How to Stop Feeling Inadequate or Unsatisfied in Yourself

I wake up most mornings with an insatiable desire that I have often mislabeled as “inspiration” or “drive.” Constantly I am finding myself looking for more. More home improvements. More meal prep recipes. More exercise routines. More hobbies. More skills. More material possessions.

I sit in my office and spend hours staring at my glowing laptop screen like it will provide me with the answers I am searching for, before I’ve even sat down and asked myself what the question is. I recently read an article about the millennial scam to feel obligated to turn your hobbies into financially profitable “side gigs.” This is something I relate to more than I care to admit.

My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.
— Jack Kerouac

When I sit down and reflect on where this energy has come from, I find it in my writing even before I began my career -- as far back to before I even started high school. The answers never seemed clear and I would write about days when I had moment of clarity in an otherwise thick fog that rolled through my life path. It wasn’t until an actress I worked with asked me a simple question.

“When you find yourself looking for something, why not look for it in yourself? Why not cultivate it yourself? You seem like a strong, smart and capable enough woman.”

It almost knocked the wind out of me. I spent years preaching about cultivating what you want in your life and learning when you’re being held back -- I never realized that A) I was holding myself back so much and B) I had the power to not only let go, but push myself onwards.

To jump back to my second paragraph: self reflection has been a huge accessory in my growth. The number one root to my problems seem to stem from the same seed: patience. Or should I say lack thereof? As a Taurus, I know I am a energetically streamlined for success. However, this stubborn attitude to challenge and overcome hardships paired with the amount of crazy circumstances I am subjected to has curated an aerodynamic version of myself that makes compartmentalizing my emotions simple.

When I compartmentalize my emotions, I often forget to revisit why they came up in the first place, why I need to process them, and why even the bad emotions are important to my growth. Patience is hugely important to me because it is the centre of balance to my life, whether I want to recognize it or not.

Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while waiting.
— Unknown

A huge test for me is to put the laptop and phone down and regroup. Remind myself how hard I’ve worked and how easy it is to reach burnout when you don’t recognize patience with yourself. When you don’t listen to boundaries, there are physical and mental repercussions. Catching colds, feeling drained, frustrated crying, binge eating (or shopping -- super guilty). Slow down and listen to yourself more. You know that idea of driving around a crappy car, but turning up the radio to ignore the sounds your engine is making so you don’t need to get it fixed?

That is exactly what overworking is. We don’t constantly need to be efficient. Rest. Relax. Regroup. Realign.

A Travelling MUA's Makeup Basics

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As a makeup artist, you might think I reserve enough luggage space to cart along my whole kit while I travel. The truth is, I don't. And I don't like to. In fact, the less makeup I have to bring on a trip, the happier I am.

That doesn't mean I want to make sacrifices here -- I'm professionally obliged to be compulsive about appearing like I have my face together. In fact, on most sets I work, it is literally my job to make people look like they woke up looking effortlessly, naturally, good. So why can't I do the same? To spare you a long and tedious answer involving my lack of patience and unlucky skin genes, here's what I bring when I don't have the space (or time!!) to lug my whole kit.

1: Skin Care

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my stories about the countless products I’m trying (or loving) lately. I fell deeply in love with skin care when I was employed by Sephora in 2017. I do not start or end my day, or trips, without skincare to some degree.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of makeup remover wipes. I don’t feel clean after I use them, most are overpriced, and they aren’t exactly great for our environmental impact. Micellar water great solution for those nights you’re way too tired for a full wash, or maybe when I’ve had a few too many vinos under the moonlight of a new city. Plus, most (if not all) of them are safe enough to use near the eyes, so they save me the space of packing remover. I use Bioderma Sensibio h2O. Bonus: it comes in a travel size!

Three Step: Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize

My travel cleanser is always Fresh Soy Cleanser. It too comes in a travel size (which is how I first became hooked) and I just love the way my skin feels after I use it. My toner that I recently switched to is Thayer’s Unscented Witch Hazel solution. It has enough aloe to not leave my skin feeling stripped, and it’s antibacterial to fight off airplane acne. I’ve been using the Origin’s Original Skin moisturizer for my summer skin, but in the colder days, I’ve been using something a little thicker: Josie Maran Argan Oil Light.

SPF

Do you know the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens? I like to discuss it with many of my clients -- especially ones who are fair skinned, have acne-prone skin, or issues such as eczema or rosacea (like me!). Clinique has a wonderfully sheer physical sunblock that also comes in a range of SPF factors, and even an oil-free version.

2: Makeup

My staple foundation has been the same since I was 17 years old: Smashbox Studio Skin. They just recently redid the line and expanded the shades, boasting a 24H wear (which is perfect when you’re cruising through a city tour). Just don't make the same mistake I did -- while applying before my flight to Jasper, Alberta, I smashed the glass bottle all over the bathroom of Toronto Pearson Airport. (PS: the Rexall in Jasper does not sell Smashbox, regrettably.) I redeemed a couple of the Too Faced Milk Chocolate bronzer 100-Point-Perks when Sephora was offering it, and I love to pair that with my Physician’s Formula Butter Blush.

I fell in love with Anastasia Brow Wiz many years before being employed by the brand: I pair it with Essence Make Me Brow in Soft Browny Brows (an AMAZING dupe for Gimme Brow, since I had to do something during its little hiatus). Did you know Essence products, while inexpensive here, are actually kept behind glass in Santiago, Chile? I was shocked when I saw the $2.99 product locked away -- but also proud of the brand’s worldwide success.

Through hell and high water, my Smashbox Full Exposure mini has survived it all. It has been dropped, broken, lost and found, and has been a must in my carry-on for years. The travel size offers the perfect combination of neutrals for my hazel eyes, plus the neutral brown doubles as a great powder for topping up the aforementioned brow pencil. My mascara of choice, however, has been another long-time winner in my personal makeup kit. Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara has proven itself time and time again, and in my opinion, has a great drugstore dupe you can pick up at Boots: Rimmel's Scandaleyes.

If I don't set my makeup, I feel naked. My usual setting spray is Urban Decay’s All Nighter -- a classic. However, some days I find myself leaning towards a more natural look, so I switch to NYX Dewey Setting Spray. It’s great for a more romantic look, or when I'm shooting the more -- erm, intimate -- scenes in films, as overly shimmery makeup often translates to "sweaty beast" on camera.

I always bring along a Chapstick with SPF in it, or even pick one up at the drug store, since I am not a savoury snacker but rather the salty goodness of chips and pretzels.

What do you swear by in your travel essentials?

"Candid" + "organic" ≠ social media

Social media, while a brilliant marketing tool, has eluded us to believe life is a series of candid nights captured in a hazy teal Lightroom preset, full of blue-light teeth whitener and hair growth candies.

Truthfully, I haven’t invested a lot of time in my blog lately because I needed to take time off. My work/life balance was suffering tremendously — to the point where I was completely unaware of what to occupy my time with, if not work.

What have the words “candid” and “organic” transpired into due to the impact of social media?

This pressure to feel or look a certain way ALL the time is incredibly unhealthy, and I know I am not alone when I admit I feel an incredible amount of anxiety when generating content. As a millennial, I guess you could say I have been experiencing a degree of “FOMO.” You see people at hip bars, their highlight beaming from the Edison bulbs, posted up on velvet furniture, all decked in Fashion Nova... I realized I found myself gravitating towards a “longing” to experience such things... even though I know full well I don’t enjoy being in those types of environments!

That is the smoke and mirror illusion of these platforms 🌬 ...and what I began to realize was the type of happiness I was experiencing did not have to be discounted simply because it was not highly publicized. I am happy. And I haven’t felt it like this in a long time; that long, warm stretch of open road through the glass of the passenger window. Sunshine in my otherwise mid-west cloudy climate. I spend most nights researching skin care, doing puzzles, reading, writing, sketching. And maybe it’s not romanticized or as sexy. But it makes me happy and I think that’s an important note to document.


What are your favourite self care rituals? Are there certain things that make you light up after a tough day?