Defining Me. Defining Curly.

Hello if you’re new here, I’m Anastasia and I have body-focused repetitive behaviours as well as generalized anxiety.

Need a refresher? Take a look at my 7 Day Trichster Series.

Some quick FYIs:

Trichotillomania– the unwanted urge and unprovoked “habit” of pulling your hair out from eyebrows, head, anywhere really.

Dermatillomania– the urge to pick at your skin.

Cheek Biting– the biting of lips and cheeks.

That’s not why we’re here today however, I’m here to get back into blogging. It’s been over two years and so there’s no time like the present- right?


Since I can remember I’ve hated my hair’s texture. In my view it is not wavy, not curly, just frizzy. As someone who cannot stand varying textures in my hair it drove my trichotillomania up and down the wall. Despite comments and praise when wearing my hair natural I have always HATED it.

Sure, there has been days it has “behaved” and I’ve accepted it’s wild vibes. However, these days of acceptance and self-love have been few and far between. Generally I can handle a few hours with my natural hair flowing before resorting to a pony-tail.

This month I have been changing that view, and letting my hair be itself, or least I’m attempting to.

With some research and an ultimate goal of self acceptance I’ve put down the straightener and picked up new products and Youtube videos. I’ve learned a lot and am happy to report with every passing day my hair is getting healthier and the curls are showing their true gorgeous selves. My acceptance of this new journey is still in the works, some days a bun still is my favourite relief, but everything is a work in progress.

Not sure what else to say today, but I’ll be back sooner than later (I hope). Enjoy the trip down memory lane in the The Cycle.

“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

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10 #SelfCare Tips for Trichotillomania

Anyone with a Trichotillomania knows certain things that make our pulling better, others make them much worse.

Not often discussed however, is how to take care of ourselves in between. Below are my current ways to to take care of my trichotillomania. More tips to follow on cheek-biting and others. These tips are only my current ones, and constantly adapting. My experiences but I hope they may helps some! Feel free to add your own in the comments.

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1. Rosemary Oil– This has been a favourite of mine for a long time. I read somewhere once that rosemary oil, being an oil that carries heat is good for bruises. One year after an event that involved far too many barricades to move-I needed to get rid of some bruises. It works great for bruises but is also known to increase hair growth. I haven’t delved into the specifics of this, but it feels good, smells amazing and that’s enough for me! I put it on bald spots mostly or add into my hot oil hair treatments.

2. Coconut Oil- Hopping on the coconut oil train like everyone else. It’s awesome and is great for making hair feel soft but also nurturing.

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3. Hair Brushes- I admit sometimes I go full Rapunzel and brushing my hair repeatedly “…47, 48, 49, 50.” It makes my scalp feel good and is good for my hair too. Big fan of a bamboo comb like this one I bought at The Body Shop a few years ago.

4. Braids- More of a coping strategy, but they’re fun to do and great for when I need a brain break.

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5. Working Out- I’m not the greatest at this, but it does help clear my mind when I’m active. Arm days are great- hard too pull when your arms are sore.

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6. Outdoor Walks– Being in nature, experiencing nature and because I’m in Canada, and it’s cold half the year- hats and mits make pulling impossible.

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7. Hair Cuts- I’ve talked about the hair dresser before in The Dreaded Hair Dresser. Once I’m comfortable with a stylist however, getting my hair dyed and cute feels great and luxurious!

8. Fake Eye-Lashes- I’ve been pulling from my eyelashes almost exclusively as of late. This tip is also somewhat of a coping mechanism, but when I put on fake eyelashes I’m far less self conscious when in public which is definitely a self-care win!

9. Hot Oil Treatments- Caring for my hair and making it feels super soft making this one of my favourite tips. Coconut oil and a bit of tea tree oil or rosemary oil mixed into the mix makes my hair smell equally as lovely.

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10. Cooking-I find cooking really relaxing and as such it makes pulling less of a focus. Food as fuel is also key ❤  Continue reading “10 #SelfCare Tips for Trichotillomania”

For the Love of It.

I have a love-hate relationship with ballet. At least that’s what I tell the countless teachers in the Halifax area who see me for a few weeks until I disappear into oblivion.

I began ballet at the ripe old age of…five.

Not young, the norm. Spending weeknights at the studio amongst friends, working on my turn-out and on my technique. I loved every minute of it.

Sure I love dance, always will, but back in those days I loved the challenge, the competition with myself. Proving myself wrong was the utmost of rewards. Can’t do this move? Yea right! I’d practice until I got it. If for some reason I couldn’t it was rough.

Rarely did I dance just for the sake of dancing, but rather to reach a goal. The next recital, the next exam, the next challenge.

Now, years after starting back at dance I struggle to enjoy it. Sure it’s challenging but there is little reward besides putting my leg a little higher with each class- my flexibility growing. There is no goal. I’ve struggled with it for some time. I’ll start ballet and ultimately lose interest, resorting to the gym instead.

It makes me question a lot of what I do. Do I do it for something to achieve or because I truly love it? Do I read a book to enjoy the story or to finish it? Do I run cause it’s fun or because I know it’s a means to an end. Do I volunteer because I love my community and field or do I do it to say I did? I question.

I’ve committed to loving dance this time around, at least for six weeks. Four weeks in and I’m still sticking around. Hoping this time to love.

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Don’t Diss Sundays

I used to hate Sundays. 

They meant the end of a weekend, the start of a week of busy. Often times loaded with laundry, cleaning and a lack of fun. Sundays were seen as “an end”, not a beginning.

Last year that changed with what I started by calling “days I don’t plan” have now taken on the term #SelfCareSunday.

And now I savour and cherish Sundays. 

On Sundays, when I’m not busy, I focus on me.

Baths, candles, books, coffee or a beer on the back deck- whatever my little heart desires! I’m one to keep busy, focus on planning and tend to not fair well when things are out of control (by my own standards mind you). Sunday has become a reset, a time to breathe, to reflect.

The term self-care I’ve learnt from a fabulous company called Wear Your Label, they’ve got a #SelfCareSunday contest going on right now, check it out!

For now I sit here laughing at young me, hating such a beautiful day- for wasting it. Take care of yourself in whatever way you see best. Do what makes your feel your brightest. Most importantly, call it whatever the frig you want!

Happy Sunday friends, I’ll be over here, not making decisions- just doing what I feel like.

Let’s Connect! My goal in this blog is to create a community, help others and in turn grow myself. This is not just about sharing my story, but those of others- Want to collaborate? Suggest a post? Ask a question? Meet to chat? I’m all ears! Send me an email or connect via @AnaSmallwood on twitter or instagram. 

Shhhh…NOT.

We can’t be quiet. 

We’ve been quiet for far too long.

Changes can’t be made if the issue is not known.

Businesses scan their environments for concerns, for threats and recognize strengths- and so to must we.

To improve we must talk, and talking is scary,

but not talking breeds stigma, and stigma breeds silence. 

Talking can cause concerns, talking can seem negative.

Voicing opinions can be seen as threatening.

That’s not the goal. 

Talking is the goal, and that’s all I aim to do.

For I want change, as do many others.

I don’t feel shame anymore, and that’s to be celebrated.

I feel anger in hearing others do, I’ve been there, hid there, it’s not fair.

My approach is to question, my approach is to share, all sides of stories I can find.

I’ll continue to do that, rallying those who want to join with me.

Talking until there’s no need to, because the issue, and those who feel silenced,

don’t feel silent anymore.

 

 

Self Care- Not just for Sundays.

Life has a way of getting away from me. Like a train at full-steam ahead my life moves fast, and the ride is always ongoing. I volunteer with many organizations, manage a few committees, I work two jobs, I’m a student, and I try to maintain some semblance of a social life. I’m busy. 

Add all of this, a little bit of stress, caffeine, and an unhealthy attachment to my agenda and iCalendar and you’ve got all the ingredients to life lived by Anastasia Smallwood.

Being busy, never being idle, is a coping mechanism, but it also makes me happy. Idleness has never been something I enjoy. Sure a day or two is fine, but more than that and you’ll find me re-organizing my room, finding tasks where there weren’t any before, and finally, if idle long enough I lose ambition to do anything (a scary place).

Sometimes, perhaps out of fear, perhaps out of forgetfulness, I forget to put me on the top of my daily task list. Forgetting to eat properly, to exercise, to sleep. Giving much, taking little. Months of avoiding this can mean I run my weekly marathon on steam, and then on fumes, and then again on nothing at all.

Often times avoiding taking care of myself results in a need for a weekend of solitude, a few days to re-coup with some classical music, tea, wine and my thoughts. Other times, thankfully less frequent I end up sick, and I mean real sick-ick. Being sick is never fun, but with being stuck in bed comes a list of uncompleted tasks and that STRESSES me out. Nerves that make my stomach turn, sleep seem unnecessary and my hair pulling and skin-picking frequency jump at alarming rates.

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As I pick-up the pieces of my life post bronchial and chest infection, post-exhaustion, and after learning my lesson (this time anyways) remember to take care of yourself this weekend. For the biggest priority in your life should be you, regardless the day of the week ❤