Why Caring for Plants Means Caring for Yourself

Why Caring for Plants Means Caring for Yourself

The advantages of having a care in the (natural) world
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Last June, my friend Hunter gave little succulents to all his graduation party guests. Well, maybe not all of his guests. I had to leave early. Later, when he realized that I hadn't taken a plant, I assured him that "I like plants better outdoors." I wasn't feeling the succulents scene. The heavily-filtered tumblr posts that captured fields of French wildflowers attracted me, but the ones that presented a corner shelf of potted cacti seemed lackluster. This sounds like a bad case of overthinking, and for me, that's no surprise- but I truly sensed that greenery belonged in the wild, in its own ecosystem, and in no system of mine.

However, my ecosystem developed. At my Haverford College apartment, three succulents sit on my windowsill. At my family home, four claim a sun-friendly spot in the study. I love them.

My first plant was a gift from my school. One September day, the arboretum staff set up a table in the dining center and distributed "freshman plants." There were all sorts of plants, but I picked up a mantis-green succulent buddy. I named him "Orlando" so that I could tell people his name and finish the sentence with, "even if he doesn't Bloom." (Get it? Get it?) Although Freshman Plant Day might simply exist to advertise the arboretum, I feel that literally giving life to college students- or to anyone- is a beautiful thing, and here's why.

Nurturing something makes you feel really good.

I have named my three apartment succulents Orlando, Keira, and Johnny- after the leading actors in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. They are a kind of family, and I am responsible for them. They're not human, but they help me celebrate being a human, being someone who cares about community and about perpetuating life to its fullest.

When it comes to paying attention to others' needs... I fail, a lot. But I want to improve, and maintaining plants is good practice. Just like babies or dogs, plants cannot use words to tell you what they need... unless there's some freaky Little Shop of Horrors stuff happening. As a succulent owner, I have to pay attention to the signs and learn what they mean- if Johnny and Keira's tips begin turning pale brown, I can't assume that the same method will remedy both. I have to invest in learning a new language. The other day, I was fairly sure that my succulents were experiencing drainage problems, so I took them on a field trip to find pebbles; that chill, exploratory time nourished my entire day.

Green relieves stress.


Some people don't believe in color psychology, but many do. And if you have ever been in a hospital that wasn't painted white, I bet I can guess what color it was painted, at least partially. Green! Since it is the color of nature and isn't usually an overwhelming sensory experience, green can de-stress you. If you're looking for a bit of brightness, you don't necessarily have to go for the classic option, a vase of already-dead flowers. You can allow a bit of dirt into your space, because with it comes the sweet serenity of beloved, living color.

Plants get you excited about something genuinely good.

It wasn't Orlando, no. But one of my little guys bloomed. I did not watch the whole process, but when I began to notice the bud, I felt inexplicably proud of the plant... and when a flower finally opened, I could barely believe it. When I am hype for an event, it isn't the same as feeling the thrill of something as simple as this.

Therefore, forsooth, alas, etc... I present a turnaround story and a compelling idea. Before I knew the joy of having succulents in my life, I was missing out on a lot. If you want a new form of self-care, divert your attention towards one or two of these small friends; the love you give them will only grow.

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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The 7 Best Food Places Near UCLA You Need to Try ASAP

We have great dining food AND restaurants around us? Wow, we are #blessed.

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Westwood is the home to UCLA and offers plenty of interesting and diverse dining options for students and locals alike. Since the area is firmly Bruin territory, you will find lots of on-the-go, affordable eats along with a mix of more modern and upscale restaurants.

Though I definitely haven't had all the food Westwood occurs, being here two years now (omg already!?), I think I can safely recommend certain places to eat.

1. Shamshiri Grill

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South Westwood Boulevard is often referred to as Little Tehran, so most of that area is just Persian restaurants. Shamshiri Grill just makes the best meat and whenever I go there, I always order my meal with their special hot sauce, that is to DIE for. A must try.

2. Gushi

I can not tell you how many times I've been to this place. Located near Fat Sal's, you may be tempted to just miss it but let me tell you that is a mistake. I always get their Gushi Bowl which is just heavenly and the right amount to make me feel satisfied without being too filling. Be generous with the Teriyaki and Sriracha sauces on your meat and you are guaranteed to have a good time.

3. Pinches Tacos

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I know Mexican food is very common wherever you go but Pinches Tacos is aesthetically pleasing and their food? Even more so. It just tastes so good! I definitely recommend the Asada fries and any tacos.

4. Saffron and Rose

Saffron and Rose is a Persian ice cream parlor like 10 minutes away from Shamshiri Grill and the quality and variety of ice cream is truly impressive. I would not have known my weakness for Jasmine ice cream if I hadn't tried this place and as always, the Saffron and Rose (it's namesake) deserves to be the name of the restaurant because of how rich in flavor it is.

5. Maharaja

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I am very particular about my Indian food but the buffets in the afternoons at Maharaja definitely passes my checklist. I actually went there for my birthday so that just tells you how the food doesn't disappoint.

6. Nekter Juice Bar

I found out about this place very recently and I'm so glad I did because their bowls are so good. They also serve smoothies which I haven't had the pleasure to taste yet but I expect the same kind of quality. I am very partial to the Bruin Bowl and the Dragonfruit Bowl.

7. BJs

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They have $3 Pizookies on Tuesday.

I am always there on Tuesday.

Are these two facts connected? Maybe.

What can I say? I just love the restaurants here.

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