In March 2017 I had full blown adult acne. Sounds crazy but I was more fascinated and humbled than anything. I thought, “Man, so this is what it feels like.” “Feels like” is what came to mind rather than “looks like” because this wasn’t about my looks. The initial shock and struggle to find a remedy for my acne was more overwhelming than anything. I feared that the discomfort of the cystic acne would never go away but I made an effort to still go out and live my life. I’m humbled to have gone through this because it truly tested my patience and resilience. Unless you’ve gone through it, you don’t understand the emotional rollercoaster one feels when dealing with acne.
To take you back a bit, I started wearing foundation when I was only 13 years old because I believed my skin looked better with it. The nuns at my catholic school would make me wash my face and would take away my lip-gloss, which I’m still waiting to get back. I would beg my mom to let me stay home from school when I had a pimple… literally just one. I visited my dermatologist at least once a month and was notorious for begging the staff to squeeze me into the doctor’s schedule due to an emergency (the emergency being I had more than one zit.) If you were to tell me then that one day I’d be sharing photos of myself without makeup I’d say you were crazy. It wasn’t until college that I found my self-worth and confidence to feel comfortable in my own pale (but beautiful) skin… with or without makeup.
My first Instagram post was in 2012. I left the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and was over the moon excited to get home and blog about my experience and interviews backstage. A friend recommended that I share my blurry AF photo of Miranda Kerr on Instagram as a little sneak peek of what was to come on my blog. I was hesitant at first, mostly because I hate attention and I’m by no means photographer status, but the opportunity to promote my blog on a platform other than Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter was far too tempting to resist. I was so young and oblivious to the fact that this app was about to change everything.
Six months after that first Insta post and essentially trying to build my own brand, I began managing social media for an accessories startup. Less than a year after that it was for a fashion company and for the past year and a half I’ve handled social media and influencer marketing for a beauty brand. Social media campaigns take strategic planning, trends take research and creativity and copy writing often takes time. It’s not just about engagement and followers, but rather building brand loyalty, awareness and an ROI. It’s not an easy gig many assume it would be. This profession can be lonely. Since it’s still a fairly new form of marketing and advertising, many companies don’t have social media teams. Being a one-man show, even having times when I didn’t have a boss, has allowed for creative freedom but it’s boring and stressful as hell. Navigating your way through your career alone in your 20’s, at any age, sucks.
Full disclosure— I hate traveling. This goes back to college, when I lied and told my friends and family that my major didn’t allow me to study abroad… I like my own bed, sue me. Nowadays, if a guy’s profile on Bumble says “I love to travel!” or “just got back from traveling the world!” I immediately block his account and continue to swipe left in fear. Clearly, I’ve known deep down that this isn’t an interest of mine but only of recent have I owned it.
I don’t like trips abroad, cooking, manicures, the beach or drinking… so if you scroll through my Instagram, you may decide I’m the least fun person you’ll ever meet. But at least I’m being honest. You can’t tell me that everyone on social media enjoys unicorn toast in the AM, followed by a Starbucks unicorn frappuccino and the real magic is getting to SoulCycle that evening. We make it clear what our passions and hobbies are but leave out what we don’t like because it’s uncomfortable. Disliking something will make us sound less fun, right?
I get it though. We want everyone to think we’re a good time. I used to think that confessing my strong disinterest in things like traveling would make me sound less adventurous, independent or more introverted than I already seem… But I realized how communicating to others about what doesn’t interest me can be just as important as telling them what does. No brainer? Maybe in 2004. Personally, I found it to be difficult when social media wants me to portray an image of what most people like to do in their free time. Here are some of my do’s and don’ts I’ve been living by.
It was the first Thanksgiving that I wouldn’t be with my family. Instead, I would be in the car for a long seven hours on the way to Santa Cruz with my LA bestie Annie to spend the holiday with her family. Annie’s appetite and desire for intellectual and meaningful conversations with others is just one of the many things I love about her—there’s seriously no better person to road trip with. But after chatting about ourselves for a long five hours and self evaluating one another to death, Annie decided to put on a podcast.
I always thought of myself as more of a radio person, or Spotify for that matter, but with much time to kill I figured one or two episodes could help pass the time. To my surprise, the next five hours flew by as we listened to various shows that kept us awake and sparked those intellectually stimulating discussions we both love.
Whether I’m depressed, anxious or too lazy to leave my bed to find the remote, I feel as though I can always turn on a podcast that will suppress each crazy ass mood and bring me back to life. Here’s a few of my favorite podcasts that you need to subscribe to.
For when you need to stop being pessimistic: The Other F Word
This was the second podcast I stumbled upon and instantly fell in love with. The hosts of the podcast interview celebrities, athletes and industry leaders who might seem to have made it without any struggles or “failures” along the way. Those who are interviewed discuss their careers and how they’ve gotten to where they are today thanks to their past failures. I enjoy this podcast because I’m a big believer in that our failures mold the type of person we are and help to build resilience… not to mention make for a good story. From “failing” at breastfeeding to being a middle-aged man and coping with loneliness… there’s something inspirational for everyone and I personally take away a little something from each episode.
My favorite eps: Too Faced Cosmetics & Tom Kenny on Trusting Your Gut
Well, the honeymoons over. I find myself daydreaming while sitting in traffic on the 101, wondering if the west coast is truly the best coast for me and how many years I’ll be living here. It’s been about one year that I’ve been in LA and honestly California has begun to lose it’s new glow. Much like the start of a new relationship or job, I’ve been feeling that 1-year itch and struggling to keep the love alive for this sunny city. Palm trees are just basic trees nowadays and while the weather is nice I could honestly go for a snow day every now and then. It doesn’t help that I can’t answer everyone’s question, “so, when do you think you’re moving back?” If only I knew. In desperate need for a road map of where my life is heading, I decided to seek therapy. While I thought it would be much harder to find someone local who accepts my insurance, having a therapist in Los Angeles is more common than having a pet or lip injections so no big problems there.
I hardly came up for air during my first session. I felt the need to fill her in on the past year as quickly as possible so we could get down to business on building my future ASAP and she could tell me if I should move back to NY or not. After taking her through my move, the breakup and new job within 60 minutes I’m positive the poor thing had to schedule her own therapy sesh that evening. It’s been about 3 months now and the cool shit my therapist says has helped me tremendously and I’ve become less concerned about seeing the final destination on my road map and instead have been working on figuring out how I can enjoy this ride no matter how many twists and turns come along the way. Here’s some free advice straight my therapist, you’re welcome.
“It’s normal to crave the chaos.” In June of 2016 I remember telling my coworker how I was ready for the next big change—BRING IT ON! She urged me to sit the fuck down and to enjoy the moment and absorb everything that had just happened. Truth is, I became used to using my fight-or-flight responses and being on my toes that when it finally came time that I could stand still I didn’t know how to keep both feet on the ground. My therapist said it’s normal to crave chaos, of course we’d rather keeping moving than focus on fixing the present. I know now craving that chaos doesn’t suddenly make me spontaneous or fearless, in fact, there’s courage and strength in practicing stillness and fighting your demons and deep-rooted issues head on.
“Hey Dayna, come see how cool the new toilet flushes!” my dad said when I came home for my brother’s 30th and Fashion Week. Some things never change…
When I was in New York I subconsciously was looking for that “ah ha moment” where I’d feel like, this is home and this is why I love NYC. That would’ve been easier… knowing that one day I’d come back and be closer to my family and friends. But I never had that moment of clarity.
Did you ever have that feeling of excitement coming home from college, that, “it’s good to be home” feeling as you drove around wowed by all the little updates in your town? It felt as though New York and I were growing together and I loved that. But this time was different. I drove around lovely Long Island (sarcasm) and didn’t feel a thing. In fact, the most “exciting” upgrade in my hood was my dad’s new toilet.
Recently, I had a physical and finally found a doctor in California. It was right around the corner from work and it was an easy in and out—didn’t have to experience that deadly long wait at a doctor’s office. When the doctor called me in she asked me a few questions, the usual, “are you allergic to anything?”, “do any health problems and/or diseases run in your family?” all that boring stuff. Then she asked me to step on the scale so she can get my weight…. I gained 10 lbs. TEN POUNDS.
I didn’t think of the 4th of July cupcakes I enjoyed all by myself or the fact that when I do go to the gym I just chill on the elliptical and watch Bravo because I only get basic cable at home. Nope, instead I questioned the doctor, asked her to check again, then calmly suggested, “Maybe I have a thyroid problem? Or could it be the medicine I was on when I was sick? Wait! I think I am getting my period soon?!” The doctor smiled, probably holding back her laughter, and said, “I think you’ve just have had a stressful last couple months and need to work out…” That. Bitch. But you know what, this time has been stressful. Living in a new state, starting a new job, bills galore… I’m not going to stress over this too. A six pack and a tight ass hasn’t been my main focus and when I’ve tried being more active this is what happened. Just a few struggles I faced when I’ve tried to get my gym on…
Marnie was, and still is a total roller coaster on the HBO show, Girls. We all know when she claims to be “okay”, girlfriend is sooo not okay. Marnie and I both do this thing where we put on our happy face and hold things in. I’m fully aware of this now because I realized I am indeed this character on Girls. Sooner or later, we burn ourselves out when we do this. Case and point, my semi breakdown this week that totally screwed up all the goals I put into place this month. However, unlike Marnie, I see that I might’ve pushed myself too hard to escape my emotions. Therefore, I feel zero guilt for these 4 epic fails this June
FAIL #1: Start a healthier diet
This past Wednesday I was grocery shopping and saw the most adorbs 4th of July cupcakes and figured I’d bring them to the office for the girls along with a bottle of wine. I told my bestie, Olivia who lives in NYC, about my sweet gesture but naturally she calls me out saying, “Dayna, you don’t even eat cupcakes!?!” And I thought, “Well, I can’t just bring wine, can I?” Anyways, she was right. I don’t do cupcakes. Or brownies. Or anything unhealthy really because I’m a freak who was once gluten-free and enjoyed juice cleanses (bless my 19-year-old self).
That night I wanted something delish after dinner and usually a piece of dark chocolate does the trick but the little bastards were looking at me and I couldn’t resist their cuteness. I tried to look away and think about the healthy new diet I decided to get back into this month. But, low and behold, I guess I fucking eat cupcakes now.
The next morning my coworker, Annie, noticed my blue tongue and said, “cupcakes for breakfast?..” But hell this is coming from a girl who eats string cheese like it’s her job so… Needless to say the cupcakes and wine didn’t make it to the office this week.