ELAISHA & MICHELLEWHO I AM AND WHO I'LL BE
WHEN WE HAVE AN INTERACTION I WANT TO MAKE SURE IT IS POSITIVE; EVEN IF IT ISN’T POSITIVE NEWS, IT IS POSITIVE AND I HAVEN’T TAKEN AWAY ANYTHING FROM YOU AS A PERSON. AND THAT HAS BEEN A GOAL: WE CAN WIN, WE CAN BOTH WIN.
19/99 Take us through your daily beauty routine; morning and night.
Michelle Green What I do really depends on what my skin in doing, the season, what the weather is like. In the morning I start with a face wash & brushing my teeth. I may do a microdermabrasion scrub and toner; if my skin is happy I won’t. Then moisturizer and sunblock. I don’t wear a lot of makeup. If I am going out, and a little makeup is warranted, which really depends on my mood, I will do a little bit of blush, mascara and some lip gloss. In the evenings I wash my face, a little coconut oil on my lashes if I have mascara on to take it off, then a toner if needed. I try to maintain the natural oils in my skin though so nothing too stringent. Then I put on moisturizer, I try to maintain as much moisture in my skin as possible so use creams with Hyaluronic Acid in them and eye cream - I am very faithful to my eye cream with vitamin c in it.
Elaisha Jade Green I learnt to have a routine from my mum; I remember when I was a kid taking a bath, my mum would have do a green face mask that would really freak me out, but it was the best because seeing her put on her facemask, her daily wash, her moisturizer, doing these routines growing up helped me learn to incorporate a routine into my own life. Similar to my mum, I’ve got a really short routine; when I wake up I use a Neutrogena Grapefruit scrub that I absolutely love. Surprisingly I only started using it because I was told it was really good for preventing in-growns on my bikini line, which it is, but I started using it on my face too and love it. If I really need to wake up then I’ll do a cold face wash. Then I use a really simple Nivea face cream with an SPF. Makeup is an important part of my routine, because it helps me feel put together. Recently though, it was skewing how I would see myself in the mirror so I took a break from using it every day and will just brush my brows and maybe use a matte powder to make sure I don’t get super shiny. At night if I haven’t been wearing makeup then I will just do that face wash again and the nighttime version of the Nivea cream. And drinking water in the morning and at night is a big part of my routine.
I’m going through a phase right now where I don’t want to look or think about my hair. Natural hair takes quite a lot of work, and right now I just don’t’ want to do it; so I’ve been going between protective hair styles: either back in braids, a crocheted hair style, slicked back into a bun, or I wear a super low maintenance, not styled, afro throughout the week. I just wake up, pull it out, pick it a bit and go enjoy my day.
19/99 How has your beauty routine changed over the years?
MG I’ve always done scrubs, masks, and hydrating moisturizers. More of my products are natural, and masks and scrubs that I am using I’m making. I make a mask for my hair every few months, which is like a reset for me. I use clays, aloe and essential oils. I do my own nails every week. I use a coffee scrub; made from left over grounds and a little coconut oil. If I cut up something really aromatic, like garlic or onions, that I don’t want to smell on my hands later, I will use a bit of that to get rid of the smell, as well as any dry skin. Knowing as I age what my body is not making as much of any more and accommodating for any sort of deficiencies I may have.
EG My beauty routine has become essential to maintaining and boosting my mood. Building a beauty routine around self-care is really important, making time for myself. It is something I use to trigger a sense of joy. It has become simpler; a facewash and a moisturizer. I used to use a lot of serums and treatments. Maybe I will get to that place again. My focus is really on it being easy and fast; so convenience is another addition I’ve added onto my beauty routine. I have started to incorporate stuff I make as well; which is really based on sustainability. So I have tried to make it more sustainable, tried to make it more convenient and make it something that really boosts my mood.
THERE IS DEFINITELY PRESSURE BECAUSE WHAT I WEAR MAY BE CONSIDERED A POLITICAL STATEMENT BY JUST THE WAY I LOOK AS A WHOLE. I UNDERSTAND THEM, AND I UNDERSTAND WHERE I SIT IN SOCIETY, BUT I KIND OF SHRUG MY SHOULDERS MOST OF THE TIME AND DO WHAT EVER I WANT TO DO.
19/99 Do you feel pressure to look a certain way?
EG Sometimes, when I really consider the intersectionality in any situation. When it comes down to being a black woman who works in tech, corporate, and as a meditation teacher, there are so many different layers to my public identity that there are external pressures to look a certain way, but as a result of having my own internalized path, beliefs and ideas around things, I know whatever happens outside can affect why I do certain things but it is not the foundation of why I do certain things. I have been playing around with the idea of buzzing my hair, which is coming, but when I think of that, there are societal pressures around woman having long hair, about black women and what our hair means to us. There are so many things around that; going to job interviews with my hair slicked back and never a big afro because I don’t want people to feel threatened or consider me a stereotype. So there is definitely pressure because what I wear may be considered a political statement by just the way I look as a whole. I understand them, and I understand where I sit in society, but I kind of shrug my shoulders most of the time and do what ever I want to do, and feels good, while making sure my rent is still getting paid. Growing up, my mom encouraged me to embrace a lot of what is different about myself which really helps. It is something I work on all the time. I mean right now I am in a great place, but that may be because I’m hiding at home.
MG At home, we created an environment in which being who you are was more important than meeting expectations. I was really cognizant when Elaisha was growing up, becoming a woman and particularly a woman of colour, to focus on what was going to come out of her. I wanted to leave enough room for her to become who she is. I was curious about what was all packed in there. My goal has been to remove the mask and have what is inside flow out, so I really don’t have those pressures. I take care of my skin, and take care of myself because I want to be the best me. So if anything I am skewed on the other side of being a bit of a rebel. I mean there are certain things about me though that people find acceptable so maybe I don’t feel that strain or pressure because I don’t fall outside of those boundaries.
19/99 As you’ve gotten older have you felt pressure to hit certain milestones or achievements?
MG I guess so. We talk about the subconscious and some of those drivers that you may not be aware of that create anxiety and not really recognizing exactly what is it until you let it float to the top. I am feeling less pressured now, in my late 30s early 40s I felt it more. I have come across life issues that have forced me out of that mindset. I no longer have that pressure. There might be something subconsciously, but for the most part, no. I have reigned that in to more about character development. It is more about; am I the person that I want to be with for the rest of my life? Am I happy with how that conversation went? Did I show up as the very best me in that moment? When we have an interaction I want to make sure it is positive; even if it isn’t positive news, it is positive and I haven’t taken away anything from you as a person. And that has been a goal: we can win, we can both win.
EG For me it is a mix; having witnessed my mum, who has always beat to her own drum and done what she wanted to do, to see her create a life that maybe is something others wouldn’t have thought would be a happy experience. She just shrugged and said she was going to do what she was going to do. There are a lot of people I know that have done everything ‘right’: husband, kids, dog, SUV x2, and very few of them are actually happy. Because I had the opportunity to see a different way of living as well as that very bird’s eye view of other people’s lives, who have traditional success, has given me the chance to not put as much pressure on myself. If I do want a life partner there are certain rules and stipulations, and if I do want to have kids with that partner great, that has certain standards too. Certain things can certainly be shifted but there are certain things that have to be a default setting in a guy who I am going to be with. My mum has lived a life where she has not settled, so that is the example I have for myself; to be able to say ‘That is not for me’, and move along my way. Of course there are certain pressures that come along and I feel once and awhile, but that is just life. It is phases.
19/99 Does the term age appropriate mean anything to you?
MG Yes it does. I have some definitions, particularly when you are mum, I know I might catch some flak for this, I don’t believe in women dressing like their daughters. Even if you don’t have a child, don’t dress or go to places where people who could be your children would go. I believe there needs to be boundaries around stuff like that. Not that you shouldn’t go where your children go I just think that there is a certain level of decorum that comes with maturing, chronologically in terms of age but also emotionally. There are some things that I can connect on with my daughter and some things that I can’t. I believe there should be some distinction. There is a line that shouldn’t be crossed in terms of how we relate to generations that have come before and after us; there should be a level of respect and honour. Honour is huge for me. I can honour you as an individual regardless of your age. But I can also honour and respect your experience, your resilience, your wisdom. That for me is huge. I still don’t know the first name of some of my friend’s parents. They are Mrs. and Mr. so-and-so. So yes, age appropriate does mean something to me.
EG I am 50/50; I have to check myself and recognize what things are internalized by institutions and what things to me are important. I am not a traditionalist. Whatever you want to do, do. Wherever you want to go, go. As long as your not hurting anybody and having a good time yourself. I always sit back and ask myself ‘why’. When it comes to age appropriate I don’t think things should be off limits. Geri Halliwell, that recently came out on Youtube. She was talking about the Flag Dress; which was the tiniest, gorgeous thing. It was a dream and I absolutely wanted to wear it. In the early 2000s when the Spice Girls had a show, she wore that Flag Dress and rocked it and loved it, just recently when they had a show she wore a different version of it. She talked about how her style evolved and how she could have thrown on that little bandage dress again, but instead they made it into this ball gown for her. And she said that she felt more empowered in this dress, that her style had evolved; that she made it longer, and the neck higher, she said that she felt a lot more comfortable too. So I believe that age appropriate is subjective and age appropriate is nobody’s business. It belongs to the individual, if some feels comfortable doing one thing, and somebody else feels comfortable doing something else that is up to them, and it doesn’t involve me – as long are they aren’t doing anything that hurts anyone else.
19/99 If you could share advice with your younger self, what would it be?
EG Ask for help. That is my number one thing in terms of advice. I am a Capricorn; I have pride, a sense of ego, I think I can get everything done myself. My mom knows that when we would go to the laundromat I would bring my own coins and she would be like, what are you doing? I’m your mom, I’m paying for the laundry and I’d be trying to put in my coins. Ever since I was a kid I felt I was quite independent, which my mom raised me to be, and is very important for me. But there is so much power in asking for help, I am able to learn so much more about myself and about those around me, and I am able to build a sense of trust.
MG To remember I don’t know what I don’t know and somebody else might know and I need to value the knowledge and wisdom of others. You can really increase the quality of your life by surrounding yourself with the right people; so really investing in and make sure to know how to surround yourself with good people – because you become who you are most around.
19/99 What makes you feel beautiful?
MG Making the right decisions, when I can look back at a situation, have a clear conscious and be aligned with my values.
EG Pouring love on myself is what makes me feel beautiful. Whether that means fluffy things; talking a bubble bath or giving myself a pedicure. Or saying my affirmations in the mirror and really looking at myself while I say statements of love. Those are different principals that I have really applied from books I’ve read like You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay or the Universe Has Got Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein. There are so many different applications and principals; your mantras, and meditating, building a routine for myself. Another time when I feel really beautiful is when I am doing an active mediation; ecstatic dance where I put on a play list for two hours and just dance, alone or with a group. I am just letting my body move the way it wants to, my thoughts run free and I feel this collective energy and buzzing from the movement; that it is like wow…this is my truest self.
19/99 Is there anything that scares you about aging?
EG No, I had to confront a bunch of things growing up to get to a place of not being scared of aging. There is a saying ‘you are not special’, of course each of us is unique, but you are not special in that you don’t think that you receive extra privileges, that not everything works out all the time, and that if we die tomorrow, the world still turns, my apartment will still be here, and there are certain constants that we have to understand that for us to make an impact we have to do the work. In terms of being afraid of getting older, I look around and ask if have I had a positive impact on people around me, are there things I’ve done in my life that I really regret – no, are there things that I wish I could go back and change – sure, but I think that they made me who I am today. So instead of looking at the past or into the future I choose to focus on today, and what is happening moment to moment and what is happening; what am I looking at right now – right now I am having a conversation and I am fully here and present. So doing that, learning to do that as a practice and meditation, I’ve learnt to not be afraid of the future but look at it second by second as it comes.
MG I don’t want to have any regrets. I want to turn any negative into a positive. I want to benefit from everything, everything should be a teachable moment for me. I don’t want to have any regrets.
19/99 If you could ask the older generation one question, what would it be?
MG What is the one thing that you had or you were able to use to overcome your biggest obstacle?
EG What should I pay more attention to?
19/99 Do you think there is a point where we stop learning and growing?
MG That is a choice. I have met up on people who are so stuck in their lives that they can’t overcome, overcoming is essential to learning and growing, they can’t move forward. I think stuff like unforgiveness can cause loss of learning. It is possible, but that is usually by choice.
EG What she said.