Beauty and Body, Daily Life, Depression

Resolutions, part 2

I wrote about my resolutions for 2014 the other day. Since then, I’ve had some time to think and life marched on. The past two weeks have brought certain issues to light in my life and has given me a word of focus.

The word in question is Kindness. It has occurred to me that I haven’t been very kind recently. I have been unhappy, and incredibly unkind to myself. As a result of that unhappiness and hurt, I have been unkind to those around me.

One moment sticks out to me. We were celebrating Christmas with my in laws, and Liam was being crazy. He was running around, stealing his cousins’ gifts, yelling, hitting, and being a nearly two year old. At one point, he stepped on a puzzle he was gifted and fell over. He did it again, and again. He got upset every time, but kept going back to the damn puzzle and stepping on it. Finally, after picking him up the third time, I laughed and told him “Oh baby, I love you. You’re not the brightest crayon in the box”. I was kidding. I didn’t mean it, but I said it. It’s not nice. It’s not true and it’s not something I would want anyone to say to my child, least of all me. Luckily, there is this person, a beacon of light, that heard the comment and brought my attention to it. She is Pat’s cousin and is so important to me. I love my boy. I love him so much and it hurts me that my pain lashed out at him, even with humour. I know it seems silly, it was such a minor comment, but it’s the beginning of something that I never want to grow.

My brother in law used to make fun of me, all the time. This being my Dad’s daughter’s husband. He used to pick on me for not being intelligent, for going to the local university, for choosing a program that didn’t lead to employment, and lastly, for my religious beliefs. It was always dismissed as humour, and no one ever defended me. Supposedly, it was his way of showing his love. He was just trying to get a rise out of me. I was taking it too personally and too seriously. It hurt every time and no one stood up for me.

Recently, I posted an article about fat shaming and was surprised at the reactions it received in my group of friends and family. I took some comments very personally and got really upset. Since then, this pain has been stewing and growing and reaching a breaking point.

Last night, someone who I consider a mother to me, commented on my weight gain. She commented on the attention I pay Liam (stating that I take too many silly pictures of him doing nothing and my poor second child will be neglected in comparison). She made me feel lazy, silly, frivolous and fat. I know that wasn’t her intention. If anything she was worried about my health and knows that I don’t have parents to give me guidance. To make it worse, while I was on the phone with her, Liam got his hands on a cookie cutter I left out and sliced one of his fingers. The phone conversation ended on that note. I feel a deep hurt, and had nightmares all night. I chatted with my sister this morning, and as usual, she helped me find some perspective and insight.

My whole life, I’ve been basing my opinion of myself on how others treat me. It’s been to the point that I’ve avoided seeing some old friends because I think that they will find me repulsive. I have striven to be the pretty girl for so long, the girl that the boys and girls want, that I don’t know how to deal with not being wanted any more. It’s so petty, so vain, but the real issue isn’t that someone else might find me repulsive because of my weight but that I do. It has been over a year since I’ve seen one of my oldest friends because of my fear and self judgement.

So, in 2014, I resolve to be kinder. Kinder to myself, kinder to others. I strive to teach my son about kindness, through example.

random-acts-of-kindness

Beauty and Body

Beauty/Body tips: Brazillian Waxes

And now for something completely different! I’ve been thinking about dipping my toes into beauty reviews and tips for a little while now. It doesn’t really fit into the theme of this place, or my expertise (I will never ever claim to be an expert on fashion, makeup, health or beauty. Just look at my hair. I have no right to write about this shit, I swear. Seriously.). I do, however, have the experience of being a big sister who loves to share her experiences with her friends and family, so why not?

I was talking to a girlfriend the other day about waxing and my experiences with landscaping my lady bits, and she had a ton of questions for me, so I figured I’d share what I told her here. If you have any questions, please feel free to share them in the comments.

So, my first topic of beauty stuff: LANDSCAPING THE LADY BITS

Why Bother? Everyone has their own tastes and beliefs on this topic. My answer to this is “whatever floats your boat”. In my case, I have skin that prefers to be hairless (I get awful ingrown hairs and eczema when I let things go). Also, I prefer a more tidy look (especially when I’m being active and wearing tighter clothing or bathing suits). Honestly, I support people who want to be completely natural, completely bare, or somewhere in between. It’s your body, do what you want.

Amanda Palmer prefers you leave it the way you got it, and flaunt it (NSFW):

Aren’t there other options? Absolutely! Please note,  I always  recommend starting with starting small (working on your bikini area, as opposed to going bare) before committing to a brazilian. Work your way up to it (start with just a bikini wax to get the bits on your thighs then work inwards towards a landing strip. Eventually go for a smaller patch and see what you think)Waxing is the method I prefer, though you can try shaving (electric or manual),  sugaring or electrolysis. You can go completely bare with all of these options. The only thing I would tell you to avoid like the plague is any of the drug store hair removal creams. These are not meant for the delicate skin of your nether regions and can seriously hurt you. Research whatever method you are interested in trying, as each have their tips and tricks for prepping, hair removal and post care.

But doesn’t it hurt like hell? This one I can’t really answer for you. Yes, it’s going to suck pretty bad the first time, especially if you’re not used to the feeling. That said, it’s never been anything that I couldn’t handle and the pain is very brief for me. If you have a good esthetician, they will tell you when to take a deep breath and how to assist to as to make it as quick and painless as possible. The pain factor will depend a lot on your skin, the coarseness and thickness of the hair and how nervous/scared you are. I can promise that if you decide to maintain your brazilian wax, it does get better. The hair comes in thinner and more sparsely once you’ve done it a few times, about every 6 weeks. I’ve actually had one esthetician giggle at me because I hadn’t realized she was finished and she was ready for me to cover up.

Some people find it more painful than others (this video is supposed to be funny. Don’t let it scare you away):

Isn’t it embarrassing to show your bits to a stranger? With brazilians, you are naked from the waist down. They will have you wear a little terrycloth skirt with a slit in the front. Most places will either have you remove it completely though, so it doesn’t really cover anything when your waxing behinds. For some, having your lady parts exposed to a stranger is really difficult. I was pretty uncomfortable my first couple of times until I figured out that the esthetician has seen lots, and if you did your research right, this isn’t the first time that she’s done this. Now, I have no issue with it at all. In fact, it has been really beneficial to my comfort in my own body. Also, if you are really embarrassed, why not start with just a bikini wax and see how it goes? With a bikini wax, you keep your panties on and move them aside yourself to show exactly how much hair you want removed. Also, if your super nervous and/or embarrassed, some places will let you bring a friend in with you to hold your hand. Always ask before hand to avoid disappointment.

Why would anyone want to remove all of their hair? Won’t you look prepubescent? There are lots of reasons why someone would want to do it. Again, personally, my skin is happier, clothes sit better, I feel sexier and sexy times are way more fun for me and my husband.  Some people do think that it looks prepubescent (I would recommend asking your SO about it before doing it, as I know a friend who had her boyfriend react negatively when she had it done. She was not impressed to have wasted 50$ and go through the pain for nothing), but I don’t. There’s nothing childish about my body, hair or no. Maybe it’s because I had a mother who went through chemo treatments for over 10 years, but I don’t think hair makes the woman. Personally, I think it makes my bits even more beautiful. Again, this may not be for you. If it’s not, then don’t do it. The end.

How much does it cost? Another one I can’t really answer for you. Every city/town/area has their own average costs. For Ottawa, the average ranges from 40-75 CDN per waxing.

Ok, so I want to do it. What tips to you have?

1. Research the spa and the specific waxer. Look online for reviews and, if you’re not too shy about it, as friends/family about their experiences.  I found mine through weddingbells. Keep in mind, from what I’ve been told by my waxers over the years, is that brazilians are often not taught in class. There are a few reasons for this (no one wants to volunteer to have a classmate see their bits, no one wants to have someone who’s never done it before near their bits, people don’t often want to pay to have a student do a brazilian), so often it’s a matter of learning on the job. It’s your responsibility to ask and research to make sure you get someone with experience.

Pro Tip (aka: learn from my mistakes): I was tired of busing all the way downtown to go to my favourite place, so I decided to give a local spa a try. It had no reviews and from what I could tell, no one on the internet had ever had a brazilian done there. I went anyway. And suffered serious bruising, burns and tears as a result.

2. Decide what your priority is. Are you more concerned about the quality of the service? Painlessness? Quickness? Cost? Keep in mind, you often get what you pay for. There are some places that will cost you your first born, and will have average service but will give you the big spa name. There will be sketchy local spas that will charge you nothing and will cause you so much pain you will waddle for days and refuse to let your boyfriend touch you for a week (on the other hand, a close friend wanted to go with the big name spa and ended up have an hour and a half appointment, but didn’t hurt as bad as she thought and was soothed by a couple of glasses of wine before the appointment started)

Pro Tip: If speed is what you’re after, be warned – It will affect the quality. There is a place in town that boasts a 5-10 minute cheap wax. It’s so fast that you hardly have time to register the pain (yay!), however you will have to participate a lot more (holding bits down, stretching skin, etc…) and will be left with broken hairs and missed patches. Also, I found I bruised more with them. After being with them for a while, I decided to go back to my favourite place. It may take 45 minutes, but I walk out with hardly any lingering pain, smooth as can be, and without having become an assistant to get the job done.

3. Ask questions. Find out what kind of waxing they do. There are two kinds of wax: Strips and hard wax. Each have their pros and cons, and their own kind of pain. From my experience, hard wax is way more gentle on the skin, but isn’t as fine in terms of getting every single hair. The pain from hard wax is more of a deep ache. Strip wax is great for touch ups and grabs more hair, but I find it harder on my skin and has a much sharper pain. Also, let them know right off the bat that you are new and nervous, both when booking the appointment and when you speak with your waxer, before they start.  If you want, ask to have them warn you to take a deep breath at the really rough patches (or, tell them not to if you don’t want to tense up).

Pro Tip: My current waxer uses both. First she’ll wax with the hard wax and then will go over the areas with strips to get any fine or missed patches. (A quick warning: Usually, I’d say that any waxer that goes over an area more than once is crap and can do serious damage. This is how I tore and burned with Sketchy Cheap Local Spa. My current lady is amazing and super careful, so I trust her and her method completely. There is always an exception, but be careful).

Hard Wax
Strip Style Waxing

4. Be clear about what you want. Brazilians in general mean all the hair goes, but what do you mean when you say that? For me, that means my butt too, but not everyone wants that gone as well. Also, not every place/waxer removes EVERYTHING.  Also, be sure to tell them about any allergies or sensitivities you have.

Pro Tip:  Due to my sensitive skin, I have to be clear with them not to use any creams or lotions that have alcohol or scents in them. Once I didn’t say anything and ended up swollen and burning thanks to a cream with cinnamon in it.

5. Take care of yourself before and after the appointment. Take an acetaminophen about an hour before your appointment to help with pain and inflammation. Try not to rush to the appointment. Give yourself lots of time, so that you’re not stressed when you get there. The more tense you are, the more painful it will be. Give yourself time to warm up if it’s cold out. Have a tea, do whatever you need to do so that you’re not freezing when you’re on the table. Cold = tense = more pain. Wear comfortable cotton underpants. You will be sticky and a little sore after your waxing, so you don’t want anything synthetic sitting against your skin. Also, if you had an ingrown hair, there may be some blood so don’t pick your favourite undies. I also don’t recommend booking sexy time right afterwards, in case you’re still sore. Give yourself a day or two for recovery.

Pro Tip: My spa is right above a Bridgehead coffee house, so I try to show up early to warm up, have a small cup of chai tea and relax before my appointment. It’s an extra little treat for me, and it pays off when I hurt less.

6. Make sure your bits are ready to go before you get there.  If you shave or do any other hair removal, make sure you’ve grown in about a 1/4 inch before going in, otherwise the wax won’t be able to grab on to the hair. Shower that day, but not directly before (you don’t want slippery or damp hair, but you do want your bits to be clean). Try to avoid sexy times before the appointment (the night before and day of) if you can.

Pro Tip: I exfoliate before my appointment. I find it helps prevent ingrown hairs and even reduces some pain.

7. Stay calm, chatty and keep your sense of humour. Waxing isn’t fun for everyone, so if you find yourself stressed or freaking out a bit during the waxing, try to keep your breathing regular. If you think distractions will help, chat with your waxer. If you’re embarrassed, laughing at yourself will lighten the mood and relieve some tension. If you are finding chatting is not helping, try letting your mind wander while keeping your breathing deep and long.

Pro Tip: Befriend your waxer. Ask about their lives and care about what they say. Not only will they be more careful with you if they like you, but hopefully the conversation will keep you distracted and prevent you from tensing up.  I actually miss the girl I used to see who had moved on from my spa. I hope she and her boyfriend are doing well, that they are settled into the house they bought and that her best friends’ wedding went well (despite the pain in the ass sisters she was dealing with).

8. Be gentle with yourself afterwards. Don’t jump off the table and throw on your favourite lacy beaded underpants before going horseback riding. Get up slowly, dress comfortably, and rest for a while. Your bits will thank you by calming down faster.

Pro tip: My waxing outfit consists of cotton granny panties and a cotton skirt. You only need it for a day or so, and then you can wear whatever you want. Let me tell you, fancy underpants will feel AWESOME on bare skin.

9. Maintenance. If you find that you like it and want to keep it up, be sure to go back every 6 weeks or so. That way the hair doesn’t have time to fill out and take root, which will keep you from going through the first time pains all over again. Also, keep the area moisturised and exfoliated, but be careful to be gentle and to keep soaps and creams on the outside only. Your vajoo is a self cleaning oven and will not be happy if you add products.

Pro Tip: Don’t use a razor to keep things clean between appointments. Razors slice the hair on an angle, which create irritation and ingrown hairs, and will result in a more painful wax when you do go in the future.

So that’s it everyone! I hope this was helpful to you :)

For my local readers: I go to Sophia’s Esthetic. They are amazing.