I Don’t Think That Means What You Think it Means.

Last week I went a little overboard and bought all of the skin creams, face masks, foot masks, nail polish, and discount Valentine’s chocolate that Walgreens had to offer. Then, I went home and watched the better part of the entire season of Queer Eye on Netflix. And then, because I am a good Millennial (albeit an old one), I uploaded a photo of my haul onto Instagram. It didn’t take long for the comments to start rolling in congratulating me on my self-care day and how “oh my gosh, I really need to work on my self-care game as well.” Self-care. Self-care. Self-care. Self-care is the buzziest of Buzzwords these days and I’m starting to cringe every single time I hear it. Because self-care is not what we keep saying it is.


Self-care is not the act of slathering your face in expensive clay. It’s not making sure that you’re using the right serums in the right order at the end of the day. And most importantly, it’s not the kind of thing you should feel guilty about if you’re not doing it right. Guilt has no room in self-care. Guilt is the opposite of self-care.

Capitalism has this way of infiltrating every single movement towards human betterment and making us think that we need to buy things in order to take part. That’s not true at all. No. It’s infiltrating the Bopo community right now… kind of. Brands are coming out with clothes that claim to fit a size 24 (which in reality fits more like an 18) and they’re patting themselves on the back for how great they are. But even if their sizing was accurate, I still can’t wear any of it. And I’m not the biggest person I know by any means. But regardless, in the same way that Self-Care isn’t about laser hair treatments, Body Positivity isn’t about making overalls for fat people. Yeah, it’s part of it. It can help some people get what they are wanting out of life. But that’s not all it’s about.

Self care is about taking care of yourself. Self care is and should be accessable to everyone regardless of their body or ability or financial status. Self care is free and important and oftentimes difficult work. It’s not always relaxing and bubble baths and french terry bath robes. A lot of times it’s doing, today, that from which Future You will benefit.  And maybe a small part of that involves expensive beauty products for you but self care is something so much more.

Self-care is making sure you’re hydrated and ending toxic relationships. It’s not skipping a shower when you really should take one. It’s letting that call go to voice mail. It’s trusting other people to be in charge of their own emotions and taking that burden off of yourself. It’s about not avoiding the mail box because you’re afraid of what’s inside of it. It’s about taking the medications that have been prescribed to you. It’s about busting yourself out of destructive funks and preventing destructive funks. It’s about washing the windows to let some more light in. It’s about taking out the garbage because that smell is coming from somewhere. Sometimes it’s about locking yourself in the bathroom with a magazine and an expensive clay mask–but the self care isn’t in the mask, it’s in the taking the time to listen to what you need. And if what you need in that moment is stillness, you’re choosing stillness. That is the self-care part of doing a face mask.

I was recently asked in an interview what my favorite “self-care routines” are. And, look, don’t get me wrong. I actually love hearing about people’s morning and night beauty routines. I can talk about this stuff all day long–that’s why I listen to the Forever 35 podcast. But I was uncomfortable with this question. So rather than focusing on the products that I use during my routine, I talked more about how it’s the routine itself that serves me. I don’t get sleepy and ready for a well-rested bed time because I use this brand of makeup remover or this particular gel-based moisturizer rather than an oil-based one. I get ready for a well-rested bed time because I’ve trained my body to use this time to go into shut down mode. These products aren’t magic, I’m magic. I create my own magic. The routine is the self-care.

Sometimes when I feel myself getting irritable and unable to bust out of a particular mood, I have some fall-back plans in place. I watch my favorite YouTubers, I listen to old episodes of my favorite podcasts, I tell my friends that I’m having a rough day and could use a check in every few hours. I try to eat something healthy or I eat something decidedly unhealthy depending on what my intuition tells me I should reach for. I put out a call on Facebook for everyone to tell me what their favorite cheer-up song is. That’s always fun.

I wanted to post this piece about twelve hours ago and it was really stressing me out that it wasn’t happening. But it felt pretty false to write a post about self-care while I was feeling rushed and unhappy so I gave myself space and took the time I needed. I walked the dog. I watched this video on YouTube about four times (Ryan showed it to me last night and it’s been stuck in my head ever since). I ate a salad and I might even make a smoothie for an afternoon snack.

Anyway, friends. I hope you’re able to come up with some self-care techniques to keep in your back pocket. Maybe keep a literal list in your phone. Number one on that list: hydrate. It’s amazing what chugging a glass of water will do for you. Or, do what I do, and keep this tab open on your phone at all times. Any time I feel like crap, I pull it out and it really, really does help me.

I love you. Take care of yourself, please.


Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Page 73: Fake it ‘Till You Make It

The topic for today’s #xoxoselfie challenge is Fake It Till You Make It. And at first I couldn’t think of anything to post. I had whatever the Instagram version of writer’s block is. My main thought was, “I can’t afford to fake anything right now.”


Truth is that I’m feeling a little bit low. A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about how when we go through something exciting, once we’re on the other end of it we can tend to get kind of inexplicably sad feeling despite how happy we really are in the long run. I don’t think that happens to everyone but it definitely happens to me. There’s been a ton of prep and now that it’s over—woosh… feelings come in. It happened after our wedding. For a few weeks after we came back to real life, I felt very low. Very sad. And that’s when I think I really learned that feelings aren’t very trustworthy. They’re valid—don’t get me wrong. But they wax and wane. And they roll in and out like the tide. So I want to tell you why I can’t afford to fake it till I make it, today. Not today.

Continue reading “Page 73: Fake it ‘Till You Make It”

Page 65: Introducing the #xoxoselfiechallenge

I say this every single year but just in case any of you are new and don’t know this about me, I just need to shout it from the rooftops: I LOVE VALENTINES DAY! Oh wait, before we go any further, you should be listening to this song while reading, to get the mood right.

I love all the hearts and pink and red and smoochy lips and glitter and bling that pops up in one of the most disgusting months of the entire year. Weather-wise, can you think of a more gross month? Ugh. This winter is long and our feelings aren’t doing great at all but at least there are roses in February.


I’m also not one of those people who feels like February is for lovers. It’s not. It’s for love. It’s for love in the middle of the crummiest-feeling time of the year. Whoever invented Valentines Day knew what they were doing.

Because February is for love I’m making a point to celebrate all kinds of love. Yeah, I already got a smushy, mushy, gushy card for my husband but guess what else? I’m planning a Galentines Day Brunch for my girl friends, too (let me know if you want to come)! And I’m working to orchestrate something for all of you far and wide, too. But first let me back up real quick.



Selfies get a bad rap. “She’s so vain.” “Look at her begging for attention.” “This guy’s just trying to get laid.” “She’s making the same face in every photo!”
To that, I say, “And?”
It feels really good to put yourself out there. It’s brave and vulnerable and fun. It’s easy, and not really all that fun, to criticize, though.


I am a firm believer in selfies as a form of self-love. I don’t get mad when I see my friends posting photos of themselves, at all. I mean, in a world where we’re constantly being told that we’re too baggy, saggy, puffy, droopy, plump, wide, slim, young, old, or tired, any act of self-celebration is revolutionary. And I say let’s grab hands and march into battle, together, without apology!

So that’s why, for the month of February, XOXO, Lib is hosting a selfie challenge!
I wrote up a list of themes for each and every day to keep things interesting. We’ll post our selfies to Instagram with #xoxoselfiechallenge. Each week, with permission, I’ll grab a few from the hashtag thread to highlight and post here on the blog.
Some of these themes are pretty obvious but others are really vague—that was done by design. You can make this anything that you want it to be, really! Take ownership of your self(ie)!

#xoxoselfiechallenge for February, 2016:
1. What I Like About Me
2. Action Shot
3. Feet First
4. Long Day
5. Bed Head
6. Nice Hair!
7. Celebrate
8. Twinning
9. Listen
10. Get Moving
11. Lunch Break
12. What’s up?
13. Best Friend
14. Sweet Treat
15. Guilty Pleasure
16. Full Frontal
17. Wake Up
18. New Perspective
19. Treat Yourself
20. Listen
21. Stre-e-e-e-tch
22. Angry Eyes
23. Hobby Time
24. Fake It (till you make it)
25. Morning Routine
26. Hard at Work
27. Clear Mind
28. Upgrade
29. Eat Green

Rules: Starting Monday, February 1st, anyone who wants to contribute can! You don’t have to do it every day—though that IS the challenge of it. You don’t even have to follow the list of themes. You make this into whatever works for you. But in the end, I want our community to come together over celebration of ourselves and each other!
The only real rule is that you take a photo that contains at least a little bit of yourself in it.
If you don’t have instagram, you can share your photos to the XOXO, Lib Facebook page or email them to me at libby(at)xoxolib.com and we’ll all get in on this together!
If you’re on board, let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page!! And if you want to share this with your friends to get them in on it, share this post!! The more people we get involved, the more fun that it will be. I’m so excited to get to know all of you just a little bit more and put a selfie to a name!


Thank you, everyone, for giving me the opportunity to do what I really love to do. Just by reading and sharing you’re doing more than you know and I feel so utterly over the moon about it.

Follow me on Instagram, too! I’m liblibby.

Page 58: Checking in for January

I really love these little surveys. I also like the idea of checking in monthly. So that’s what we’re gonna do. If you love this stuff as much as I do, you should fill it out on your own blog or on Facebook (Tag me so that I see it!) or in the comments if you’d like! We’ll all check in with one another on a regular basis.

What is your current favorite hashtag? On instagram, I’m in love with #thingsorganizedneatly. It’s so calming.

What was the last restaurant where you ate? On Friday, we were trying to go to a local place but when we walked in there were no available tables and no hope of getting one–so we got a booth at the bar at Montana Mikes.

What was the last thing you binge watched? Currently watching my 4th episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, today. I really expected to hate this show but the only thing that drives me crazy is how everyone’s glasses are crooked.

What’s your drink of choice? I’m into almost only coffee lately. Cafe au lait with skim milk and no flavoring. It’s not that exciting but it’s my regular.

When’s the last time you laughed until you cried? I was driving through Wichita with Kellory and Lisa and I know that it’s the worst possible time to start laughing until you can’t open your eyes but it happened and we survived. Have you noticed how the things that make you laugh that much are not funny at all when you try to explain it?

What was something that inspired you, today? I watched the Golden Globes last night and while I’m not crazy about everything that Amy Schumer does–her hustle is inspiring to me.

What word are you overusing? “Literally”. I’ve really tried to stop using that word. Even when you’re using it with the correct definition, it’s still annoying.

What is your resolution for tomorrow? I am going to get more blog work accomplished than I did, today. Today I emphasized house work and got laid out by a headache for a little while.

What are you looking forward to? I have a few different meet-ups with friends this week. Which is super nice and a little unusual. Also next weekend we are going to see my five-year-old nephew play in a basketball game! I’m very, very pumped about that!

How are you doing, today? I’m feeling kind of blues-y lately because it’s winter time and it’s cold and leaving the house isn’t much fun. But that being said–I also feel so good lately. I’ve been sleeping better. Eating better. Feeling better in my spirit. It’s a good time of life, right now.


How about you?

Still eating on this cake. All day, every day.

Page 57: My Anxiety and Me

I never expected that this place would be a space to talk about my mental health but today I felt so compelled to write all this out and tell you about it. I feel vulnerable sharing this but I know that it’s important so here I go. If you are one who suffers from panic attacks like I do, I want to offer you a trigger warning going forward.

Anxiety has always been a very prominent feature in my life though it wasn’t until I went into therapy four years ago that I had a name for it. I was always worried and obsessed. I would check the locks in our house and make sure that the stove was turned off before bed. I’d walk around and make sure that nothing was touching any of the radiators, periodically. My mother would sometimes dry sweaters by laying them across the radiators and I just knew that was a recipe for a severe house fire.

I remember my first panic attacks started the summer that I was going into the 7th grade. In the 6th grade, where I lived, you were still in elementary school and you stood in lines and your teacher walked you from place to place. In the 7th grade you went to a new school building and you got a locker and you had 5 minutes between each class. This is when I got very obsessed with time. I would get so terrified that I wouldn’t be able to make it to class. Five minutes wasn’t long enough between classes! I knew for sure that was true, who made this rule?! In the weeks before school started, I would lay in bed at night and stare at my clock and time what five minutes feels like until I felt confident that it would be possible to move between classes in that amount of time and then I could fall asleep. I went to the doctor for a check up before school started and I remember him telling me that I needed to get 8 hours of sleep. So I decided that I had to go to bed no later than 9:00 pm and if I was laying in bed and saw the clock switch over to 9:00, I would freak out. I would cry and cry and cry and my sister would come into my room and tell me that I was crazy but it was going to be okay. It happened every single night in the beginning of the school year. She would lay down with me and finally I could fall asleep. This is about the time when I started sneaking gulps of NyQuil before bed until we ran out. Eventually the panic and obsession just kind of subsided on its own and I forgot about it entirely.

I had one panic attack in the middle of the night in college—during which I got into my car and drove the 4 hours home to my mom’s house. I fell asleep on the couch and in the morning no one asked why I was there and I was very grateful for that because I didn’t really have words for what had happened to me.


And then, when I turned 28 they started happening regularly. I was confused, too, because I was feeling really good about my life. I had an apartment all to myself, I had just started dating this incredible guy, I was paying all of my bills on my own with a job that I hated only most of the time instead of all of the time—I was a successful adult! But I would have these panic attacks—and I only knew what they were because of Google. Once, my boyfriend was out of town with his band when I had one. Probably the worst one I’ve ever had. I called Ryan who told me to call my brother—who just lived across town at the time. I called him and he was in a town 45 minutes away but he sped home to be with me through it. I couldn’t breathe and I just knew that my clothes were trying to strangle me so I’d ripped them off. When my brother had gotten to me, I’d calmed down significantly and was wrapped up like a burrito in my sheets but covered in tears and utterly exhausted from the fight. He sat on the bed with me for a really long time until I fell asleep. That’s when I started going to therapy and learning about anxiety and how to manage these things. By this point I’d been having them very regularly; sometimes as often as once a week. But it was dwindling down as I was learning what my triggers were and how to back away from them.

But sometimes they still happen. Not often. Maybe an average of once every six months or so?

I have to tell you that it really bothers me when people use the term “panic attack” loosely. A friend of mine once told me, “I couldn’t figure out what to wear and I basically had a panic attack about it!” And I know she didn’t mean anything by it but it still stung me. I still wanted to say, “No, that’s a real and terrifying thing and there are no lulz about it.” But I didn’t because we don’t always have to turn it into a thing.

I wish that I could show the people who are close to me what it’s like. I’m glad that most of them don’t know what it’s like but I wish that I could give them a sense of it from my perspective.

I didn’t know that I’d use this space to explore my mental health but this morning I woke up, after having another attack last night, and I couldn’t ignore the bug inside of me that was telling me to write it out. So I sat down and with my eyes closed I wrote the following. I hope it helps you understand my experience and the experience of others like me but also it’s really scary for me to put this out into the world. But I know I’m not the only one who feels very alone about this, sometimes.

It starts out feeling like you’re walking knee-deep in the ocean. It feels like you’re moving but you just can’t get by without a little bit of struggle. But you’re managing it okay. You’re in control of yourself. Then you’re suddenly knocked over by a small wave. And you can get back up but a larger wave comes and maybe you’re under water for a little while longer this time but by the time you get yourself upright, this time another wave comes and you’re breathing in water. And it’s pulling you out to sea. And you’re not the one in control anymore. You’re sucking down water and you’re getting yanked around and you’re clawing at the ground but coming up with just fistfuls of sand and it hurts and you can feel your chest burning and you know you’re going to die and you want to scream but you can’t because you’re out of air and you’re all alone and no one knows you’re there and you’re all alone you’re all alone you’re all alone and this ocean is going to kill you. And you feel someone stroking your arm and you’re not alone but you’re still struggling and still hurting and you still can’t breathe and you’re hearing him say, “shhh it’s okay, don’t fight it.” But you have to fight it because it’s going to kill you and you get only little gulps of air before you get dragged back down. And he’s telling you that everything’s going to be okay and it’ll all be over soon. But it’s not over and you’re afraid and he’s not making you feel less afraid but every time he touches you and every time he talks to you, you get another gulp of air. And you can hear another voice, it’s your own and it’s saying “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I ruined everything.” But it can’t be you saying it because you’re drowning and you’re clenching your fists full of wet sand and you can’t believe how long it takes to die from this. It’s been going on for hours—it’s been going on for years. You can’t remember a time before now and you know that it’s definitely going to end you right now. “Shh, it’s okay, don’t fight it.” And “I love you. It’s okay. I love you.” You’re not alone and you can feel your legs again and you can feel your lungs again and you can feel your bed, again, and you can feel your husband, again and you can hear him telling you how safe you are and how brave you are and you just feel ashamed and naked like your lungs are full of sea water and you thought that this part of your life was over. And you thought that since you were at such a happy point in your life, you wouldn’t have these  attacks anymore because you’re not afraid. You’re doing okay. And you feel like you’re supposed to be better. And you hate yourself for breaking your record. Every time it happens you feel like more and more of a failure. But your husband is there and he is telling you the things that are true—that this won’t kill you, that you are not alone, that you are safe, that you are loved, that you love, that you have a life out here and that is really hasn’t been that long—just a few minutes, and you’re going to get through it and it’s going to be okay. And you realize that you got through it and you’re okay and your mind can sometimes split in two but you’re always going to be whole—albeit beaten all to shit sometimes.
He brings you a glass of water. He lays you back down, and he wraps you up in blankets and his arms and he tells you that he loves you. And you fall asleep like that and you wake up with a hangover but you definitely wake up and you feel grateful for that.
Later that day, you make a birthday cake for the two of you to share.