Skin. by Thea Gajic

I've decided to write about skin because when mine decided to tantrum I searched and searched the internet for cures. Despite the endless Google pages on combatting troubled skin, nothing really seemed to work.
After studying my skin I realised I was suffering from 'comedogenic acne' which turned out to be the question with the least answers (typical). You can tell you have comedogenic acne if there aren't any telltale signs as to why you're getting spots i.e they aren't a reaction to product, diet, hormones, cleanliness etc.
You can't seem to predict a pattern aka WHY ARE THEY HERE, I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M DOING WRONG. Another major clue is if you have skin coloured bumps on your face whose appearance worsen with makeup. These are closed comedones aka super clogged pores aka motherfucking bitches.
You might know what caused yours but I had no idea - I had been using the same products and routine for ages and all of a sudden they appeared. I did have a spell of stressful months so perhaps that's what did it.

Below is a list of products I've used that have helped clear up my skin - I am no skin expert - this is just what has worked for me and most things won't break your pocket!

Anyway onto the action.

1) I'm starting with the mental because a lot of what makes troubled skin so troubling is how it effects your self-confidence, self-love and mental wellbeing. It was very stressful for me to feel prisoner in my own skin. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. So one day, after I was fed up of covering my face with my hands and clothing, I though fuck it, let me just post a picture. I uploaded the below picture to Instagram and I honestly felt the weight lift. It's very moving how much support you get from friends and strangers - more so it makes you realise you're not alone in your skin stress and you are, of course, still divine and beautiful. My mind thanked me. Following my IG post, I was approached by a brilliant photographer who asked me to model for her book on acne which was the ultimate self-image liberation. 

*I know my skin isn't at all the worst out there but it was a lot worse than shown in the below pic. I only raised enough don'tgiveafuck attitude half way through my clear skin journey.*

Pic on the left was taken in November. Pic on the right is me Today.

Washing:

2) La Roche-Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish Kit : £25
- I used this until the products ran out (I think it's about a months supply) It is veryyyy drying but definitely kickstarted my routine effectively. I saw a difference and wanted to re-up on the kit as recommended by the brand but it's about £25 so I didn't buy it again for financial reasons lol. I do think if I had bought it again, it would have pretty much cleared everything up but I'm cheap and on a long ting so nevermind.
*follow instructions on kit* 
*E45 is a good combat cream for dryness*
http://www.boots.com/la-roche-posay-effaclar-3-step-anti-blemish-system-10181409

3) Shea Moisture African Black Soap
- I used this and only this for the remainder of my journey and I'm still using it. I will probably continue to use it forever more. It can be a bit drying at first but your skin gets used to it and it's got Shea Butter in it so it's not too bad. I used this with a soft facial sponge morning and night. I put my clarisonic down while my skin was really bad, as harsh exfoliation can irritate your skin and make it worse. 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shea-moisture-Organic-African-Butter/dp/B005C2N8IC

4) Brown Sugar and Honey Scrub : £2
- I make this homemade scrub and use it 1-2 times a week for exfoliation. Be gentle at first. Listen to your skin.
https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/brown---demerara-sugar/sainsburys-fairtrade-dark-soft-brown-sugar-500g

Post Washing:

5) Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner : £6.50
- Every morning and night
https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-gb/range/view-all/tea-tree-skin-clearing-mattifying-toner/p/p000521

6) Sudocrem : £3
- The cream of all creams, the MVP, the magician, the babe, the healer. Ever finished a tub of Sudocrem and not had a child? No? Meet me, I have. I bought a brand new tub of Sudocrem the other day because I had RUN OUT. What a madness. How does one even finish a tub of Sudocrem? That is how much I swear by this, that is how much of a bang out I am. 
- I apply Sudocrem most nights or just wear it during the day if I'm staying at home. It works most times but best when spots or marks are a day or two old. It's also great if you've popped one and need the open skin to heal. It reduces redness and kills things in its path. It's also good for burns or after you've got your eyebrows done and need to cool the skin lol
http://www.boots.com/sudocrem-antiseptic-healing-cream-125g-10006321

7) Mario Badescu Drying Cream : £16
- Mario Badescu products have really impressed me so far. This little tub of dryness is excellent for new breakouts or (like Sudocrem) helping to eradicate them a few days later. Use carefully and sparingly as the tub is small and there's less in it than there appears to be. It's also SUPER DRYING which is no surprise because that's what they called it so try not to use it every day. It's tempting because it works but I alternate between this and Sudocrem. Also be careful not to use it on certain bigger spots because you can dry them out before they come to head and then the stuff will stay under your skin, trapped, unhappy, annoying you even more. Timing is crucial with Drying Cream. You'll have to judge it yourself though, I'm no time expert. 
https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/en-gb/shop/mario-badescu-acne-drying-cream

Bonus for the ballers:

8) Sunday Riley UFO Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil : £34-£68
- I read wonderful, extraordinary things about this here oil. But it was far out of reach because of it's price tag. Mum came thru on Christmas though and my dreams came true! (shoutout Mum) I've only been using it since December but it's definitely giving my skin a luxurious boost as it comes to the end of it's healing period. It's hydrating, smooth, peaceful, calming lol. It's meant to be excellent for you skin while it's at its worst but I can't speak on that as I only got my hands on it as my skin got better. If I could have afforded it earlier, I defo would have purchased. It's made my purge once at the beginning but it was worth it. 
https://www.cultbeauty.co.uk/sunday-riley-u-f-o-ultra-clarifying-face-oil.html

Makeup
- As you probably know, Makeup can be a massive trigger for blocked pores and skin troubles. I don't wear a lot of it and all I wear is: 
Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue : Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30
Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer

In general, try to look for and use products that have 'non-comedogenic' written on them as this means they basically won't clog your pores. 

I hope this was helpful! Feel free to hit me up with any further questions x

Stay shining, stay happy, stay undefeated. You are glory. 

 

365 Days Later by Thea Gajic

‘my dear vlad, you will be dearly missed. We will all join you sooner or later, but the world was a better and more interesting place with you in it, and because of this I am saddened. Keep well my brother; good journeys.’
           - alejandro toledo (friend via facebook)


My dad was found dead, on this day last year; a heroin overdose. He was 44.

Deaths involving heroin and/or morphine in UK increased from 579 in 2012 to 952 in 2014, the highest age group suffering being 40-49 year olds.  A year on and my dad was one of them. The number of male deaths following accidental poisoning has risen to 79% of all drug related deaths.

I made the decision to speak openly about this due to the utter lack of knowledge/support around drug/alcohol related deaths. Nobody knows what to say and nobody knows how to help. I feared everyone who didn’t know my dad would instantly judge the person he was if they found out what happened.

My dad was born in Serbia (former Yugoslavia) and came to London in the early 90’s after fleeing the Yugoslav Wars where he did a year’s service in the Military Police. He was a non-violent man by nature and it wasn’t uncommon for Serbs to turn to drugs as a way of escapism during this period.
He was in rehab when I was very, very small – I have vague memories of this and I obviously didn’t know it was rehab at the time. I wasn’t actually aware that he ever had drug issues until a few years ago; when he felt I was old enough to know the truth about his past. He’d been clean for as long as I can remember and we had no idea that my dad was using recently or had relapsed.

He wasn’t perfect and I struggled with my relationship with him at times as a lot of us do when we’ve grown up without a father at home. Despite this, we had come to build a wonderfully strong bond over the last handful of years and I knew him as a counsellor, a mentor, a passionate musician and a friend to almost everyone who met him.
It wasn’t the usual stereotypically fuelled drug story – most of them aren’t. There were no bad teeth or squatty flats. No cider in blue plastic bags or greasy haired girlfriends. Instead there was love, pride, unforgettable conversations and advice, adventure, spontaneity and tons of silly, silly laughter.
It was and still is an utter shock.

In the year since his passing I have battled consistently with finding someone relatable to talk it through with despite the overwhelming statistical evidence that a problem is at hand. I have felt abandoned, ashamed and guilty. Overdose deaths often get socially avoided, swept under carpets and covered with shame, stigma and discomfort. As a result of this, much of my coping mechanisms have been quite reclusive due to the lack of relatable sources. I have found writing to him very soothing and the need to release has spilled out into art rather than direct conversation.

Losing a parent is hollowing.  I get most upset thinking of all the things he won’t be there for and all the things he’d love to see that he never will.
I have cried myself to sleep wondering why I couldn’t save him as I always thought love was enough. We must remember that our parents aren’t superhuman in the ways we assume they are. They too have deep rooted issues and tendencies and sometimes-toxic pasts even if they can cover it all underneath the beacon of light they share for us.
It has taken me endless conversations with myself to get to a point where I can practice self-forgiveness. Why can’t we save anyone?

You will drown yourself with what ifs and everyone will tell you it isn’t your fault – not to blame yourself – you were the love of his life; but loss isn’t a rational thing. It is haunting, addictive and overwhelmingly exhausting.


It is important as a human race to talk about things that make us feel uncomfortable, things that we fear, things that others squirm away from or shun, find vulgar, taboo or provoke controversy. It is our primal instinct to stay alive – as individuals and as a species. As with war, poverty, racism, the abuse of power etc - If something is killing large amounts of us, it needs to be addressed whether the cause is self-inflicted or not. We must protect each other and where that fails we must nurture safe places for healing afterward.

I had meetings with BBC3 to try and create a doc exploring my experience and that of other young women who had lost their fathers in similar ways. I was eager to explore how it affected them, their identity and their relationship with men.
The doc never happened but I promised myself I’d write something in the attempt to raise awareness for anyone else going through the same thing.

Trauma (as you may know) knocks you off balance. I have found that the majority of women spend a lot more time working on themselves than the majority of men do. By the time most women are 21 they are quite well in tuned with themselves; I definitely was.
I am not anymore.

Loss changes everything you know to be true; everything becomes trivial and your opinions on most metaphysical things change completely.
I cannot remember the person I was before he died.
I have spent a year juggling with both purposeful ignorance and hyper-awareness. 
I have repeated mistakes and ignored intuition.
I have not loved myself everyday.
I have experienced failed attempts at any sort of romantic relationship.
I have completely revaluated my relationship with men and the values that I think are important in a partner.
I have never understood what longing meant until I couldn’t have what I longed for.

I also know these are all things that can be transferred into positive outcomes and they have added an invaluable level of intricacy to my psyche and creative work. 

My dad told me there are 3 key things that are needed for a balanced, happy life and that you should check in with yourself regularly to keep them all ticked. Those things were:
Something to do
Something to look forward to
Something to love.

I make every effort to ensure I keep these checked.

Loss is surreal and sometimes there is no light at the end of the tunnel for a very long time. Instead there is the thing that fills you with warmth when you laugh or the sight of a sunset after a testing day.
Some moments are wonderful and others tear you back to day one. I don’t think it gets easier but I do know it is possible to let the pain fossilize until it becomes something beautiful.


                   ‘and here you are living
                    despite it all’
                                  - rupi kaur

Thankyou’s:
      My mother – who’s constant love, strength, beauty and subconscious teachings have equipped me with the capacity to heal.
      My best friends – Tola, Paris, Camara and Raphique who came to my house the same night and held me; who hold me still.
      My fathers best friends – who have loved him and me for as long as I can remember and who are like wonderful slices of him whenever I speak to them.
      Everyone who has offered invaluable support, presence, patience and tenderness.

  And my father – for his vibrancy in life, appreciation of art, his flare for adventure and his sharing of vulnerability.  You are missed every day.


Things to note:
International Overdose Awareness day - August 31st  : http://www.overdoseday.com/
CRUSE : http://www.cruse.org.uk/
BEAD : http://www.cruse.org.uk/drugs-and-alcohol

 

 

The Apology by Thea Gajic

We should forgive ourselves.
We are more than the regrets written in diaries that cry as much as the trees they were ripped from.
Our worth stretches beyond manipulated secrets and fingertips that seemingly taint rather than heal.
The empathy within us is more powerful than the whispers we wished we'd muttered before needles stole fathers from our love.
Why couldn't we save them?
Why do we think the downfalls of others are because we aren't enough? 
Self loathing doesn't live in your house young soul.
You are the most magic of the sexes, the sound the world makes when it's silent.
You are the love you crave to fill the canyons in your heart.
You are champagne in a teacup.

We are enough.

We should forgive ourselves.

image.jpg

Talk To Strangers by Thea Gajic

After an extremely hard few days in Serbia for my Dads funeral, I found myself in a worse emotional state than I was in the day I heard the news. Realisation does something worse than shock I think, it stirs doubt and awakens the reality of loss.
Pleased to escape the forever disappointing Serbian authorities, I went ahead with my solo adventure and have now arrived in Toronto.

I don't think anybody can appreciate the value of travelling alone until you do it yourself. I definitely didn't; but in these 7 or so hours I've been here, I have already begun to overcome this smothering sadness that has been following me since August. 

The streets have greeted me with smiling strangers, welcoming glances and quirky shops. The air is different and the vibe is consistently chilled (they also sell Cheetos if you're after some banned childhood nostalgia)

So here I am, a stomach full of Thai food and satisfaction, telling myself (and you) not to ever give up, no matter what happens, something will give you hope again. Something will reignite that spark everyone loves you for. It could take months and it's a slow process but change your energy and your environment, something happens to your body. You thank yourself, you smile again.

Travel, talk to strangers and keep creating yourself.

 


Ripples. by Thea Gajic

something brief, as I have to leave soon.

As I sit here in my 'BMX Girl' casting requirement costume, I can't help but feel extremely positive about the future for women in film and entertainment.
I know it's a long road and there's still hundreds of boundaries to break but I feel we are forcing the world to challenge stereotypes and listen to our deafening talents.

- Viola Davis and Uzo Aduba have just won Emmy's for their performances as leading actresses in a drama series. They are the first black actresses to achieve this, to be given the opportunity to achieve it. As a woman and actress I am moved and motivated. Not only because of the brilliance in their speeches or the depth of devotion each took to their roles but also because of the women who wrote the stories. Stories about things other than our everlasting devotion to men and sex and childbearing. Stories that provoke thought, that question personalities, that challenge the status quo.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2015/sep/21/viola-davis-speech-2015-emmys-video

WOMEN HAVE STORIES. Their are truths in every character, there is half a population of peoples stories that haven't been told because of the fear that is deeply imbedded into our society. Of the unknown, of risks, of the power and beauty in people, in women, who have for too long been shunned because of masculinity and ego.

I will fight to collaborate with beautiful men and women who have wonderful, important stories to tell. Let us not feed this outdated system of gender types and inequality. Let's make art for everyone, let's challenge scripts, ideals and assumptions. Let's write film for ourselves, for others, let's not give up because the studios won't read them. Let's make them anyway.

So here's to women and men who believe in the beauty of each other and the ripples of change we can cause on our planet when we work together.

 

 

the first by Thea Gajic

Hi all,

So here we are, the first post on the first blog of the first site I've ever had!
I'm just here to share some of my work and thoughts with you, as well as those of my beautiful friends and contemporaries who are creating equally brilliant art.

- Watch a film, listen to some music or flick through some photography, whatever you decide to do on here, please wander around these pages at free will, with intrigue, curiosity and love.

I'm not sure which direction I'll take this blog yet, although it's bound to be flooded with film and other creative coolness.

+ make sure you stay in touch! Hit up the 'say hi' page. I'm here to collaborate and make new connections (or just have a good conversation with old and new friends) 

Sending you much light and love

Thea x