Self-Help

Weighting to Be Beautiful

Weighting to be Beautiful

Do you ever find yourself weighting to be beautiful?

Weighting till you’re a zero to wear that dress,

Weighting till you have the perfect hair and your skin is fair enough,

For you to feel happy

Don’t weight anymore.

What if you could have it ALL right now

It’s all here

Woman you have it all

You don’t have to change at all

Everything you need is right here

You are what you need

Look no further.

Isn’t that amazing?

Don’t you feel happier?

Aren’t you overflowing

With joy—you finally weigh enough

So now there’s zero need to fit (in)

Don’t you see that your smile is bright enough to light up the room

Don’t you see you are glowing

Embrace that warmth

Be grateful.

Why weight if there is nothing to wait for?

-a famous poet person ©️

I’m no poet, but felt that this was the best way to begin writing this little thought.  I had the smallest inkling that it is common for other people to wait until they are more of this or more of that to do something that they want.  It could be actual physical weight or it could be a measurement of talent.  It’s just a hunch—do correct me if I am wrong.  The moment when you have that awesome epiphany, that you are enough of everything you could possibly need, is captured right here.

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Self-Help

We’re Going On a Break

Introduction

The past couple of months, I have hit a turning point in my life. The sort of experience I have had is something many people can resonate with–I truly hope it does.  

I decided to write about it  a couple of days ago on my usual 6:30 am bus ride to my classes.   The night before I was going insane.  Why — you might ask? I made the executive decision to cut back on my extracurricular activities, and I was unable to make peace with the fact that I had all of this extra time.  While I was not as busy as some of my peers, who legitimately get no sleep and pack every single waking second with activities, I did run long mileage every day for cross country and participated in a couple of clubs (though they did not demand much attention).  Without the structure in my schedule, I was not used to just…chilling.

Wow.  Is the utterance of  such a word even prohibited within the walls of an educational establishment these days?   I learn in an environment in which it is expected that students are tired all of the time.  We live in a world where stress is synonymous with success.  What has this expectation created? It has created unhappy and unsatisfied people.  One of the first messages that I got on my phone that morning from a close friend–after feeling so utterly disappointed in myself for relaxing– was “school is making me so tired and sad that break is the only thing keeping me going”.  Naturally, I asked her why that was the case, although I knew the answer, and she responded with: “because it’s a never ending cycle of tests and work and then after winter break, we have it for like 3 straight months”.

I do not believe that people should wake up dreading their day.  All of my life–and probably all of your life– we have been brainwashed into thinking that the only way you can be happy is if you make it through the system.  You know, a life loaded with extracurriculars and exceptional grades, in order to attend a reputable school to get a job that pays well… and so on.  I could write a book about this perfect, picket-fenced life, but the concept is too boring, square, and ridiculous to do so.  These expectations have the byproduct of people who are too busy doing things they think they SHOULD be doing, to get to know their own needs, wants, desires, and skills.

I cracked under the pressure, and I am happy that I did.

The Rocky Relationship

Things just are not working.  There’s a miscommunication between you and yourself.  You guys just are not happy.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, pause to think.  Pause to think right after these next questions.  What is the purpose of living your life: what drives you, what puts that gigantic, contagious smile on your face, what do you wish to get out of your life?

Getting to legitimate rock bottom has made me question a whole slew of things.  It made me question all of my intentions, decisions, and most of all how I treat myself.  It made me ask myself what in my life makes me happy.  Along with that, I embarked on a crazy journey where I began to learn to listen to myself.  It sounds very simple, but I recommend giving it a go.  After all, you only have one life to live.  Is it really worth doing what other people want you to? Is it worth not doing what you innately want to? I apologize for the questions, but I genuinely want you to think about this.

If you are getting the answers I think you are getting, then it may be time to go on a break, or at least it’s time to reconsider parts your life to shape them into how you actually want it to be.  There is simply not enough time to not be living the life you want to.  Don’t worry: you are not going to end up living on the side of the road if you let go a little.  I promise.

Now take pit stop and take in some of these quotes to get your feet wet:

“I intend to live life, not just exist.”

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”

“I try to explain to people that the only way to be cool is to be who you truly are, and the only way to live life is to do the things that you want to do and be the person that you want to be no matter who that is or what that is or how you have to do it. That’s the only way you can be genuinely happy.”

Quotes are from Brainy Quote…Don’t Judge

The AWKWARD Conversation

It is time to part ways with the expectations other people have for you or the expectations you think are there.  This shows up in the part of yourself forcing you to do things you do not want to.  “I am sorry, but I think that it is best that we go our separate ways until I am ready for you again” 

You must re-train that part of yourself  to work for you; not against you.

Re-define YOUR Success

Think of the ways that things have been done in the past and how they are being done now.  Now, I challenge you to think of the effect that it has had.  According to some expert google searching, a Teen Ethics Poll that 787 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 taken in 2006 found that “44% of teens say that they feel strong pressure to succeed” and that “eight in ten student feel that success is important no matter what” (Source 1).  I wonder how these students have been taught to define success.  That was a whopping twelve years ago.  Just imagine how much that statistic has grown with the newly social media immersed environment we live in.

A wise girl I came across in this quick research named Mary-Kate B , who attends Georgia Cyber Academy,  proudly states that her “definition of success is when you are truly satisfied with your own life and achievements, and feel you have performed to the best of your abilities in all aspects” (Source 2).

Now is the time to look inside of yourself instead of outside of yourself to define your success at the moment and what that might look like to you in the future.  It is so easy to check out what everyone else is doing to see how we are doing in comparison.  If you do this, it probably is not serving you.

Task: Journal the following…

  • What you are proud of in your life
  • What makes you happy to be alive
  • What you are currently responsible for
  • What does your schedule look like
  • What do other people expect of you
  • What the pressures you feel are: from your peers, parents, society, etc.
  • Lastly: What does success look like to you?

Where are you right now?

Maybe it’s been a long time since you have checked in with yourself.  Sit down.  How are you doing in this moment? How does your body feel? It is important to do this research. Chances are that it has been a long time since you have had a real one-on-one.  All of this stress may be presenting itself in the body.  Where you are right now is an accurate indicator of what you need.

First of all, take comfort in that in this moment you are where you belong.  You always are.

  1. Do a body scan like this one.
  2. Take it all in.  Maybe write everything down in a journal.
  3. Take each feeling and equate it to something.  For example, if you are tired, you need more sleep.  If you are feeling restless, you might need a breather.  If you feel tight, maybe you need to get moving.  Your shoulders could be tense: you are stressed.  Maybe you are hungry and/or thirsty.
  4. Take note of what is on your mind.

-Examples: lonely, scared, anxious, unfulfilled, etc.

  1.  Decide what you need.

You did not just do all of that work for nothing.  There is a reason for everything that you feel right now.  Do not ignore all of that.  Take action in a non-judgmental way.

It’s time to Breathe on Your Own

Guess what? It does not say anywhere on paper that you must do high school, college, work, or life a certain way.  I repeat: You are not required to do it like everyone else.  Once you remove yourself from the cycle of things, you can observe your life and change whatever you like.  No, you really do not have to remove yourself from your activities or do anything radically different.

It may be helpful to do some research on alternate paths.  Even if you would never actually do online schooling or do not have the means to study abroad, it is freeing to consider what options you might have.  You have the opportunity to make time for something you are passionate about.  People have found very interesting and unique ways to do this. I added a few links below for you to begin some research.  You have the ability to customize your life.  There are innumerable ways to do life the way you want to depending on your goals.

  1. Consider your passions
  2. Look for more opportunities to incorporate that into your day
  3. Take a look at your needs and decide how you can incorporate them into your daily practice as well.
  4. Tell the people in your life about what you might change.  It is definitely worth talking about, and you may encourage them to do the same.

Here is a list of random links for inspiration- EXPAND YOUR MIND:

Bucket List

Customizing your High School Career

Online High School

Pre-College Programs

Starting a Business

Make a Website

Write a Book

Take Risks

How to do things your way

What are you passionate about

Self Help Books: You are a Badass and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k (there are 3 different links here)

Confronting your Ex

No, you are not going to exterminate all of your responsibilities and become a monk living in the mountains meditating all of the time–unless you want to of course. However, it is worth becoming more in tune with yourself.  I might have just told you something you already know, but a reminder like this is something EVERYONE needs.  I want this article to be like one of those road signs that can point readers in the right direction.  Also, no this is not a vain or self absorbed thing to do (just look up the Oxygen Mask analogy).  If you did not know already, you are human.  Everyone may seem like they have everything together, but they sure do not.  There is certainly no shame in being a mess–nobody is immune.  Take a breather and think a little bit.  There is no harm in thinking about what you want.  Showing up for yourself is not a waste of time. Take it from someone who just spent two hours doing something that I enjoy, purely because it made my life even more worthwhile.

featured, Self-Help

Pimples are “In”

Whether you are a girl or a guy, the first hour of the day probably consists of prepping yourself to go out into the world.  Some care more about what people think when they see them than others.  There are also those who don’t give a damn what impression they bestow on others, and create a certain look just for their own confidence.  There is a whole scale ranging from those who roll out of bed and plunge right into their day, to the people who spend time making sure they have a balanced bronzer-highlighter ratio.  This article is for those who really do care and are questioning why that is.

Sometime ago, I woke up feeling pretty fed up with my pimples.  I came up with the idea of abandoning my makeup products for a month, with the hope that my skin would clear up.  I was going to run the idea by a friend, but before I did, the topic of self esteem came up in conversation.  Then the idea was born.  I decided to kill two birds with one stone by prohibiting myself from using makeup products and heat tools with the hope of ending up with improved hair, skin, and mentality.

Day 1

I am someone who from day one took pride in my appearance.  My mom has told me that I always wanted to pick my own outfits and dress myself as a kid.  One can imagine what could go wrong with a four year old dressing herself.  Nonetheless, mini-me was very opinionated and relentless.  Anyway, this attitude continued throughout my life and into my teenage years when the godsend of makeup and hair tools were introduced into the equation.  Like most people my age lacking confidence in my physical appearance, I latched onto these things and they became part of my routine that I did not question.  It felt good that my appearance was something that I was in control of.  Most people have fun trying out new looks, palettes, curls, etc. It sounds corny, but making yourself up provides the opportunity to express yourself.  I tried out the liners, the eyeshadows, the lipsticks, the curls, the waves, and whatever else seemed flattering.  Eventually, I found what suited my preferences and what I liked.  In all honesty, it was not until recently that I questioned why I spent this time doing this.

It seemed interesting to see what would happen, if me–the person who usually looks put together and enjoys it and all, just stopped caring.  The first day in public without makeup and my hair done, I felt pretty insecure and could feel myself walking with less confidence.  I began to realize that my confidence had become dependent on how I looked.  That revelation made my stomach drop.  Upon considering this habit, the gross feeling of vanity and self absorption almost made me sick, giving me more interest in completing the challenge.  I wondered, maybe it’s the generation that I have grown up in with the me me me attitude or if it was a normal teenage phenomena.  

Week Two

It just so happened that I ran out of contacts a few days after I started the challenge, so I was stuck wearing glasses. Contrary to what one may think, after not wearing makeup for a few days, my skin broke out.  I was blessed by the gods of complexion with oily skin and pimples–it was exactly what I needed then.

Here I was, my face full of pimples and my glasses completed the look.  At night I wear a retainer and recently started using an acne medication, so it was an interesting sight to see.  For some reason, I did not feel embarrassed; those feelings were present the first few days.  Maybe I was embracing my raw and unfiltered self.

I stopped doing these entries after the first week, but stayed committed to the challenge.  There were a couple days in the beginning that I did cheat, but then made up those days.  Why did I cheat?  One of those days was picture day for my team, so I convinced myself that I needed to look good for the sake of the yearbook.  At the end of the day though, quite literally, I remember looking in the mirror thinking, “I look exactly the same as I did without makeup” and that it was not worth messing up my little challenge.  The other day that I cheated, I had just gotten the most beautiful new mascara and I really wanted to try it out.  Distracted by the awesomeness of the mascara, I went to school with it on, and my best friend called me out.  To my surprise, she gasped and said “Sara you’re wearing makeup. Cheater!”.  Then she jokingly said, “You’re only hurting yourself.”

She was right. I was only lying to myself, and I desperately wanted to prove that I could go a month without makeup and heat.  From then on, I went on with my mission and business went on as usual for a seemingly long month.

Throughout the thirty day period, I  did get a few comments.  However, aside from my closer friends, no one really noticed that I stopped wearing makeup, so I rolled with it.  Most people just complimented my natural hair.  I came to the conclusion, that most of my insecurity is just in my head.  I asked my mom if I looked any different one day in a car ride home from track practice.  Looking at the road, she simply said “no, I mean you look pretty much the same.”   I asked “seriously, mom, you don’t notice any difference?”.  She proceeded to look at me with confusion, and the conversation switched to dinner.

I had written that I felt less confident at first.  After the first fifteen days, I was becoming pretty comfortable with how I looked.  My pimples disappeared, and whether anyone noticed or not, my skin looked better than it had in awhile.  I started to get used to my eyes being less defined and my hair not being in “perfect” curls.  One day someone even commented that they never noticed I had freckles, which may or may not have made my day.

If you care enough to wonder if I just rolled out of bed looking like a hobo everyday, the answer is a big no.  The challenge guidelines were no makeup and no heat.  I used neither, but I am guilty of some loopholes.  According to my friend’s justification, these loopholes did not fracture the integrity of the challenge.  I must confess; I did curl my lashes.  I also slept in braids, to keep my hair from becoming a frizzy mess.  I kept up with a skin routine with night cream, exfoliant, and my regular day moisturizer.  Other than that, I promise that I am innocent.  It is true, that by doing these things, I was still tending to my appearance.  Makeup and heat are things that you apply to yourself with the goal of changing your appearance.  What I did, just made myself look presentable and did not change my look as drastically.  Though I settled with that excuse, this point did make me doubt the purpose of those endeavors and whether doing so fractured the intention of the challenge.  The fact that I simply could not go without doing those things was something to reflect on.

What changed this month?

One thing for sure that I learned is that people don’t care as much as you think.  I was probably just blinded by a cloud of self absorption to realize that no one gives a fuck (excuse my language).  That’s the thing.  Everyone is caught up in their own problems and other important things to really analyze what you look like.  It was a combination of that and the fact that no matter what, I still have the same face. With or without makeup, I am the exact same person.  If nothing else, my skin looks healthier.

Major Takeaways

Everyone can relate to the great feeling that a great makeup look or perfectly composed outfit can bring.  It can truly transform how you approach your day.  One might say that it is vain to spend time tending to your appearance, but I say the opposite.  Look at it this way.  Your time is an investment.  It is valuable to spend your time on a routine that will make you feel confident and be the best version of yourself that you can be.  If spending an extra few minutes on your hair or choosing an ensemble will ultimately give you the boost you need to feel like a boss, then go on and do it!

It is okay to care about what you look like.  It is fine if you want to look a certain way.  What matters is that you are comfortable with yourself without those things so your confidence does not become dependent on it.  My intention is not to end this article with this lesson figuratively wrapped in a box tied with a bow.  In saying that, I mean that this month really was meaningful and is something that can truly be understood by doing the month without makeup.

When you go out into the world and feel comfortable, it truly shows in how you carry yourself and makes a difference in how you go about your day.   Do not abandon the eyeshadows and concealer.  Don’t throw out your irons and brushes.  Most certainly, do not trash the over priced foundations and highlighters.  As long as you are comfortable with yourself without those things, it is okay and healthy to want to enhance your features.  This experience was unexpectedly eye-opening for me, and I hope that it might encourage others to consider going on a beauty detox too.

food, Self-Help

Game-Changing Pancake Recipe

 

With many new year’s resolutions underway—the most popular one being to improve health and well-being, this recipe could serve as inspiration to avoid imminent distraction from achieving your 2018 goal.  If you are in the mood for some indulgent breakfast, since it is likely that you are trying to deprive yourself of excess sugar and junk, this is the perfect meal.

Let’s take a look at the generic pancake that is usually eaten.  So you have your butter, flour, sugar, eggs, leavening agents, and milk.  According to a simple google search, the standard medium pancake has eleven grams of added sugar.  This recipe only has three main ingredients.  People hold on to your hats, because this is going to surprise you.  My version has bananas, eggs, flour, and a couple additions like baking soda.  Do not worry ; the banana taste is not very prominent.  You will be shocked to find out how great these taste without the added fat that pancakes are normally fried in and the sugar.

Ingredients

⅔ cup whole wheat flour or oats

2 ripe medium bananas

2 eggs

½ teaspoon of baking soda

Splash of vanilla extract

Optional (for added richness and protein): a generous scoop of plain Greek yogurt

 

*Chocolate chips or blueberries

*Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil cooking spray

 

Add all of your ingredients, with the exception of the toppings into a blender and let it go at a medium speed until well combined.  Please do not overmix because this will mess up the consistency.

Heat up a non-stick pan on medium low heat (this pan type is super important, as it eliminates the need to use butter) and if you want, spray some sort of cooking spray on it.

You can make the pancakes as big or as small as you wish and add any preferred toppings.

Incorporate the add-ins after the battle settles into the pan.  Then flip the pancake after the top bubbles and the edges slightly separate from the bottom.  Cook each side until they are lightly golden and fluffier.  It is recommended to use a wide metal spatula.

Now take a second to admire how amazing these pancakes look!

 

Real Talk

Many people cannot stick to their diets or meal plans because they are restricting themselves too much.  After a few days, it is common to give in and splurge on what is being avoided.  You have definitely heard it about a billion times, but striking a balance between the good and the bad can lead to habits that stick.  Take this food for instance.  There are many ways to alter an “unhealthy” food into something delicious that can fuel your body.  Let’s say that you desperately want fries or a burger.  By utilizing the right flavors and ingredients it is so easy to make those two foods good for you and taste amazing.  In fact I will post a recipe for baked sweet potato fries and turkey burgers.  When one thinks of a turkey burger, they think of those disgusting and flavorless frozen ones, but that cannot even be considered food to be honest.  This is the cusp of the issue.  People tend to associate what is deemed healthy with those sort of descriptions.  I am here to say, that it most definitely does not have to be this way.

 

Self-Help

My 7 Tips on How to be a more Informed Person

These simple and non time consuming tips will help you to become a great conversationalist and make you seem more politically aware.  With all of the constant events and issues in the world it is difficult to be knowledgeable about it all.  There’s also the difficulty in choosing what news to trust.  In order to have a more three dimensional understanding of whatever topic it is, you must take all sides into consideration, while being picky.  I apologize in advance for the amount of times I use the word “bias” by the way.
1) Know your sources: What news is least biased?
a.This is the great big question.  For information on how to determine whether what you’re reading/viewing/ listening to is biased, read this page on FAIR.org
NPR, BBC, Google News, Al Jazeera, and USA Today are some of my go-to less biased news outlets.
Why is this important?
If you only are exposed to biased news, your views become biased, and you will not have a good interpretation of the news.  Most definitely, there is going to be a huge chunk of information missing or a whole new point of view you have no idea about.  Bias in its own nature favors a certain group or type of person, which is very limiting.  Why limit yourself to a certain belief?
b. Try to resist confirmation bias. Today with social media and snack-able content, its easy for it to become a habit to watch short snippets of news, which only exposes you to a small part of what you should know. When you have the choice between a short minute-long video and a lengthy article or video, most people are going to pick the short info-graphic video on Now This or Stay Tuned on Snap-chat.  This isn’t to say don’t watch these, but what I am saying is this shouldn’t be the only way you get your news.  Don’t view things that always agree with what you believe, or you’ll be stuck in a box.
FullSizeRender (3).jpg
This chart reflects the sources people are more inclined to trust, which theoretically should be less biased.
FullSizeRender (4).jpg
This goes to show how your views affect how you perceive sources.
2) Read Biased News
FOX News, CNN, New York Times–just to name a few
By doing this you have to force yourself to see around the bias and still increase your understanding.
3)Listen to speeches
Writers often put their own two sense in which can sway your opinion.  By listening to an influential person firsthand, you can judge what you think about them or what they are talking about.
4) Getting your news in everyday
-A good method is listening to podcasts as you get ready for the day. Playing Pod casts is an efficient way to be more informed because you can listen to them while doing anything.  Spotify and the podcast app on your iPhone have hundreds of different networks on a wide range of topics and genres. My favorites are Ted Radio Hour, How I built this,  Radio Lab, The Daily, WSG What’s news,  ABC World News Tonight with David Muir,  What Trump Can teach us about Con Law, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and Stuff You Should Know.
-Make it a habit to read an article that appeals to you on the news app daily (read interesting articles so you keep up the habit)
5) Engage in conversation with people who have different views and have an open mind.
Bring up something that is thought-provoking at the dinner table or something you learned that day.
6) Learn about problems and events in your community and volunteer to experience them first-hand.
I love to volunteer at my town’s Soup Kitchen and the Garden that they own and I try to find opportunities through my school’s programs.  You can look into volunteer opportunities in your town (soup kitchen, school events, local fundraisers, etc.)
7) Read, read, read, and read
“Literately” anything you want (no pun intended)! Books, magazines, newspapers,  articles on apps, blogs about whatever peaks your interest.  This is the number one way to expand your vocabulary and knowledge.