I Don't Give You Enough Credit, Marissa

I Don't Give You Enough Credit, Marissa

These are the things I've been wanting to tell you.
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Marissa, I am so unbelievably proud of you.

Those words don't come out of my mouth enough and I apologize for that. I realize we haven't had the perfect relationship, but what siblings do? We've always been in different stages of life thanks to our age gap. Now that I'm in college, we are growing closer. We've had more relatable experiences and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that. I love having you in my life.

I hate that the reason we got so close was a stupid diagnosis. It's been months — even years — coming, as I can recall the countless health issues and doctor's appointments. This diagnosis was probably one of our biggest fears. I know you don't want anyone to know that you were (and maybe still are) scared, but you're doing great and I am so proud of you.

You are my sister and one of my best friends. My heart hurts for the fear you may feel and the pain you have to endure. If there was anything that I could do to make it all go away, I would do whatever it took in a heartbeat. There's no doubt about that. You know that I will do anything to make this easier and to be of any possible help to you, no matter the task. The reality is that you're doing just fine on your own, though.

You've really turned your life around and words cannot express how happy I am about that. Seeing you so motivated and happy is the only thing that I can wish for. The Multiple Sclerosis Walk this past weekend really lifted my spirits. It's so comforting to know that you have such a big support system behind you for when I can't be there. I have felt so guilty for being a state away through these tough times. I feel horrible for not being able to be with you as much as you may want or need, but I now see you have a whole mob supporting you.

This diagnosis has changed your life — there is no doubt about that. However, please do not allow it to determine, rule, or consume your life. You are not your disease. You are not weak. You are a hard-working, sarcastic, funny, caring, strong woman and nothing can take that away. This disease picked the wrong girl to mess with and your family won't let you take one step on your journey by yourself. Thank you for all that you do. It's not acknowledged as much as it should be. Thank you for helping me and always being there for me all the time. I'm only a call and a little drive away.

I love you, Meeta. Believe.

Cover Image Credit: Alexis Lohm

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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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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.

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Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.


@abidickson01 on twitter.com


Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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