who and what you are, a lot of Borderlines question that diagnosis anyway — that they’re making their symptoms up, or feeling like they’re just doing this “for attention” — but that very train of thought is a symptom in and of itself; constantly questioning the validity of the diagnosis is part of living with the diagnosis. When my experiences get re-framed in the context of “everyone is like that, really!” I don’t know if I can adequately express how disorienting it feels, and what that can trigger.

(Yes, everyone does that. Why am I so weak I can’t handle it like everyone else? What else am I making up for attention, what else am I using as an excuse? How can I be such a bad person to think my experiences are so much worse than everyone else’s? People have it much worse than I do, what do I have to complain about, really? I couldn’t tell you, since I now know I’m making not only my BPD symptoms up, but also my BD symptoms, my anxiety, the swings, splitting, all of it. Maybe even my PCOS and Endo. I’m making those up too, why not?)

I can try to understand why some neurotypical people feel the need to do that. Maybe they think they are being supportive, to let me or other people know they aren’t alone. I think more often because of the way BPD symptoms are described, people misunderstand them and orient them in their own experiences. Because, for example, if the DSM says one of the characteristics of being Borderline is “an instability in goals, aspirations, and career plans,” they all flash back to when they changed their major midway through undergrad and don’t understand the depth of what that means or feels like to someone who cannot regulate their emotions with any consistency and lacks a centralized sense of self. That’s not an isolated incidence of existential panic or debating a career change, it’s a chronic state of being.

Anyway. A lot of this was prompted by me mass-unfollowing a lot of borderline-centric tumblrs recently due to this type of Discourse(TM), and I wanted to share my thoughts and also maybe give people who wouldn’t otherwise get one a look at what BPD looks like in real life.

BBFOTD

On my face:

  • Hard Candy Sheer Envy Pore Defense Primer Serum. Since I am coming out of an episode that left me unable to wash my face consistently and on the verge of a dermatological revolt, the willow bark and witch hazel in this primer help me stave off the inevitable bad brain breakout. That I deserve, you know, because what kind of adult can’t get up to at least rinse the grime and dirt off their face? 🙂
  • Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Color Correct Cream in Sheer Nude. Since not being able to wash my face has also left me flaky and dry, the soothing ingredients in this aloe based cream help hide the flakiness where I’ve scratched or picked at my face trying to self-harm my guilt away post episode.
  • Glossier Boy Brow in Brown. Since I seemingly lost my favorite Jordana brow gel (that left me crying for several minutes this morning, unable to stop myself from looking for it even though I knew it was lost, and I can’t even keep up with a little tube of makeup), this overpriced impulse buy keeps my brows visible on my puffy, bloated face, from all the water I haven’t been drinking and junk food I’ve been eating.
  • Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer in Brightener. Since my episode I’ve been sleeping maybe two hours a night the past week or so, since the thought of sleeping triggers my paranoia. I don’t want anyone asking me about it at work — because what would I say? — so this lightweight, easy to blend formula helps hide the evidence.
  • Glossier Stretch Concealer in Light. This is another overpriced impulse buy, since I literally cannot help myself from spending money irresponsibly 75% of the time. The emollient formula glides over the scabby, flaky parts of my face I cant help but mess with.
  • Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water Resistant Mascara in Abyss. Who knows when my next outburst or meltdown will be? I could split on my Bein, my co-worker, or my dog at the drop of a hat, and this lightweight, smudgeproof formula keeps me from those melodramtic racoon eyes when I have a little cry in the bathroom at work.
  • Revlon Kiss Balm in Juicy Peach. Since I’ve been gnawing at my lips constantly, trying to internalize all my shit and assimilate with the Neurotypicals(TM), a nice hydrating, sweet-smelling balm will help heal the scabs and dry patches I’ve got lingering.
  • A smile! Two weeks ago my coworker started talking to me about his friend’s “crazy, Borderline wife” who was ruining his life. No way I would let them know I’m struggling with the same illness that apparently only matters in the context of making other people’s lives harder. BPD folks are manipulative and abusive, don’t you know?

 

O. Henry’s Hotel Tea + Meeting The Pioneer Woman + Bein Adventures #1

Looking at pictures of beautiful places and artful tea arrangements takes you to your happy place, you say? Let Kayla take care of everything. Let’s have some almost-end-of-the-week happy. We’ve both earned it.

OH5

I took yesterday off to go to a Pioneer Woman book signing with the Best Bein, who has tried to explain her love of Ree to me by saying “she is to me what Chris Evans is to you.” What friend would I be to argue with that logic? She has also asked me not to tell anyone that she has cried over three separate episodes of her show, and two separate posts on her official FB page. So this is me not telling you that, in an effort to give you some context here.

Anyway! I’m a good friend who likes not being at work, so obviously I said we would make the drive up to Greensboro together. It was my first time up that way, but she had been before when one of her friends from college got married and she really twisted my arm to go have tea beforehand at the O. Henry Hotel. Like, really twisted it.

OH1

There aren’t any tea rooms within an hour or so of where I live, so whenever I get the chance to go inhale a pot of leaf water and a few scones I jump on it. O.Henry is cool being that it’s named after that O.Henry, who was a Greensboro native himself apparently, and is classy AF and makes you feel like you’re an extra in an establishing shot between scenes in a Real Housewives of Any City episode.

OH2

OH3

(Thanks for this picture, bein!)

They serve tea in their objectively beautiful lobby and I think sometimes on the objectively beautiful veranda outside those big objectively beautiful doors you see in the picture above that I objectively stupidly didn’t snap a picture of. They also have “The Gift of the Magi” written around the perimeter of the room, because why would they not?

OH4

The seasonal tea they had was Blue and Yellow, which they said was a lavender chamomile dream. I was sorely tempted but ultimately submitted to my earl grey addiction, which means I’ll have to go back soon and try the Blue and Yellow before they stop serving it 🙂 Bein and I just got the Light Afternoon Tea, though they have three different options and the others come loaded with more nibbles if you want a bigger meal. We had post-bougie tea plans, though, and managed to restrain ourselves from these plates and the champagne they offered, if only by the skin of our teeth.

OH6

OH8

OH7

(Thanks for these pictures, bein!!)

Before I forget, I also want to mention that they have shoe-shiners in their bathrooms. Like the fuzzy machines? I’m assuming that’s what they are, anyway. I was wearing my $5 Walmart flats and couldn’t really test to be sure, but I’m reasonably confident they were shoe shiners. I’m telling you — bougie.

Everything was delicious and perfect, but you could probably guess that just looking at the pictures. I also got to try a Lamington for the first time, and honestly the fact that I hadn’t been offered cake rolled in chocolate and coconut before this is a crime I should seek legal restitution for. (And let me tell you — that peach curd changed my life. I’m thriving, hydrated, and no longer vindictive and habitually late.)

We’ve made plans for another bein adventure to just rent a room for a long weekend this summer and enjoy the place fully, since we did have to leave eventually. (Sad!) It’s a wonderful place, though, if you’re in the area or passing through. If you go, please detour to the first floor restroom and get back to me on those fuzzy machines.

After our pots were empty we made it back to the little plaza where Ree was doing her book signing and fucked around a bit —

OH10

Fuckery Exhibit A: Sephora

— before we made it to Food Phase 2: Margaritas and Cheese Dip.

OH9

(Above, me and my shame, trying to avoid the unflinching gaze of my bein’s camera)

Not pictured is Margarita 2 and the bag of Pioneer Woman merch we lugged to Barnes and Noble for Ree to sign. (Which she very gamely did! Even this plate which I think my bein now loves more than her husband and me put together, but maybe still less than her dog):

PW1

Ree was very, very nice, and Bein only cried a little waiting in line, so her mascara didn’t even smudge. Did we really need another sign from the universe that this day was going to end well? There were tons of people there, though — more than I expected, but I suppose I’m not in the Food Network fandom anyway to have guessed an accurate number. She signed as many things as people brought with them and took all the pictures they asked for, which was very sweet considering how many bodies were squeezed in that Barnes and Noble.

I don’t love you enough to share any video of the car karaoke from the drive back, but look at what we saw halfway home!

Wooody

Woody! Buzz is in the backseat.

Now, I hear you thinking to yourself — man, even by Kayla’s standards that picture is super shitty. Well it is! Because this car thought we were tailing it since we were following so close in order to facilitate this shitty picture at all, and kept trying to shake us off by switching lanes and trying to move around us. I was under dire duress, is what I’m saying, and I don’t want to hear about it.

Anyway. Some days are capital G.D. Good Days, and yesterday was one of mine. Thanks for letting me tell you about it, a little 🙂

I hope everyone is having a good week — or at least that your week is starting to look up now that Friday is very nearly here.

The “Oh Shit” Makeup Bag + Bonus “I Have Fucked Up” FOTD: Late For Work Edition

I am a recently converted but strong believer in keeping a makeup bag in the purse, backpack, car, etc. I’ve upgraded to such a bag from just having a few (or twenty) lipstick tubes rolling around in the bottom of my purse because it finally hit me that rather than be five or ten minutes late to my office trying to rush to look semi presentable at home, I can toss all my shit in my bag and take five minutes in the bathroom at work while my decrepit computer boots up.

(Wake up earlier! I hear you suggest. Go to bed at a reasonable time! You cry. I don’t hear you over the sound of frantically spraying dry shampoo.)

Anyway! Some days makeup isn’t a priority. That’s life. But undoubtedly I’ll get called into a meeting or get roped into drinks or dinner after work and want to spruce up a bit. The result is something along the lines of this:

MB1

Thrilling, exciting, groundbreaking. I know.

I don’t attempt any funny business or cool-girl shit when I’m pressed for time or fucks to give. I conceal the extra terrible parts of my face, slap enough color on to look alive, and hope the lights are dim enough to make up for the difference. To do so, I keep a few things in my bag:

  1. Concealer
    • My forever fave is the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer. I can use this easily as a foundation as well if my skin is really not having it and it’s just the easiest for me. If you don’t want to shell out that $50 or fiddle with a pot you have to put your fingers in, NYX HD Concealer would fit in nicely here since it’s so easy to blend.
  2. Eyebrow Gel
    • Do I look like the kind of heifer that can bother with a pencil? (Even if I need it) I want my brows visible, so people know I have them, and that’s all I’m really asking for. And it adds shape or something to my otherwise shapeless, moonlike face. Whatever. I’ve been using the Jordana Fabubrow and will probably not be going back to the Glossier Boy Brow, if that tells you anything about how I like it.
  3. Cream Blush
    • I’m wearing the Josie Maran Coconut Water Cheek Gelee in Honeymoon Honey here, but I believe they are discontinuing these? (2017 is where joy goes to die??) I usually rely on my ELF Cream Blush Palette, though. The colors blend easy and give you enough options to work with — that peachy color I throw in the crease of my eyelid if I have a spare second for definition, and if you really wanna get wild you can pat them on the lips pretty comfortably. The mirror is also massive and wonderful and so helpful for the chronically late and unprepared.
  4. Mascara
    • My Lash Discovery Waterproof is dead as a doornail, so I’m going through this Define-A-Lash I impulse bought at Target since it was on clearance. I’d suggest something that’s mostly just lightweight and not prone to smudging when you’re slapping it on like a NASCAR tech does a tire at a pit stop.
  5. Lip Gloss/Colored Balm

bag

Honorable Makeup Bag mentions are a pair of tweezers, a lip balm, and a letter from you, to you that reads “get your shit together.”

What are your procrastination-friendly makeup faves or tricks? What do you keep in your makeup bag? I’m nosy and want to know!!

Writing Update, Schedule, and Goals

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope y’all had a relaxing weekend. I’m writing this Saturday and just realized the Superbowl is a thing happening — did your team win? Did you eat nachos and drink a lot anyway? (Did you manage to do that without having to actually sit and watch the game?) Past me has a feeling future me will be going that last route.

The last post I made on my writing (coincidentally the last post I made in 2016), I was working on my first manuscript for an X-Men road trip, jail break adventure type of thing. I was 67k words in, with another…15k to round the story out to go and working through some rough preliminary edits.

Well, it’s 2017 and I still remain 67k words in, with another 15k to go to finish the story and heaps of editing to do. But that’s okay! I’ve come to terms with it. I may never really finish that project to what I’ve built it up in my head to be, but for my first real attempt at finishing a long-form piece I’m not mad at it. It holds a special place in my heart, like my first born (speaking, myself, as a first-born 😉 ), but I’ve got some perspective now and realize there are flaws in it that will require the type of surgery I’m not willing to commit to right now.

…Especially in light of the project that took up the second half of my 2016 🙂 ! What a transition.

So. New novel is 53k in, and what I’d estimate is…20k to go? I honestly can’t really guess how many words it will take me to get the rest of the action fleshed out. A worry I have about this novel straight off the bat is that it’s “back-heavy,” (is that even a phrase any other human uses to describe a book?), and a lot of the most plot-heavy action comes at the end. I know I personally like time in books to get the time to know and give a damn about the characters before they are thrown into whatever they get thrown into, but I also know one of the first things I will have to tackle when I start the editing process is making sure I didn’t overcompensate this in my own novel.

But again, we haven’t even really gotten to that part yet. And especially as I am trying to bring this blog back to life, I am having to plan my time a bit differently to accommodate all the balls I have in the air. So I wanted to discuss today my kind of updated writing/life schedule/goals.

Basically, I work a Monday – Friday office job. Sometimes in the past I’ve tried to write in the slow moments at work, but it was ultimately something I was able to do only erratically and I can’t really rely on just doing it then to get things completed and also keep the job that pays the bills. Moreover I’m likely going to be moving to a different job/department that won’t even allow this soon, so a new plan is in order that doesn’t rely on spending my whole weekend holed up writing/working on the stuff I couldn’t finish at my day job.

I want writing to be my full-time gig sooner rather than later, so I don’t mind treating it like another job now. In fact, I think I have to. Basically, I get off work at 5:30, have a little dinner, and unwind with some YouTube or Netflix for about thirty minutes in my office. This is important for me, because as soon as I come home the bra comes off, the pants come off, and I’m on tumblr the rest of the night, curled up with my dog. Not conducive to writing.

After my break, I spend at least an hour and a half writing. I’ve broken it up roughly like this: three days out of the week are purely spent on my current manuscript. One day I dedicate to queuing up posts for the blog, and the other is a freebie day for me to work on either (or, more likely, one of my two “fluffy” pet projects). Conveniently, when I finish up this writing time, it’s around when the gym across the street is clearing out from all the folks who go right after work so I’m able to change into my gym clothes and also hit the gym on my way back home. (Another life goal I desperately wish wasn’t necessary).

(Not conveniently, the gym is something I have to pass on my way home from the office. I feel the guilt hard if I drive by without going in).

I don’t have it in me mentally or physically, most days, as I do live with chronic pain + mental health issues, to go to the gym every day. But I’m going to try to do it the three days I work on my manuscript, since that already feels a bit more like “work” than the other. Also I can work on this blog and my fluff projects on the off days without that looming over me, and it puts me in a better headspace with less pressure to do so — because these days I want to keep in the habit of writing I’m trying to build (I firmly believe no writing is “wasted” or “wasteful”) without running the risk of burning out on any one of the projects I want to work on.

Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t or won’t do any work on the weekends, but hopefully it will take some of the pressure off of me to write 10k words in a weekend or whatever I feel like I have to scramble to do to catch up, at the expense of things I may want to do instead (spend time with my family, dogs, friends…rewatch Luther on Netflix, etc.). Because I do like to have 10k words written (the majority being in my actual manuscript) a week. That’s a reasonable goal, for me, that makes me still feel like I am getting closer to accomplishing my big picture goals. 7,500 is the absolute minimum I could feel good about, though, because 1500 words a day is something I should be churning out like clockwork.

This post feels so long. Does it feel long to you?

Anyway, that’s my revised plan I’ll be trying out the next few months. What are y’all’s writing goals? Do you stick to a schedule? I’d love to talk with you about it! 🙂

I hope the rest of your week is wonderful. I’ll be seeing you Friday with a different sort of post for this blog…dundundun. (And maybe a cheeky post Wednesday for T5W!)

2016

Look y’all, I remembered the password to my blog 🙂

So. 2016. I thought of a few ways to explain my absence or summarize that year in some way (I was sick! Seemingly my entire family also got sick in succession! I wrote another novel! I did x,y,z…) But it doesn’t really matter. It happened. I lived through it.

I hope to be blogging more than twice this year and up my previous record. I’ve got a few different ideas floating, the first of which I think may be to do a comparison review of two books I read Monday while out sick from work (The Goddess Test and Persephone’s Orchard, which, boy, did I have some feelings about), my own personal novel/writing/editing update, and perhaps even throw a few witchy posts(?) in the queue. I am also tempted to do a roundup of some things I bought recently or a “favorites” type deal…

What I’m saying is, I appreciate your patience as I try to get this blog sorted out and back on track in advance. I hope your 2017 is off to a wonderful start (or as good as possible in the current state of the world).

I’ll be seeing ya!

 

Editing

Editing Life

I want to talk a little bit about writing today. I’m chugging through some revisions to my current draft of my manuscript and…well, it’s just fresh on the brain, so why not?

Basically, I am desperate to finish this damn thing. Labor of love, yadda yadda, now I’m just kinda feeling like Job.  Beleaguered, and like I wanna take a nap that lasts a few days. (Surely that’s how Job felt, ya feel me?)

SO to track my progress and to bolster my false sense of accomplishment and perception that I have done more than I actually have, I exported all my little scenes and tidbits from Scrivener into Word and printed that sucker out on my work printer. It was nice to hold it and feel its weight, and if I put it in a massive binder to make it look and feel bigger that’s between me and god.

But to motivate myself and to get an idea of how long this should take me to get through the first round of nit-picking, basically every time I sit down to comb through it I use a different color pen and date in the margin when I leave off. This does a few things:

  1. I get to majorly guilt trip myself if there is a big gap between the last date in the margin I have and when I’m sitting down to go at it again
  2. I can look back and see I get on average x many pages done per day, and that makes the little light at the end of the tunnel seem a little closer.

I have a bunch of regular lined paper in the back of the binder and any additional new stuff I write (because I do have about…8? more scenes left to fill in a few spaces) (LMAO oh and the last half of the final scene of the fucking book) has to go there, because I am trying to keep off the electronic copy until I get through with these edits. That helps me make sure all of the pen and paper edits I’m making will get transferred into the final version, when I get there, and that I don’t get distracted on the internet when I’m supposed to be working.

Not that that ever happens anyway. I would never, say,  blog instead of working.

Anyway, I’m only on page 30 so this doesn’t matter either way! (: