An Open Letter To Shame

An Open Letter To Shame

It's Time I Let You Go.
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The weight of a boulder sinking from your tongue to your belly button.

The sound of a clock at the back of your brain; a feverish ticking that will never cease. Unspoken words sunk to the bottom a dark abyss like an abandoned ship- waterlogged and seasick.

Dear Shame,

When I was a child, you draped over me like an old quilt.

You placed your finger over my lips when my cries interrupted the peace of passengers on airplanes. You squeezed my shoulders tightly when I could not paint inside the lines. You were a library with no exit signs, an eternal home for silent speakers. With flushed cheeks, I learned to apologize for the sound of my voice.

You slowly climbed up my legs and down my throat like a malignant vine until you became a part of me. Now, when I inhale air into my asthmatic lungs, I exhale shame as carbon dioxide and poison from all the lives I have not lived.

You've devoured my insides and placed them carefully in a recycling bin- now I see them in plastic bottles and refurbished furniture. I hear my stories in the mouths of other girls who look nothing like me.

You are the sand I consumed on the preschool playground. Grit in my teeth, I did not tell anyone I had tried to swallow the beach. I did not want to be scolded for silly sunbathing. You are elementary school slivers, when I walked barefoot to feel the ground beneath my toes. You are school lunches I was hungry for, but was too afraid to eat. You are carrot sticks and celery, and pizza stains behind my bed.

You are ghost skin in middle school hallways and boys with cruel intentions. You are bottled sunshine and liquid gold that streaks my kneecaps. You are sports bras that I wear to make my breasts smaller. You are the two bras that I wore to make them look big.

You are olives on finger tips that I ate like blueberries. The scales I counted and the meals I skipped.

You are the tiles I measured in high school hallways.The skirts I held down when I walked up stairs. You are the shoulders I covered with two-finger straps. The fingertip lengths my dresses did not match. You are the ripped jeans I wore on weekends. The cigarettes I wanted to smoke. The friends I wanted to have, the friends that I lost.

You are the mountains on my skin that erupt like volcanos and craters that got left on the moon. The scars on my wrist that I covered in tar. You are fingerprints left on my bedroom mirror. You are roses left on my bedroom floor.

You are the nose that I pierced so that I would always smell metal instead of the perfume of my almost lover.

You are the shadows that I used to hide in my closet. The clothes that are too small and the clothes that are too big. You are the letters I wrote but never put a stamp on. You are my legs the moment before I trim off the hair. You are the sadness with which I play hide and go seek.

You are the boys that have looked at me like penny-candy, and the girls who have looked at me like gold. You are broken piano keys and a pas de deux where I always step on my partners feet.

You are in my throat, and do not let me speak.

Dear Shame,

You've fertilized flowers in my small intestine and bees sting my insides whenever you are near. It hurts, but God, how good it feels to grow daisies.

Dear Shame,

My acne scars are purple constellations dotting my pale skin. My sexuality is a map of bruises and self discovery that leads to glorious places. My sadness is low tide on the ocean, and oh God how I love to swim. My weight is measured by the meals and conversations I enjoy with friends.

My skirts are hiked up, you can see the creases of my skin. My legs are unshaved. My poems do not rhyme. My homework is unfinished on my unmade bed. My nails are chipped, my lips are chapped, I am undone.

I have mailed my letters. I have forgiven myself. When I sing off key, I write it into the song. I run naked on the pavement to feel the lives I live boiling inside of me. I paint outside the lines and strangers call it art. I tell my stories to strangers and recycle them into soda cans for the girl who is too thin.

The sand between my teeth has created beautiful scratches of enamel and beaches are blooming in my bleeding gums. I am a hot air balloon, I am a noisy airplane ride. I am a screaming child in the library in town. I am a torn flag waving in a summer parade. I am free.

Dear Shame,

You are a five letter word...but so is "pride".

Dear Shame,

I lived within your darkness for a while, but I had to see the light.




Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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