R is for Rejection

Play “R is for Rejection”

 

 

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re•ject•tion

noun

the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc.

the spurning of a person’s affections

So let’s be honest, as much as people like to say that they accept rejection in stride, no one really likes being rejected. Personally, I have been feeling like rejection has been walking with me attached to my hip for the last few months. There are jobs I have applied for that I did not get—many, many jobs. I’ve been spurned by people, both romantically and platonic, so lately I have been trying to figure out what I am doing wrong or if there is something wrong with me.

It is easy to focus on the negative when you start to reflect on the “no”s you might be receiving; it can be quite discouraging and even overwhelming. It is likely your ego is bruised and you are trying to pick up pieces of your face after having so many doors slammed in it…but Beloved, during these times you have to ask yourself which outweighs the other—the rejections or the blessings? Most likely there are only a few instances where you have been rejected—and even then, if you look closely enough, I am sure God has blessed you with something greater.

So how do I deal with rejection?

Honestly, I am still working on this. I have been incorporating a lot of positive self-talk in those moments where I start to question myself or the things I am doing. I try to focus on how I feel about myself, not how other people feel about me, so that my sense of self-value remains in tact. I also encourage myself to find the blessings in my life and thank God for those gifts. Creating a spirit of gratitude often softens the blow of disappointment and allows me to shift my way of thinking.

I try to combat feelings of regret. There are very few things that I regret in life—I put forth a lot of effort to be okay with all of the decisions I make regardless of the outcome. This process involves looking at situations as a learning experience and using them for further self-discovery and self-mastery. I ask myself what each situation is teaching me, even if the lesson hurts a bit. Growth is not always easy, but it is always necessary.

How do you deal with rejection? Responses to this particular journal question ranged from looking at rejection as “it is their loss, and at least I tried”; to “remembering that rejection does not determine my value. I am still important, and I am still loved”; “you cannot get everything you want, sometimes things will not go your way”; and “the right job, person, situation, etc. is right around the corner”. There is not one set way to dealing with rejection—we all process things differently. Find a healthy coping mechanism for you and be sure to put it into action the next time a “no” comes to visit.

Rejection is the sand in the oyster, the irritant that ultimately produces the pearl. x Burke Wilkinson

Self-Care, Skincare

(I revised this post in 2019, after it was originally written in 2018. The edits are in pink, while the original content is in green.)

My skincare routine has changed so much over the years! I’ve taken prescription pills, used commercial brands such as Clinique or other dermatologist-recommended brands, & the list goes on. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am actually happy with my skin! My goals within the last year or so have been to minimize my skincare routine and find natural products to replace the commercial brands I had been using. Finally, I have done just that.

Developing a solid skincare routine is a great form of self-care that is often undervalued. Doing masks and steam treatments not only allows you to take care of your skin, but also gives you time to love on yourself a little, too!

Here’s my simple skincare routine:

Weekly: Detox + Moisturize 

Using the Detox/Cleanse/Heal Mask from The Natural Root and the Sweet Honey 2N1 Deep Conditioner.

You can purchase this product here: Detox Mask . If you’d like to receive 15% off of your purchase, use my coupon code: anaston15.

I have switched from using this product every other day to using it weekly. I spot treat problem areas multiple times during the week if necessary, but I only do a full mask once a week. If I am indulging in a little extra self-care, I do a steam treatment first to open up my pores before putting on the mask. The packaging comes with instructions regarding how long the mask should be left on, depending on your personal skin type. I rinse off the mask with cool water.

I never knew you could “double-mask”, until I watched a skincare video from one of the influencers I follow on Instagram, Jade Kendle (LipstickNCurls). I started using the 2NI Honey as a mask after using the Detox mask to ensure that my skin is moisturized, and this has honestly been a game changer for me because there are days when my skin is very dry and flaky. I either use it right after the Detox or use it the next day. I put the honey straight on my skin and get in the shower and let the steam from the shower open my pores.

Daily: Cleanse +Exfoliate, Tone, Hydrate, Moisturize, Sunscreen

I came across a skincare coach via either a Tweet or an IG post and decided to visit her website–I spent the day reading all the different posts she had on skincare and made a list of the products that I needed to purchase. Her post “Guide to an Effective Skin Care Routine” yielded the most information for me, and you can read it here.

Although my goal in the past was to have the most simple skincare routine equipped with natural products, I have since learned that I was missing a few steps and that there are some chemicals that are good for your skin. I did maintain having a few natural products in my arsenal and have only added a couple more steps.  

  • Step 3: Tone your skin using Dickinson’s 100% All Natural Witch Hazel.

I purchase this particular witch hazel from Walgreens and use it daily. I pour it on a cotton pad and wipe my face to make sure I close my pores and remove any leftover dirt/product, etc. This cleans my skin without over drying it, and it is all I use if I am not using the Detox mask.

  • Step 4. Moisturize using Trader Joe’s 100% Organic Argan Oil.

I purchase this particular argan oil from Trader Joe’s and use it daily. It is lightweight and allows my skin to be moisturized without feeling sticky or weighed down.

On days when my skin is feeling itchy, I will use aloe vera as a moisturizer instead of the argan oil.

What is your skincare routine? When developing your own skincare routine, be sure to find what works for you! Different products will work for your skin depending on your skin type–mine is primarily oily, especially in the t-zone. These are staples in my routine, but it took a lot of trial and error to find these products and to see how they worked with my skin. Aim for natural/organic products that will not be harsh on your skin and that can be used for other parts of your body. For example, I also use the Detox mask on wash day for my hair as a part of my deep-condition routine, and I also use argan oil to moisturize my hair. Remember, less is more!

Take care!

Conversations with Anaston Ep. 2 | My Depression Story

I’m back with Episode 2 of Conversations with Anaston! In this episode I am sharing a piece of my story regarding my experience with depression. Often times we shy away from telling our stories and being honest about the challenges we face with our mental health, so I am sharing my story in hopes that I can continue to encourage others to do the same. So in honor of #TakeCareOfYourSELFTuesday and #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth here is my depression story.

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Birthdays have always been important to me. As a child my parents would come eat lunch with me or bring treats for my classmates and myself to enjoy. I’d have my mom check me out of school and we would have lunch together even in high school. I’ve always loved balloons, cake, candles, birthday cards, and especially people singing happy birthday to me. In my voicemails you can find old messages of my dad and grandmother singing happy birthday, and I still have many of my old birthday cards on the dry erase board in my bedroom.

In 2013, my birthday took a turn for the worst. And even though April 15 was always a special day, now it is always a reminder of how blessed I truly am.

After celebrating with a few members of my framily, and a failed plan or two, we decided to hang out at my best friend’s apartment. As we were getting off the exit in her part of town, I heard this weird “pop” “pop” sound and thought maybe the car behind us, with another two of my best friends in it, had blown a tire. So we pulled over in the median and got out to see what happened–to our surprise and horror, there were bullet holes in my childhood best friend’s car. Thankfully everyone with me was okay, but we spent the rest of the night dealing with the aftermath of this drive-by shooting. As a part of their initiation these gang members were instructed to shoot at whatever cars they could find and left a high school student badly injured. 

That night I learned to never take any moment for granted and made a promise to myself that I would always make the best of my birthdays. So in honor of my twenty fifth birthday I want to share twenty five lessons I have learned over the years.

  1. Everything that I am and everything that I have, I owe all to God.
  2. The longest relationship I will ever have in life is with myself.
  3. Honesty is always the best policy.
  4. True love begins with me.
  5. The only person who can make me whole, is me.
  6. It is better to be over-dressed any day.
  7. Start every day with gratitude.
  8. End every day with gratitude.
  9. Patience is truly a virtue.
  10. Family is everything.
  11. God will always be there.
  12. I am beautiful, I am sacred.
  13. You can never stop learning or growing.
  14. It is okay to not be the smartest person in the room.
  15. I am capable.
  16. All you really need is one good friend.
  17. Emotions have never made me weak.
  18. Never become a part of the crowd. 
  19. It is okay to not be okay.
  20. Never let a man convince or try to convince you that you are less than who you are.
  21. You have too much to do to spend your energy where it is not reciprocated or restored.
  22. You may be alone, but you are never lonely.
  23.  Be neutral in your ego.
  24. It is okay to be happy.
  25. But God…

“I’m having a private party…celebrating the woman I’ve become. Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me!” x India.Arie

Peaceful(l)

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Photographer: Josh Garrett (@itsdannygphoto)

 

 

So, honestly I have not been feeling much peace for the last few weeks or so. Really, 2018 has been off to an interesting start…and for a while I was worried. 

When I wrote Because I’m Happy! back in June of 2017, I was in a really great place. I was so excited about the work I had done on myself, the progress I had made, and the happiness I was blessed with. For the most part everything was going right, and I was dealing with the things that were less than desirable in a healthy way. So I am sure you can imagine my frustration when life started throwing its challenges at me toward the end of February. Now that I feel like I am on the other side of the storm, a few things have been put into perspective for me:

  1. God never said the weapons would not form. He said they will not prosper. 

I think I got so comfortable in my “happy place” that I felt like I was untouchable. So when challenges started presenting themselves, it threw me completely off of my game. I began to question a lot of things and wondered why God was putting me through what felt like so many tests. I kept asking a lot of the “why me” questions, feeling like I did not deserve any of what was happening to me. This “level” of happiness I was experiencing made me think that I would no longer have to suffer through drama, disfunction, and negativity anymore. Boy, was I wrong. However, in the midst of each challenge, I have come out victorious on the other side. Every situation or outcome has not been ideal, honestly, but each was necessary for my growth. Though I was very uncomfortable, experiencing frequent anxiety, and very stressed, I am good. I have not suffered any losses. I wish I could keep this mindset while I am in “it”, but it is refreshing to have this perspective now that the dust has settled. 

2. Always be the bigger person. 

We all have those moments when we get tired of being the “bigger” person, always having to rise above, “go high”, etc. If you’re reading/listening to this and telling yourself you do not have those moments, you are lying, beloved. I had quite a few of these moments over the last few weeks. I felt like I was being put in situations where I had to be the bigger person, when everything inside of me wanted to be mean and petty…but I am not a mean and petty person. So why would I even waste my energy resorting to that type of behavior? I am not perfect, by any means, but I know that I have done the work to be sure that I no longer intentionally cut people with my actions or my words. So changing the very nature of who I am for a temporary game of tit for tat is not worth it to me anymore. I had to remind myself that getting even, proving a point, etc. could potentially do more damage than what was already done. Regardless of whether I was right or wrong, what matters most is that I can go to sleep each night with a clean conscience. And I do not want to sacrifice my peace of mind gambling in a game of revenge. At the end of the day, I can only control myself. I have the right to feel how I feel and even express how I feel, but the goal is to do so with tact. This can be easier said than done sometimes though. There are moments where I still yell, curse, and say things out of frustration, but thankfully those moments are few and far in between. When I am feeling the pressure to act out of character, I literally just close my mouth or stop myself from typing a message. Hopefully, once I have given myself a moment to calm down, I can handle things the right way. 

3. Never give up. 

Sounds cliche, but it is the truth. Here I am about to graduate from law school, and it seems like life is challenging me the same way it was when I was preparing to graduate from college. The part I have to remind myself, though, is that I made it through those experiences. They were also uncomfortable, stressful, and caused anxiety. However, they were conquered. I try not to spend too much time reflecting on my past, but it can be quite the teacher. Your past shows your strength. When you think about all that God carried you through, you ought to be able to keep pushing and stay the course. So I try to remind myself that if I “just keep swimming” everything will be okay. I will come out on the other side, I will get through whatever it is, and life will continue. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. There will always be things that will come to steal your joy, but if you keep seeking the light, happiness will always be there. 

So I am continuing to do the work. I wish I could tell you the many ways I put my self-care routine to use during this time, but in the midst of the chaos all I could do was call my parents a thousand times a day, do a lot of deep breathing, shed a lot of tears, pray a lot, and try to have a few YOLO moments along the way…but now that I have typed this, I am realizing that all of those things are self-care, too. 

How do you find the balance within yourself during difficult times? Think about the last time that you were faced with a challenge, and how you handled it. Think about how you felt, the things you said, and the things you did. Was there a sense of peace within you regardless of what you were being faced with? Were you able to return to that sense of peace after you freaked out or got upset? Try to figure out at least one thing that will be your go-to when you start to lose the balance within yourself. My goal is to be more intentional about meditating and breathing through things and to trust God and the capabilities He gave me. 

 

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” x Unknown

 

 

 

Wash Day | Wash & Go Routine

A lot of people have asked what my wash day routine looks like & how I style my wash & go! Here’s my routine from start to finish! Remember to find what products & techniques work for you, this is simply what works for me.

 

The Blues in Your Left Thigh…

“And right now…I’m the blues in your left thigh, trying to become the funk in your right.” 

It’s amazing how many people think that romance only exists between two people, that it is something that only couples can share…but I am here to tell you that romance should start with you. Because when you truly know how to romance yourself, then you can give romance to somebody else. Your Star Player is waiting on you to romance her/him. S/he’s waiting for you…trying to become the funk in your right. 

So today’s #TakeCareofYourSELFTuesday question is tough, but as usual it is a necessary one.

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In April of this year, I will turn 25. For the first time in my adult life I can answer confidently that yes, I love myself. If you had asked me this question a couple of years ago, my answer probably would have been some variation of “I think so”.  Honestly, I believe I started on this journey of learning to love myself in high school, when I first started seeking love in other people. I can tell from old Facebook statuses that I was standing at the end of the aisle waiting for the love of my life to commit herself to me. And after a couple of failed relationships and disappointments over the years, I finally realized that love has to start with me. 

And now I’m so in love with myself that it no longer troubles me when I do not receive the same amount or kind of love from another person. I’ve recognized that if I truly love myself wholly, that I will always be enough. 

I show love to myself in many ways, one of which is discussed in L is for Love, Pt. II. To put it simply, I do all of the things for myself that I was previously looking for other people to do for me. So this means that I send myself flowers (just because and for special occasions), I take myself out on dates, I overload myself on self-care when I am feeling down, I remind myself of how special and beautiful I am, I look at myself in the mirror. & I mean, really look at myself in the mirror. I enjoy my own company. I know how to make myself laugh, I know what makes me smile. I know what makes me cry. I know what I like, what I dislike…I know who I am.

I recognize that even though I am far from perfect and will continue to grow and evolve through life, that I’m lit. However interested I am in someone else, I make sure I am just as interested in myself. The things I want for someone else to love or appreciate about me, I love and appreciate about myself. From my smile, to my laugh, to the way I give and how my mind works. I focus on building myself up. I do the work, even when it is tough. Every day is not pretty, and some days I am a mess. There are still days where I second guess myself, and allow myself to be swayed by the opinions of others, but I am 100% committed to making sure that I stand up and show up for me. 

 Don’t get me wrong, this is not an overnight, instant thing. Loving myself is a journey, and I walk through it every day. It has probably taken me the better part of two and a half years to get to this place, and I am excited about how much more in love with myself I will be in the years to come. 

How is your heart?

On Tuesdays I encourage my loved ones and those I am connected with on social media to participate in my #TakeCareOfYourSELFTuesday movement, which was inspired by the post Take Care of Your Star Player. 

In 2018, I want to take this movement to the next level and really encourage others to start doing the work when it comes to their mental/emotional health. So I have decided to start creating journal questions to share each Tuesday. 

Today’s question is a simple one, but it can reveal a lot to you. We ask people “how are you?” quite frequently as a conversation starter. Often times, we do not even truly listen to the answer. Today I challenge you to ask yourself how you are doing and then take the time to actually listen to the answer. Use this Tuesday to take care of your heart. 

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In the spirit of transparency and to hopefully make others feel comfortable sharing their answers with me, here is my response:

Today, my heart is full. She is happy. It is warm outside, the sun is shining, and I am having a great day. I have been working really hard to maintain my happiness despite being in a phase where a lot of things are uncertain. I feel as if I am transitioning into a new chapter of life and shedding some layers from my past. I slept pretty well last night, but had some interesting dreams. It always amazes me how my desires seem to manifest themselves in my dreams. Even though I try to refrain from spending time thinking about certain people or things, they still find me while I am sleeping. I’m really proud of my heart today. There are times when I want to be closed off, and I am fearful of taking new chances…but my heart remains open. She is not bitter, despite all that she’s been through. Today, I am extremely proud of that, because I could be in really bad shape emotionally. Sometimes I have to pinch myself during my moments of happiness, because I am not used to this. I find myself waiting for something bad to happen…and bad things have happened lately. But now that I allow myself to feel whatever emotions come my way, I am able to deal with them in a way that serves me. I am able to return to being happy. There are many things I am procrastinating on though, so I really need to sit down and focus on these tasks. I can already tell that the uncertainty in a few areas is the root reason of why I am procrastinating, so I know I have to work on this. 

“I’m proud of my heart, it’s never been a quitter, it hasn’t become bitter, it’s had the courage to stay open, and that has only made me better.” 

Sister Talks with Anaston and Alexandria | Best Friend Tag

For January’s episode of the Sister Talks Podcast, Alexandria and I wanted to do something a little different! We recorded the “best friend” tag and answered a few questions about ourselves. We hope that this allows our audience to learn a little bit more about us in the new season of Sister Talks with Anaston and Alexandria!

You can watch the YouTube video here: 

Sister Talks with Anaston & Alexandria Ep. 5 | R is for Recap

 

 

 

My sister bestie and I recently started our very own podcast, called Sister Talks with Anaston & Alexandria! We are both educated brown girls, & bloggers.

Here’s our fifth episode! Join us as we recap 2017 and wrap up the year with the lessons we learned. We revisit each topic covered on Season One of Sister Talks Podcast and share a few things about the future! If you have topics you would like for Anaston and Alexandria to discuss in 2018, share your ideas with them! Comment below or send them an email: sistertalksa2@gmail.com