Are You Participating In Escapism Or Avoidance?

Are You Participating In Escapism Or Avoidance?

Is your favorite character stealing your life?
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Almost everyone participates in some form of escapism. Whether you are a Marvel Comics enthusiast who can’t get enough of the Avengers, a sports fan who can recite the stats for all the top players, or the ultimate Trekkie who’s seen every version of the show, including "Voyager" and "The Next Generation" (I may or may not be a Trekkie). Reading books, watching movies, and playing games are all forms of escapism. Huge events like Comic-Con are fueled by escapism.

Fans from all around the world gather to dress up like their favorite characters, meet the actors who play their heroes, and bond people with fellow fans. Events such as these help to bridge the gap between escapism and avoidance because they bring people together. Rather than escape by yourself, you’re escaping with friends.

And that right there, is what needs to be brought to everyone’s attention. Escapism can be an exciting stress-reliever, but it can also be isolating. When you escape into a game, TV show, or book, you forget about real life. Once you finish the final level, last episode, or chapter, what do you have? Satisfaction? The knowledge of how Sherlock survived the famous fall? According to Celestine Chua, life coach and founder of Personal Excellence,

“ . . . many people try to escape from various things. No matter what they are trying to avoid, these things ultimately ladder down to their fears, their deepest sorrows, their pains, their past, their disappointments.”

Although this may sound harsh, you really haven’t done anything to improve your life by escaping reality. Escapism can provide stress relief, but it does not add to your life, it merely postpones it.

Don’t get me wrong though. I love escapism too. Every morning, I start my day watching a random episode of "Gilmore Girls" (I’ve seen all seven seasons three times through, and yes, I am ecstatic about the Netflix reboot coming in November).

I’m not entirely sure why, but "Gilmore Girls" calms me down. It’s a very light-hearted show and I think that light-heartedness helps me be a bit more light-hearted in my own life. This is proof that escapism can be beneficial to your health. However, it shouldn’t take over your life or overshadow reality.

If you use escapism to run away from your problems, take a minute to examine those frustrations.

Maybe you’re frustrated because you’re not doing what you want to be doing with your life. Maybe your family relationships are rocky. Or perhaps your job is giving you anxiety. If you want to change your circumstances, you have to solve them in the real world. Although the Marauders Map helped Harry, and Eleven uses Eggos to keep her energized, you are not a teenage wizard or a little girl with mind-control powers.

You have one life to live. Explore your area, spend time with your friends, and do things that make you happy. Use escapism to refuel and unwind, but don’t mistake escapism for living.

Cover Image Credit: Suicide Squad Movie Official Site

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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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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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