Grayscale: In Review

Grayscale: In Review

What did you miss?
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Grayscale: In Review

Grayscale is a series of short stories that look into the lives of others, seeing the world as they do, peering through the windows of their lives. Is it black and white? Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, and Part Three can be found here.

Throughout the series, whether you have realized it or not, we have been looking at mental illness. Together, through these short stories, we have explored what daily life is like for 3 different people experiencing different types of illnesses and afflictions. Here's what you missed:

Part One:

The color in this one is a bright shade of red. You may have noticed that in the first line, "As she stepped off the curb, she saw the parking spaces, a new shade of red." What color are parking spaces normally? Normally, parking spaces are white, or yellow.

There is also an important interaction with the dog. The depiction of the dog as a bear is not a metaphor. It is how this particular character perceives the dog in her mind. It is as large and ferocious as a bear, just as deadly.

The keen reader will also note that the guard's badge is a bright white, "...the white of his badge shining into her eyes." But yet, the character sees her badge as red, "It was always so hard to find it in her bag, the red blended in too well."

So what is going on with our heroine in this story? Any guesses? How about Generalized Anxiety Disorder? Red is her color, see what other symptoms you can spot!

Part Two:

The color in this particularly somber piece is blue. Though it might not have been obvious at first, after all, only the hue from the nightlight and the walls of the bathroom are first mentioned. But then comes the "blue static," the first indication that the mental illness depicted here is major depressive disorder.

Fatigue is a very big indicator here, as is the lack of enthusiasm for things our character hints that he once enjoyed (his TV show.)

I challenge you, where do you think the first indicator that our character was going to kill himself appears? I'll give you a hint: it occurs a lot earlier than you might expect.

Part Three:

The color in this episode is hidden. Can you find it? No? How about another hint? This one is specific to you. Yeah, you. This last part in the series is about all of us. It's a representation of how we might feel every day; about the struggles and turmoil that go on throughout each of our minds as we struggle to find fulfillment and purpose in our lives, all while hiding behind a smile. The same smile, with its "worn edges."

Where can you see yourself in this part?

Where can you see, feel, smell, and touch the fabric of your own life?

And where can you see and feel the fabric of others? Maybe it's the person next to you at the office. Maybe it's the person walking down the street, that reacts "cowardly" at your "harmless dog."

I have the humble hope that this series has opened your eyes to the world, and more importantly, the people around you. We initiate change by acknowledging that there are others that coexist in this sometimes-crappy place that we call home.

Be kind to one another,

-N

Cover Image Credit: Vexels

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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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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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