Tag Archives: thoughts

Media Mondays: Apple Watch Pre-Order/Release First Impressions!

Lately, there’s quite a lot of hype surrounding the release of the first generation Apple Watch, as Apple enthusiasts await the next supposedly life-changing product the company has in store. I have been using apple products (not devotedly, but often enough), and I have neither swayed for or against this product thus far. The interest in the smart watch, despite some consumers’ understanding, had occurred several years before the Apple Watch’s release without any meaningful success. This is one of the first instances when a smart watch is being released and consumers are actually itching to get their hands on it. But then again, it is Apple.

Maybe if I were more interested in wearing watches (which I’m clearly not), this would be a more fascinating product, but often I use my phone as my timekeeper so I don’t see a use of having a smart watch (YET) in my life. I feel as if the smart watch would be redundant, as I often have my phone in my hand, which basically holds the same capabilities. I could imagine it would prove to be more useful in a business setting than as a leisure-based purchase.

First and foremost, the product is a smart watch, which means the look and feel of the design are just as important as the advanced functions in the decision of Apple-Watch-logo-main1whether the product is worth the price tag. Aesthetically it is a sleek, sophisticated piece. I especially appreciate the fact that Apple released it with wristband variations to satisfy a larger audience. A metal band on a watch can be rather uncomfortable (pinching, hair grabbing and all that fun stuff that metal bands like to do), so having an option of a more casual, smooth band is essential.

A new feature that consumers might find interesting about this watch is the fitness tracker. It’s not always convenient to be carrying around your phone to record your fitness throughout the day (and especially during a workout!), so for those who find themselves constantly on the go, it may be beneficial to try this watch. As days go by and you record your activities, it encourages you to exceed apple-watch-activity-ringsyour goals by organizing your routine systematically so that you can access it and determine how long you’ve been sitting, standing, and moving throughout the day, pushing you to stay active.  I personally tend to record my fitness in the Notes app (it’s easily accessible and quick) on my phone which simply records but does not organize or interpret the information. I could imagine it would be motivating to have my workouts organized by time, activity, etc. and have explored several apps that claim to have such features, but have later realized that I personally do not need to have an advanced functioning workout organizing app. When it comes down to it, as long as I know which days I’ve completed my workouts and what machines I used on what weights, I’m perfectly able to make fitness goals on my own. I guess it’s just a matter of preference. I’m just not in desperate need of all the bells and whistles.

This watch carries many of the features that an iPhone already has, including but not limited to your synced calendar, on the go music, siri, navigationnotifications, local weather updates (or the weather updates in Cupertino if that’s what you’re feeling like checking), etc., with the addition of an “intimate” (yes, “intimate” is the word that was used, which seemed needlessly creepy) tap on the wrist that lets you know you have new content ready for viewing. I enjoy the fact that Apple is moving forward into new technologies and leading the way to bigger and better things, but I’m going to hold off on splurging for a first generation Smart Watch until I know what is in store down the line. For those of you who decide to make the purchase, I’d love to hear what you have to say about this technological trailblazer. Is this product mainly for the consumer that tends to forget their phone on a regular basis, but still manages to always remember their watch? Is this product for the Apple-hungry (that actually made me laugh because if I weren’t referring to the company, it would still make sense.), technology fein who wants to be able to see their calendar on multiple screens for reiteration of the fact that today’s leg day and they have a meeting at 5? Or is this a product that could convince even a skeptical realist like myself that it’s well worth the payout?

Would the Apple Watch be useful to you?

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Illuminating Our Perfection, or Purposeful Deception?

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I got an email the other day that had me thinking about the significance of makeup, especially in my life. She asked how I felt about the accusations that using makeup is a deceptive way that women represent themselves. I figured I’d respond to this publicly because I feel that it is essential to my readers to understand why I write what I write and the role that makeup plays for me personally.

Let’s start with a little personal history! I’ve gotten on a beauty kick lately more so than ever. I’m really loving experimenting with makeup and different products ever since I visited Ulta and later got an Ipsy subscription, which delivers new, varying beauty products every month for only $10, making it pretty much impossible for a girl like me to refuse. My love for using makeup has been a consistent love. I remember, as a young child, I used to carry around one of those caboodle carrying cases full of makeup and sit around with my friends and create “makeovers”. Sure, they probably weren’t as aesthetically pleasing then as they’d be now (I’ve learned at least some skills since those days), but even then I understood what makeup meant to me. I loved using it because makeup is artistic as well as purposeful.

I see so many comments on the pages, videos, and posts of beauty bloggers by men (and some women) saying that makeup is deceptive and that it hides one’s natural flaws, making the individual more attractive than they actually are, attracting individuals who apparently think they naturally look flawless. Ahh. Let’s get this straight here. Makeup enhances one’s beauty and gives the individual the ability to exemplify certain physical traits while toning down traits they see as less desirable or bothersome. That’s not deceptive. It’s something that we, as humans, do similarly with many things. We always want to put our best traits forward, whether it’s for a job interview, a first date, whichever. Makeup is something that allows women to accentuate their best physical features.

Some women, like myself, also use makeup as a way to conceal acne scars in order to be more comfortable and confident in their own skin and especially in face to face social situations. For me, I focus immensely on the base of the makeup look: the foundation. I have had severe acne for the majority of my young adult to adult life and it has left me with unsightly, discolored scars that I don’t always like to leave bare. It’s a sensitive thing for me, having others ask about the permanent marks that were left on my face from these years, so I find that knowing how to apply my makeup effectively gives me a major confidence boost. Others aren’t looking for scars, but rather social queues on my face, which is a nice change of pace. I could imagine many others apply makeup for the same reasons. They would rather reduce the distraction of little flaws and feel comfortable and confident in their own skin than go out, barefaced, knowing that the uncomfortableness will ultimately hinder them. I remember feeling like I was going to cry every time I’d look in the mirror and see how badly my skin had gotten. Makeup gives the individual the freedom to look glamorous and to feel beautiful, acne scars or not. It’s more so for the individual’s sake than for any outside force, meaning that the use of makeup isn’t as much for “deception” as many like to call it, but for the expression of illuminating one’s perceived best features in vibrant, inspired new ways, neutralizing the flaws we have that chip at our confidence.

Makeup is enjoyable for me. I love to be able to have a clean canvas to create new looks every day and to experiment with different color palettes. I can change my look to fit my outfit, my mood, anything I desire. I honestly think using makeup is as “deceptive” as a woman looking beautiful in nice clothes. Is that deception too, because she’s not spotlighting the bumps and rolls that are just a natural part of her figure, but finding pieces that illuminate her best assets?
Realistically speaking, how is makeup any more deceiving?
Why should I not feel comfortable in my own skin?

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Easier Now

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All of my life, I have struggled with the fear of becoming overweight again, because as a child, I suffered immensely from being the chubbier kid. I wasn’t confident, happy, or satisfied with my quality of life. This is not to say that if you are confident or happy at this size or any size, you shouldn’t be. I just know that, in my experience, I spent so much time, too much time, agonizing over how I could be different and how I could be better. I just couldn’t see the beauty in myself. Something destructive had stuck with me and had no intention of letting go. At such a young age, those kinds of feelings have a deep imprint on your soul. I know they did on mine. But this time around, at 21 years old, as I am not overweight but still trying to keep in shape and stay healthy, it’s easier. Everything seems….easier.

I’ve noticed the change. I’m not looking in the mirror as much, grabbing at the visible fat on my sides or tummy, or scowling at the figure that stands before me, disappointed by what I see. She’s a beautiful person and she has carried me through 21 years of life, 21 years of experience, growth, love, failure, and triumph. She is the portal in which I have navigated the plane of life and she is the woman I will be until the day I die. She will change, physically and mentally, as she moves forward, but there should be no reason why I should look upon her with judgment. Her body has been through injuries, sickness, heartache. She’s fought through loss, anxiety attacks, hurt. I no longer look upon her, the body that housed and loved me, like she is wrong and needs to be changed. I’m guiding her in the right direction, a healthier path and state of mind.

I’ve grown to adore this changed perspective towards my body. I’m not judging myself like I used to. I can look in the mirror, smile, and know that that smile is genuine. I do love myself, and I love my body. There will be times when I come down on the beautiful girl in the mirror, the one that looks back at me and reflects the life that I’ve been living and the experiences I’ve gathered, but I know that those times will be fleeting, and will not house themselves permanently within the corners of my mind, waiting for their next moment to swallow the spotlight. Self judgment is no longer welcome in my heart and I’m determined to keep it that way. From here on out, everything feels… easier.

xo Amanda Cramer

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Ipsy First Impressions: A “Fresh Start” to 2015!

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The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was the weird plastic texture of the bag and the unsightly colors. Don’t get me wrong! I usually love the bags the makeup comes in, but this time around was a different story….The orange, blue, and white combination on the bag is a little tacky in my opinion but I’m not generally paying for the makeup bag as much as I am paying for the actual products. I was expecting something a little cuter though. Maybe something a little more wintery?

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The first product I received was the Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm tube, which I originally thought was a cream (which would’ve really pissed me off. I am not a huge fan of creams, but Ipsy hasn’t seemed to take the hint in the past!). I thought it would be colored or scented (hence the name), but it is clear. No smell that I can detect, no color. It says it is used for “daily protection, soothing treatment, fatty acid absorption technology” so I guess….there’s……that. On the back it says it’s for the treatment and prevention of dry, irritated lips. I have never in a million years had this issue, but I guess I’ll find a use for it one of these days. I mean, I did pay for it. I will find a use for it.

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And then, needless to say, I was frustrated again by another tube, that was in fact a cream this time around (Smh). I thought I made it crystal clear in my survey that I did not want creams of any sort, but……oh well. The one I received in this bag was the Nourish Organic Renewing Eye Cream, which is also for people with dry skin. Again, I am the exact opposite of a dry skin sufferer. My skin is actually pretty oily as is, hence the apparent distaste for skin creams in general. I will, however, use these products and let you guys know what I think of them regardless of my preference! When I went in to smelling this product, I was horrified when it ended up on my nose and actually smelled uncannily like play dough. Yes, that stuff you used to play with and sometimes eat as a kid. It smells awful to me, but if you’re one of the people that enjoys that peculiar smell, then you might actually really enjoy this product. Around your eyes. Unlike me, who unwillingly was marked with this scent on the last place I’d want it to be on my face!

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Next, I got this gorgeous pink Elizabeth Mott All Over Shadow brush and it is the cutest thing ever. I love the color of the brush and the bristles already (pink is one of my top 5 favorite colors, so this was an immediately positive reaction!). I haven’t used the brush yet, but I am always in need of new brushes, especially for eye shadow, so I have a hunch that I’m gonna like this one.

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Then I got a Bellapierre Cosmetics pigment in “Exite”, which seems an awful lot like a spelling error. Is that a spelling error? Are you sure? No?…Okay moving on. This color is a shimmery white powder which I could imagine is going to look phenomenal when used to highlight and blend my eyeshadow. I’ve never had a pigment this glittery before, only glittered eyeliners, so I’m really looking forward to trying out this product. Most of the time, when I get pigments from Ipsy, they’re generally pretty fun sized but this one seems to be full-sized, which is a huge relief.

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Lastly, I got a Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eye Shadow in “Treasure”. The color is stunning and seems like it will be very neutral on my olive skin tone. It also has a little bit of shimmer to add that extra glam and has a pretty blue packaging box with whimsical white waves on the front. It looks expensive. When I looked it up, I came to realize that it is fairly expensive for an eye shadow and it’s actually vegan and cruelty free, which is totally awesome! Kudos to Ipsy for choosing brands that believe in causes like animal rights. I could see myself purchasing more from this brand if I end up enjoying the product.

If you’d like me to make a video of the final impressions of these products on my Youtube channel, let me know in the comments below! Same goes for if you have any questions 🙂

I’m going to restart my youtube channel so I’ll make sure to post a link to the new one as well!

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10 Unexpected Lessons Learned from the Movie, “The Internship”!

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I get pretty weary of stupid-funny movies, but I was pleasantly surprised by The Internship, starring Vince Vaughn and the ever-so-charming Owen Wilson. I know I’m a little late to the party, but the movie is still worth the post. I thought it was funny, and not necessarily stupid, despite the on and off ratings that I’ve seen. After taking a course that involved quite a lot of film and media analysis, I’ve come to realize that it’s just a fact that I will dig for meaning in practically anything I watch (unless it’s a horror film, which in almost all cases, ends up making absolutely no sense and comes to no actual resolution for the main characters other than unapologetic mass demolition). However, there was no demolition to be had in this film and I found myself laughing a lot more than I had expected.

What have I learned, you ask?

Here are the 10 unexpected lessons I’ve learned from watching the movie, The Internship:

  1. People are so openly judgmental in this film. Yeah, they’re adult men in an internship. So what? If I were on their team, I wouldn’t take a second glance. There are plenty of men and women that are ages 30+ sitting in the same courses as me in college. Why is that any bit different? Regardless though, I’d like to think that how Billy and Nick, the main two guys, coped with the preliminary assumptions tacked upon them by their team was an exhibition of their characters’ determined attitudes. Even after realizing the mockery they were being dealt by their younger counterparts as full-grown men in a college internship program, they managed to gain respect by continuing to earn their place and suppressing the urge to be a poor sport.
  2. Positivity brings success, even if it’s not immediate. When their team bombs the Quidditch match by little to nothing, they still manage to cultivate positive energy through reinforcement. Instead of dwelling in the despair of loss and the looming fear of being ousted from the employment opportunity they had been working so strenuously for, they opt to take on a better perspective in hopes of annihilating their next quest.
  3. I don’t quite understand why The Internship established “stereotypes” almost immediately when the group was doing their introductions or the fact that the only woman in the group seemed to be somewhat insecure and dependent (not my cup of tea, but by the closing of the film, this fact became increasingly insignificant), but from the middle to the very end of the film, not only did those stereotypes fade into the background (hallelujah!), but the group managed to combine each individual’s skills to ultimately earn their victory. In a weird way, this goes to show that our world is full of talented, intelligent individuals, and a skill that I may be strong in might not be a strength for the next person. Therefore as horrible as it may be to work among teams sometimes, it’s beneficial to the outcome of the project. We all bring something different (and hopefully better!) to the table.
  4. Taking a break from work in times of high stress can help spark inspiration. It may even seem counterproductive, but this method actually works when it comes to meeting deadlines. I’m not saying throw back a tequila shot (or many) or get trashed at a club with a bunch of underagers like they did in the film on the night that your assignment is due, but try to give your brain a break. I personally do my best work when I stop inducing panic attacks and redirect my energy elsewhere temporarily. Distraction isn’t always such a bad thing!
  5. In preparation for the following day, one of their most essential challenges during the internship, Billy is left with the painful fact that there are absolutely no shortcuts to studying. Studying requires work, and work requires effort. Sorry, folks. No shortcuts for studying have been found thus far. Hit the books and they’ll hit back…..I guess?
  6. People can surprise you if you avoid judging them by their cover. The cover ISN’T ALWAYS RIGHT. Dana, played by Rose Byrne (known prominently for her role in Bridesmaids and Neighbors, as well as many other films) shoots Nick (Owen Wilson’s character) down over and over out of the assumptions that he wouldn’t be right for her (he’s an easygoing intern, she’s a structured, business-oriented, established employee). They go on one date and she realizes that he’s exactly the kinda of guy she’s looking for, the mac to her cheese. If she hadn’t given him that one chance, just because she had already made an assumption about the kind of person he is, it would’ve been back to square one. People are complicated. It’s going to take a lot more than a glance and some flirty smalltalk to figure someone out.
  7. If every workplace was like Google headquarters in this film (yes, I am aware that this film was also partially shot at a university and that some details are, in fact, fabricated for audience appeal), I feel like employees would have less concerns other than the work that they must put forth. The food is free, they provide transportation, they have nap pods available to the employees (can we make this a thing at universities please?!). You practically would have everything given to you on a silver platter so you could focus on what’s important: quality work.
  8. No angry man, not even Billy throwing a hissy fit, looks serious driving away on a red, yellow, and green Google bicycle. No one.
  9. Pizza makes everything better. They definitely won, not because of their apparent superiority among the other teams, but because of the impromptu pizza party that they happened to throw at the calculation of the teams’ results. They could’ve had my vote, I’ll tell you that. I wonder what phenomenal grade I could receive from buying out a Papa Johns to bring pizza during finals week…What’s higher than an A?
  10. A movie with Owen Wilson doesn’t have to be stupid. It can have some substance, which The Internship successfully proved! I think that Owen Wilson is an incredibly talented actor, but I don’t think the silly movies he’s found himself in do his acting talent any justice. This movie surprised and impressed me. Surprise, surprise. I may even watch it again.

I hope you liked the lessons I’ve learned!

If you can think of any as well, feel free to leave a comment below 🙂

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Girls Meets Glitter? Girl has Already MET Glitter, and She Loves It!: Review of Ipsy’s November Beauty Bag

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I know you guys have been long awaiting my review for my beauty bag I received for the month of November from my Ipsy subscription. It’s been a hectic couple of days with the looming Thanksgiving Break and the current wrap up of all of my group projects and assignments I need to complete for my classes. I feel like my head’s going to explode! But on the brighter side, after using the products I received, I am now able to give you guys an honest, first-hand review!

In this gorgeous, glittery bag, I received a ton of products. Sometimes they only give you a couple, but I was pleasantly surprised by what my makeup bag had in store! I got 5 different beauty products total: An eye base by Be a Bombshell Cosmetics in “Submissive”, a J.Cat wonder lip paint in “Mad Splatter”, a S/B highlighter by Temptu in “Pink Pearl”, a Star Looks gem pencil in “Ultra Olive”, and finally, the oil of Morocco argan oil hairspray by Marc Anthony.

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The image above shows a few swatches of the products. From top to bottom, the picture shows the “Ultra Olive” gem pencil, the wonder lip paint in “Mad Splatter”, and the “Submissive” eye base. I wanted to swatch the highlighter as well for you guys, but unfortunately it doesn’t show up as well as the other products because it’s meant to be more of a subtle pearly glow.

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I’m gonna start us off with one of my top products from the beauty bag that I received: the eye base in “Submissive”. At first glance, I didn’t think it would be anything special, and I was completely wrong. When I opened the container, the color was a gorgeous brassy gold. I could imagine that this would look incredible on darker skin as well. I have a more medium/olive tone (aside from during Winter, when I begin to lighten up), and this shade surprisingly looks outstanding on my skin. I used it in combination with a gold shadow this week and I can honestly say that it helps tremendously to keep the shadow from crumbling and falling off, and maintained the shadow look that I had created for an entire school day. I like the creamy texture of the product and that it applies evenly without clumping. It’s difficult to find a color that would probably look equally as good on differentiating skin tones, but I believe that this color could do justice to any skin shade, so if you’re darker or fairer than me, you should give this product a chance as well. You may be pleasantly surprised!

This product is only $14 on the Be a Bombshell Cosmetics website, which isn’t really all that bad for something that I imagine would last a while. You don’t really need all that much product to apply this effectively.

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Next, I’d like to go to my absolute favorite, must-have product from this bag: the wonder lip paint. Above is a picture of the lip paint in action! I was not expecting the color to be so vibrant at first glance, because many of the lip glosses and lip colors I’ve purchased prior to receiving this bag seemed like they’d be solid, thick colors, but later proved to be a bit transparent. This lip paint, however, applies as the exact same shade as the tube. Not even kidding. There’s no false advertising in this product, and probably for this entire line of lip paint. What you see is exactly what you get. The texture of the lip paint is a little on the weird side if you’re used to smooth color, but I’ve come to realize that if you squeeze the tube a couple of times with the cap on before you start to actually use the product, the sandy texture won’t be as prominent. I think the product just separates in the tube after a while. Once it’s mixed, however, it’s definitely not as noticeable. The color lasts for hours, and when I say hours, I mean hours. It endured eating, drinking coffee, and wiping my face. This lip paint is long lasting which I think is a wonderful change. Just make sure that when you apply the color that your lips are dry (don’t lick your lips beforehand) and try to stay within the lines of your lips. Once it dries, it’s done, so it’s important to get your lips exactly how you want them before it seals. It’s a gorgeous color that maintains its shade throughout the day! What’s not to love?

Try it out! It’s amazing! It’s only $4.99 at Ulta!

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Now we’re onto the highlighter. I think it has a pretty glow, but I was disappointed that I couldn’t capture it in a photograph, which leads me to believe that it doesn’t show up all that much. It has subtle glitter, but with my skin tone, it fades quite a bit. I do have to say, though, that it has a very pretty, pleasant smell to it. However, I don’t think that this product is going to do much for me. I will try to work it into my beauty routine, but I’m somewhere in the middle on this one. I’m not really sure if it’s going to make much of a difference in the long run, as my WINTER skin overwhelms the color. I guess we will see.

It’s $27.50 on the website, which I think is a bit much, but if you’d like to try it out for yourself, go ahead and click here.

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The “Ultra Olive” eye pencil is pretty on my blue eyes. It doesn’t smudge all that much, which is always good, and the pencil has subtle glitter which helps transition between day and night looks. I don’t generally deviate from the eyeliners that I use, so I thought it was pretty neat that I received a new eyeliner in my beauty bag this time around. I think Ipsy’s trying to tell me that I need to be more experimental with more neutral, toned-down eyeliners. I certainly wouldn’t buy a new neutral eyeliner on my own, unless the color was a must-have. I’m more of a jet black or crazy bright eyeliner user, never really in between, so I didn’t know exactly how to feel about the olive just yet. This olive pencil is nice, though. It looks great on me so far, and I don’t think it’s all that crazy to try out, so if you’re a little nervous about trying an olive tone eyeliner, I would definitely suggest giving this pencil a go. I’ll probably use it from time to time. It’d probably look great on a grey-eyed gal.

If you want to check out this pencil, click here. It’s $17, so it’s really your call if you have the money and would like to give it a chance.

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Finally, we have the Marc Anthony hairspray that I’ve increasingly grown to love. I was disappointed at first because I don’t like receiving hair products from Ipsy, but when I tried this product out, I was much happier than I thought I’d be. I think it’s quite functional for many different hairstyles and doesn’t harden your hair to the point where it’s uncomfortable. I used this to seal my hairstyle on Friday, and when it came time to take my hair down, it actually ended up looking amazing. This hairspray is great for teasing and styling hair and is useful if you’re like me and sometimes just want to get your hair out of your face for a few hours. It has an amazing smell, completely intoxicating, and keeps my hair shiny and sleek. Love, love, love this hairspray! And the even better part? It’s only $8.99 at Ulta!

Go check it out here! Let me know what you think!

I hope you enjoyed my review, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Leave a comment below!

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The Personality Fluctuation of an Anxiety-Ridden Student of Life

Ready, Set, Done! – A Response to the Daily Post prompt

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It’s strange.

I feel like I am a different person every day, or maybe every other day. One day, I will be confident, persuasive, extroverted, rambunctious. The next, I will be reclusive, introverted, perfectly happy surrounded by nothing more than my drawing tablet, cup of coffee, and my laptop on full-charge playing some Ingrid Michaelson as background music. How does this change? How do I transition between two completely different phases, two personalities that could essentially house two different bodies but instead cozy up to each other in this one individual: me?

Some days, I am pained by the glance of strangers, while other days, it’s perfectly easy to return a smile, strike a conversation. On the days when I don’t wish to return the favor, I can feel their eyes burning into my cheek like they’re branding me with their look. I can actually feel the blood rush to my face, rising and burning like flames under my skin. But when I smile back, there’s mutual acknowledgement, and the glance is dropped. Something about people avoiding elongated eye contact… At these points, I feel like I reversed the reaction.

There are days when I enjoy the spotlight, basking in the glow of my accomplishments. And then, on the opposing end, there are moments when I hope to god that no one mentions that I was the culprit of something, even if it were a wonderful thing. The pressure to perform on these days makes me feel like a seasoned actress.

The weirdest part of it all is that I’m never really too sure which personality will be more dominant each morning I wake up. I accept them both lovingly though. I adore my extroverted, loud-and-proud side just as equally as the less showy introverted side I possess. I believe it all really depends on the anxiety I experience on a day to day basis. When its grip isn’t as strong, I’m more outward and upfront. There’s no barricade preventing me from projecting myself. But this isn’t to say that on the days I prefer being alone, I am generally anxious. Anxiety certainly contributes though, at least to some of these days. I have to wonder if the anxiety I experience is what maintains my ambiversion, or if naturally I am comprised of elements from both sides that sometimes just separate more distinctly on specific days.

Anyone else feel like they’re housing two opposing personalities in one body sometimes?

Do you prefer one side over the other?