Summer vibin’

Can we all just take a minute and appreciate the wonder that is the wrap dress? It’s comfortable, it’s fashionable, it’s versatile, it’s classy. Let’s just say Diane von Furstenberg knew what she was doing. How many times have you wore a tight bodycon dress, feeling smashing when leaving your house, only too loose all circulation in your upper body within an hour and looking like you’re 30 weeks preggo after eating? How about we leave the bodycon dress back in 2010 where it belongs and go on with our lives, never compromising comfort for style.

I am loving the heck out of this gorgeous wrap dress from Zaful! I will live in this for the rest of the summer. It’s so comfy and cute, and GUESS WHAT? It’s only 20$!

Buy it HERE

(This post is a collaboration with Zaful) Should also add they run extremely small in size, I’m wearing size M here but I could probably fit an L as well.

xx

Lisa Belinda

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HAIRY

Last week I went to get my hair done by Sandra at Nooz in Malmö. It was the first time I was there and I was quite nervous because I always find it so scary to try a new a new salon. My hair is naturally curly and many hairdressers don’t know how to handle that. You need to be more careful and gentle on a curly hair since it’s naturally more dry and fragile so it’s important that the hairdresser has respect for that. The second I sat down in the chair and we started discussing what we could do with my hair, I knew I was in safe hands. I should also add that I hadn’t been to a hair salon in a year so Sandra had quite a project ahead of her. I wanted to cut off all the damaged, split ends and do blonde highlights that looked natural. She also included a treatment from Keune in the highlights called Bond Fusion, which is basically like the hyped Olaplex. It helps keep the hair healthy and strong and keep it from breaking from the bleach. She also used colors from Keune which are more gentle on both the hair and scalp than traditional hair colors. She did highlights in 3 different shades to get a more natural look and I was beyond happy with the result. Finally, I have found a hairdresser that I want to keep coming back to.

Most of the products I use to keep my hair healthy are from Kevin Murphy. I’ve used it for about a year and I don’t see myself switching anytime soon, they’re AMAZING. They have a lot of different lines so you can find something that fits your hair perfectly. Their products are cruelty-free and free of parabens and sulfates and they also have a lot of products that are vegan. Something I also love about Kevin Murphy’s products is that they have a travel-size in all their shampoos and conditioners so you can try it out before purchasing a full-size bottle. (Not sponsored, just a fangirl).

Below, I’ve put together a little guide of how I take care of my hair:

Step 1: I wash my hair 1-2 times a week. Once a week, before washing I smother my hair in organic, virgin coconut oil. I usually put it on in the morning and let it sit all day before washing my hair in the evening. I know coconut oil is the most hyped oil on the planet and people seem to be using it for absolutely everything. I never use it on my face or body because it’s highly comedogenic but for the hair, it works perfectly. Coconut oil is extremely moisturizing and it has small enough molecules to actually penetrate the hair follicles. Many oils have too large molecules to actually penetrate the hair strands that results in them only coating the hairs. Coconut oil is actually one of the best absorbing oils and it gets inside the hair follicles and really does the job.

Step 2: Most of the time I was my hair with Kevin Murphy Repair-me wash. About once a month I use the Kevin Murphy Maxi-wash Detox shampoo. This really gives your hair and scalp a deep-cleaning so you get rid of all gunk and product residue. I don’t recommend using a detox shampoo every wash or even every week because it would dry out the hair but as a monthly treatment, it’s great. I always shampoo twice to make sure my hair and scalp are clean. I only massage the shampoo into the scalp and not in the lengths because it will only dry out the hair and there really is no need because the hair will be cleansed when you rinse and the shampoo runs through the hair.

Step 3: After my hair is clean I pat it with a towel to get rid of excess water before applying my treatment or conditioner. The hair soaks up the products much better when it’s not soaking wet. The past weeks I’ve used the Kevin Murphy Repair-me Rinse but now that I’m blonde again I will alternate with Kevin Murphy Blonde-Angel Color enhancing treatment. I used this the last time I was blonde and It’s without a doubt THE BEST silver treatment I have ever used. You apply it from root to tip so that your whole hair gets covered and let it sit just a few minutes. It really gives the hair a cold blonde tone and gets rid of any yellowness. And after the hair is so soft and shiny and you literally smell like an angel.

Step 4: I gently pat away excess water from my hair and put it in a microfiber turban-towel. It’s more gentle on the hair and it stays put so you can get ready while your hair dries and not have several psychotic meltdowns because your towel keeps falling off. When I take the turban off my hair is still wet but it’s not dripping anymore. Then I brush my hair with a Tangle Teaser-brush. I know everyone says it’s a big no-no to brush the hair when it’s wet because that’s when it’s the most fragile and prone to break. BUT a curly girl’s gotta do what a curly girl’s gotta do. If you have curly hair you know exactly what I’m talking about. The tangle teaser also makes it possible to brush even wet hair in the most gentle way because the bristles are soft and bend with the hair instead of thugging and breaking the strands. Last, but FOR GODS SAKE not least, I apply hair oil. If you have blonde hair, make sure you don’t use a dark or yellow, hair oil as it will make the hair yellow. Instead, choose one that is light or transparent in color. The one I’m currently using is Wella SP LuxeOil. I really like it and it smells divine. I have tried many hair oils and this is definitely one of my favorites. I also like Maria Nila Soft Argan Oil.

Most hair oils, including the one I’m using now, contains cyclic silicones, which are a form of silicones that cosmetically improve the look of the hair by laying on top of the strands and coating it, making the hair appear very soft and shiny. Cyclic silicones are actually quite harmful to both our health and the environment and I would highly advise everyone to avoid this ingredient in skin products, especially those you apply to your whole body such as body lotions. Cyclic silicones are absorbed by our skin and when it gets into our bodies it can be toxic to our organs an have a negative effect on fertility.  However, almost all conventional hair oils contain cyclic silicones and the natural alternatives I’ve tried have only made my hair look greasy and not as smooth and shiny. So, for now, I’m still using hair oil with cyclic silicons in it but I would love to find one without. If you know any good ones, let me know in the comments.

If you wanna check your products for cyclic silicones, look for these in the ingredients list: Cyklometikon, Cyklotetrasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane och Cyklohexasiloxane. They are all forms of cyclic silicones that we should stay away from for the sake of our health and our beautiful planet.

  1.  Virgin Coconut Oil HERE
  2.  Shampoo: Repair-me Wash, Kevin Murphy HERE
  3.  Detox Shampoo: Maxi-wash, Kevin Murphy HERE
  4.  Conditioner: Repair-me Rinse, Kevin Murphy HERE
  5.  Color Enhancing Treatment: Blonde Angel, Kevin Murphy HERE
  6.  Microfiber Turban-towel HERE
  7.  Hair oil: LuxeOil, Wella HERE

Lots of love,

Lisa Belinda

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Quiet your inner critic

My inner critic: “You’re not strong enough. Your vulnerability and your anxiety make you weak. You’re not successful enough. You’re almost 24, you should have come way further than this by now. All the mistakes you’ve made has ruined you and now you’re damaged forever. Oh, and you really should go to the gym more often. You’ll never be happy unless you get rid of that cellulite and that little pizza baby. It’s a fucking miracle how anyone can love you, you don’t deserve it”.

My inner best friend: “Sweetie, don’t listen to that bitch. Your vulnerability is what makes you special. Your struggle is actually your strength, it’s what makes you compassionate and understanding towards others. Success should not be measured in money on the bank or materialistic things and even if it did, you are just as successful as you need to be right now. You have come such a long way, you have accomplished amazing things already. All your mistakes have taught you so much and shaped you into the amazing human that you are now. Oh, and about going to the gym… You should only ever work out to feel good mentally and physically, never by the demand of that dumb criticising bitch telling you to lose weight. You’re beautiful just as you are”.

I got the inspiration for this post after I had listened to the latest episode, “The inner critic”, of Yogagirls podcast. I highly recommend everyone to give it a listen because it addresses something we are all struggling with.  We all have an inner critic, telling us that we aren’t good enough, for whatever reason. It’s very hard to get rid of this horrible criticising voice but the only way to do so is to let your inner best friend speak louder. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. Compliment yourself the way you would compliment your best friend. Empower yourself the way you would empower your best friend.

Lots of love,

Lisa Belinda

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Summer essentials

Summer has made sure we know she’s arrived. Sweden is in a drought and the appreciation of the sunny weather I felt at the beginning of summer has now turned into a constant reminder that global warming is real. I alternate between soaking in the sun with an ice-cold drink in my hand and crying in the car while blasting the AC and cursing over how unbearably hot it is. These warm days call for some easy breezy fashion staples to get you through the summer looking, maybe sweaty but at least FINE AS FUCK. I have put together a collage of some of my favorite summer-style essentials.

(This post is a collaboration with Zaful.com)

(Pictures from Pinterest & Zaful)

  1. Honey T-Shirt // 2. Cat-eye Sunglasses // 3. Platform sandals // 4. Wrap Frill Skirt // 5. Straw Tote-bag

 

Use code ” ZFAnniversary ” to get:

3$ off every purchase over 25$

6$ off every purchase over 50$

12$ off every purchase over 100$

YOU’RE WELCOME.

 

xx,

Lisa Belinda

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“You have freedom when you’re easy in your harness” -Robert Frost

One of my biggest struggles in life and the most profound reason for my anxiety is my immense need for freedom. A need for freedom isn’t actually negative but it inevitably comes with a fear of the opposite. A fear of not feeling free. I can’t cope with feeling caged or cornered, both literally and by other peoples opinions and expectations of me. To start with, I am extremely claustrophobic and never ever take an elevator alone. Even taking an elevator with someone I feel safe with is hard and I rarely do so without hyperventilating all the way. I believe the concrete fear of being caged, such as being in a small space and the more abstract fear of being caged, such as feeling pressured and stressed by responsibility and others expectations, are extremely intricately connected.

If I was an animal I would without a doubt want to be a bird so that I could fly anywhere I wanted. I’ve always felt most at home next to the sea or in the countryside with open fields around me. If I spend too much time in a crowded city without even a coastline, I start feeling slightly panicky after a few days. There is just something within me that needs to feel ensured that I’m free and nothing or nobody will deprive me of my freedom or my open spaces. Where this slightly compulsive need for freedom comes from, I don’t really know. I probably need several hours of therapy to find out and that’s something I would actually want to do at one point. But for now I just wanted to share my experience and what this behavior and these feelings have taught me.

I’ve had so many moments in my life where I’ve just escaped. I’ve gotten this feeling of being stuck, like there is so much on my shoulders and there are people depending on me. When I say people depending on me I don’t mean emotionally because that has never been an issue for me, I mean they’re depending on me in the way that they want or need something from me. During these moments I’ve become so stressed out and so unhappy and it’s created an urge to just quit and run away, cut the chains that I feel are holding me captive and just escape. This is obviously not a sustainable way of living and it’s created a lot of problems for me. I’ve come to realize that running away is sometimes more damaging than staying. Because it initially means that you are looking elsewhere for something that you already have within you. Because although peace and freedom are easier to feel when you’re on a white sand beach on a tropical island, overlooking the turquoise ocean, its actually found within (I’m a little hippie, just bear with me plz).

A quote that has really stuck with me is “you have freedom when you’re easy in your harness”. Being alive, being put on this earth kind of comes with a harness whether we like it or not. It’s simply not possible to live a happy life without any commitments or without having people depending on you. I’ve had moments in my life where I’ve been unemployed with literally no commitments and that sure as hell didn’t make me happier. The opposite actually. Humans are wired to feel needed and important in order to be happy and if you completely take that away, you’re left feeling really empty and alone. What’s important is to find a balance. It’s also cultural that you get to escape for a bit sometimes and just breathe, without anyone pulling your strings. But the goal should be to have a balance of freedom and commitment and most importantly not allow commitment to take away your freedom. I believe it’s a state of mind to feel free even if you have people depending on you and appreciate how important you are instead of letting your mind get stuck in a downward spiral of self-pity. When you find this state of mind, you are flowing through life with ease and you barely notice your harness, but when you constantly resist it and fight to get loose, that’s when you feel the tension. That’s when anxiety creeps up and you feel your harness tighten around your chest.

I’m no guru speaking here, I obviously struggle more than anyone with this but I will really work on finding a balance in my life. I will do my best to teach my brain to not victimize myself but instead see the beauty of having responsibility. I like to imagine my harness made of very thin silk threads. I can still go wherever I want, I can still do whatever I want. The harness is not actually holding me back. It’s just a reminder of how important I am and that I do have a responsibility in this world whatever it may be. The harness is, in fact, pushing me forward.

xx

Lisa Belinda

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Army of bones

(Pictures from zara.com)

I was casually scrolling through zara.com, putting stuff in my basket and asking myself why I don’t write a blog post instead of wasting my time with such worthless activities.  Like an answer from the universe, my visit at zara.com reminded me about a very important topic that I have been postponing writing about for some time now. Not because I haven’t wanted to write about it but because It’s a topic that is so emotionally charged and sometimes very provoking. It is also a topic that is very close to my heart and that I, together with most women, have a personal history with. I’m talking body image and anxiety regarding our own bodies.

What struck me at Zara’s website wasn’t the fashion, it was the insanely skinny models. Not model. Models, as in plural. ALL of the models were really, really skinny. This is a very sensitive subject to many and it seems impossible to address this without stepping on anybody’s toes. To be clear, I am not ever gonna say that one body type or size is better than another and just like it should be totally acceptable to have a fat body it should be totally acceptable to have a skinny body (and everything in between). There are women who are naturally very skinny. However, there are not very many women who are naturally THAT skinny. I’m talking borderline anorexic. Some women can definitely be that skinny naturally and that is just as beautiful as any other body type but I know for a fact that many models, in general, don’t have a natural and healthy relationship to food because of the pressure and ideal the model industry puts on them. So the odds that some (or all) of the models that Zara uses are actually sick, are pretty high. And an eating disorder should not ever be promoted, regardless of how skinny the model is. So there was our first issue.

The second issue is that Zara didn’t have a variety of models in different sizes whereas some of them were very skinny. No, ALL of them were very skinny. That makes this a very provoking statement on their behalf. They have purposely chosen to have only very skinny models for their website. That means they think the clothes look better on a skinny girl and therefore believe they sell better when being promoted on a very skinny body. What a disgusting message to send out to the world, and particularly to all the young girls shopping at Zara who are not yet able to see through this unhealthy, brainwashing propaganda. The people at Zara who are responsible for these choices are obviously not unaware of the major issue we have in this world with eating disorders and unhealthy body images among young girls and women. Still, they chose to stick they heads in the sand and use only very skinny models. And before any smartass tells me “but the fitting samples that fashion companies use for the pictures only come in very small sizes”,  I’d like to compare that statement to a baker saying “Ohh, My customers are requesting buns with vanilla but I only make buns with cinnamon”. Ehm… Well, make a fucking bun with vanilla then. Make fucking samples of your clothes in a larger size. Have a variety of models to promote your clothes. Make more sizes and body types feel included. Stop promoting eating disorders. Make such a small simple change and be a contribution to a better fashion industry.

Zara is just one amongst too many companies promoting an unhealthy ideal for women.  On a positive note, there are also many fashion companies who have been smart enough to follow the fresh wave of body positivity that is currently growing and just the past year we have seen a lot bigger variety of bodies being represented in the fashion industry. Let’s hope Zara and the rest of the late bloomers will realize what a responsibility they have as such large companies and get onboard the train towards a brighter, happier future for young girls and women all over the world.

Lots of love,

Lisa Belinda

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My everyday makeup-look

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my makeup in these pictures so I thought I’d be a generous sister and share my tricks for how to create this look and which products I’ve used. To be honest I’m not very versatile and experimental when it comes to makeup. I love trying new products but I don’t switch up my look very often. Some days I wear less makeup, some days nothing at all and on more formal occasions I might step up my game further but for these pictures, I did my favorite everyday makeup look. Regardless of how little or much products I’m using, my goal is always to create a natural look with a healthy glow. I’m not a fan of foundation. It removes the natural shadows in the face, making it look very flat and dull. When using foundation you have to contour afterward to get your features back and on most days, ain’t nobody got time for that. I like to use makeup to enhance my features, not to cover up or change anything.

Most of the products that I use are quite expensive but in regards to makeup, I’m more for quality over quantity. I don’t need hundreds of different products since I don’t do different looks very often and I will honestly say that all my expensive cosmetics have lasted form 6-12 months even if I used them often. It’s important for me that the products I put on my skin are as natural and skin friendly as possible. For eyes and lips, I can be less picky since my skin on those areas isn’t as sensitive and reactive. I have put together a list of the product I used for this exact look and how I used them. You’re welcome.

1. Under Eye Brightening Corrector- Becca Cosmetics: I use this to cover any darkness under my eyes. It’s not a concealer, more like magic in a jar. It has a light pink shade that just erases every little hint of dark circles and a little goes a loooong way. I just lightly dab it under my eyes and watch all signs of sleep deprivation fade away. Get it HERE.

2. Phyto-Cernes Eclat Concealer- Sisley: I use this both under my eyes and wherever I need to cover something. I dab a tiny amount on the sides on my nose or over any uninvited zit etc. Instead of using foundation to cover the whole face, I cover only what needs to be covered and let the rest of my skin breathe. I really don’t have perfect skin but one thing I’ve learned is that manically cover up every little pore on your face won’t make it will look better, neither immediately nor long term. This one is made with natural and skin friendly ingredients. It is expensive as fuck but if there is one product you should invest in it’s the product you put on your skin and potential problem areas. Get it HERE.

3. Cream Blush, Blossoming– Kjær Weis: I am a total blush addict. A good blush really lifts the whole face and gives it some warmth and life. It’s important to find a shade that is ideal for your skin color. This one is a perfect shade for me, both in winter when I’m pale as a ghost and in summer when I have a tan. It’s organic and made with natural ingredients which is a big plus. It’s a cream blush but I apply it with a brush because I find that gives a more even and natural result. Get it HERE.

4. Creamy Touch Highlighter, #707– Nilens Jord: This product is my holy grail. I can’t even describe how amazing this highlighter is. I’m very picky when it comes to highlighters because I always want a natural glow and I can’t stand when it looks sparkly or metallic. This one is also organic and very gentle on the skin and it’s not pricey at all. I love that it’s in form of a stick because it’s so easy to use. I put it on my cheekbones, on the bridge of my nose, on the tip of my chin, under my eyebrows and on the cupid’s bow. Rule of thumb is to put highlighter on all the features you want to enhance. Get it HERE.

5. Eye Shadow, Wisdom- Kjær Weis: This is an earthy, natural brown with a hint of shimmer but not at all sparkly. It enhances the color of blue eyes and creates a nice dimension without stealing the show from my baby blues. This one is also organic and made with natural ingredients. I use a fluffy eyeshadow brush and apply it in the crease of the lid and fade it out over the whole eyelid. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Get it HERE.

6. Inliner, Sand– Idun Minerals: I apply this on the waterline of my eyes to make them pop. Most inliners are bright white and I think that looks too aggressive but this one has a nude beige tone which looks much more natural. It’s made with gentle ingredients and colored with minerals. Get it HERE.

7. Eye Brow Fibers, #02 Ash– Babor: I am a huge fan of eyebrow gel because you don’t need to be a pro to use it. I love this one because its colored and contains fibers so it puts the brows in place, gives them some color and makes them look fuller. It’s made with gentle ingredients and despite it being a tiny tube, it has lasted me a whole year. Get it HERE.

8. Vertige Longueur Mascara- Yves Rocher: This is the mascara I used for this look but I will honestly say it’s not very good. It’s difficult to apply without getting huge clumps and you have to scrape of basically all product from the brush before applying. I had heard so many praising reviews about it before purchasing but I’m gonna save you the trouble and advice you not to buy this one. If you want a really good mascara, check out THIS ONE from Fiberwig that I wrote about in a previous post. Another favorite of mine is Terrybly Mascara from By Terry in the shade Mocca Brown. I prefer to use a dark brown mascara for daytime since my look is very natural. I find it just looks more harmonious and not as harsh as a black mascara. I also always strive for length before volume, I honestly don’t care about voluminous lashes I just want them to be as long as possible.

9. Rouge Allure Ink, #140 Amoureux– Chanel: This is my guilty pleasure: Lip products from high-end brands. There is something so satisfying in applying luxury to your lips and just the sight of a beautiful packaging makes me excited about it. Lip products are actually something I’d like to experiment more with and I’d love to have a collection of colors to chose from. However, this is probably the only lip product that I have fallen so hard for that I will repurchase once it’s empty. It’s really the perfect color for my face. Just as with blush, it’s important to find a color that really fits you. It’s fun to experiment with new colors but personally, I like to wear a lip color that is just right and creates harmony in my face. I also love this one because it’s matte and the color stays put all day through breakfast, lunch and dinner, and makeout sessions in between. As all matte lip colors, it can make the lips a bit dry but not nearly as much as other similar products on the market do. I usually prep with some lip balm before applying. Get it HERE.

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I hope you enjoyed this post, I certainly enjoyed making it. Please leave a comment and let me know if you would like to read more post like this in the future. Have you tried any of these products? Do you have any favorites of your own?

Lots of love,

Lisa Belinda

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Through a filter of pink sparkly fairydust

      

I look so genuinely happy in these pictures that I’m almost able to fool even myself. I’m actually laughing for real because the photographer a.k.a.  my brother, was really funny. However, just because someone is able to laugh at a funny joke for a picture doesn’t mean said person isn’t having a shitty, fucking hell of a day. Just because a picture looks spontaneous and effortless doesn’t mean it hasn’t been planned into the tiniest little detail. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with planning and staging photos. When you work with social media you have to plan and stage your photos and kudos to all the hard working influencers who put their heart and soul into their jobs, creating amazing, inspiring content. But it’s important to let it be just that: Inspiring. It’s important to bear in mind that most of the content you see on social media is not as effortless as it looks. Sometimes it is but far from often. It’s important to remember that the girls you call “goals” have just as many issues and insecurities as everyone else. I used to follow so many influencers on Instagram that I considered “inspiring” but I’ve come to realize that they were only making me feel bad about myself for not having what they have, for not looking like they do, for not being as successful as they are. That is not inspiration, my friends, that is self-destructive.

I’ve unfollowed most of those accounts and now I only follow people I find actually inspiring. They can be beautiful, create amazing content, eat on the fanciest restaurants, travel to the most exotic places and buy the most expensive of bags as long as they don’t withhold the fact that they are human beings with issues and insecurities of their own. I’m 23 and it took me this long to get skin thick enough to differ bullshit from reality but many young girls out there are not able to make that analyze, I sure as hell wasn’t when I was younger. I’m happy to see that so many influencers have chosen to keep it real and be more authentic on their social media platforms but until Instagram includes “Be real or go home” in their user policy, we will have to take matters in our own hands. Do yourself a favor and unfollow anyone who makes you feel even slightly bad about yourself. Don’t hate on them because that is an effective downward spiral straight to hell that will only make the social media climate worse. Just simply let go of what doesn’t serve you. Inhale the empowerment, exhale the bullshit. Etc. etc…

xx

Lisa Belinda

 

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LET. IT. GO.

      

(Pictures from Pinterest)

The past weeks I have really made an effort to slow down. By slowing down I mean internally. Slowing down that rushing soul that’s so eager to get forward and so scared of getting stuck. I have spent my whole teens and adult life trying to control my thoughts and master my own mind and it’s resulted in more stress and more anxiety than I ever thought possible. The frustration that comes from failing to master something that can’t be tamed is more devastating than the initial anxiety.

Us humans get so stuck in our egos, in our own rigid tracks that we built for ourselves. We feel like we are looking everywhere and doing everything to find the answers to our troubles but we never leave those rusty old tracks. We could leave them whenever we wish to but we are so mentally chained to them that it takes a massive wake-up call to ever realize we are stuck. That’s exactly what I got when I spoke to my new therapist a couple of weeks ago. As I wrote in my previous post, I was going on and on about my frustration over trying everything but nothing working. My therapist stopped me and said: “You need to stop thinking. Not control your brain or change your thoughts. You need to learn to not think at all”. It was like a slap in the face. With a chair. That statement threw me off my rigid track with full force, leaving me battered and confused in the ditch. From there, I could see my issues from a whole new perspective.

I’m a firm believer that everything that life throws at us has a meaning and is suppose to bring us a teaching. Still, I’ve had a hard time understanding how this living fucking hell that is anxiety could possibly be teaching me anything. It’s only ever brought me pain. But from this new perspective that my therapist blessed me with, I could, for the first time ever, see the teaching. The more I struggle and fight against my anxiety the worse it becomes and the worse it becomes the more I fight back. What if this is life’s way of teaching me to surrender. TO JUST. FUCKING. LET. GO. As I’m letting this realization sink in, I can feel my shoulders dropping and I’m able to take the biggest breath of air I’ve taken in a long, long time. As Alan Watts said: “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone”.

xx

Lisa Belinda

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“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity” -T.S. Eliot

The past months I’ve been feeling really bad and my anxiety has completely taken over my life at times. I hit absolute rock bottom about a month ago when I had so much anxiety for days on end that it felt like I couldn’t cope with existing because I was being held hostage in a body that wouldn’t let me relax. I ended up having such a bad panic attack that my boyfriend took me to the hospital because I thought I was dying. The doctors did some tests and gave me a small dose of a relaxant drug. I have full understanding for people who become addicted to those, holy fucking moly what a nice feeling it was to suddenly become calmness herself after days of being constantly on edge. Lightning could have struck right beside me and I’d just sit there and smile like an idiot. The doctors told me that everything was physically fine but that I needed to get professional help with my anxiety. That was a true wake up call and I realised I needed to take action and see a therapist again. I was feeling stressed out living in a big city like Copenhagen so I moved back to my family in Sweden, indefinitely while figuring my shit out.

It’s been a couple of weeks of calling and waiting and calling some more and waiting and waiting and waiting until I finally got an appointment to see a therapist for an evaluation. To be honest I didn’t have the highest of expectations because I’m used to not being taken seriously. Everyone should know by now that mental illness is often invisible to the public eye. Someone can look, act and speak as though she has everything together but that doesn’t fucking mean she does. She can be battling an absolute war inside and just because you can’t see her pain doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Sadly there are a lot of ”professionals” who don’t seem to understand this either and it is absolutely absurd that you have to exaggerate your condition to even get an appointment. So naturally, there was a defiant little teenager inside me thinking ”here we go again” and ”what could this woman possibly tell me that I don’t already know”. I can be a bit quick to make assumptions and I was kind of expecting not to resonate with the therapist I was going to meet. Little did I know she was about to absolutely BLOW MY MIND.

I was telling her how frustrated I am because I’m not always able to handle my anxiety. I have all the facts, I know all the CBT techniques for calming anxiety but I’m still not able to control my mind when it happens. I try to think differently and be more positive, yet I’m still here asking for help because nothing seems to work. She looked at me as though she was possessing knowledge and answers that could potentially save my life. Then she said: ” You think think too much. You need to stop trying to control your thoughts, stop trying to think differently. What you need to learn is to not think at all”. I wasn’t prepared for that statement. Not think at all? Letting go of control? Surrender? Hello new perspective. Reading those words as I’m writing them down, it makes so much sense but for some reason, I needed someone to tell me this in order to even consider the option of just letting go.

She told me I need to practice mindfulness so that I can rewire my brain and teach it to zen out. Apparently, it takes about 8 weeks of daily practice to rewire the brain, meaning for the brain to make new neural pathways. My issue is not that I need to get tools and techniques to handle anxiety because I already have the tools, they’re just not always working for me because my brain has been in a stressed-out state for such a long period of time that those anxiety patterns are too deeply rooted. So in order to get rid of those patterns, I need to practice mindfulness and meditation every single day, at least 10 minutes a day for 8 weeks. Then I need to keep it up regularly in order to stay zen but the first 8 weeks of meditation are crucial in order for the brain to create new neural pathways.
This makes so much sense. I always get so frustrated because I have such a hard time to zen out, breathing deeply and calming my thoughts when anxiety strikes. But it’s so naive to expect I can be a meditation master in the midst of internal chaos when I hardly ever practice. That’s like getting frustrated because you’re not able to ride a one-wheeled bike on a rope over a river of lava while someone is trying to shoot you, when you don’t even know how to ride a bike. How can we expect to be able to meditate under challenging circumstances when we never practice it in a calm state? It’s absolutely absurd and I can’t believe I didn’t even think of it this way before. Because just like riding a bike, meditation takes practice and nobody is going to master it on the first try, or even the 5th probably but if you keep practicing day after day after day, eventually you will learn. And once you’ve learned it you’ll have much greater chance of using it when it feels like you’re balancing a one-wheeled bike on a rope above lava, while someone is shooting at you (because that’s basically what a panic attack feels like, for those lucky fuckers out there who don’t know).

She asked a lot of questions and from my answers she could see that I am a very creative person or highly creative, as she called it. She told me she had done research about the link between creativity and anxiety and that there are 3 types of people; Low creative, mid-creative and highly creative. She said that your level of creativity is something you are born with and you can’t change that. It’s just the way you are wired and that’s something you have to accept. Basically the higher level of creativity you have, the more anxiety you have because there can’t be creativity without anxiety. It’s the anxiety that drives the creativity. Since I am a highly creative person that also means I have higher levels of anxiety and that’s something I need to accept. I’m never gonna completely get rid of my anxiety but I need to learn how to keep it in check and let it fuel me instead of taking over me. If you are highly creative you need to create. Period. Just like you need to eat and sleep you NEED to create. The creativity is an outlet for the anxiety.
I imagine my brain like a box and inside it is anxiety like a little ball and right above it is this sparkly dust of amazing thoughts and ideas that is creativity. The anxiety is pushing on the creativity because it needs to get out and when you let it out by drawing or painting or designing, the box burst open and the sparkly dust is flowing. This also let the ball of anxiety out so that it’s no longer within you, making your life a living hell. Once your creative session is over the box closes again and new sparkly dust is being formed in there, but also a little ball of anxiety. Both the dust and the ball keeps getting bigger and bigger the longer you let it stay in there. As they both grow, the anxiety ball is weighing you down creating tension in your body and making you feel fragile and worried. So letting your creativity out is crucial in order to release the body from anxiety. It’s always gonna be there to push your creativity forward but you can make sure it never gets bigger by regularly expressing your creativity in any way you prefer.

I left the therapist feeling like a fresh newborn baby with a clear mind and all possibilities ahead of me. As though I had just come out of the womb and pushed out through a vagina. I guess you could also say I felt reborn but I prefer being graphic. So what happens now? I have a second appointment scheduled with my therapist in a few weeks and until then I will do my meditation homework and not neglect my need to be creative. I hope this post inspired any of you. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Lots of love,

Lisa Belinda

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