Let’s Really Talk about What Non-Monogamy Means

Woooo, it’s been a minute, ya’ll. Life got super busy but I missed writing so I’m back here on my favourite little blogging project.

I was thinking this week about how much we all have grown since I started this blog. We’ve all learned a lot, shared a lot and I think it’s safe to say we love where the journey has taken us so far.

One thing I can say for sure is that I see polyamory and non-monogamy popping up in all kinds of articles and conversations. Maybe it’s just true what they say, that when you’re thinking about it suddenly you see it everywhere even if it was always there and you just didn’t notice. Then again, maybe the conversation around different relationship structures is really gaining traction in more and more mainstream spaces.

One thing my mama said when we started this journey and first came out was that the big difference between us and other generations isn’t what we do. We certainly aren’t the first bunch of married people to bend the rules or rewrite relationship boundaries. But as a generation that grew up with a developing social media landscape we have different ideas about privacy than previous generations. We don’t want to keep something private for the sake of other people.

What I mean when I say that is that, of course, some parts of our our lives are kept to ourselves but that’s mainly because we like to have things that feel like “just ours”.

Nothing is kept private for the sake of not offending others or because we fear the reactions of others. For us, keeping something private that doesn’t feel like it needs to be a secret becomes more inconvenient and frustrating than the consequences of sharing are.

Even in the early days of my polyamorous relationship we struggled with how starkly different life at home became from life outside the home. Life at home included cuddles and affectionate conversations. Life outside the home meant pretending we were all just friends, carrying on as usual.

It got ridiculous when Tom and I would arrive at a derby first and then Ben and Maggie would show up and the four of us would be trying to explain why we arrived in separate cars with each others spouses.

(Yeah, we’re bad at secrets. People weren’t sure exactly what was happening but they knew something was up)

I blame social media. We all like to share and instead of being super picky about what we share we’re actually just picky about what we don’t share.

Anyway… It’s awesome to see different relationship structures being talked about in mainstream spaces. It truly is. Every *positive mainstream conversation helps others like us feel more welcome to come out and makes the process easier because there’s less to explain. So I’m here today to humbly suggest a sort of “next step” for how this conversation develops.

Let’s break it right down. Instead of saying polyamory and non-monogamy or some generalization like that, let’s be specific about what we want to talk about. While there are some places where those generalizations really do fit the conversation, in most cases we would be better off getting specific.

Right now a lot of conversations are set up as a conversation about monogamy and then all the relationships that are not monogamy.

Is it really fair to have this gigantic pillar of monogamy standing alone against everything that isn’t it?

And is it honest to lump everything that isn’t monogamy in together?

Doing so makes it so hard to appreciate the widely varying mindsets and relationship philosophies of everyone outside monogamy.

I think that’s a problem because most non-monogamous people I’ve talked to just want one simple thing: for other people to say “oh, okay, I can understand how that works.” It isn’t a need for others to sign up to live that lifestyle – I know it’s a shock but the non-monogamous masses aren’t on a recruitment campaign. We just want to be understood. Kind of like how we all understand how monogamy makes sense for some people.

When we lump all of non-monogamy together we make it harder to understand how each different relationship structure functions. While everyone under the umbrella of “non-monogamy” might agree that monogamy isn’t the only way, how exactly we interact with others outside the bounds of monogamy varies from person to person and relationship to relationship.

So I am super excited to see mainstream publications like cosmo, vice and more sharing stories about polyamorous relationships and dishing out details so that non-monogamy and all the relationships that go with it become a more common vocabulary. With that excitement, though, I’m eager to see us dive a little deeper from umbrella terms to sub-cultures and specific relationship terminology.

If there’s interest, I may even model this next step here on the blog with a series of posts exploring what all is under this non-monogamy umbrella with us.

What do you think? What kind of conversations are you seeing, liking and not liking about relationships “these days”?
Do you have certain questions or things you want to see talked about to dive a little deeper here on the blog? =) Drop a comment or email me at ohmymermaidblog@gamil.com

Happy One Year Anniversary to Oh My Mermaid!

Well it’s officially been 365 days since I launched this blog. I’d planned and planned and one year ago today I launched with the full roster of social media accounts to connect people with this blog and share what was happening with this project.

It’s been an awesome year and totally surpassed all my expectations. I mean, I’m not totallhy sure what I expected. I guess, of course, I figured there was a potential audience for this project but I didn’t know if I’d actually live up to that potential.

Today, not only do I feel like I’m reaching a wider and wider audience with this project but I’ve been given opportunities I never expected that have lead to the launch of my Social Media Business – Seashell Social Media – just last month and an Etsy shop – Seashell and Mermaid – this month!

I never expected that my work with this project could lead to so many blessings and opportunities so I’m here today to say THANK YOU to my readers and share a few of my accomplishments from the last year.

Crunching the Numbers

73 Posts
85 Comments
481 Likes
54,900 Words

3, 606 Visitors
7, 657 Views
Whoa! I kinda secretly thought I’d get just, like, pity reads from friends and family. I’m so grateful to every single one of ya’ll who has been reading and always returning to the blow!

Instagram – 500 followers

Twitter – 175 followers

Facebook Page – 62 Followers

WordPress – 111 Followers

Working on the social media for this project helped me learn a lot and continues to be my sort of playground and experiment in what works and what doesn’t so I can grow with my social media business. I’m sorta my own guinea pig client!

Social Media Management Website: https://www.seashellsocialmedia.com/

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/seashellandmermaid

Thank you everyone for your continued support! I hope to keep creating even better content in the coming year!

What do you want to see here at Oh My mermaid? =)

-Carmen

Fitness & Comparison: Motivating or Manipulative?

When we talk about comparison in the fitness world we usually think about comparing ourselves to others. There’s lots of reassurances out there like “You are your only competition” and “Just be better than you were yesterday” to help us take a step back from it.

But I don’t just mean that we’re glancing at the numbers on the treadmill beside us and secretly trying to beat them. I mean the practice of before and after pictures as well as the ever-growing fitness community on Instagram.

See, it strikes me that even if we preach not comparing ourselves and posting our fitness journeys for our own sake there’s still something bigger going on.

Do we really think that comparison isn’t like, %70 of what’s going on outside the fitness sphere on Instagram? As a regular practice, we follow brands, influences and celebrities who we admire. We covet their clothes, cars, homes – their whole lifestyle.

So when the account we’re following is a fitness-specific influencer or celebrity can we truly pretend we aren’t comparing and coveting their fitness based on their body in posed pics and workout videos?

Now, I will acknowledge here that fitness influencers are probably doing the most out of any influences to help their fans achieve what they have. You admire my abs? Here’s an ab workout I like. You want my perfect booty? Here’s my booty routine.

Sure, they make money off their fans desire to be like them but at least they seem more likely to share the how-to than other influencers.

You don’t see a lot of other influencers breaking it down for you how they got what they have and how you can too. They just profit off your admirations as the likes and comments roll in.

Even with the before and after photos I mentioned earlier we’re encouraged to engage in a detailed comparison of ourselves to ourselves. While that’s a little healthier than only lusting after the results of others, it still feeds into a comparison mindset when considering our current fitness and future goals. I think it’s an awesome practice that we reflect on our own progress and success. We still have to talk about it, though, when we talk about comparison.

The biggest problem, for me, is that a lot of the influencers who encourage comparison either with before and after photos or just putting themselves out there in a way that forces you to compare where you are compared to their fitness journey, do so to sell products.

The fitness fam on insta is overflowing with “positive vibes” and “support” but a lot of companies are successfully harnessing the community for comparison, admiration and sales.

It definitely makes me a bit bitter to see “fitness influencers” or “fitness models” selling detox teas, certain supplements and diet programs. Like, this is why we can’t have nice things, ya’ll. Too many people harness the power of community for marketing and misdirect our well meaning support.

I wouldn’t call for the end of the fitness community on insta because so much good does come from it – I think we, as fitness focused accounts – might just have some work to do to reclaim our community.

“Trends” that sell you Junk can F*ck Off Anytime

The Beauty Industry as a whole has a very profitable interest in convincing everyone that beauty is super complicated and that it requires a lot of different, consumable products that will keep you coming in for refills freakin’ constantly.

Truth be told – there’s a lot of misleading crap out there designed to get you to buy and to help you justify purchase decisions as necessary when they’re not.

Next week we’re going to talk about taking back control of how you engage with the industry but this week I want to focus on saying no to junk.

I’m talking about reinvented products like make up applicators or brushes, skin care tools that do the same thing as the ones you already own, and my personal fave – things that do nothing OR that do what you already do with your hands.

Let’s look at Jade Rollers, for example. Not only did these things seemingly come out of nowhere, but a lot of them appeared with huge price tags. They have Jade or some similarily valued material as a “roller” on a handle so you can massage your face with it. They allegedly have benefits such as improved circulation, reducing under eye puffy-ness and helping products absorb better into your skin.

It all sounds awesome and you can see how it makes sense if you squint at it long enough.

Here’s the thing they aren’t talking about though: You don’t need a Jade Roller to massage your face. You have…uhh, hands. Take any cleaner or moisturizer you like and spend a few extra minutes massaging it into your skin. All the Jade Roller really does is force you to take the extra time to focus on massaging your cheeks and skin. However, it’s not a necessary component in the equation of facial massage for improved circulation and all the benefits that come it.

This is what I mean when I talk about beauty trends that sell you junk. They market a product as if the product is required to achieve certain results when in reality it’s not the key to said results at all. Beauty bloggers, and beauty companies that claim they’re here to improve your beauty results could of just told you the secret was in good circulation and that facial massage would help improve your results. Then they could of offered you tools to make massaging your skin easier or to vary your routine but they didn’t. They just claimed you had to have the jade roller.

Ugh.

I hope I can keep up with the junky trends just to bring the #realbabebeauty squad real talk and get passed all the crap we’re told we need in order to be beautiful.

The other example I like is make up brushes. Someone is always reinventing the wheel in this department and claiming that their brush, which may or may not look a lot like every brush that came before it, has magically better results.

Save your money because that’s a lie. Find a way you like for putting make up on your face – make up brush, sponges, those buffer-brush things, and then ignore all the reinvented wheels. Let ’em roll on by.

Take yourself somewhere beautiful with all the money you did’n’t let the beauty industry suck out of your wallet.


Love is Accepting your Partner, flaws and all

They say attitude is everything and from school, to business, to relationships “they” might be on to something.

When I read about other polyamorous relationships and the ideas behind polyamory a lot of the time the biggest lesson is accepting everything about your partner without wishing they would change.

I have been lucky to always be in relationship where I felt accepted and have been reassured about the acceptance if ever it seemed to be in question. Today I want to share a few ideas about what this kind of acceptance looks like.

Forgiving Our Partners their Flaws

Everyone is flawed, in some way. We’re only human, after all. We have a natural urge to help and fix. We imagine that we can make our partner happy by making them be more perfect in our eyes. In reality we cause a lot of stress, doubt and damage this way.

Instead, remember that your partner is human and if you chose them their flaws can’t be so serious or worth picking a fight over.

Seeing and Accepting our own Flaws

A lot of the time the “flaws” we see in others are extensions of our own insecurities. We start to nit-pick and get frustrated when we want our partners to somehow puzzle piece in to our lives in a way that corrects everything we wish we could change about ourselves.

When we practice acknowledging and forgiving ourselves for the things we don’t favour in ourselves it becomes easier to do this for other people.

Don’t take it Personally 

It’s hard to believe, maybe, that not every thought in your partners head is related to you. This comes up with the idea of attraction to someone else, for example.

Thinking someone else is attractive can be just that. Your partner sees another human and thinks they’re attractive. It’s just a reaction to that person. It’s not a statement about you, your attractiveness or your participation in the relationship.

I struggle – as many of us do -with always wondering if every action or thought is somehow related to me and if I’m being a good enough partner. Hint: Nope. It’s not all related to me and that’s okay.

You’re probably tired of hearing this but it all comes down to
communication

Very few parts of a relationship happen in total isolation or silence. If there’s something you’re working on – like being more accepting or embracing different parts of yourself and your partner – talk about it!

A lot of confusion and misunderstanding is avoided by just mentioning the things you’re thi8nking about and working on, even if you’re not asking anything of your partner.

Why I Invest in Sephora

We all know it’s true that most of what can be bought at Sephora can be bought elsewhere for less. Affordable brands line the aisles of any drug store and one has to wonder how different the products can really be. I mean from one concealer recipe to the next, from one mascara to another, is it worth the price jump to pick up the designer brand in a Sephora?

I think so. Today I want to share why. Many beauty bloggers share the pros and cons of products from all price ranges in specific reviews for “X brand Y product” but they don’t always share, over all, why their best looks come with a such a pricey list.

I do want to acknowledge that being able to choose a pricey product is a position of privilege. I prioritize this cost in my budget to make it work and I’m here to share why I do so.

Before you even get to the product, the service itself has a dollar value

Once upon a time I thought shops like Sephora were for girls and boys who really knew what they were doing. Like, they were maybe trained make up artists or at least more successful at learning from artists on youtube than I was. I thought Sephora was all about those make up users. I didn’t really feel I fit in.

In reality the staff at Sephora know those products and how they correspond to different needs. They aren’t trained like that for the pros who also have that knowledge. They’re trained to help us – #realbabebeauty squad. When I walk in and say I’m struggling with something like finding a full coverage foundation that doesn’t cake, or a brow product I can use blind, or a face wash to win a battle with my hormonal acne… I know I can trust the staff there.

When I ask the same questions at a drug store I usually get anecdotal answers. “My friend also struggles with… and she loves…”, “I use this and I swear by it!” and so on.

But at Sephora I hear more reassuring things like “This product line contains ingredients x, y and z which are known to help with sensitive skin.” or “This brand can be used this in this way for…”

The knowledge the staff have is reason enough to pay a little extra. When you don’t know all the answers you can place a lot of trust in the staff to help you out.

You have to find products that feel good to use

I tried to go back, okay? I thought hey – I could probably save myself some money if I just bought mascara at shoppers instead of Sephora.

Two hours later with red, itchy eyes I swore I’d never cut my budget in that way again.

If you use more affordable products and don’t have side effects like flaking make up, itchiness, redness, soreness or anything else then I salute you. However for me, this isn’t the case. I have super fair, super sensitive skin and when I sacrifice the quality of my products I feel it (and see it!)

Even some brands at Sephora cause problems for me. Sephora, though, will let you exchange products and work with you to find the right one. When I brought back an expensive foundation that reacted poorly with my skin and made me look diseased they gave me full store credit to find a better formula.

Better Products Look Better

I denied this for a long time but in recent years I’ve come around. Some girls can make anything look pro but I don’t have those skills.

What I lack in skills can be made up for with products that look good to begin with.

That’s it. This one’s pretty simple.

Sephora’s Point System is Actually Pretty Good

As every point system should be, this one is designed to recognize regular customers who are spending a lot on the business. Right from signing up you earn points and at milestones like $1000 spent in one year you get big perks.

That sounds like a lot – once upon a time I thought I’d never be that level. But I’m here. I did give my card to friends a few times so I know some of those points came from their purchases. Even without those purchases though, the side effect of shopping at expensive store is that spend-based loyalty programs are genuinely rewarding.

You can get your make up done, pick up free samples and even attend exclusive events.

It’s not worth shopping there only for the loyalty program but the loyalty program goes a very long way to making me feel appreciated for my decision to frequent the store.

Take a deep breath #realbeautybabe  You deserve a less complicated relationship with your beauty routine

At the end of the day Sephora has made my relationship with the beauty world 1000x healthier. I shop with more confidence knowing if a product doesn’t work I can come back. I get answers from staff I trust. And I get the perks of investing in myself both in my results and in the beauty rewards program.

There a lot of complicated decisions to make in life. There’s a lot of things that can’t be made easier. Why not invest in this and make this one thing a little less complicated?

Who needs a “summer bod” – I need a “summer brain”

Well it’s January and everywhere gyms are advertising solutions for your resolutions and playing off our programmed desire to be in shape and looking a certain way for winter getaways and the coming summer months.

If only they could advertise a solution for the winter blues, instead.

I mean, it’s true that exercise is a known mood-lifter and promoter of balance for related endorphins. So I suppose in an unintended way they are advertising a way to beat the blues.

Except that it’s really just a side affect of working on your body goals, as far as the ads are concerned.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d love a hot summer bod that matches all those ads but what I need more right now is a happy summer brain.

As many of you will know seasonal affective disorder or S.A.D (perhaps the most appropriately named mental health affliction) comes with depression symptoms throughout these cold months. This happens as a result of short days and less access to sunlight along with a greater tendency to stay indoors due to cold temperatures. Our bodies and brains, accustomed to sunny summer days outdoors, really feel the lack of sunlight, fresh air and movement.

In that spirit, here’s a list of ways you can look after yourself and feel a little less blue:

  • Walk outside (when the temperature is bearable)
  • Go to the Gym (for the happiness, not for unhealthy body goals)
  • Make plans with a friend
  • Volunteer somewhere
  • Try something new (like a yoga class, or any kind of class)
  • Go somewhere you’ve never been (even if it’s not far)
  • Watch a new tv show
  • Create something – anything
  • Rewatch a favourite show or movie
  • Read a book

What’s your fave way to boost your mood when you’re feeling down?