Why We Should All Take A Lesson In Vulnerability From Harper Finkle

Why We Should All Take A Lesson In Vulnerability From Harper Finkle

A closer look at the true power of Alex Russo's spunky best friend.


Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place was a crowd favorite in my household. My sister and I would watch marathons of the hilarious antics caused by Alex (played by an early Selena Gomez), Justin (David Henrie), and Max (Jake T. Austin) with their wizardly powers as the Russo family. I even remember desperately trying to emulate Alex's effortless cool for my friends at school by entering an ever-cringey slouchy beanie phase. Looking back on the Disney classic for Gen Z, I realize that my love for the show would not have come without the odd yet endearing spunk of Alex's best friend Harper Finkle (played by Jennifer Stone) whose homemade outfits taught me the early importance of vulnerability.

Harper's outfits were extreme, to say the least. In a Disney color scheme lined with the solid navy blues and greys of the Russos family sub shop, Harper stood in a rainbow outfit she made entirely of fruit roll-ups. She dared to venture outside in her homemade creations that cast her apart from everyone in her surroundings. She fearlessly embodied her style, subjected herself to the bullies we never saw but probably existed in the fictional Wizards world, and we watched as her fashion expertise evolved from wearing a subtle graphic t-shirt with a hamburger on it to a bubble bath themed dress complete with what looked to be fifty rubber duckies.

We can all infer that Harper had an extreme amount of confidence. But what I was unable to process as a child who laughed at what I thought were simply Harper's silly outfits was that in every episode of Wizards she was being actively vulnerable in an effort to give herself wholeheartedly to the spunky, creative, one-of-a-kind person she aspired to become. She knew that she was relegating herself to a position of ridicule but she didn't care- she dressed the way she did to live fully and truthfully. Harper's utilization of vulnerability as a means of personal evolution speaks to the hallmark teachings of Brene Brown, famous for her 2010 TEDxHouston Talk "The Power of Vulnerability."

Brown argues that vulnerability is "uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure" that when embraced enables the vulnerable to achieve a fuller life. We can all infer that Harper's pursuit of fashion embodied the above criteria on a daily basis. But it's more than Harper's outfits that are so inspiring- it's their symbolism. I'm no Harper, but to me clunky yellow clip-on earrings and turtlenecks are trademarks of my risky outfit choices. Though I expose myself to the world of uncertainty that Brown speaks about, those insecurities fade away as I pour my confidence into my outfit. I raise my hand more in class. I'm more daring with my actions. I'm no longer apologetic in the pursuit of the person I intend to be that day.

Vulnerability, though it requires dominating one's fears of rejection, scrutiny, or critique is the gateway to that person's most powerful state. By relegating ourselves to our weakest points we stand to gain the greatest power.

So in that spirit be like Harper and be vulnerable, whether that be daring to wear a crazy outfit, proposing a never before heard research idea, get a haircut, write an article on a topic you're fascinated about but still have much to learn- be daring in the pursuit of who you are meant to become.

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12 Things Only Low-Maintenance Girls Understand

I promise we aren’t lazy, just easy going.

Sometimes low-maintenance girls are looked at as lazy or sloppy. But in reality, I think low-maintenance girls are just so confident in who they are that putting in that extra effort isn't important to them.

Here are 12 things that only low-maintenance girls understand:

1. Leggings or sweat pants and a T-shirt is your normal everyday outfit

Why spend the day uncomfortable in some tight jeans or mini skirt when you can lounge around in some comfy clothes? We aren't here to impress anyone, we are just trying to sit back and chill.

2. Makeup is a special occasion

If you catch a low-maintenance girl with makeup on, take it as a compliment. We are trying to touch our face and rub our eyes as much as we'd like without makeup getting in the way. Not to mention, we wouldn't dare spend over $15 on some foundation.

3. We would rather stay in with a movie then go out for the evening

Something low-key and low stress always sounds better than spending the time, and the money, for a night out. I am perfectly content with taking advantage of my $7.99 monthly payment for Netflix.

4. You're always the first one ready

While your friends spend hours doing their hair, makeup and then finding the perfect outfit, you sit around and wait. Your 10 minutes thrown-together-look gives you time to nap while everyone else takes their sweet time.

5. When you say you "don't care what we do," you really don't care

Seriously, a date night off the McDonald's dollar menu is fine by me. I am not expecting you to wine and dine me on a big extravagant evening, I'm just trying to get a Big Mac in my mouth.

6. Your messy bun isn't a fashion statement, it's actually just your hairstyle

We aren't about to spend time curling or straightening our hair everyday. Every day is a good day to throw your hair up into a ponytail or bun.

7. The extent of your jewelry collection is one pair of earrings and maybe a necklace

Who needs more than one pair of earrings? Diamond studs match everything… right?

8. And your shoe collection is even smaller

Should I wear flip-flops or Converse?

9. Shopping isn't exactly your favorite thing to do

Who has patience for finding the perfect designer brands or finding the best fit? I am perfectly content with my T-shirts and leggings. One size fits all.

10. Your favorite gifts are the sentimental ones, not the expensive ones

A homemade card or a small gift that makes someone think of you is forever better and more meaningful than an expensive present. I don't want your money, I just want to know you thought of me.

11. You don't put in the effort to chase after a guy

I'm awesome and I know it. If a guy is worth it enough to be in my life, he can come after me. I am not down for any games or players. Just someone who embraces my low-maintenance qualities.

12. You are always the first person to help someone out

Giving your friends a ride or lending them two dollars isn't a huge deal. Just helping someone out gives you peace of mind. Everyone should have time to help a homie out.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.cosboots.com/sale/christmas/christmas.html

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You Can Tell The Difference Between Momentary Happiness And Deeper Happiness

"At the end of your life, go out with a bruised-up, worn out heart that gave too much and loved too strongly and felt too fiercely. Go out with the certainty that you gave it everything you had and didn't hold anything back". - Heidi Priebe


First level happiness: Momentary

Momentary happiness is waking up early and watching the sunrise. It's the first sip of coffee in the morning. It's a big breakfast before a long day of doing what I love.

Momentary happiness is stepping into the restaurant I love and being surrounded by the people who have watched me grow up these past three years. It's understanding that this thing is about family just as much as it is business. It's falling in love with every early morning and every late night. It's learning that hard work isn't hard if you love what you're doing.

Momentary happiness is hitting a new personal record at the gym. It's that smile plastered across my face every time I enter a team huddle. It's down on one knee, all eyes on me. It's feeling the trust my team has in me. It's the feeling of joy when my number gets called. It's the burning in my lungs because I know that I gave it my everything. It's not being able to move without wincing the next day because the game asked for my hustle and I gave it my heart.

Momentary happiness is the instant you see someone you love and can't help but smile. It's the tight hug between you and someone that means the world to you. It's the weight off your shoulders when you finally express your true feelings. It's holding your breath as you wait for a response. Monetary happiness is being scared but doing it anyway.

Momentary happiness is coming home at night and having your dog jump on you the moment you open the door. It's your parents smiling, knowing you got home safe.

Momentary happiness is driving without a destination and simply reflecting on life. It's taking a step back and allowing myself to be aware of my breathing and existence. It's allowing myself to find pleasure in the little things.

Momentary happiness is getting accepted into college. It's getting that job. It's making the Dean's list. It's acing the test you study so hard for. It's watching your hard work pay off. It's finding your people. It's all the things that make you proud of yourself and happy to be alive.

Momentary happiness was buying my dream car at age 17 without my parents help.

A Deeper Happiness:

A deeper happiness is finding beauty in vulnerability. Not holding back my feelings and telling people how magnificent they are because people don't get told that enough. A deeper happiness is allowing me to feel everything deeply and without explanation. It's finding beauty in the madness and trusting the process.

Life's about getting lost in passion and dedicating myself to the things that matter most. It's wanting success as bad as I want to breathe. It's about taking that jump and seeing if I can land it, and if I don't, it's about being crazy enough to give it one more try. Life's about risking it all even if the outcome is uncertain. A deeper happiness is seeing myself grow into the person I've always wanted to become. Deeper happiness is being able to keep my promises to myself and others.

Life is about being empathetic. Finding out someone's story and attempting to understand their actions. It's about not taking things personally and allowing for second chances, even thirds. It's understanding that not every action needs a reaction. A greater happiness is caring for those around me just as much, if not more, than myself.

Life is embracing hardships and disappointments. Understanding that knowledge comes from experience and disappointments are all apart of the journey. A deeper happiness is understanding that this to shall pass. It's being able to laugh and smile even though things didn't go my way because everything that is meant to be will be. It's understanding that I will be stronger because of my defeats.

A deeper happiness is putting myself in hard situations, situations I know will hurt me. It's helping people get through their hard times. A deeper happiness is being the reason someone smiled. It's being the shoulder to cry on. It's wearing my heart on my sleeve because I would rather feel everything than nothing at all.

A deeper happiness is giving everything I have and being a better person than I was yesterday. Making my friends and family proud but myself prouder. A deeper happiness is leaving my mark on the world. It's about leaving a person, situation, and world better than I found it.

A beautiful, fulfilling life is one that money can't buy.

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