5 New Year Promises I Plan To Actually Keep

5 New Year Promises I Plan To Actually Keep

Yes, really I will keep them.

I do not like calling them “New Year’s Resolutions” because some of them are things that I am already doing and I want to keep doing them. They are realistic and if anything, else happens in 2018 that is as awesome as these well then that is just putting some frosting on the cake.

Acknowledging my self-worth

I can be a push over. Plan and simple. I try to put others ahead of myself and in result to doing so, I miss out on opportunities that could have helped in the long run. For others like me, we love to see the happiness or joy on other people’s faces. The second we see the smile, we instantly melt and want to keep the smile on the person’s face, no matter what it takes, including sacrifice of some kind. 2018 will be the year of no ‘sorries’ and ultimately making sure that I have taken care of everything for myself before dealing with others. If there are days when I want to absolutely no one, I should not feel bad about that. It will help be recharge myself, so I can be a better me for the next day.

Not being afraid of what others will think about me

This is a big one for me because, again, I am a people pleaser. But being one is exhausting. I think I was this way since I was a little kid, so it naturally became a part of me. I always tried to get the cool kids to like me, but always failed. Will not lie, I was bullied for most of my grade school life and I didn’t come to terms of how truly independent and special I was until I went off to college. My freshman year was kind of bust, but this year, my junior year, is when I realized that I should just be myself completely and if there are some people who do not like me for who I am, they can leave, no skin off my bones. I will probably be a tad bit upset, but sometimes in life people are meant to be in your life for a chapter, sometimes a paragraph or even a sentence. (Yes, I used that comparison because I am an English major.)

Putting my mental health as one of my top priorities

Sometimes I forget that I need to be my own advocate and then I end up in situations that could have been prevented if I had just spoken up. Being someone who has depression and anxiety is really challenging, and even though I was diagnosed with both 3 years ago, does not mean that it got any easier. Sometimes I go to class and I cannot learn because of how I am feeling and then I cannot concentrate and then I realized I am wasting my mom’s hard-earned money by not learning. I need to become more comfortable in allowing people (especially my school) about what I am going through so I can get help when needed. I recently started letting some of my friends know about this and become more open when they ask me to go out and do things. The old me would just do whatever they wanted, while I knew it was going to be terrible for me. I need to have more faith in the people around me, because I cannot always go through these days alone.

Understanding that I am growing up and so are my friends

This is the year when I would be entering my senior year of college. 20 years of my life have already gone by and I have learned so much from them as well as gain some nice friendships. This year, I shall appreciate my friendships more and not dwell on the times when I cannot be around them or if they are hanging out with other people that are not me. They have their lives and I have mine and sometimes, yes, I wish they accounted for me or included me in more things, but that is not going to help me grow as an individual. I have friends graduating college, getting jobs, getting married, moving across the country and I am so happy for them and that we can all stay the connected and that is the positive outtake that I want to continue to have in 2018.

Make this year a 180 turning point for my life

2018. The year I turn 21, the year my brother gets married, the year I will put a giant step in the direction of my career path and hopefully the year I become 100% me. I want this year to be full of things that will help launch my future. I want it to have scratches and bumps that I can learn from. I want it to make me laugh at 2017 for all the dumb things I used to dwell on because God enabled me to make a 180 turn and hit the ground running with ease into the bright future that I know I will have. I want this to be the year when I look back on it and say “Yep, this is when everything changed”. For all my HIMYM fans, I want this year to be “Legend…wait for it” well I guess we will have to wait for it right?

Cover Image Credit: Deb Greengold

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10 Things You Need To Stop Saying To Girls With Tattoos

Mind your own business and life will be gravy.

What is it about other people that make them feel entitled to tell you how to live your life or what to put on your body. If it's parents or another close family member and you aren't in a state to make the rational decisions for yourself, that is one thing... But if you are perfectly capable to think and act on your own, who are they to stop you?

I have four tattoos right now, do I want more? Yes. Will I get more in the future? More than likely. Should you tell me that I shouldn't? No.

1. But you're so pretty...

Is this a roundabout way to insult me? Because I wouldn't look the same with or without the tattoos? Because having tattoos somehow makes women less pretty? Whatever you're getting at, please stop.

2. I don't understand the meaning of your tattoo.

That's okay because it isn't for you to understand. That is why it is on my body. I understand the meaning, and the ones I care enough about to explain it to also understand the meaning, therefore, you don't need to.

3. Aren't you worried about them sagging or running together or becoming unrecognizable when you are older?

No, no I am not. They do and always will hold a special meaning in my heart, whether you can tell what it is or not. I will always know. It is no secret that the older you get the more the skin sags. If you care that much, then I'll just show you pictures of what they used to look like, and it will give me a good way to reminisce about my younger days.

4. Do you only date guys with tattoos?

No, I don't. But, it just so happens that my boyfriend has one, and we have been together since before either one of us got tattoos. He did actually get a little hotter after the fact, but that is beside the point.

5. Did it hurt?

No, I just had a needle being rapidly punctured into my skin at who knows how many times per second.

YES, it hurts.

But, not for long, and to me, that might even be the appeal of getting tattoos because it is nice to feel pain every once in a while to remind ourselves we are all human and we all bleed red.

Yes, depending on the spot and your body type sometimes you bleed. I got my first tattoo on my rib cage, and I got my second tattoo a short few months later, not to say they didn't hurt but for me, the end result outweighs the pain in that moment.

Pain is temporary, but tattoos are forever.

6. What do your parents think?

Whatever they want to think, honestly. Luckily, I'm fortunate enough to have parents who love me for who I am regardless of my tattoos.

With that being said, they all have tattoos themselves.

They can give me their opinion on the design I choose, but at the end of the day, I am an adult and they aren't going to love me any less if I were to get a tattoo that is not appealing to them.

7. You're going to have such a hard time finding a job.

Actually, I have a job, I know plenty of people in their "adult" jobs that have tattoos and mine are all easily covered if the problem ever arises. Also, you don't know me or my career goals so once again, who are you to tell me about my life?

8. I'm thinking of getting [insert tattoo here], what do you think?

You do you, boo boo. If you like it, GREAT. If it has or doesn't have meaning to you, also GREAT. I don't want you telling me or judging me on the tattoos I decide to put on my body, so I'm sure as hell not going to do it to you.

I may not think it would be good to put on my body, but once again, I am not the one getting it, you are... So have at it!

9. Why would you waste your money on those things?

Idk Sarah, why do you waste money on that expensive ass bottle of liquor knowing it's going to be gone in a few hours, and you will feel like crap the next day? At least mine is permanent and makes me feel empowered ALL THE TIME, unlike your alcohol, that is temporary.

10. When are you going to stop?

When are you?

They all have a very special meaning to me. I won't get a tattoo that doesn't have meaning to me but I WILL NOT judge you for doing it. Because who am I to tell you what to do with your own body. So stop saying these things to women.

Mind ya own business and life will be gravy.

Cover Image Credit: Kayce Davis

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This One’s For Africa


Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.


It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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