How My Friends Helped Me Restore My Self Esteem

How My Friends Helped Me Restore My Self Esteem

After years of struggling with self-love, my best friends helped me up again.
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There was a long period of time around my early teens when I had a lot of issues with self-esteem. Yes, everyone had “this phase” as a grade-schooler or middle-schooler, but I was consistently convinced that I often endured bullying that was worse than the average 12-year-old girl. I mistakenly surrounded myself with people who made me feel like I was never good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, or smart enough.

The true problem with this was that I couldn’t shake it. Even after I recognized the toxicity of these people and removed myself from their environment, it did very little for my self-esteem. By then, I had been shot down so many times that it simply became ingrained into my mind: I was never enough at all.

There was a time in high school when I decided that hating myself because of what people thought of me made my life complete hell, and I needed to turn some things around. But it didn’t begin with me; it began with my real friends. The girls who knew about what I was dealing with and gave me the best friendships I could ask for.

Without even knowing it, my friends have given me so much of my self-esteem back. They inspire me every day as they forth with confidence and with grace, and I am driven by them to make better choices on how I view myself. It comes from the simple things. One of my friends brought me back a mug from Disney World one year that said, “You Have a Special Way of Making People Smile.” She could not possibly imagine the smile it puts on my face when I remember that it’s true.

Another one of my friends gave me a travel mug (I drink a lot of coffee, OK?) that reads “Today, I Woke Up Flawless.” Every time I use it, I remember, “Oh yeah, I’m flawless just the way I am” and I go about my day, ever so flawlessly. I’m not afraid to carry it around in public, or to ask the Starbucks barista to fill it up with my vanilla chai tea latte. I know that 12-year-old me would never have believed in herself enough to have the confidence to use it, but now I do.

A common theme that I’ve begun to weave in and out of my daily life stems directly from mugs like those: inspirational quotes. I am simply obsessed. I used to think they were cheesy, but now I’ve learned that there’s nothing like a Pinterest board full of them to remind yourself to be the best person you can be every day.

It doesn't stop there. I am grateful for the people who send me screenshots of inspirational quotes to start my day, and the people who don't end their nights without saying to me, "I love you and I care about you." I am grateful for the people who take time out of their day to say hello or bring sunshine to my life on a cloudy day.

There’s a difference between me relying on my friends to validate me, and taking matters into my own hands to improve my life in a positive fashion. I’ve taken the amazing qualities of friendship, loyalty and positivity that they exert onto me, and I am using them to be a better version of myself every day. I am more grateful than words could ever describe for my friends instilling the confidence in me to make better life choices and for reminding me to always see myself in a positive light. Thank you to everyone who inspired me to write this. You know who you are.

Cover Image Credit: Original Photo by Annie Condodina

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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13 Starbucks Drinks That Are Better Than Pumpkin Spice, For All Your Tea-Spilling Needs

Even water beats a PSL.

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That time of year has come around again. The fated pumpkin spice lattes have made their appearance. As a barista at Starbucks, I can personally say that pumpkin spice lattes are probably one of the most favored drinks we serve. However, having made and tried them time and time again, I just can't seem to understand the huge hype behind it all. Here are 13 other drinks that I believe you can get that are actually worth your money.

For all the pumpkin spice lovers reading this article, you do you, boo, but I'm just not sure its worth it.

1. Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

Its a seasonal twist on the typical white mocha with a richer flavor, whipped cream, and seasonal toppings. This will definitely get you in the holiday spirits.

2. Caramel Apple Spice Latte

Steamed apple juice and milk, flavored with cinnamon dolce syrup, topped with whipped cream and caramel drizzle. It is almost as if someone wrestled fall and squeezed it into a cup.

3. Cinnamon Roll Frappuccino 

This is honestly one of the better drinks I have had from Starbucks, especially if you're a fan of tasty treats and iced drinks all mixed into one. Its essentially a cinnamon dolce, white chocolate, vanilla bean, and coffee frappuccino topped with whipped cream and it could not be more heavenly. It is creamy and smooth and perfect for a hot day or a guilty pleasure.

4. Passion Tea Lemonade 

Now, this is my addiction, hard to admit but even harder to deny. Through working at Starbucks I have become really good at making the perfect balance between the tea and lemonade (which I have sweetened because I'm from Texas and unsweet tea is an abomination, but you do you boo). It is fruity and lemony and a perfect balance between bitter and sweet.

5. Ultra Caramel Frappuccino

Ok, this drink is not for the faint of heart and is designed for coffee cravers with a sweet-tooth. It is just a caramel frapp but the cup is covered in caramel drizzle and the bottom is filled with cold-brew whipped cream. Let me say this again, it has coffee whip cream and not only on the top but also throughout the drink.

6. Peppermint Mocha

MInty and chocolaty goodness? Yes, please!!! A perfect mixed balance between a creamy mocha drink and crisp peppermint is always a good choice.

7. Chai Tea Latte

It is spiced cinnamony wonderland that warms the heart and honestly brings thought of Christmas all year long. Which, let's be honest, Christmas time is amazing and I would love for it to be as present as possible in all times of the year.

8. Cordusio

This drink is basically a mocha on steroids. Its made with extra mocha, extra espresso, and whole milk versus 2%. A tasty, creamy, and highly caffeinate treat for those late night study sessions.

9. Pink Drink

The pink drink is a popular drink right now that is all the rage and perfectly Instagram worthy. It is just a typical strawberry acai refresher with strawberry slices but with a twist. Instead of being made with water it is made with coconut milk which gives it a cool pink color, thus its name, the pink drink.

10. Salted Caramel Mocha

Wonderful variety from your typical mocha by adding toffee nut syrup and topping it with caramel drizzle and sea salt crystals.

11. Strawberry & Cream Matcha Frappuccino

Strawberry and cream frappuccinos are a perfect mix between creamy vanilla bean and strawberry. However, if you healthy people out there want both tasty goodness and some more to make you feel better about yourself, just add matcha. It is actually very tasty, trust me, as a person who cannot possibly claim to be healthy.

12. Upside Down Caramel Macchiato 

Although this is actually just a vanilla latte with caramel drizzle (and I will fight you on this one) and shouldn't be considered an entirely separate drink, it is actually pretty good. I would strongly suggest that you just pay less and buy a vanilla latte with caramel drizzle rather than order a caramel macchiato upside down.

13. Water

OK, if you have not picked on this concept so far, basically anything is better than pumpkin spice. There are very few exceptions to this and you're better off picking something else altogether.

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