The Importance Of Being In The Present

The Importance Of Being In The Present

A reflection on moving forward.
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It seems like an easy concept to follow and yes, it's important for us. But how many of us actually end up doing it? I’m not saying there’s no one, but a good percentage of us always have something else covering up the present. There are two, and only two, things that can mask your present–your past, and future. To be precise, it's nearly impossible to live a life without being haunted by some elements of your past, or without worrying about the future that’s a Utopian vision. But what I’m proposing is that you clear up your mind a teeny bit and live in the present, or at least a part of it.

Living in the moment might seem like a cue line from movies, which says let’s get drunk and forget everything. Well, that can be one of the different interpretations, but the one I’m focusing on deals more about the time when you're conscious of what's happening. Most of the time, when you're about to start something new, there’s a voice that haunts you with memories of failure. It says that you can’t do it.

Another block to the initiative would be our predictions about the future. We have an interesting way of thinking, and we come up with “all” possible endings in which the odds are never in our favor. And by the way, the quotes on "all" was intentional. Though we might think through a dozen different possibilities, it's hard to consider all the factors at the same time, kind of the like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. So what’s the best alternative to all the hassle? It's easy on paper, just do it. But unless you actually execute what you have in mind, you never achieve the actual scenario. I do agree that you need to plan out things beforehand, but have hope that things can actually turn out well.

I can dedicate this whole paragraph to historical figures who did what they wanted to do, despite the predictions. But you’ve probably heard a lot of that already from a lot of places. So let’s focus on the present. What can be done and what can you expect when doing something that you want to do? Do expect a positive outcome, that’s rule number one. But this rule comes with a clause, which is that you also need to accept the fact that things can turn around, as well.

I just remembered a story someone told me a long time ago. A person was scared that getting out into the world is gonna kill him because a car might hit him, the street sign may drop on him, so on and so forth. So he locked himself up in a room and still ended up dead. Earthquake. Wait... that’s not how the story goes, but you get the point. You can stay inside and do nothing and still be scared, so why not face the problem and get on with your life? If you expect the worst possible scenario, the actual scenario might disappoint you. The present may seem scary, but most of the time, it’s just our predictive nature. Have a sense of judgment and prediction, but know also that it’s hard to predict everything unless you have some magical powers.

It’s easy to be distracted by thinking about your past or being so focused on the future. We do need to look at the past and learn, and we need to have some goal for the future. But if you get fixated, you end up losing the pathway to your future, which is the present. It's scary when you realize that time doesn’t actually stop. It knows only one way, and that's forward. A moment lost is lost forever (not my words, but some other great soul said it). But does that mean we shouldn't waste a single moment? That seems impossible. What I’m trying to say here is that you can plan and mourn the future and the past, but you don’t get anywhere near either. You can’t change the past, but use the present and correct the wrongs. Nor can you predict everything. You can merely hope and use the present to reach your goal. The key is the present.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...

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Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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