Wake Up

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As anyone who knows me would understand, it was hard when I moved to Dallas, Texas from my hometown in Pennsylvania. And I remember it was one of EDEN’s songs that got me through that transition.

EDEN, formerly known as The Eden Project, is an Electronic-Indy artist from Ireland. I’ve been following him since he started music. A lot of people assume that people who like EDM are trance lovers and people who go to raves, but for me and my sister, we are the type of like to listen to EDM, or any music for that matter, in solitude. The feelings of the music are what we are connected to. And my younger sister is the one who introduced me to EDEN.

It was always a little harder growing up 8 years apart for me and my sister. It was hard to find common ground because we were always going through completely different stages of life. For that reason, I think both of us were closer to our brother, who was the middle child. But the last years that I was in PA, we became very close. It was a bittersweet relationship: two sisters who grew up in the same home but at different times. She saw me go through all of my older trials and hardships, I saw her go through things I’ve already experienced. And it was only the last few years that I was in PA that we were able to finally talk, find out that we are actually more similar than we thought, and connect.

We used to go on many adventures even though our town was small. And EDM was the background music to our lives. EDEN definitely brought us together a lot, through different struggles at the same time, but being able to sing his lyrics together always made us feel like maybe even though we were going through various things, we weren’t so different, so isolated, as we had thought. We had each other.

One of the most difficult things about moving to Texas was leaving her behind. It was something I needed to do because I was not growing as a person in PA. I needed to come out of my comfort zone, so I took the plunge and took a job here in Dallas. It was a smart decision for my career and my personal development.

But it tore my heart apart because I think it hindered my relationship with my sister, or at least distanced us to what we were before. We no longer talk everyday, or go on adventures. I don’t know what she’s doing right now, but I know we are living separate lives.

I remember one of the last nights I was there. We were strolling down the streets of Carlisle at night, as we sometimes did on the spur of the moment, and we were taking turns singing EDEN’s new song, “Wake Up.” We both interpreted it as EDEN needing to leave to make his career his priority and him leaving his hometown to follow his dream. And even though I am not by any means doing the same thing, it really hit me. I hope it hit her heart in the same way. It made me realize how painful it was to grow sometimes. It would be a long time until the next time we might be walking and singing together. It would be a while until we would meet and act like nothing had ever changed.

Who would I be when we met again? How much will she have changed until the next time I would see her? Would we still have that connection? Or would we be like strangers, not knowing anything about each other’s lives?

Even though I’ve written so many times about how I was stuck in PA and happy that I moved here, it was something that hit my heart very heavy. EDEN’s music holds that connection still between us, I know it. I know it because every time I listen to “Wake Up,” I still to this day, almost a year later, burst into tears, because all of it comes flooding back. The times we took random road trips when I was heartbroken. The times we had sleepovers when I was an adult and we talked late into the night. The places we went, the pictures we took (she is a very good photographer), the fun we had, even through all of our individual troubles. And it reminds me of the last night before I left.

I was staying at my parents’ house because we had cleaned out the apartment. She was lying on the floor next to me, we were talking about how weird it was that it wasn’t going to be this way anymore. It was unreal, and I’ll never forget that moment.

If you’re reading this, Abby, I really hope we can go to the EDEN concert together. Then we could sing “Wake Up” together again.

Taken by the Winds

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When you’re following the winds all your life, you tend to be led off course. You wonder what it all means anyway. What is the meaning of the routine? It’s for your health? For your sanity? It’s as if we’ve chosen to be blind and are going with the wind no matter where it takes you.

At the same time, we resist our dreams because we are afraid that nothing will become of us. So we continue the routine of daily tasks.

You want to feel the sun warm my clammy skin and you want to gaze over the horizon as the sun falls towards the sea. you want to bury your face in the sheets in the morning and wake with the rising of the sun. You want to spend hours admiring God’s creations, walking paths in the forests, watching the clouds and trees follow the wind. You want to contemplate the meaning of each thought and feeling and how humans react. You want to be invisible, yet have a purpose.

Instead you’re trapped sitting here at a computer, fumbling over your words even when written. You’re searching for a new routine that can support your current lifestyle. You’re contemplating what you want to do with your life in a way that is set to this society because you feel like you have no choice. The spirit dies every time we are forced to fit this mold, but what can we do?

It’s a treasure in the back of your mind to remember simple times, to relive intense feelings in your memories. You remember way the skies turned an orange pink over the oceans. You remember the feelings of being comfortably alone in a sea of people in the market place. Yet these things are easily overlooked on a daily basis and you forget what you’re doing. You barely have time to think nowadays.

 

OOTD: Hiatus Outfit

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OOTD: Dress – Rue 21 | Bag – Calvin Klein | Bra Straps showing – VS

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I guess I ended up taking a break and I really didn’t mean to. I’ve been busy sulking about my health. I could’t understand why I just can’t lose weight even when I eat right. I recently was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which explains the weight problems. It also explains the chronic fatigue, inability to sleep at night, and digestion issues.

So I’m on a treatment plan now, and I’ve been too depressed about the way I fit in clothes lately. Another excuse is that its been ridiculously hot here. I know, I should expect that.

I do plan on getting back on track once my treatment ends. I will continue my healthy lifestyle plan and cut out more sugar. I think the biggest habits I need to stop is snacking in between meals.

I know some people swear by the eating small portions all day thing, but seriously, it’s bad for you. Going by the Chinese body clock, there are certain points during the day that you should try to avoid eating. Those times are 9 am to 11 am, 1 pm to 3 pm, and 7 pm to 7 am. During those times, certain organs are working the hardest in your body to process what you have put in your body during the other hours. It’s important to avoid eating so those organs can work without interruptions.

Anyway, this has become a rant, and I’m actually tired at the time Im supposed to be tired, so everyone have a good night, day or afternoon.

Nicoco

The INFP Contradiction

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Being an INFP is rare. Understanding us is a lot of work. We definitely have our downfalls. We value the creativity and intuition that we naturally have, but at times we long to have the organization and logic that other have.

We like making lists, but we don’t confine ourselves within them. We go with what we feel is best at the time. But we like to make lists to feel organized, no matter how much of a lie that is.

We like to make routines, because otherwise we would float away in the stories of others that pass us by each day, beckoning us to follow them. Routines are hard to follow but they bring us structure and allow us to fit in with society.

We like to start new projects to feel productive, but then get pulled away by the tides of life, making choices on the whim because we are following our intuition. It’s a fault, yet still it works for us.

We sometimes are in the mood to clean, and when we are, we clean and tidy everything, letting go of all of the things we collected based on feeling, because we know if we don’t, clutter will build up and envelope our minds, subconsciously causing stress. We tend to miss the mess around us if we don’t consciously make cleaning times, which we hate.

We become obsessed with certain things, trying to achieve perfection while doing it with the least effort, making us lazy perfectionists who care so much without actually caring, and it gets confusing.

We get lost so far into our minds that we forget to take care of ourselves, even when we want to. Maybe it’s because we don’t prioritize mundane tasks. We’d rather go on an adventure looking for a new type of wine we’d heard about than clean the dishes we just made from dinner.

We’d rather follow the emotions deeper, even if it means hurting, because without emotions, we feel empty without a purpose. We want to know how it connects with the rest of the world, the reason for it, the way to heal pain and spread happiness. We are connected to our feelings even when we pretend we can separate emotions from actions or thoughts.

We avoid conflict because it interrupts our curiosity. It forces us to deal with real tangible problems and use logic. We are escapists and will do anything to avoid the problem.

We have great extroverted intuition, meaning we intake things and understand them. But we often forget to voice our opinions because we feel that telling them won’t make a difference.

In a way, our downfalls are almost poetic. Nothing we do is usually logical. It can really cause us problems. But when we see it as the story that is unfolding that we call our own special story, we can still see the beauty in it. Maybe a lot of others will find this just irresponsible, but without a doubt, the INFP can find the romance in the way someone forgets to clean their house while they are lost in the passion of what they love to do.

OOTD: I Can’t Always Have it Together

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OOTD: Dress – Target | Sandals – Calvin Klein | Bag – Thrifted | Necklace – Forever 21

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I think it’s mostly because I feel uncomfortable looking put together, but I can’t seem to be put together most of the time. Ever since I destroyed my hair, it’s been crazy messy even though I cut it in April. I like to think of it as a reflection of my life: messy but still working for me.

I might be stuck in between wearing pigtails with ripped jeans and wearing straight short hair with a pencil skirt, and I thought it might be due to my age, but I’m starting to think it’s just who I am. I’ll be late to meetings (or not even show up because I forgot), but I’ll do all my work diligently. I’ll eat healthy all day but then drink half a bottle of wine in one go. It’s a contradiction, but maybe it’s also my version of balance?

Either way, I’m still trying to be healthier, trying to be more organized, trying to get things together. I hope this year will be the year I can find some control with my messiness. Yet there will always be a part of me holding on to it because it’s part of who I am.

Nicoco

 

When You’re an INFP

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When you’re an INFP, you remember memories that never happened in real life. So detailed that you can smell the asphalt after the rain in that memory. You remember the depths of feelings you had only in your own world inside your head.

Your mind consumes time and space as creative muses, building upon what you can intake. Perfection is only attainable in our minds, and when we have those rare moments in real life where everything is perfectly how we imagine, it only feels like a dream.

You hesitate to build your life outside of your mind because you know you cannot control the outside like the world you hold only in your mind. You wander into these thoughts daily, drifting in and out of your real surroundings. They call us the ‘idealist,’ the ‘dreamer,’ but all we really want is to find the places we’ve been dreaming of, the world we have created in our minds. We thrive on finding common ground, finding similarities between every part of our lives and the world within, and this is what others don’t see about us.

Our memories are always a blur between real events and ones we only experience in our minds, fabricated from fragments of our reality that we have collected from fleeting moments throughout our lives.

Our greatest asset is our imagination. An INFP can look out a window in Manhattan, watching the winter storm brewing in the distance, menacing one the city’s horizon and will not think things such as “Will we be safe?” or “I better check the weather for the ride home.” No, they will be transported to a time and place in their mind with that same storm in the distance, but overlooking a cracked desert. Was it a memory? Was it a fabrication? Was it a combination? Not even the INFP will know.

If all INFP’s were to be given the privilege of traveling often, the best stories, the works of art, and music would be discovered in our minds and transferred to tangible sources for all to share.

A word to all INFP’s: Don’t suppress the feelings, don’t try to be realistic. This is your talent. Keep the world in your head. It’s the key to your happiness.

Nicoco

Finding Our Purpose

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OOTD: Top – Marimekko | Shorts – American Eagle | Bag – Calvin Klein | Sandals – Lifestride

MOTD: Foundation – Estee Lauder Double Wear | Eyebrows – Giorgio Armani Brow Maestro | Bronzer – Benefit Hoola Bronzer | Lips – YSL Rouge Volupte #9 | Setting powder – Tony Moly oil control compact powder

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Ok, I know it’s not “technically” summer yet, but it sure feels like it! It’s hot, humid and sunny out here in Dallas. And every afternoon we seem to get a thunderstorm. It’s cool because I didn’t have that in PA, but I remember from previously living in Colorado Springs. 

So, today I wore a top by Marimekko which is “technically” not a shirt but actually a swimsuit cover up, but who cares? I think I’m going to start buying those swimsuit cover ups and use them as clothing, because a lot of them are super cute anyway!
Today I wanted to write about a topic I may have already addressed, but it has recently been on my mind again. Basically, what am I doing with my life? And what does anyone in my generation know about what they are doing in their lives?

I think it’s normal to question that from time to time, and even more prevalent in my generation because we are so used to change happening everyday. The rules literally change all the time. We get confused because we spend four years getting a degree and trying to get a high paying job so we can live decently, while we watch someone younger than us literally become rich on the internet by eating massive amounts of food on camera. Or those models on Instagram that don’t seem to do anything other than travel, endorse teatoxes and eat good food. It becomes intriguing to us to watch people (who look around our age) check in to a restaurant at every meal time on Yelp. It’s like….what are you doing that I’m not thinking of doing???

The more I am forced to adult in my life, the more ridiculous it seems to me that we are pretty much led to believe that we have to have it all figured out by the time we graduate high school at age 18. It’s absolutely insane to me. This is not the generation where we find one job, get taken care of by that job, and never leave until retirement. Technology is changing constantly. My generation is switching companies constantly and even switching industries constantly as certain industries become obsolete.

I don’t know whose messed up idea it was to tell my generation as children that we could “be whoever we wanted to be as long as we believed.” That was the worst advice I’ve ever heard in my life. Some people will be all butthurt by this reality, but seriously, if I did what I loved to do, I wouldn’t be making any money! The other thing I think it incredibly misleading is that saying that is often told to high school students: “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.”

Yeah, sure. Never work a day in your life, huh? That really depends. What if you love cooking? You’ll be working 14 hours a day for low pay and never see your family. Maybe you will love it, but that is the REALITY of being a chef. What if you love traveling? You can get a job in travel, but then it’s impossible to hold a normal relationship with another human being. Or what about me? I loved to draw when I was in high school. If I were an artist, I would be literally starving and on the streets. Pessimist? I think not. It’s called a realist. It’s called compromising to find a best of being realistic and combining that with finding something you can tolerate.

My personality type in particular will fall for these things. INFP’s are a sucker for following your dreams. That’s where you really have to be cautious. Because that is when the 18 year old picks a career path that will lead to massive amounts of debt with no return and then suddenly that hopeful 18 year old becomes a tired, pissed off 24 year old with student debt, working in an industry that has nothing to do with their major.

That’s only the half of it, though. When you are 18 years old, you think you know everything, you truly believe you know what you what to do. You think you understand it all.

But then when you start doing things yourself and living on your own and discovering new ways of life, you realize you don’t anything. You don’t know what you want in life, you don’t even know when the last time you washed your hair was. You realize that a lot of the things you cared about in high school or maybe even in college, they do not matter anymore. Life is so sudden, it can change so quickly. You realize that you don’t even begin to understand how life works, and that is how interests can change.

It’s a terrible thing to realize that you were pushed in a certain direction, whether it be by your parents or your school or even by your own will, when you were 18 years old, and you live life a little longer and realize that while it was good for experience, you truly want something else in life. Sometimes you realize that family is the most important thing in your life, but you’ve chosen a career path that makes it almost impossible to have a family life. Sometimes you find yourself dedicated to a career path for four or more years only to find that you don’t want to pursue it any longer by the time you are 30 years old.

It can really make you feel like a failure. You wake up one day, age 28, drive to your office job in accounting, sitting in 30 minutes of traffic. You think about how you went to school for English, but you didn’t go into a job for it because the only job you could find require teaching, and you wanted to do something more related to writing novels, but that was too risky. You sit down in your cubicle and realize that you feel like you’re wasting your life.

Or worse yet, you dedicate your life to a profession, come to hate it, get laid off, and then feel like a failure because you don’t know what you are doing.

My point here….. Yes, I do have a point…. is that while we are forced to decide at age 18 what we want to do for the rest of our lives, do not be afraid to change industries once you have invested resources into something. It is NEVER too late for change. Resisting change is what will make you fail. Change is what makes us grow.

If you want to go into a new industry because it will better your future, do it. You just have to be realistic to your circumstances. If you are in a job that you like but you never see your family and that is important to you, change. If you are in a high paying job but you hate it and you value meaning in your job, change if you can.

Just because you are doing something does not mean you have to keep doing it.

And just because you are 18 years old it does not mean you have to know anything about what you want to do.

Don’t make the mistake of following a path just because you want to at the time or because others are pushing you to do so. Think carefully about what you value and research whether it will match your needs.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to master a new skill, take on new challenges, or find something that really will better your future.

Nicoco

But I Will Never Be That Girl

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OOTD: Dress + Cardigan – Forever21 | Bag – Calvin Klein | Shoes -Coach

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I’ll never be the girl who I’m envious of because I don’t see myself from afar. I won’t be the girl who has it all together and chills at cafes. I know surely I am not the girl who knows how to unlock her motivations to be better everyday. I’m not sure I’ll even be the girl who always has blended make up, elegant movements, and a bag that she’s happy with wearing for more than a week.

I wonder if that girl even exists? Will you find her strolling through these university halls, smiling to herself? Will you see her at the beach, wearing a Triangl brand bikini, with her flowing scarf trailing behind her in the ocean breeze? Maybe she’s in a high rise building, sipping on her morning coffee in downtown Addison.

I think it’s a bit of both. Maybe I’m not that girl, but I’m just traces of her when I feel confident. Maybe the moments that I see others are captured in the right fleeting moments when their confidence is brimming and they understand that no matter what, they have to love themselves, because if they won’t who will be able to see what they can do for this world?

It’s never all the time. I will never be that girl. But maybe sometimes, she will be me, and through all of my clumsiness, all of my faults, all of my mundane routines, and through all of my hardships, she will spark at certain moments. And maybe others will see her through me, even when I can’t.

 

Nicoco

Office Life OOTD: How to De-Stress After Starting a New Job (Day 14/260)

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OOTD: Romper – Boohoo.com | Backpack – Kenneth Cole | Heels – Jellypop

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Starting a new job is very stressful. There’s no avoiding the headaches and the jitters from going to work in a new place, learning a new skill, and meeting new people. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed for the first few days, but there are some things you can do to ease the stress.

1.) Forget About Work Outside of Work

When you have the opportunity to have some time for yourself, just turn off the work brain. It’s tempting to think about what happened that day, but it will help you so much just to forget it for the few hours your have to yourself. You can’t learn any more outside of work anyway, so why waste time worrying?

2.) Drink Tea

Different types of tea help with different situations, but I suggest drinking green tea for concentration during work, and drinking a rooibos or chamomile tea after work to help calm your mind. Most teas have great health benefits as well such as weight loss, regulated appetite, antioxidants ,and it will keep you warm if you have a cold office like mine!

3.) Read an Enticing Book

Reading will help you escape your current situation, and reading one of those books that you just can’t put down will definitely float you to another world when you’re trying to unwind from the hard day of training.

 

Nicoco

How to Cure Dermatophagia (As a Woman)

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As you might know, for the past twenty years, I have struggled with dermatophagia. It is the obsessive biting and picking of the skin, usually around the fingers. For more information about Dermatophagia, please read my article that was published by The Mighty.

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It is a mental disorder, and I think I couldn’t figure out how to at least start the road to recovery until I acknowledged that it was a destructive pattern in my mind, not just a habit. I gravitated towards this action of ripping the skin from my fingers when I felt stressed.

After I wrote the article on The Mighty, a reader emailed me to tell me her story. It was similar to mine, but she had continued biting and ruined her fingers permanently. That was one of my worst fears with this because it was already shameful, but I always thought in the back of my mind that maybe I would stop one day and my fingers would just heal as normal and I could have a normal life. But here she was, providing me proof that this could have serious consequences if I didn’t do something now. I had tried painting my nails, wearing gloves, and had even tried cognitive behavioral therapy until someone crashed my car and I hadn’t bothered going after that due to all of the things I had to deal with after. So I had let my fingers get into a gruesome state of crusty bleeding fingers.

This woman in the email exchanges suggested I try getting acrylic nails done. She said it was a band-aid for the problem of some sorts. It had stopped her from biting for years until she removed the nails and started up again. I had always told myself that maybe I’d try that once some of the skin healed because I was literally too embarrassed to have someone put acrylic nails on. She told me not to wait because there would never be a time when I would be “healed enough” to go to a nail salon without being embarrassed.

So after contemplating this for a few days, I just went to a nail salon and went right up to the guy in the salon and asked for acrylics.

It was embarrassing. My fingers looked like a disease. I cringed as he worked on my nails. He didn’t say anything, but I couldn’t tell what he was thinking because he was wearing a mask to protect from breathing in the nail dust. I got over the embarrassment as soon as it started hurting.

It hurt like hell! It was like someone was filing away at a million paper cuts. I bit my lip and tried not to cry at some points. I was close to bleeding on my left thumb at one point, but thank goodness it did not bleed. It was completely rubbed and filed raw by the end, though.

Afterwards it felt so weird. It did not feel like my hands anymore. I had to adjust to having them. They were strong, but it hurt to do certain things such as picking a coin off of a table, buckling my pants, or opening a soda can. Things seemed to easily get under my nails but were super tedious to clean from under the nail. But for some reason, it worked. I didn’t feel like biting them. And when I went to bite, I was stopped by the sight and feel of the acrylic nails.

I had to get them done again about two weeks later because my nails grow quite fast, and this time I went to a nail salon who recommended that I use Nexgen instead of acrylics because it would not damage my nails as much. So I’ve had the Nexgen on for about two weeks and I love it.

I think the reason this method works for me is because it breaks the pattern. I go to bite and then realize I’m about to bite because I see these nails that are not mine. It is that constant reminder that breaks me out of my trance. I think it’s worth a try for anyone who has dermatophagia because it really worked for me. Besides, when you have dermatophagia, really you have nothing to lose by trying new methods.

Thank you to the woman who emailed me. Even if it’s just a temporary solution, this has changed my life. I can be proud of my hands and fingers now. I will probably just keep the Nexgen nails until I feel that I have broken the pattern enough for it never to find its way back into my mind.

Click to see what my hands used to look like.

My nails now:

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dermatophagia cure

dermatophagia cure

dermatophagia cure

 

I will update as the process heals my fingers more. Thank you!

Nicoco