Sara Radin, Writer, Curator, and Trend Forecaster

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This week's #gooeygirlcrush is none other than Sara Radin of It's Not Personal. I first met this brilliant and talented soul when our mutual friend Natalie suggested we all work together on a panel Sara was curating earlier this year.  The result was an event as inspiring, energizing, and healing as the brain behind it. In the time that I've known Sara, she's shown herself to be a true crusader for women everywhere, urging them to find the courage and self-love necessary to lead their best lives all on their own. I'm so happy to have her in my life and I can't wait to share her incredible perspective with you all. Without further ado... "I’m a writer and curator living in Brooklyn, New York. Full time, I work as the Youth Culture Editor for WGSN. I write and forecast cultural trends for Millennials and Generation Z, and consult global brands on what’s new and next for younger consumers. Outside of my full time gig, I do mentoring, memoir writing and curate events – I’ve orchestrated everything from disco parties, to pop-up art events, dinner parties, workshops, and panels in New York, Los Angeles, London and Montreal. My writing is deeply personal, and it’s been published by outlets such as BUST, Huffington Post Women, and Thought Catalog. This year I’ve also been mentoring a teen girl writer through a program called Girls Write Now, and I previously taught the precollege program at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Right now, I’m also working on a project called It’s Not Personal which started as my own poetic response to past relationships. With the help of my co-founder Vanessa Gattinella it has now become a global project. We call it a growing anthology and collective inspired by the female dating experience. Every month, we share writing and art by our contributors through a column with BUST Magazine Online, and host a workshop or event at the New Women Space in East Williamsburg. We also have a popular Instagram account and Facebook group, where we try to dissect the messages we consume around dating, sex and love. We’re currently accepting writing and art submissions via email. So far, we’ve received submissions from places as far as Milan, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Chicago and have hosted events in Philadelphia, London and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to publish an anthology next year and curate a large-scale exhibition.

I realize “self-care” is a very trendy term right now, (I forecast trends for a living) but I think at the heart of it is a really powerful movement where we’re starting to live more consciously of our own needs and learning how to put ourselves first. Finally!

For too long, I, like a lot of women, have ignored my own needs. I think a lot of this has had to do with the culture we’ve been brought up in. We put an unhealthy amount of pressure on women to be super-human and to put everyone else’s needs first instead of our own. We’re afraid of being called selfish, when being self-aware is actually a really valuable and necessary thing. Too often, we tell ourselves to “go with the flow” sometimes to the point of it being damaging to our emotional or physical well-being. We wait until we shatter to realize we’re not living in tune with our own needs. And then, we’re left to glue the pieces of ourselves back together. My project, It’s Not Personal, has helped me come to terms with this being an unhealthy way of living, and I’ve since been learning to be more in check with myself this year.

For lack of a better phrase, I used to wait until shit hit the fan to realize it was time to take better care of myself. Last year, I had really driven myself to the ground with passion projects, commitments, dating, and more. And then pretty much out of nowhere my cousin died. He was 27, the same age as me at the time. I was completely shell-shocked. I went into existential crisis mode. Around that same time, I had been seeing a new guy. So I invited him over, looking for comfort but instead, he really disrespected me. The thing was, I hadn’t been living consciously of my physical or emotional needs. So those two things combined pushed me over the edge.

I was at such a low that I couldn’t physically move, eat or do anything. And I couldn’t stop crying. So I took a weekend to rest and recharge. Crazy as it sounds, I hadn’t let myself have a weekend to just be with myself and process my emotions in maybe forever. I learned a lot from that experience – I realized I needed to take better care of myself and that I had to start saying no to things that were no longer serving me, like the project I was working on at the time and men who weren’t respectful, among other things.

Since that point, I’ve had a few more “breaking points” (that’s life after all!) but every time, my recovery period has gotten better. I’ve grown stronger, and more sure of myself and my needs throughout each struggle. I feel like I’ve been shedding my layers and becoming the strong and powerful female I’ve always strived to be, largely because I am finally putting myself first. While I am so much more sure of myself, I also feel more patient and trusting of myself. It’s this change in mindset that has helped me turn ideas into realities and opportunities I’ve always wanted, in a way that feels more natural and organic. Today, I feel really good about planting seeds and watching them grow more slowly, and letting things happen as they’re meant to. I’m finally letting myself sit back, and enjoy the process of being a work in progress.

My own self-care practice is still a work in progress, which, as you might be able to tell, is my life mantra. For me, self-care is a lot of different things. Some days, it’s taking a hot shower after a long ass day, sitting at the bottom of the tub and letting the water pound on my back while I breathe in the steam. Sometimes, it’s having time to myself to make dinner and do laundry on Sunday nights to get ready for the week ahead. On weekday mornings, it’s eating fruit and yogurt for breakfast. On weekends, it’s being immersed in nature or art whenever I can, taking leisurely walks around my neighborhood and noticing the beauty around me that’s so often overlooked. For me, self-care is really about making time for being alone with myself and my thoughts, and writing through my emotions. Plus, it’s spending time with loved ones and the people who make me feel warm and fuzzy, inspired and alive. But I think foremost, it’s learning to say no to things that don’t feel right, and making time for myself to lay low when I feel like I’ve overloaded my schedule or I’m running out of energy.

Another thing I’ve realized is how cathartic it is to bring women together and get them creating or talking about stuff that really matters – whether that’s self-love or how to have a more honest dating life, there are so many things we need to talk about! In the last year, I’ve learned the true value of creating experiences that give women the opportunity to share, heal, grow and move forward. I feel really lucky to have access to a community and a sanctuary like the New Women Space where that is the main focus. That kind of support system is so often lacking when you live in a big city like New York.

When it comes to self-care products, I’ve recently gotten into healing mists. My friend Jessica runs this awesome natural skin care line called Palermo Body and has this really amazing facial toner made with rosewater, chamomile, aloe and witch hazel. I spray a few sprits on my face in the morning and always feel refreshed. During the day I’m a very high energy person, so winding down at night is really important. At night, I use the Love Healing Mist by Mackenzie Flynn, which I recently discovered at a store called Downerss on a trip to Philly. It’s made with mineral water mixed with rose quartz and geranium, which is really calming and refreshing right before bed. I also like to light candles and sometimes have a hot cup of chamomile tea, both help me relax at night.

Another product I’ve recently gotten into is a Coconut Shea Hair Balm by Eden Bodyworks. It makes my hair feel really healthy and I love the smell. Since it’s natural, I also rub some on my hands and a little on my face. I’m obsessed with Glossier’s Balm Dot Calm in the rose flavor, and also really like their face wash. I’ve always been sensitive to scents, but both of them are really subtle and nice.

My self-care wisdom would be to ignore the outside voices and learn to listen to your own needs. Figure out what makes YOU feel good and only put your heart into things that feel like you. These aren’t things we teach or often practice out loud, but learning these lessons has been so valuable for me. Another would be to make time to sit with your emotions, to feel them through, to ask yourself why you’re feeling them, what can you do with them, and how can you use them to learn, create or grow forward.

To stay up to date on my projects, follow me on Instagram and check out my website. And be sure to send in art and writing submissions for my project It’s Not Personal to itsnotpersonal@gmail.com."

– as told to Gooey Girl

Images c/o Sara Radin