Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"And Where is that Going?"

When I was a young child, the idea of something not being just as good as the commercial was preposterous! The television tells no lies! I desperately wanted a Bratz shopping center thingemebob, and I saved up for it for months. It was $50, and I could usually get $5 an hour for pulling prickly, thorny weeds in our backyard. A-go-ny. But I managed to save up my meager funds, and as soon as I had the moolah, I begged mom to take me to Target to claim my prize. I raced to the toy aisles, and snatched the box off the shelf. Mom just had to ruin the moment.

"Where are you going to put that thing?" she asked, incredulous that I would buy the lump of plastic and estrogen. In my room, duh. I shrugged, not worrying about the floorspace it would take up, or how many of the tiny pieces I would lose. "How long do you plan to play with it?" I paused. I had no idea! That had honestly never crossed my mind! I looked at the picture printed on the front of the box, and wondered how many hours it would take for me to get bored with it, and eventually give it to my younger cousin. The number was frighteningly small.

My mother smiled, knowing she had pushed the correct button on the thought-o-machine. I put the box back on the shelf, giving in one last wistful look before wandering into other aisles with my mother. She was thinking triumphant thoughts, I knew it.

As muh as I hated my mother for thwarting my fun, she had a valid point. Not too many years later, I saved up over $100 dollars to buy a PDA (I was still in middle school), and my mom kept asking why on earth I needed one. I said "Because!" every single time. She offered to lend me her old one, just so I could get used to the idea of having one, and I accepted. I figured it would show her how I really did need one.The PDA sat in its charger for days a time. I took it out occasionally to check the date or play solitaire, but that was it. Darn, Mom was right again.

As a young child it wasn't hard for me to save up money to get things- I didn't have much to spend it on other than candy. The issue came when I wanted to spend large quantities of it. Mom did her best to guide me in the right direction. For some things, she just couldn't help me. For others, she saved me countless mistakes, and probably more money than I've squandered over the years combined.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Skincare Makes Me Break Out"

Four years ago, I was given what seemed like sound advice by a neighbor of mine regarding facial care. She introduced me to makeup, and at the same time told me I had to cleanse and moisturize my face before I put on makeup. She also said it was imperative that I wash my face every day, no matter what. This seems like good advice, right?

Mommy dearest said there was no need to spend oodles and oodles of money every year on skincare products- skin ignored is often the best skin of all. But then again, this made far too much sense to be true. So I ignored Mom. Not too long after I started cleansing and moisturizing my skin, I started to break out. I had never had acne before. I spend four years going through every teen-marketed skincare regimen on the market: Neutrogena, Proactiv, AcneFree, you name it, i tried it. Problem was, none of it worked for long. I would try a new product when my skin got really bad, it would work for about a month, and then my acne would come back with a vengeance.

I mentioned it to my mom recently, and she commented that the battery acids I was using on my face were having serious detrimental effects. She said I should just try normal soap- or better yet, nothing at all. I decided during one of my worst breakouts of the year to try her advice.

The results were astounding. My skin cleared up within a week, and I stopped even using makeup to cover my spotty skin. Absolute magic. But it wasn't perfect yet. After a few weeks of using the plain old soap, I got lazy. I forgot to wash my face for a few days, and something magical happened. All my acne went away. All of it.

Mom was right. Darn.

Acne is cyclical, because it is tied to oil concentrations and other junk that is tied to hormone levels, and any woman knows that those are cyclical. I occasionally get mild breakouts when I'm stressed or I'm approaching my period, but it is tolerable. The time between when I quit using professional products and when I began to use nothing at all was almost painful, I admit. My skin burned whenever I got out of the shower, begging for moisturizer. My acne was so bad I wore full cover-up makeup for days just to hide the red, and i'm not a huge makeup fan. It's not easy to quit, because your skin is literally addicted to the care you give it.

I'm better off now after quitting skincare. My mother and I will giggle at commercials or boxes claiming to do (for a fee) what I get for free by doing nothing at all. As much as I hate to say it, my mother was right.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What A Surprise...

To my great shock (not to mention my mother's), I've been finding myself saying "You were right, I should have listened to you," an awful lot lately to my mother. I just graduated from High school (place of evil, I tell you) and am on the gradual road to becoming an "adult." Choose whatever definition you like, it's just weird. So I thought I might as well share my experiences in what has become "the normal way."

As I said, I am a high school graduate, headed for "College X," shall we call it. College X is the place of my dreams; my own personal land of milk and honey and really expensive learning opportunities. It recently occurred to me that I've been making a lot of mistakes over the last couple of years if someone other than my mother had told me how to avoid them. Yes, I said it. Everyone ignores mom until it's too late, and then they have to sit through a good "I told you so."

Parents are not the Axis of Evil, and mom does mean best when she asks you to clean your room. Trip hazards can form out of the most innocuous of your belongings. Cleaning your room also helps a lot with that funky smell creeping out from under your bed. But besides the obvious things, the everyday comments that mom throws out reflexively can be quite helpful if you listen to them in time. I missed one, nad it cost me four years of complexion, but that's another story.

I offer my meager services to the blog-o-sphere in the hopes that I can save another pre-teen, teen, or young adult from a few of the horrors of adulthood. Growing up is the strangest process. One minute you feel twelve, and another moment, someone is handing you a driver's license. Funky. Good luck, brave explorers!