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! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) 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? ๐Ÿ™‚
  • 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?

 

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Internet Recommendations: April 2017

I have trawled through the internet so you don’t have to!

I am a semi professional internet person, and I’m here to help you separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were. All the shit that’s fit to upload with no or limited repercussions due to the toxic culture of the internet ๐Ÿ™‚

YouTube

Cold Crash Pictures

This is one of my favorite under-appreciated channels on YT. I’m not a movie buff or whatever by any stretch of the imagination, but sometimes I can pretend to be watching his videos, which are always clearly well thought out and insightful in addition to being edited well. Is that a weird thing to notice? Like they are just easy to watch partly by virtue of being put together so nicely. He also shares my love of the Animorphs, which I hadn’t thought about in years until he mentioned it in one of his videos. The best part of this channel is when you get snippets of his very very cute dog, though.

Thataylaa

Let me tell you a thing: once upon a time I lived in a house where I had, very literally, zero internet access. I moved to said house maybe two years after YouTube started to become a Thing(TM), and lived there for another two years after. When I finally moved back to the land of the living, I had no small amount of catching up to do with all the channels I had watched before. I didn’t end up sticking with a lot of them, especially in the beauty community, since I felt it had changed in that time to something different that I didn’t (and still don’t ๐Ÿ™‚ ) like. But I’ve been watching Taylor’s videos since the veeeery beginning, and it’s because I feel like she genuinely has a different vibe and brings new and different things to the table. And frankly in the beauty community that’s a bit hard to come by. (Does that make me sound like an asshole? Don’t answer that). She just seems like a good egg and you should check her out if you haven’t already, especially since her third foundation series is about to start up again!!

Lilly Jarlsson

Right at the start of the year, I chopped like eleven inches of my hair off. I mention this because I originally stumbled upon her channel looking for a pin-curl tutorial before the Big Chop in an effort to manage it — hers was, I will say, the only one I found that I really understood and helped me get the technique down. Lilly does her videos in both English and German, if that entices you any, and she has such a unique and fresh perspective on what beauty is and what it means for like actual real life. Her videos are also just relaxing to watch and I think she is honestly just…elegant. Not to be dramatic but…I watch her videos and I feel like the type of woman who wants to get her shit together. Her vintage tutorials are also some of the better ones with regards to historical accuracy as well, and she’s just generally a delight to watch.

Blogs

Bad Outfit Great Lipstick

Remember when I told you I didn’t have internet, that one time? Renee’s original YT channel was another that passed the great purge. She also sent me a RAOK once, many many moons ago, when I was still on the MakeupAlley Boards, and I feel forever in her debt for it or something. She’s very thorough in her reviews and she introduced me to my beloved Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer so I can’t see how I couldn’t mention her wonderful blog here. (It’s also so organized…literally it’s so well organized I think you just need to go witness it for the experience).

Auxiliary Beauty

I found this blog through the very organized sidebar of Renee’s blog ๐Ÿ™‚ All their posts are well written and their lip swatches, particularly, are the stuff of dreams in that they seem to be genuinely and consistently all true to color and the comparison swatches they do are legitimately helpful. Also they just seem cool like I aspire to be and isn’t that the whole reason anyone wants to follow a blog? I appreciate that they are a Glossier Realist and sometimes they even make me want to consider doing a Low or No Buy with their own posts on the same. Crazy, I know.

Etc.

The Lunar Nodes of The Horoscope

If you are into astrology to any degree, this is a video you need to watch, honestly. You’ll get more out of it if you have a bit of background knowledge, but if you don’t just save it for later and make sure to come back when you’re ready to learn about the Lunar Nodes and their purpose. Olga really explains the axis of each sister sign well and the differences in karmic versus personal or psychological astrology — an excellent balance of theoretical astrology and practical examples and applications and delivered in a way that’s very easy to engage with. Astrolada’s channel overall can be a bit overwhelming even for me who has a certain grasp on astrology as it is, though most all of the content itself is very good. This one particularly is a stand out, though.

Petlandia.com

Bein, if you are somehow reading this, avert your eyes. This is that gift I told you I couldn’t wait until your birthday to give you. You customize a pet, name it and they mail you a personalized book about you and your pet. I mean…do I need to say anything else? I have only just now placed the order so I’ll update everyone if it takes an especially long time to ship or anything weird, but it’s such a sweet gift idea I couldn’t not mention it.

There you go! Things I’ve loved especially and wanted to share. It’s like I’m your sugar daddy and the currency in our arrangement is —

I don’t actually want to continue that metaphor. Hope the rest of your week is gr8 — enjoy the time suck that are the above links ๐Ÿ™‚

Blush Diaries: Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle

I struggle with loving this blush in the same way I struggle loving a lot of men who show relative interest in me. What I mean is, it is (and they may be) perfect on paper and yet I remain uninterested.

BeccaSS1

Too personal?

BeccaSS2

I got the Beeca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle in Watermelon/Moonstone as part of a Becca kit like last summer? Maybe even the summer before? I thought the shade was off from the get go — Becca’s Moonstone highlighter on its own is too dark for me, and coupled with this almost ruddy red watermelon color swirled throughout I thought it exacerbated the worst parts of my complexion, namely the redness and texture I already have, since this absolutely leaves a sheen on the face. Being that I was already flushed, sunburnt-peely, oily, red, and sweaty during the summer I bought this, I was struggling to think of a reason to hold onto it.

Laziness won out and I kept the kit to avoid trekking back to Ulta to return it, and this sat unloved and unused in my bag for no small amount of time until I was — would you believe it — running late one day and this was the first blush I could get my stubby hands on.ย  I nearly went without for the reasons listed above, but I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway, or whatever.

And it didn’t look half bad? Like, I liked it a lot, actually?

It can absolutely go too red if I’m sunburned or otherwise dermatologically compromised, and the sheen can be a bit sweaty looking if I’m not careful. But it lasts all day on the blush eating face I have and it looks natural and pretty…if I only I wanted to love it! I don’t know how many uses I’ll get out of it before it dries up on me, and even if these weren’t discontinued I don’t know that I’d buy other shades. The formula is nice and the color is pretty but it brings me no joy. Alas!

Blush-Diaries2

I’m wearing the Becca Shimmer Souffle here along with my trusty Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Berry Brown, FYI!

If you want another reason why I’m not cut out to be a beauty blogger, this poorly lit selfie is the only picture I could grab of this blush because I was chomping at the bit to go blow my paycheck at Ollies:

OlliesBooks

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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-Lashย 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!!

The “I Have Fucked Up” Skincare Routine: Low Spoons Edition

In some ways, maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to give skincare advice. Or rather, maybe you shouldn’t listen to it. My skin isn’t perfect even after years of fiddling with my routine, and I have been known to slather 10% benzoyl peroxide over my entire face at least three times in adulthood, when I should absolutely know better.

Still, I have thought about doing a skincare post for a while and after fucking up the way I have…you know, lemons and lemonade, etc. etc. etc.

Basically, due to chronic illness and bad-brain problems, I don’t always have the spoons for skincare. Sometimes I don’t have the spoons for getting out of bed, much less exfoliating and toning or even splashing water on my skin, even if I know I need to. I’m just coming out of such a slump, and now I have to deal with it, no matter my reasons for getting there. I have a few rules when reckoning with post-episode skin, and mostly they center on treating myself as gently as I’m able. That means not berating myself, first and foremost, but also resisting the urge to use a lot of scrubs, clay masks, peely-things, and most everything else fun and joyful in my skincare collection. I don’t usually have the spoons to do those anyway so soon after clearing out of the hell-brain fog, but god do I want to when I see clogged pores on my face. But I try to know better, and here I am, sharing my wisdom with you.

I want to mention that I saw a similar post on Snow White and the Asian Pear a few weeks ago, which also nudged me to do this post now. They have looooooads of Korean skin care recommendations, if you’re into that, and I also quite like their own skincare philosophy as they explained it in the post. Check it out if spoons are not usually an issue for you and you don’t mind a few extra steps!

Steps 1 & 2: Cleanse, Goldilocks. 

I’ve gotten in the habit of doing a two step oil cleanse morning and night and I hate to say that it absolutely makes a positive difference. Previously I had done a two step cleanse at night and just massaged grapeseed oil onto my face in the morning to cleanse, but since I started using Palmer’s Skin Therapy Cleansing Oil I’ve really enjoyed it more followed with the Glossier Milky Jelly. The Palmer’s formula is thinner but also doesn’t sink into the skin even after lots of massaging like the grapeseed oil, (which I like and dislike) and combined with Milky Jelly (which, dammit, I have been unable to find a real dupe for) all my makeup, sunscreen, etc. is totally gone without leaving my skin at all stripped, red, or two-sizes too small.

Two cleansers when you’re low on spoons and coming off of maybe not even washing your face at all for any amount of time might seem excessive, and some of y’all may not need it, but I definitely feel the difference in terms of getting my skin clean and avoiding those clay masks I so love to do but aren’t the best when I’m dehydrated, flaky, and also clogged up, all of which inevitably happen after hellbrain happens to my routine. What I’m saying is to Goldilocks it — your cleanser needs to work to remove the grime you’ve accumulated but not strip your skin and send it haywire overcompensating for a stripping cleanser when you’re already toeing the line of breaking out.

Step 3: Tone, if you can be assed to 

When I’m low on spoons I can’t say this is my priority, but a nice rosewater spray (I’m trying the Mario Badescu one right now) really makes me feel a bit special. I love rose anything, and if I have the time and ability for a spritz or two I love to use something that’s useless in all reality in terms of skin care benefits on its own but is really just there to make me feel nice. Coming up from an episode I need all the help I can when I’m feeling vulnerable or crummy.

Step 4: Moisturize, but not too much

I’ve been using the Palmer’s Skin Therapy Face Oil regularly for coming on over a month now and I will definitely repurchase it. It’s a nice midway oil — not to thin or too thick, absorbs easily and actually seems to do something for my face (and looks hella under my Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer if I wear it during the day). And while I love it, when I’m already a bit clogged from a lapse in my routine I like something even a bit lighter — Sweet Almond Oil or Argan Oil, especially during the day, and my beloved Rosehip Oil at night. I’ll use the Palmer’s every other night in this case, sometimes underneath the rosehip.

My usual daytime sunscreen is this Andalou Naturals Un-Tinted BB Cream but when my skin is especially sensitive the high zinc content in this can feel stingy and a bit drying and just not nice. I’ve also tried to use the L’Oreal Age Perfect Hydra-Renew SPF 30, which I love in some ways and absolutely hate in others. If you know of another sunscreen oil I’d love to hear about it. This one feels more silicone-y than nourishing like an oil, doesn’t fully absorb, and makes me smell like I’ve been rolling in my dad’s cologne even from several feet away which in turn makes my eyes stream like I’ve just watched an ASPCA commercial marathon.

But I do love it, in theory.

Undoubtedly, I will break out in some way even after all this. It’s unavoidable but not the end of the world; I spot treat as usual with BP or Neosporin at night and go about my life with my KA SSE shielding me from the world and earning its hefty price tag and place in my makeup bag until it clears up.

When my skin is feeling more balanced after a few consistent days — even a week or more, ideally, if I can wait that long — of the above, I may go in with a scrub, (this one remains my favorite, which looks like it would be harsh and scary but is quite gentle) which I only really use every two weeks or so anyway, and may throw in a clay mask, though obviously not on the same day. Not even within several days of each other, probably. The only other thing I’m sure to do is go in with my ELF Lip Scrub as religiously as I’m able and follow with my very glamourous Medicated Blistex and some type of ointment-like balm, either Glossier Balm Dot Com or Aquaphor. My lips get fucking shredded gnarly so easily, this is necessary to feel human again.

All in all, I just try to be easy with myself in all ways when I’m coming up from what feels like the pits of hell and try to be careful to view my skincare as self care as opposed to “fixing” the many various problems on my face, a lot of which are admittedly self-inflicted. I don’t beat up on myself for not being able to stick with a strict routine when the badbrain happens, I really, truly try to not pick at my face, and I keep the new routine simple as I can (Cleanse, moisturize, spritz if possible) to ensure I can stick with it as I’m getting my feet back under me.

But post bad-brain hair recovery? That’s a whole other animal. I’ll get back to you when I work that one out.

Divination in Real Life

This is going to be a bit of a different post for me. I’ve mentioned witchy stuff in passing before but not discussed anything in depth on this particular blog. (I do have a separate space for that, still in it’s infancy. But if you’re in the market…) But I’ve revamped my own etsy shop, and I want to put a bit of a guide together for folks who may not have any experience seeking or receiving any type of divination reading before.

I think tumblr, among other things, has made divination more accessible to people, which has bled onto etsy and society6 or wherever else people can sell their wares nowadays. And “witchy” aesthetics and such have become more culturally relevant and mainstream as well even outside the internet. And that’s really cool!! But I think if you don’t know what to expect or ask for it can be a bit daunting. So if you want a primer on Divination, written by someone who practices and not just pieced together articles on Wikipedia, hopefully this is helpful for you!

What is Divination?

Strictly speaking, divination can refer to any number of individual practices or rituals that are used for insight and clarity, usually into the future. Many of the methods I’ll discuss below can also be applicable to looking into past lives, if you are into that. Further, divination practices can also give you clarity on your current position. I like to think of most divination practices as something like Duolingo, or Google Translate. They are vehicles to understand the advice the universe is giving us on a level we can see and understand.

Types of Divination and What They Do

There are literally hundreds of divination practices. That’s not hyperbole, either. (You want a list? Here’s an incomplete one). The thing is, I think a lot of people do divination of sorts themselves and don’t realize it. Do you ever get in your car on the way to work, hear the first song that comes on the radio, and think it’s an omen for how your day’s gonna go? Might I introduce you, then, to shufflemancy?

But some methods require study and practice and for those reasons you may want to seek out a reader with that experience. The internet is really great, when it isn’t really awful, and so for our purposes today I’m mainly going to focus on methods that you don’t have to do an in person visit for.

Some of the most common types of divination you’ll see floating around the interweb:

Arithmancy: This is one you probably can do by yourself. Have you ever heard of a life path number? That’s arithmancy. Every letter has a numeric value, and these values are added and simplified to a number between 1 and 9. (Usually). You can do this for your name, but you can also do it with dates and other numbers. Every number has a meaning; for example 9’s are about cycle completion and having to deal with the things we’ve avoided for unpleasantness and being accountable for our past actions. 2016 was a 9 year, if anyone was shocked about that.

Astragalomancy: Not to be confused with astrology, astragalomancy is divination via the casting of die. There are die specially made for this, but you can make it work with regular playing dice or, even better, a good D20. Each side has specific meaning…not unlike a magic eight ball ๐Ÿ˜‰

Astrology: Most people think they are pretty familiar with this one. Astrology is divination based on the positions of planetary bodies in our solar system. Their movements are calculated and interpreted based on where they rest and how they aspect and interact with each other. Natal astrology (aka when someone asks you what your sign is on some online dating platform) is very popular, further split into vedic and tropical astrology, draconic astrology…and a hundred more specific practices and traditions. Every astrologer will have a specialty, maybe even two related ones, but if you run into one claiming mastery of all different traditions, kindly exit stage left and save your money.

Bibliomancy: This one predates the internet, obviously, but I’m seeing a resurgence of it on tumblr lately. In bibliomancy, you (or a reader) will select a book — often this can be a spiritual text in itself, like the Bible, Koran, etc., but it doesn’t have to be — and either allow it to fall open to its natural place after sitting it up on its spine, or select a page number at random, and sometimes a line, as an answer to your query.

Cartomancy: For most of us, this almost exclusively refers to tarot cards, by and large. Oracle cards are also divination specific tools for this purpose, but regular piquet decks and playing cards can also be used. Each card has a meaning and message, and there are an infinite number of spreads to tailor to the querent and query at hand. Unlike astrology, I personally think cartomancy and even runes are particularly good for beginners because they are inherently used in a more call-response or question-answer type pattern which feels more natural or conversational to newbies.

Palmistry: Palm-reading is pretty well known outside of the divination community, but because of that I think the skill is underrated. Palmistry studies the shapes of the hands and fingers to determine life paths and personality traits. This is not a preferred method for specific queries for advice about “small scale” stuff, and is in my experience isn’t the most flexible divination method.

Rune-Casting: Runes are…you know that friend you have (probably a Sagittarius) who will tell you that dress looks bad on you without trying to soften it first by saying how nice your hair looks? Yeah. Runes. Somewhere between a die and a tarot card, runes are good if you really aren’t good with subtleties or you really need some blunt advice. (Generally!! Some tarot decks are really blasรฉ like this and some runes are a bit more patient. You can ask your reader if you have questions as to how their set usually behaves).

Scrying: Scrying covers a lot of different methods generally, but you’ll often hear it described as “gazing,” or studying a particular medium to find omens, patterns, or messages. If you think of an old school crystal ball, that’s a type of scrying. Other methods are scrying water (both still in a bowl and sometimes via the rain) and pyromancy. In pyromancy, ย different things are burned to different effects or purposes, and the flame and smoke are studied for answers.

Shufflemancy: Take out your iPod. iPhone. Music listening device. What’s something you want an answer to? Now pick a number, skin that many times. Voila.

What to Look for in a Reader

Frankly, some of the methods I’ve listed above you can try your damn self. Some methods, however, I think are worth seeking out the help of a reader. Like anything else, looking for reviews on their pages is one way to determine if you want to enlist their services or not, but also many readers (I’m thinking of astrology specifically) can have certifications and be part of professional organizations that can show their experience. It’s not like a doctor being board certified, and I don’t believe these are inherently necessary, as I’ve met many excellent readers and astrologers without them, but if you lean towards skepticism and want an extra security blanket it’s something you can look for.

My best advice is just to chat with a potential reader beforehand. All readers love to talk about their practice and craft — ask them about how long they’ve been reading, what one of their readings usually entails, etc. before you purchase a reading. They are the best people to tell you about themselves and their particulars, and a legitimate reader will not be offended or put off by your due diligence in the least. Certainly, they’ll be able to direct you as to what spreads, charts, or methods would best suit your needs and query which will only help you in the long run.

You should also note that not all readers read for the same things — to use myself as an example, if you ask me for a reading predicting a death/its circumstances, I won’t do it. Some readers prefer not doing compatibility, some only do that and don’t like doing career-centered readings. If you want or expect any of these specifically, be sure to ask before hand so you and your reader are on the same page when the actual reading comes around.

Mostly, though, I’d tell you to trust your gut. If they ask for your credit card number, aren’t hosted on a secure platform, are charging exorbitant amounts of money, and don’t talk about themselves, their experience, or their offerings adequately, take your business elsewhere.

What to Expect from a Reading

Your reader will tell you specifically what to expect before hand — if you’re unsure, ask. For skype or phone readings, you’ll arrange a time and discuss the expected length of a call. Maybe they’ll post a private video to a private youtube channel for you, maybe it will be an e-mailed pdf. If you prefer one format over another, ask if they will accommodate that beforehand and see what you can work out. I always attach photographs of my tarot spreads and pages of charts and tables with my own readings, and if you want to double check what additional resources you’ll be left with after the reading I think it would be a good idea.

For some readings, a reader may ask for some personal information. For astrological birth charts, the time of birth within about 15 minutes is necessary for the most accuracy, for example. If an astrologer asks for your birth place and time in addition to your date, this is normal. If they ask for your social security number, call the police.

Now What?

*stands on soap box*

Please, god, leave a review. Good, bad, or indifferent, reviews help your reader become a better reader and help other customers manage their expectations. When leaving it, though, keep in mind:

1. The universe is subtle, more often than not. And if you were able to discern the advice given to you in a reading by yourself, you probably wouldn’t have sought out a reading anyway. What I mean is: if you dislike the advice or don’t see its relevancy or meaning immediately after reading, don’t lash out on your reader. Take a few days to think on your reading before you collect your thoughts for a review.

(Being said, if it was just bad, you might want to try emailing the reader directly for clarification! There is no shame in that, and you will not be bothering your reader at all!)

2. Depending on the nature of your reading, you can choose to take it to heart or not. It’s that simple. Ultimately, ย nothing shown in a tarot spread or astrology chart will negate our free will. If you want to dismiss it, that’s entirely your prerogative. Are some things unavoidable? Yes. Will fighting against an outcome sometimes create that exact thing we fear and want to avoid? Also yes. But most things we have the ability to change and fix — and most readings will give us those necessary tools to do so.

3. Live your life, do the best you can, and be patient when you mess up. No reading will give you all the answers to everything — anyone who tries to sell you on this is trying to make a dollar off of you more than anything.

I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions about divination generally, astrology, tarot, or my shop specifically, please let me know! I love sharing this with people.

I know this was a long post, so if you made it all the way through, you can use the code “ghostfam” to get 20% off any reading in my shop.

Thanks for reading! I hope your weekend is wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚