Why Family Is The Most Important Thing

Why Family Is The Most Important Thing

People who say they will always be there for you are not always there for you, but if it is two in the morning or four in the afternoon, I know I can always count on my family to be there.
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Over the past 20 years of my life, many things have changed, including my friends, style, morals and jobs. With everything constantly changing around me, there is one thing that has always stayed the same: my family.

When I think about my happiest moments in life, they all involve my family. My relationship with my parents and siblings is something that I learn to treasure more and more every day. There are many important things in life, but the most important thing to me is family.

Your family is made up of people that bring out the best in you. Although you cannot choose your family, they are the people you can relate to the most. They are the people who are always cheering you on and truly want the best for you.

My family has made me who I am today. Without my dad pushing me to excel in school or my sisters forcing me to apply to Penn State, I would not be where I am today. They have challenged me, loved me and made me a better person. They have guided me through life and have constantly been my number one fans.

There has never once been a moment in my life where my family was not there when I needed them. They have been there with me through my best times, worst times and times where I did not think I had anyone. The more that I mature the more I come to the realization that people who say they will always be there for you are not always there for you. But if it is two in the morning or four in the afternoon, I know I can always count on my family to be there for me.

If I ever need a good laugh or cry I know I can always go to my sisters. They are not only my family but also my best friends, soulmates, role models and partners in crime. They know how to give the best advice and are always positive and smiling. Whenever I am having a bad day, I know I can count on them to brighten my mood or calm me down. They are truly two of the most beautiful people in the world, and their happiness gives me life.

Whenever I am stressed out or need advice, I can always go to my dad. My dad is my superhero. He is strong, intelligent, and sincere. He knows how to give the best advice and be the better person. He knows when I am stressed and need a reality check or when I am proud and need humbling. He has gotten me through the toughest times in my life and has made some of the best moments in my life possible. Without him, my life would be less colorful.

My mom is the person I go to for everything — and I mean everything. People sometimes make fun of me for talking to my mom six times a day, but if they knew our relationship, they would get it. My mom is gracious, kind, and full of life. She is the person that I call when I just need to talk. I can tell her everything, and she never judges me. She is truly an angel to my family and the best person I know.

Without each member of my family celebrating with me, crying with me, laughing with me and grieving with me, my life would simply not be the same. I would have no one to call at day-longs, no one to vent to, no one to share my accomplishments with, and most importantly, no one to love unconditionally.

Never forget the power of family. Make sure to thank your parents every day, call your siblings to see how they are, and cherish every moment you have with them. Without them, you would not be who you are today. Family is the best and most important gift in our lives, and it is important to embrace it every day.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Bradley

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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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I'm The College Girl Who Is Old Enough To Know She Doesn't Want Kids, Please Respect That

Yes, I am a real woman, and yes, I have a heart.

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"I don't think I'm going to have kids." This was the sentence that sent my family into a frenzy. But you love kids, your so good with them, don't you think that's a bit selfish? Was the first of the remarks, followed by: you don't know what your missing, is your boyfriend okay with it, you're robbing the world of great kids, you'll never be happy, you'll change your mind; each came hurtling at me, one after the next. But me not wanting kids is something that I've given a lot of thought to, for the past decade, so am I really just "saying it for a reaction"?

"But you love kids, your so good with them, don't you think that's a bit selfish?" Yes. I do love kids. I think children are amazing. But that is the thing. I'm not being selfish. While it may be a bit selfish of me to not want to have to sew my body back up while sitting in an ice bath for a month afterward. Is it really so selfish to not want to raise a child in this messed up world? There is a school shooting almost every week in this country. Also, there's this thing called "rape culture" and it permeates every aspect of our society. Many of the children of today will likely be its victims or perpetrators in the not-so-distant future.

"You don't know what you're missing." According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs $241,080 for a middle-income family to raise a kid to 18 years of age — and that's before you toss in college, grad school, helping them get on their feet after graduation, bailing them out of jail after a wild weekend in Cabo, and all the rest of the unexpected expenses that come along with being a parent. I know what I am missing out on: temper tantrums and more college loans.

"Is your boyfriend okay with it?" This one always puzzles me. I'm not saying that we haven't talked about it. Of course he knows. But I am confused by the idea that if he wanted kids, I would change my mind to appease him. I was always taught that I am the sovereign of my own body. But then my aunt tells me that I have to give the decision of whether or not pushing a melon out of my uterus is best for me to any person I plan on dating?

"You're robbing the world of great kids." I'm actually not robbing the world of anything. I'm thinking about how having kids would impact the environment, over-consumption, over-population, and whether it would be fair to bring a child into this world. By not having kids, I'm allowing for the world to have one less person slowly ripping it apart. Mother Jones stated that one American child produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as 106 kids in Haiti. So, if you're concerned about bringing your the world's carbon footprint down, you could just skip having a kid.

"You'll never be happy." I fervently disagree with that statement. An international 2014 Gallup study found that overall, people with children had a "lower life evaluation," meaning they feel less happy with their lives in general. I know so many older women who do not have children and are incredibly happy. They felt fulfilled by other things; careers, spouses, volunteering, hobbies, pets, literally anything else. I understand that many people feel that they need children in order to feel happy, but some of us are not in the majority. But more women are child-free in the U.S. now that at any other time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. Almost half, 47.6 percent, of women between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have children in 2014. So how small is the minority I'm in?

"You'll change your mind." And I know that. A lot of people do. My dad didn't want kids, and yet here I am. Some people change their minds, but some people don't. If my mind changes I'm okay with that, but don't TELL me that my mind will definitely change. It hasn't changed for the past 10 years and it doesn't look like it will anytime soon.

As a young woman in an age that tells me I can be anything, I can do anything, that I am in charge of my own destiny; I am often surprised by the number of people who tell me what to think and how I should be living my life. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I'm past the age of someone trying to shape mine. If you want a moldable mind, go have your own child Susan.

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