To The Girl Hiding Behind A Smile

To The Girl Hiding Behind A Smile

You think that you're fooling everyone, but you're not.


I see you.

You walk around with your shoulders back, head held high, and a smile on your face. To the outside world, you couldn't be happier. Everything seems to be going your way; your job isn't stressing you out, you're not falling behind in your classes, there are no family problems, you have no regrets, you have a positive attitude about your body type, you have a loving relationship, and your friends think you're thriving.

But that's all a lie, isn't it?

It seems as if your entire world is crumbling underneath you and perhaps it is. Your paycheck isn't enough for you to pay bills so you search for another job even though your existing schedule doesn't allow it. As you finally catch up in your classes, there's twice as much workload that gets thrown at you.

Despite your family's best efforts to stay calm under trying situations, petty bickering still occurs to which you carry the burden; maybe even the entirety of the guilt and fear so no one else has to. Your regrets outweigh all the things you could've and should've done, but there's no turning back time. You look in the mirror before you get dressed and see all your flaws, no matter the angle or lighting.

You cover every stretch mark, the dimples of cellulite, and every body part that jiggles with whatever black you can find. All because black is supposed to be slimming, right? You're talking to and interested in a guy, but it seems to be circling down the drain because all your doubt and impatience has made you distant. Your friends, your best friends that you used to spend all your time with, think you're thriving. They see your Instagram and Facebook posts and think that you're still smiling and making jokes as usual. If only they knew.

You put on this facade because you think you are strong enough to carry the weight on your shoulders. For the most part, you can. But eventually, those shoulders that you're holding so high will collapse under all the silent burdens and you'll crumble to your knees.

But no one will see it. You won't allow them to.

Instead, you'll brush it off and act like it didn't happen. You'll maintain your empty smile despite the overwhelming urge to burst into tears. You'll bottle everything up until eventually you take it out on someone who doesn't really deserve it. Instead of apologizing, you'll remain silent as you try to justify your actions, despite the fact that you know you're in the wrong.

You'll go home and turn on some music. The genres jump between exactly how you're feeling and uplifting soundtracks expressing how you should feel. Instead of a mood shift, you're stuck in the living equivalent of purgatory. You feel no actual emotion but you still have tears and mascara running down your face. You stare at your reflection; not at your flaws but into your eyes. You look into your soul and wonder where it all went wrong, wondering what you could've done differently in every scenario. This makes you fall deeper and makes your chest tighten up as if you're drowning.

Eventually, you wonder why you're feeling sorry for yourself; whether it's because you realize you're better than that or because it's not worth it. But depends on the day and the circumstance. Your tears dry up, mascara lines halt where they are, and you look at your reflection in it's entirety. You remind yourself that all the situations, stress, and burdens could be a lot worse. They could be significantly heavier.

You let your sadness, rage, and regrets drive you. Not to do unforgivable things, but to be your guide to better things. You know these things very well because of your constant interactions, but that allows you to see that the opposite of them exist. They drive you to improve and become stronger so you can achieve them.

You wipe the black smears off your face, fix your hair, and smile at your reflection. It mimics your actions but your eyes still reveal the truth. Regardless, you allow it. No one has noticed the truth in your eyes before, so how would they now? Or maybe they have but don't know how to react or help. But how would you know?

You work to maintain that reconstructed smile. You force your shoulders back so they can be a stronger foundation for the impending weight that you'll face; wondering how much you can carry this time. You pick your head back up so you're able to see all the stress and burdens coming your way, while also enabling you to flash that smile to any unsuspecting person.

Despite your best efforts trying to hide your pain, I see you.

Despite what you choose to see, I see your beauty, your hard work, achievements and success. I've seen your genuine smile, though the occurrences are outnumbered by your fake one. I've seen what you're capable of. I've seen you shine.

I see you when you refuse to see yourself.

After all, I'm your mirror.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.


My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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11 Things You NEVER Say To A College Girl Trying To Get Into Shape

Just never talk about a person's weight.


When my family and friends joked that I was going to gain 15 pounds in my freshman year of college as a result of the "Freshman 15," I thought it was what it was supposed to be: a joke. However, as the year has come to an end, I realized that I actually did put on a couple of pounds, albeit it wasn't the predicted 15.

As I told those that I wanted to get into an ideal shape for my body, I was met with some insensitive and ignorant remarks. Everyone thought that I mean just losing the weight I had put on.

1. "You walk to all of your classes, why aren't you losing weight that way?"

My legs are more toned than they ever have been before. However, most of the weight I have been gaining has gone directly to my gut (annoying!) and walking does not remedy that. Unfortunately, I have to stick to ab workouts.

2. "But you look fine to me!"

I don't feel healthy to myself. I'm not trying to stay in shape for anyone else, just myself, thanks. I appreciate you trying to make me feel better about my body image but I know something has to be done.

3. "I didn't gain any weight in college."

Good for you. I did. I'm trying to do something about it.

4. "Just stop drinking."

I don't drink. Really, the only liquid I consume is water or iced tea. I don't like soda and alcohol makes me nauseous way too easily.

5. "Isn't the gym free on campus for students?"

Yes, but some people don't like working out in front of others. I am one of those people. My friend lives in an apartment complex that has their own gym and almost no one is ever there but not everyone has that luxury. Also, some are busy and do not have time for a quick jog or to stretch.

6. "You should try this diet/pills/exercise routine."

I am thankful that you are trying to help but my diet is just eating healthy and having a few cheat days in between. I know what exercises work best for me and I am just not taking pills. Bodies adjust differently.

7. "Don't starve/force yourself to throw up."

Trust me, I know. I'm trying to lose the weight healthily. If you do find yourself practicing unhealthy eating habits or realizing your body image is deteriorating, the NEDA Hotline is (800) 931-2237. Please reach out if you are going through hardships.

8. "Won't you have to buy a whole new wardrobe?"

If I drop (or even add) a size or two. We grow out and grow tired of clothes on the regular, what's the difference if you have to buy some because of a weight change? Plus, who doesn't love buying new clothes?

9. "Just eat healthier."

Didn't think of it! Options are limited at college where the dining halls don't offer all that much that is actually good for your body. Now that I'm at home, it's easier. But I'm already trying to eat healthy.

10. "You've evened out since the last time I saw you!"

This is code for you've put on some weight. I hear it mostly from older relatives because my friends will flat out tell me if I've gotten a little chunky.

11. "You're just stressed."

Personally, this one gets me livid. I do admit that when I am stressed or anxious, I do turn to food for comfort but when I am delighted and genuinely happy, will my body magically revert into a fit state?

Sadly, no.

Honestly, I am just trying to get my body back into shape. For me, that means cutting back on greasy foods and kicking a bad habit of sitting on my butt all day. For others, it could mean more or less. As long as your body is in good physical condition and you are content, the number on the scale and others' thoughts shouldn't matter. Take care of yourself.

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