There is no shelter from the earth
Each wand will cast spells to burn you
Every sword will cut
And you should drink your fill from every cup
Gulp it down fucking slut devour it all
You can be air you can dream fire
But even if you drown
There is no shelter from the earth.
Question: What’s the most annoying thing about having skin? Is it the fact that it is weak and thin, the only thing standing between your innards and the outside world, a horribly breakable membrane? Is it its sensitivity to environmental damage, whether that be cold, central heating, air conditioning, low humidity, excessive humidity, insect bites, gorse bushes, or axe-wielding maniacs?
Does skin’s weakness to poor diet, food intolerances, and contact allergies get you down? I’m not even starting on the internally generated quirks skin can inflict, from the well known yet remarkably varied and unpredictable reactions to hormonal changes, to auto-immune generated eczema and psoriasis. And there’s a whole catalogue of things that I’m not even medically qualified to mention, although I recommend that anyone curious browses the dermatology section of a medical training textbook sometime.
Annoying skin, while obviously not the worst issue facing humanity, is… annoying. Having a dry flaky face makes me feel less able to face the world. I already have social anxiety, feeling my skin split when I smile doesn’t exactly make social encounters feel mutually rewarding. Eczema makes me itch and then people on public transport back away in case I have fleas. Spots make me feel like an idiot teenager. Wrinkles make me feel like an idiot teenager trapped in the body of an ageing Auntie.
So, in an effort to cure my many, many problems I tried making my own skin stuff. Stuff from shops is all either way too expensive or made of garbage that doesn’t help in any way. And that’s without even starting on the animal testing, plastic packaging, petrochemical byproducts, and so on. Just trying to choose the correct, non-poisonous, effective skincare product is enough to cause a stress-induced breakout.
So the news is that I’m becoming a punchable middle-class hippy cliche making my own skincare line. The good news is that you too can try my stuff. It’s made out of ingredients that I understand, and that are not toxic or massively destructive to the world (as far as is possible while having to negotiate capitalist structures while doing this). I got no illusions of this being an amazing revolutionary act, but it’s my new venture, trying to support positive stuff in the world while unfucking my fucked up skin. Mainly it’s fully reactionary, because fuck looking like I have some kind of face disease and walking around trying to subtly scratch myself under my clothes.
Since I was a kid I’ve loved making potions, and I finally managed to make a useful one. I want to share that joy with the world. I’ve had eczema for years. And I haven’t managed to cure myself, probably because it’s caused by eating dairy, and you can pry my cheese from my cold, dead, horribly blistered hands. But my Unfucking Salve at least gets rid of the pain and inflammation and itching and shame for a while, when steroid creams have long become useless. This may be one of the first practically useful things I have ever created. Sat here now trying to think of any genuinely useful inventions I’ve got to my name, and really drawing a blank. If i can help the increasing legions of people who are annoyed by their skin, cumulatively that could make the world a very slightly better place. And if I can also persuade people to use stuff made out of local, non-carcinogenic, traditionally made ingredients, maybe the environment and humanity will be better off. Of course, burning down Unilever would be more effective, but that would also release a lot of toxins and particulates into the atmosphere, as well as landing me in trouble because ‘arson is illegal’ or some such bullshit.
So instead of a campaign of pyromania, I’ll now be trying to formulate, alchemize, compound, invent, and whack together, some more beneficial skin stuffs. I’ve got a face cream trialling on myself at the moment, and I’ve had a shockingly low amount of spots so far. Like 2 tiny dots all week, rather than the usual uncountable multitude that outnumbers the very stars.
In the interests of ethics and scientific enquiry, I’m testing all products on myself, my friends,and my mum. Which is way more ethical than these bunch. For once, I am not the literal worst, and that is quite heartening.
All right, I’m off to research the most environmentally friendly and non-toxic types of lotion containers, because this is my life now. Peace out, and if you have any skincare needs, give me a shout, I could provide you some amazing miraculous snake oil, mates rates, organic, and locally produced.
All I need now is a name for this lil enterprise. Suggestions on a postcard (or in the comments section). Selected winner gets a prize!
I fucking hate positive thinking and all that happy pop-psychology become-a-smiling-consumer adjust-yourself-to-a-profoundly-sick-society bullshit.
That brigade seem to have co-opted the concept of gratitude, which kind of sucks, because counting your blessings can be helpful. Especially for people like me, with a very emotion-dependent memory. When I feel bad, my brain only goes to bad things, a never-ending referential wormhole of backwards-looking negativity. So finding something to be grateful for can arrest that spiral.
Today I’ve been feeling like shit, exhausted and coughing, like I’m an automaton made of lead and my movement mechanisms haven’t been oiled in the last 100 years.
So, here is a gratitude list. Right now, I am grateful for:
My room, my own room.
My house and my parents and not having to fend for myself in the scary world
My brother, who just sent me this and cheered me right up.
My cool as fuck tarot cards which I’m just getting to know. It’s a journey into a whole new world, and the art there is amazing.
I have friends
I have a cool Bullet Journal to try organising my life with, and the motivation/capacity to try. I didn’t have that a year ago.
Never get bored. So much to do, so much to dream…
Ooh, today is my one year anniversary of DBT group! Thank you Facebook memories for reminding me. I can’t believe so much has happened over a year. I’ve met and shared support with amazing people who have become real friends. I think I’ve made progress. If you’d asked me a year ago to make a gratitude list while I was in a mood like this, I’d probably have tried to glass you. You know what, just writing that, I realise that I don’t feel bad anymore. This stupid shit actually works. Anyone reading this who’s kind of on the fence about therapy and trying, because it’s uncool as fuck and also really hard to care when your mental illness is distracting you with how much you hate yourself, you should totally try. As a bitter and cynical person, sometimes you’ve just gotta make an idiot of yourself, do things you think will never work, but do them wholeheartedly, or as heartedly as you can muster, and eventually, something will change. Something you try will have some kind of effect.
I’m not promising miracles, but well…
This was my Card of the Day. Everything changes. The wheel always turns.
Has seen some blessed times, but now I’m sad and sulking for missing my first gig of the year because I’m ill and skint and just not up for doing things. 2016 exhausted me. Had a beautiful time last weekend seeing friends though, drawing on happy memories to drg through. That and plans of better times ahead.
So, here are my plans/goals/wishes for this year:
learn to drive
perform at some more places
get some performance videos done
perform at festivals
get my show on the road
write a new book of conceptual stuff
actualise some visual/video/multimedia creation
get some decent boots and walk
walk long ways
get strong – lift weights, run, yoga, eat food that isn’t cheese
blog and diary and record everything
get some proficiency in tarot reading
graduate from DBT having learned all the skills and able to use them in life
carry on helping out at Derbyshire Refugee Soidarity
do more Belper stuff
get new glasses
get my stupid painful tooth sorted out/stop moaning about the tooth
go to more amazing camps and festivals
visit many friends, especially the ones I haven’t visited in years
learn/revise Basic First Aid
learn a few tunes by heart on the tin whistle
learn to crochet
sell a load of stuff to declutter and fund all this
apply for a Masters (finance permitting)
don’t drink all the damn time
get some independent self sufficiency
get some community
Edited to add: Run the Tenby Half Marathon again! What am I even doing?! My family talk me into these ridiculous things.
I think that’s enough to be going on with. I’ve made a start today by putting a couple of things on ebay, and I’ve been keeping organised with a Bullet Journal and to do lists. I know Bullet Journal sounds like an enraging gimmick, but I was doing the basic form for half of last year and found it really helpful,so I’m carrying on. Got no memory in general, so writing it down helps.
Keep your peepers open though folks, maybe some interesting things will happen this year…