I'm Turning 20

I'm Turning 20

Say goodbye to the excuse of teenage angst.
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Holy cow, I'm turning 20. I honestly never imagined the day would come when I would no longer be a teenager. My birthday has always been such a huge deal to me. When I was younger it was more about the party and the cake, but as I grew up, it became a day to reflect on the past year.

19 was a transformative year. This was my second year at my dream college. This was the year that I was first treated like an almost-real music therapist. This was the year that my confidence and self-esteem were tested. This was the year that I made friendships that I truly believe will last a lifetime.

I learned about self-love and proper self-care. I surrounded myself with good people, and especially empowering women. I invited feminism and social justice into my life this year. The amount of change that has occurred is unreal.

Years ago, I never imagined my life would be the way it is on my 20th birthday. I imagined living in Boston and having a huge party in my apartment with all of my friends. We would blast 90s and early 2000s music all night long as I danced alongside my significant other.

Instead I'm having friends over for brunch. I guess that's reflective of the transition into adulthood. The time of wild and crazy parties are coming to an end (not that I go to them anyways). Now the time has come to work extra hard to achieve the future I dreamed of. I have to let go of teenage angst and take on more responsibility.

In two years I'll (hopefully) have a job, a career. That's crazy. Didn't I just graduate high school two years ago? How am I supposed to live on my own and support myself? It's so incredible to watch all my friends grow up and become real adults; it's just so hard to think that I'm there alongside them.

In the past when my birthday would roll around, I'd be afraid of growing up, but now I'm starting to embrace it. There's no point in being upset that I'm a year older, it's time to stop sweating the small stuff and start being happier.

This year is going to be great. 20 is the year that I’ll go on my first music therapy service trip. It’s the year that I’ll get a job during the school year. This will be the year that I focus on myself. This is the year that I will do all things with love, including loving myself. This will be the first year of my 20s and I am determined to make it great. This is the year I will try to find myself and understand who I am and what I want out of life. This will be the year that I learn to love myself, even when I do crazy, teenage-angst-inspired things. I know, without a doubt, that this year will come with challenges, but luckily it also comes with incredible friends and family for support. This year I will wholeheartedly accept every feeling, I will dance, and I will be free.

Cover Image Credit: Meera Sinha

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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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If Shonda Can Do A Year Of Yes, Then So Can I

Yes.

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A few years ago, Shonda Rimes decided to do a year of saying yes, after her sister told her she says "No" to everything. It ended up changing her life.

So, I've decided to embark on my own year of yes.

Sure, it may be easy to say yes to everything when you're a millionaire with a bunch of record-setting televisions shows, but the rest of us can do it too.

Say yes to treating yourself.

Say yes to taking care of yourself.

Say yes to saying no, don't stretch yourself too thin.

Say yes to new opportunities

The year of yes is about taking better care of yourself.

My year of yes starts right now.

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