And We’re Off

 

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I signed up the day before yesterday.

I’m a writer and teacher by profession. In a former life, I was an attorney. More importantly, I’m a mom, wife, daughter, sister, yogini, and human.  I’m an introvert (I recharge my battery in alone time, not with people) and a skeptic by nature.

So what am I doing in direct sales? I don’t know. But I’m going to find out.

A friend of mine gently but firmly persuaded me to do this. She’s enthusiastic about the product, so, naturally, she’d want to share it with others. But she’s also in business, and I’m a bit of a people pleaser. But not a pushover, so I must be ready for something that pushes my limits–once again.

Regardless of the motivation or history, I’m here. And I’m ready. Sort of.

The next part of this adventure, besides attending my mentor’s product meeting and wading through a myriad of messages and information bits, is to get some of this stuff on my skin and watch the magic happen.

And I hope I transform–physically and psychically. It’s time for a change. I hope everyone can see it. I’ll post the before photo tomorrow–when the journey really begins.

Peace out, my friends. Go Ducks!

Until then…

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The Wizard of Who?


We all realized eventually that the clicking ruby slippers were Dorothy’s vibrant, beating heart. The sparkle is the oxygen and the heart the vehicle for coming home again and again. The illusion of Oz is thinking the key to ourselves is out there.

No news there.

New Year New You is the Old You Renewed

Though the new year marks a new calendar year, it doesn’t reflect a year in my business or in any experience of time ticking. I started using R & F in mid-May of last year and opened my kit as a skincare business entrepreneur at the end of that same month. What a journey it’s been! I’ve grown.

Growth doesn’t align along a vertical axis. Becoming a fuller, brighter self is a messy trajectory with routes all over the map winding every which way. And reversing the ravages of aging doesn’t come exclusively in a jar or tube. We illuminate from the inside out.

A profile picture from 7 years ago popped up on my Facebook page today. It was taken as I dragged myself ashore after a day of learning to surf in Costa Rica during a Yoga retreat. In the grainy photo, my skin appears brown, splotchy and ruddy, far more weathered than it is now. Nevertheless, the face peering before the lens of a fellow retreater’s camera beams a certain radiant calm. Kind friends complimented me on it.

Skincare products do only half the job. No doubt I needed to repair the damage from careless self-care. I love how the skincare products not only fade blemishes and creases, firm up some of the droop and drag, but also teach me to lavish myself with loving care. Yes, it takes time to layer on the silks and creams of magic potions. When you’re used to splashing a little water on your face before you crash into your pillow, it’s a dedication. But the message every night before you go to bed is, “I’m worth the care.”

That’s a meditation in itself—I’m worth the loving ritual of quality skincare. And the ritual is transformational itself. All good habits lavish kindness and calm on our nervous systems—and our minds. We sink gems of reinforcement (I am worth it) into our subconscious until the habit takes and our thoughts follow (I am worth it).

That’s what that profile picture radiates—the peaceful contentment of right composure. I am…

The Truth About the Business is the Business of Truth

Not so peaceful was learning how to do the business. It has been both frustrating and gratifying, with lessons burned into the sizzling flesh of my delicate ego. But I’m a teacher. A teacher dedicates her life to learning—even if it hurts. It’s been terrifying to reach so far out of my comfort zone, talking to people about a subject I didn’t know an awful lot about at first—skincare. Talking to people.

Though talking and ignorance weren’t the reason for terror. I wasn’t ignorant about skincare so much as about what it takes to succeed in this business—a strong core, a center, a sense of self as foundation to any business. I believed I had that. I didn’t.

A-types and Other Labels: What’s the Story?

Fellow A-type over-preparers only feel confident when they have totally scraped a subject inside and out. I overstudied in college until I knew test material in my sleep (sometimes literally as I saw my notes flash before my eyes in my dreams). But that’s not what you do with this business. The products are testimony for themselves. Yes, it helps to know about the products, but they’re not a study. You use them. The story’s in the results.

I know how to write stories, but I couldn’t piece this one together. I spent the first few months in the biz feeling out of my element. People sensed it. I made all kinds of newbie mistakes, like teaching people instead of sharing with them, vomiting facts and figures and expecting to wow them them with my awesome knowledge. It’s how I learn. I require the singed flesh, mistake after mistake, until I figure out the core of the thing, the gist of the practice, subject, or discipline.

Not surprising, the center of the thing—the business—revolves back to the ruby slippers. It’s not an outside thing—simply portraying or displaying a result or product. It’s heart. I just had to sit down in the middle of this thing, this business, tell my truth, and do me—smart-ass, super serious, extra goofy, nerdy writer-poet-yogi-wino type, whatever the label or the mood. Just be.

It’s silly simple and complicated all at once. As an attorney, I learned to execute, do something to produce a result—like finding the story in someone’s facts to present to a jury. This business is more about self-development, relaxing into yourself, regardless of what others think or do or want, which is the path anyone wants to be on anyhow, right?

Don’t Be Your Own Kryptonite

I can’t say it’s all been skincare and business venture mistakes that have created a strengthened, more radiant core. Self-development and goal achievement are also the work of concentrated effort—on discovering who you are from your cells to your smile. It’s work within and without plying your trade. Self-discovery is only skin deep. It’s not your eye lashes or mala beads. It’s your daily practices, rituals, and prayers/meditations.

I read inspirational books. I lovingly nourish my body/skin/hair day and night. I practice Yoga—with a capital Y—and love on my peeps and community. All nourish my center, give me a laser point direction on this path to awakening each morning and sleeping each night. Reigning in all those random thoughts and feelings throughout the day is exhausting. My mentors in writing and in person are my lassos. Yours are the same, though in different shapes. They all lead us back to the bloody truth of us ❤

Only fear defeats us, and fear is merely man-made.

B-b-b-but What Will They Think of Me?

Conquering fear is exhausting and never ending. You’re Sysiphus. Every day you awaken to push the boulder up the mountain only to watch it fall down to the bottom again. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, and fear of missing out. I was a more courageous five year old. I didn’t care what others thought of me.
 
With a solid foundation, you know you don’t know much of anything, so you do what you’re going to do—boldly. No one can predict the future. I can’t. Better to ask your gut, not your mother, aunt, neighbor, friend or partner if what you’re doing is right. Or let your gut have the last word if you take others’ opinions into consideration.

I do care what others think of me. I want my intentions to shine through, to touch lives gracefully. I love when clients are happy, when students learn, and my daughters appreciate my counsel. But as my mother used to say, “You can’t please all the people all the time.” You probably shouldn’t try to either.

This year, I’m running with Dorothy—among the smart, compassionate, and brave—heading home. Come with.

Fear Not


Could you imagine what you could accomplish if you didn’t fear? Yes, fear is useful, quite necessary in fact. Without it, your ancestors would have walked straight into the jaws of a saber tooth tiger or volcano. It’s the primal defense mechanism. But it’s also manufactured. 

Beyond the survival instint, fear is a collection of experiences and imaginative projections that linger just below the surface of our conscious minds. Some are conscious, like the fear of death. All fears lead to death as the common denominator, even if it’s a metaphoric death, like rejection or humiliation, the death of reputation and pride. 

But most fear is irrational and unhealthy. It’s based on imagined realities that may or may not happen, mostly unverified assumptions. “If I ask her out on a date, she’ll probably say no,” one might fear. “Look at that man staring at me. He’s probably sexualizing me, dangerous, or creepy,” I’ve thought on occasion. The truth is, the man may be staring in my general direction and not even seeing me. 

Humans are storytellers. The mind tells stories about everything it perceives. I suspect not many of the stories are true, or at least, not verifiable.

And yet, I confess that fear prevents me from succeeding. I’ll avoid what makes me unconfortable, actions that I imagine the consequences to be rejection or loss somehow. The fear drowns out the confidence, charitable impulses, and acts of kindness. Those are just as driving impulses as embarrassment or shame, but fear strong arms them to stay back, get lost. Fear paralyses. Even little fears will cause an “I better not.”

Bravery is a muscle. Like all muscles, it must be exercised for strength and stretched for flexibility. Facing fear is exercise. Action despite fear bulks up courage muscles. You get used to looking fear in the eyes and one day, you’re not cringing, avoiding, or ducking out. You’re not stymied or paralyzed. You forge ahead and forget that fear ever stopped you. That’s success. You’re unstoppable. 

Public speaking terrified me for the first half of my life. That’s crippling for a newly-minted teacher and lawyer. Five years after appearing in court, queasy and terrified I’d spew my guts when my case was called, I rose before the court, spoke my piece, and walked out the door struck by the absence of nausea and fear. I’m not sure when it actually happened, but that was the first time I noticed my fear had left. I had conquered it. I rarely fear public speaking now.

But I still have so many other fears, mostly wrapped around the story of who I am that I tell myself, how I am a likeable person, fiercely independent, and self-sufficient. I don’t rely on anyone for what I need. It’s an old story and mostly untrue. Yes, I’m all of those things, but not because anyone else believes those characteristics are mine. They exist regardless of anyone’s opinion. 

And not only that, I am those traits …except for when I’m not. They’re just part of a story that I gathered along the way and decided was me, probably from remarks I’ve heard about me or novels I’ve read, celebrities or political figures I’ve admired. I identified with scraps of ideas and words swirling around me randomly patterned together as me. 

So, reality is pretty flimsy. I can choose my story. I don’t have to be afraid of what others think about me. Anyone just needs to act in accordance with their dreams and values. The rest is none of anyone’s business. 

Running a skincare business is fun and terror, but most importantly, personal development–big time. It’s yet another time to stretch and grow, like we never stop doing, constantly and uneasily. The alternative? Death. If we’re not growing, we’re dying. Facing fear keeps us alive as we bravely go where so many have gone shaking in their boots…for a time. And then, the fear is gone, replaced by happiness. 

Packing My Bags

I inherited droopy skin over my brow bone from my mother. She and I have the same gravity targets: brow bone, jaw bone, and belly.

Flashes of memory from childhood, looking at her reflected face in her table-top, lit vanity mirror as she applied her makeup, I was mesmerized at how she painted that brow bone various shades to diminish the puffiness, how she created the illusion of uplifted brow bone skin and larger eyes (her eyes are narrow, almost slits): deep colors in the skin folds above the upper eyelid and pale powder under the eyebrow.

Duplicating that process in my late twenties, when the brow sag started, I wasn’t as successful at creating the illusion. My mother has hazel eyes, mostly grey-green, shot through with speckles of emerald. Mine are chocolate brown. The glitter in her eye shadow crystallized those sparks in her hazel. Mine, not so much.

I’ve never been one for makeup. In the 80s, a restaurant manager fired me for refusing to wear any. I could say I was making a statement about authenticity, but it’s more likely ignorance and laziness.

I’m pleased with my eye cream eyelift. Practically speaking, I appreciate money spent well (eye cream’s only about 50 bucks). But on a deeper level, I’m happy to lose the puffy eyes that paint the picture of haggardness in the mirror and to others.

The truth: our story is in our faces. If we look gravity-ravaged, people treat us with a different kind of deference, slightly pitying or patient, than if we look alert and youthful. Bright eyes, framed in taut skin, reflect the vitality that bursts forth from within. That life energy is no illusion. It’s simply masked by gravity’s heavy hand.

Lucky me, I also inherited my mom’s optimism–mostly. She would be tickled to know that I’m finally taking care of my face. I like to think that even through her misty, mostly clouded over eyes now, she looks into my eyes and inwardly smiles.

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Five Things I’ve Learned About Entrepreneurship

I launched my business officially in June of this year. In a mere not quite four months, I’ve learned a lot about business, myself, and people.

Unlike practicing law, people don’t seek me out for what I’ve got to offer. You either need a lawyer or you don’t–and hopefully you don’t. But turning people onto something as personal and seemingly non-essential as skincare is another story. It’s been eye-opening, to say the least.

So here’s what I’ve learned.

  1. It’s hard.

Duh. No one ever said it was going to be easy, but I don’t mean just lots of work and time doing stuff.

The company business model is pretty simple: reach out to family and friends and spread the good word about how great my and my family’s faces look using the products. The skincare line works great, so no need to make it up or enhance something mediocre. But I was totally unprepared for the resistance most people put up immediately to what they perceive as “being sold.” You’d think I was trying to get people hooked on crack or to buy a used car.

I’m the same. I’m on guard as soon as a salesperson approaches. So I don’t blame people for going on stealth mode or shut down when I tell them about my wares. And maybe the guardedness is more the result of my insecurity than their sales phobia. It takes time to build a competent, confident, and collected sharesperson.

And that’s what’s hard. Changing my attitude about what I do has been the most difficult. Every day is an adjustment, digging deeply into my heart to remember why I chose this path. And I did choose it. Sharing I’m comfortable with, listening to human stories I adore, and giving gifts I love.

It’s been hard remembering each day that those who want what I’ve got to share will take it. Those who don’t won’t. And all of it–every inch of it–is just fine just as it is. My equilibrium gets tested.

It’s hard being me most days.

2. I’ve got to be me.

It’s not just Sammy Davis, Jr., who belted out that tune last century. We all gotta be us.

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My company offers tons of information, training, teams, inspiration, incentives, and tools. They offer, more importantly, awesome skincare. Those of us hooked on the brand love how our skin feels and radiates freshness and clarity.

It’s simple. Tremendous company leaders remind us how to best get the message out, how to share and represent a company built by hard work, ingenuity, and brains of two successful doctors and business women. Men and women from all walks and geography–U.S., Canada, and Australia–represent and succeed by following the path designed by smart people.

Problem is, I’ve fashioned myself as a non-conformer, individualist, lone wolf, and anti-establishment woman. My initial reaction to teams is “I can do this better alone–my way.”

That’s both wrong and right. Like an unconscious, knee-jerk reaction to “sales,” the same unthinking response to teams and teamwork is just me missing out on a helping hand and reliving tedious memories of working on group projects filled with one or two worker bees carrying the load for the non-starters and free-riders.

Again, attitude adjustment. Not everything’s a competition, and if everything is a competition, then the win must be redefined. I’m competitive. I can’t even attend a Yoga class without keeping my eyes closed to avoid watching what others are doing better. Not very yogic, for sure.

Going back to what’s hard, I’ve struggled to make this biz my own without falling back into idols or false images of myself I’ve created or impulse reactions to ingrained prejudices. The constant vigilance and testing out what feels right and wrong tires me out by the end of the day. But it’s a good fatigue, something like growing pains.

Like most things, it takes constant learning to figure out what works and doesn’t, and what rings true for me, what’s authentic.

3. Consistency.

That’s nothing new in my world. If I know one thing, I know how to plod on. It’s how I got through decades of non-stop academia and a law practice I didn’t love. It’s how anyone gets through working a job, running a business…living a life.

There’s comfort in the rhythm of sameness, rituals of daily practice. I like to wake each day opening my bedroom door to let the dog jump into bed with me while I check my morning inspirational messages (I save the rest for after coffee). I savor my morning coffee and meditation. Starting the day in pattern helps fight the nighttime despair that all is chaos and battle (drama queen that I am).

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So getting up each day–dog hugs, warm coffee, breathing in silence–is followed by sitting down at the computer to see what’s going on in my world. Doing business.

Here’s where consistency challenges. Not every day is a “let’s see what I can learn” day. Some days I wake up listing to the left or right, like a pirate with a peg leg. The world seems off kilter. I don’t feel like walking the straight path to success. I don’t feel like working this biz, but can find lots of other things I feel like doing under the pretense of getting shit done.

For instance, I’ll procrastinate or do weak tasks, not the challenging ones, just to pacify myself that I’ve worked the business. So, I’ll write one-liners to people I’ve sent product samples to like, “How did you like the mini facial?” and call that a productive contact. It’s not.

Consistency means quality, not just going through the motions. People deserve more of me than I’m willing to give on too many days. Engaging, giving, and reaching out means being there, mind, body, and spirit. If it’s not with full heart and interest, I shouldn’t be reaching out.

I ‘m fond of humanity. I want to know what makes them tick. Connection makes us all feel less lonely. The greatest benefit of my 24 years in lawyering was hearing the stories of lives like and unlike my own. Gifts.

To be consistent means, once again, remembering why I do what I do.

4. Patience.

This goes along with everything else. Patience with myself and others takes monumental strength. When a conversation goes like this, I want to scream:

Potential client: What I’ve been using for years hasn’t worked. I hate the lines in my forehead and around my mouth. The anti-aging products I’ve used for years don’t work.

Me: What do you think about the changes in my before and after pictures?

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Potential client: Fantastic! You look like you’ve had a face lift! How much is it?

Me: Regimens cost between $130 to $199 for a sixty-day supply, depending on how you buy it.

Potential client: Oh, I don’t know. That’s kind of expensive.

Here’s why I want to scream: Throwing away money for years on skincare that doesn’t work is okay but spending money on what does is too expensive.

Where’s the logic? Okay, so not everything is logical. Maybe logic is overrated.

The more depressing part of that exchange is how we’re so programmed not to love ourselves. The desire to feel good about ourselves is certainly there. Just look at advertising, what sells–whatever makes us feel and look good about ourselves, whether we’re deluded or not: makeup, health food, alcohol, fashion, you name it.

The patience is in knowing we’re all just doing the best we can with what we are and have. Even me. That is all.

5. Zen.

When I’m present, accepting, and detached from results, I’m good at what I do. Those days aren’t often, but if ever there was a life goal that meshed with a business goal, a why am I doing this goal, it’s this.

Being zen to me is nothing more than learning to be a good human, the best I can be to myself and to others by allowing us to be.

People are streams, rivers, and cascades drifting, running, and crashing by. They just are.

Accept them, I have to remind myself. Accept myself and keep going, keep learning, growing, and emerging til I can’t.

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So much joy in action without too much expectation and contemplation, I believe. “The root of suffering is attachment.” The Buddha knew.

 

Everything Old is New Again

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Day 2 of this week:

I came back to this product, the microdermabrasion paste, after first using it in a trial size packet along with a couple of capsules of lip serum and night hydrating serum. When my now sponsor first handed me this sample packet, dressed up pretty in a small paper bag brush stroked with soothing pastel mint greens and whispery pinks…

I instantly fell in love.

The paste left my face feeling clean and smooth, almost slick with sheen, and then the night hydrating serum…silk. That’s the only word that came to mind. None of the three items were greasy. I hate greasy.

Maybe because I never invested much in my facial products. Maybe I don’t get around much in the skincare world. I don’t know. But I loved these three items, especially the paste.

I’ve experienced a number of scrubs, ones I’ve picked up here and there, always knowing my face needed something more. Reps from various companies have crossed my social and familial paths, and I’m always happy to help another human make a living. But none touched me quite like this paste.

It goes on gritty yet gentle–hard to phrase it. You know it’s scraping off those dead skin layers, like 60-grit sandpaper would, yet it doesn’t scream your skin into submission, like some chemical peel (not that I’ve had the experience but I imagine it).

And it has a subtle scent, barely perceptible, which wins with me. I’m not big on scented products. I get nauseated smelling even lavender, which I love, all day long. I don’t like scent assaults. My nose thanks me for avoiding overpowering aromas.

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And what’s more, the jar of paste is a bargain! You use the paste three times a week, replacing the exfoliating wash of your regimen (mine is Reverse in the morning). So you preserve your wash and your jar lasts for months–because a little dab will do you.

I went back to the paste earlier this week and relived the love at first sight I experienced over three months ago. It made me happy all over again that I’m loving my skin just like I’m loving my mind and body with Yoga and walking the dogs.

No one (especially me) has to tell you life is balance.

The first thing most people notice about their lives out of balance is diet. I’m no exception. I changed my diet to increase my energy, reducing carb intake and sticking to whole foods.  Then, exercise naturally follows. I, like most others, have focused on the body internally and externally.

I think we forget about our minds.

Who knew that caring for my face with a morning and night cleansing ritual, could be such a loving, mindful act? I didn’t.

 

This Stuff is a Miracle!

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Jordyn said that to me the other day. “You know, mom, Rodan and Fields is kind of a miracle for me.” I get it. Her skin looks beautiful. When you’re a 21 year old woman with noticeable acne scars, yes, it’s a wonderful gift to see them slowly disappear, your skin look healthy and clear.

So I asked her, “Why aren’t you getting into the business too?”

“Oh, I’m not a salesperson.” She looked at me with that wince that I sometimes have inside me, like this pushes the boundaries of who I think I am.

She doesn’t realize that she already is a walking sale for the miracle.

This business is challenging. It requires getting over myself, all my limiting beliefs and fears about who I think I am and who I think others think I am–all speculation.

I went to a meditation retreat this past weekend, meditated for hours. There was no cell service, only trees, fellow devotees, and the lovely gentle old soul who spoke about truth, love, compassion, and service to others.

Taking time out of the world and my usual thoughts about “the way things are” resets my old, habitual, tedious thought patterns.

And when my daughter beams with the love of her new, emerging skin, we’re both open to new possibilities about “the way things are.”

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Jordyn at 2.5 months on Rodan and Fields Unblemish

She’s Losing Them

The acne scars, that is. I wonder what it’s like? How does she feel?

All scars fade in time. Even though we remember those moments of shame, small indignities or huge embarrassments as if branded into our hides, they’re mere echoes, not even close to the intensity of the first cut of them.

I have a scar on my finger that reminds me of trauma that appears to me in soundless, colorless flashes, disjointed and distorted, like a silent horror movie of muted screams against grainy screens of partially lit faces in terror: eyes widened, brows furrowed, and mouths in mid-howl.

It’s my index finger, the tip of which was chopped off when I was maybe 3. Memories fade. My mother wasn’t there that day, a rarity in itself. My sleeping father was in charge. In reality, my 8 and 6-year-old sisters were.

We lived in Brooklyn in a fourth-floor apartment with a heavy door that raced shut in the sheer massiveness of its weight, except for the last crack of the opening.  The door slammed shut with a boom after a second’s hesitation as if building up the ferocity to strike that door jamb with a definitive, angry commandment of closing. Boom! The hallway rang with its crashing steel on steel.

My sisters and I were playing in the hall, the door closing behind us, and I, ever one to tempt the gods to see how far their vision traveled, stuck my index finger in the slowly disappearing crack in the door. A few times actually. I think my game was to see how many times I could stick my finger in the diminishing space before the door slammed shut.

I lost. The door won and took the tip of my tiny finger off as a prize. My father, awakened by my sisters’ screaming, scooped me up and ran me down the stairs to the nearby doctor’s office.

I remember his powder-blue, terry cloth bathrobe, the belt swinging untied as he scrambled down the stairs, exposing his white undershirt and light blue boxers. I remember the heady height, scooped up atop his 6 foot 3 frame. I also remember looking down at the blood drops, one hitting every other stair or so, and the one splatter marring my mother’s mustard brown sandals dangling off my feet, six or more sizes too big for my little foot. I had been wearing them when the door hit.

I also remember the tip of my left index finger, lopped over to the side, hanging by a thread of skin. I don’t remember pain. I do recall the doctor flipping that finger tip right side up,  where it belonged with the rest of the finger, and bandaging it in place. And I do remember the doctor commenting on my pretty shoes, which I was quick to respond to, lest there be any misconceptions or false representations, that they were my mother’s.

When on occasion I notice the scar on the tip of my finger, I recall its story with detached interest and curiosity. Like childhood itself, the story becomes flat, distant and removed. Even the recalled emotions, like cells under a microscope, we adults observe them with the curiosity of a scientist.

All scars heal, even the ones that affect us all our lives. The scabs turn into protective walls that swallow up the wound as if it never was.

Do you still feel the pain?

My oldest daughter talks about the world, hers and everyone else’s, what she’s seen, heard, and whatever fascinates her at the moment. She’s easy to talk to, and we share similar visions about people, art, accountability, and human nature.

She’s a sensitive woman, but she appears so collected, unaffected, and strong. Quiet and reserved, many might say about her if they only knew her for a short time. So many times I’ve witnessed her courage in situations that would have crushed me–the pressure of a soccer goal keeper and scalding slights of social isolation in high school. In middle school, she developed a staph infection that caused scabs to form on her face. I agonized for her unwarranted shame.

I think of her plight with acne. Did she believe herself ugly because of the raging outbreaks her neck and jawline would scream out to anyone within sight?

(Jordyn using Unblemish after 5 and 1/2 weeks)

She recites her story–I was awkward, wasn’t popular–as if she were cast in High School Musical, allotted her clique. But does she feel it still? Or is it like a scar on a finger, faded and forgotten, even as it’s embedded in the movie reels of memory as clearly as it is inscribed in the disfigured flesh?

What’s it like to have acne? Your face is your calling card. Others judge you by what they see–if they see. Most don’t. They look at you with their own stories, select what’s important to them to “see” in you. But you, yourself, see your image from the inside, real and imagined.

What will she envision when the scars disappear altogether?

 

Karen

She’s the oldest of us. Five and a half years separate us–she and me–but only two and change separate her and Trudy. Karen and Trudy grew up together, while my brother and I, who are two and half years apart, grew up together. Trudy and I are nearly four years apart, and seven years separate my brother and younger sister.

Though my childhood memories of my oldest sister recall mostly annoyance–hers for my brother and me as we ran around the dinner table or wrestled or created some disturbance or other–our adult relationship closed the gap. We’re just friends and sisters now.

Age does that: closes the chasm between a teenager and her rambunctious, irritating little sister. Who could blame her for wanting to eat her dinner in the bathroom to get some peace? I wanted to do the same when my kids were young. And they were MY kids. Just desserts, I guess.

Another Rider on the Skincare Train

I was thrilled when Karen agreed to join the journey–be another of my test subjects. Her two-week results are dramatic. I just saw her at my house yesterday, so I know the pictures don’t do her justice.

Karen’s using the Reverse regimen with the eye cream. In just fourteen days, her skin brightened. That’s the first thing I noticed when I saw her after a couple of weeks. Brightness and smooth skin appear first on every person I know who’s started one of the regimens. And only in a matter of a couple of weeks.

But the eye cream! So surprised to see the noticeable reduction in puffiness under her eyes. Though I also use the eye cream, the results are more subtle on me. My eyes don’t get puffy or dark underneath. I just like the way it feels on my skin.

A Reason to be Happy

Karen’s having a tough time now. Between health and job changes, among the other less than stellar byproducts of aging, like aches and pains growing on you like moss on a musty old tree trunk. I know she’s stressed, but her face actually looked less stress-ravaged.

I hope she can look at herself in the mirror and see past her own judging eyes and belittling perceptions that she, like each of us has, of the mirror’s reflection. If she can, she’ll see how lovely her skin looks in just two short weeks.

It won’t solve her problems that make wrinkles or baggy eyes pale in comparison. I know that. But perhaps a small smile of momentary delight?

Trudy and I are happy for her. Perhaps the healthy changes on the outside will percolate down to the inside. I wish it so.

 

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Trudy’s 5 weeks

 

Trudy’s been using Reverse Lightener to even her uneven skin tone, what she describes as blotchy skin. And you can see that the before picture to the left shows a red patch on her cheek. The photo on the right shows an evenness to her skin tone now.

Since she was overusing the Reverse Lightening treatment, the third step in the day and night regimen, she broke out on her forehead a week or so ago. So, she started on the Redefine regimen at night and the Reverse in the morning, which seems to have helped.

These photos don’t tell the true story. Her skin is transformed, smooth, bright, and even.

I’m so glad we have this time together.

My sisters and I are close but don’t get to see each other as often I’d like.  Since Trudy retired, she’s been the master of ceremonies, so to speak. She’s gathered sisters, sister-in-law, brother, nieces, cousins, brother-in-law, and friends to various activities, like a Beatles tribute/karaoke meet-up at a local tavern, a Billy Joel/Elton John monthly restaurant piano bar performance, and small playhouse productions.

And having this blogging excuse to have her come by for photos is one more reason to catch up, grab a hug, share a laugh or a painful moment watching our mother struggle to breathe here in a hospital bed next to my father’s bed in my backroom.

But she’s decided to go back to work a few days a week. Awww…the entertainment coordinator is returning to the grind. Will she still feel like coming out to play?

“How was it going back to work after retirement these past few months?” I asked her today as she posed for her week 5 ‘after’ photos. But I could guess what she’d say. I mean, who wants to work when you’ve had time off to do whatever you want?

She did say her hairdresser commented on how good her skin looked. That must have felt great. I like that. When someone beams about being noticed, I enjoy this journey into entrepreneurship that much more. Another pretty good part was my first paycheck today–a pleasant surprise.

Still, it’s about what works.

I’m trying to think about all the beauty products I’ve bought that make good on their promises. Let’s see. Longer lashes L’Oreal? Nah. Roq, L’Oreal, Oil of Olay, Lancome, Ponds cold cream, Lush soaps, and a host of anti-aging creams I’ve tried? Hell no!

Maybelline, Almay, Urban Decay, Cover Girl, Bare Naked, Yves St. Laurent, and others I don’t remember mascara…okay, yes, darker lashes for the day. I do love my shampoo and conditioner. I’ve used them for seven years without complaint. They do their job.

You want to know that the skin, hair, cosmetics, and any products you use and spend any money on, do what they say they’ll do. That’s my pet peeve. I’m sure I’m not alone.

I’ve bought tons of body products in my five-plus decades. When I look at my or my sister’s, daughter’s, and husband’s ‘before’ photos in this little experiment, I realize that none of our skincare products worked. My skin looked no better than if I’d used nothing at all. What would I do with all that money I poured down the drain? I can dream, can’t I?

These are our experiences. Others may have found the holy grail of skin care. Power to them. We all want to look our best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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