20 Years of Pokémon

20 Years of Pokémon

A small "thank you!" to Nintendo.
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This past Friday on November 18th, 2016, Nintendo released the next highly anticipated set of games within the Pokémon series. Pokémon Sun and Moon, introducing the brand new Alola region along with a new generation of Pokémon, sold over 10 million copies worldwide on just its release date. Not only that but the game also achieved a high record for the most downloads for its special demo with over three and a half million downloads. Needless to say, there were many excited for this game, including myself, and it has not disappointed at all.

With such record-breaking numbers, I think it's safe to call the Pokémon series, which dates back to being first released in the year 1996, a very impactful video game series to come from Nintendo. Alongside video game series like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon has always remained a staple video game series within Nintendo's history and it's something that we still see today in many different ways.

It always amazes me to know that I'm about the same age as this video game series. It's also interesting to see what people think of when the word "Pokémon" is spoken because it can mean so many different things for everyone. Like, for example, if you hear the word Pokémon in an area where a lot of people have their phones out, it's most likely that these people are playing Pokémon Go on their phones. However, for someone like me who has been around Pokémon related everything all her life, it's a little different.

Being the youngest of three siblings and also being surrounded by older cousins who had their hands on video consoles way before me, I was introduced to this series fairly young. I still remember nearly ever weekend I would spend watching the Pokémon anime with my older brother and sister and how obsessed they were with collecting all those cards. Even I started getting more involved with the series when I got my own copy of Pokémon Ruby for the Gameboy SP. I played it to the point of internally wrecking the game and my cartridge would not be able to save my game anymore. However, ironically enough, it wasn't until most recently where I've fallen more in love with the series. I got the remastered version of Ruby (formally known as Omega Ruby) for the 3DS as present for my birthday this year and ever since, I've been thinking about how much this series has been impacting me from the beginning. Even before I got Omega Ruby, I preordered Sun to try and get back into the game series and now that it's out, I haven't stopped playing.

So with that being said, I'd like to personally thank Nintendo for bringing such a powerful video game series to the surface. It's brought so much joy and excitement for millions worldwide with myself included. Playing a whole lot recently, even if it's just on my phone catching Pokémon near me, or on my 3DS with the new game has reminded me how fulfilling it can be playing this game.

I hope this series continues to be a big impact in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: pokemon-sunmoon

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Fake World - My Personal Experience On Instagram

Body Dysmorphia, Followers, and Posting Photos—How can Instagram NOT affect my mental health.

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The sticker on Kendall Jenner's phone says, "social media seriously harms your mental health." Despite her heavy presence online, she and many others are taking steps towards pointing out the dangers of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and other social media.

While it may seem like a source of inspiration, social media (Instagram in particular), seems to be causing people like me more negativity than anything else.

"People like me…", what does this mean? I am a 19-year-old female college student with serious body dysmorphia. By definition, body dysmorphia is "a distinct mental disorder in which a person is preoccupied with an imagined physical defect or a minor defect that others often cannot see." Those with the disorder often perceive themselves as ugly or obsess over ways to improve their physical appearance.

I grew up in the ballet world—one that emphasizes your weight and bases a large amount of success on attaining a specific body type. The ideal silhouette is long, willowy, and malnourished-looking. I have a more muscular build for a ballet dancer. Some days I see myself as a beautiful person on the inside and out, and other days I am the complete opposite.

My body dysmorphia comes and goes, but I know this: every time I open the Instagram app, I become consumed with my physical appearance and attaining the perfect body. I end up in a comparison game that I did not sign up for, obsessing over my imperfections and ultimately feeling unhappy despite all the blessings I have been given.

I initially created an Instagram to follow the trends—everyone at the time (when I was in middle school and high school in the 2010s) had an account and posted cool, artsy photos. I wanted to join in because I liked being behind the camera. Soon enough, however, Instagram started to place emphasis on being in front of the camera and now, seems to be a competition about who can look the best and show the most skin. As someone who is not always comfortable in her own skin no matter the outfit, it becomes quite the struggle to keep up with the followers, likes, comments, and appearance of being confident.

It was not until this year that I started to realize "the fake" in just about every photo on my feed. The "Instagram models," real-life models, and others post constantly because it brings fame, attention, and for some, confidence. I applaud anyone who believes Instagram is a positive in their lives, but many people that I know feel the same way I do—even without explicitly saying so. I am constantly reminding myself that people pay to have their photos edited. There are other apps like Facetune which are designed to alter the real-you into Instagram-you. I believe Instagram is wishful thinking—wishing you really look like what you post. While I take part in the comparison game, comparing every part of my body to famous models, I do not take part in the paid editing game. I do not have apps that will give me a jawline or thinner legs. I do not have an app that will change my face shape. I do not applaud myself on this, as I am more self-conscious than ever and have not posted a photo since February.

However, I am strong enough to know that the fake world on Instagram does not take into account real-life aspects like someone's charisma, personality, voice, behavior, etc. It does not guarantee you friends, likes, or happiness. It is taking a chance to put yourself out there, however you wish. It is up to you to interpret what you see and have a sense of your own self-worth.

With this being said, Instagram does come with some benefits. There are a few brave souls who are not afraid to post un-edited photos and who do bring awareness to the falseness and extreme editing. Instagram also comes with accounts not dedicated to selfies, but that serve as platforms for important causes such as human suffering, pollution of the earth, animal brutality, and the like.

Instagram is overwhelming with its positives and negatives, and it is up to me to decide what to believe and what to perceive as false. I find it helpful to take breaks from the app by logging out. Whenever I do decide to post next, I will do my best to post for ME, thinking about my own well-being and creating a positive message for all.

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