Baylor Graduate Student Says Our Stories Are Our Strongest Weapon

Baylor Graduate Student Says Our Stories Are Our Strongest Weapon

Lauren Bagwell fought her eating disorder with a poem.
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Her story is quickly circulating the web. She's the sorority girl whose TEDTalk about eating disorders is "beyond phenomenal," and according to Total Sorority Move, she's the true representation of a Greek woman.

Lauren Bagwell, affectionately referred to as "Bags," received her undergraduate degree in Social Studies Secondary Education from Baylor University in May, where she was a member of Chi Omega Sorority. She is currently a graduate student at Baylor in the Masters program for Curriculum and Instruction, and when she's not studying, playing soccer, or doing some ridiculous adventure like bungee jumping over a waterfall, she's writing poems. What people don't know about Lauren, is that she's been inspiring those around her for as long as I have known her, which is quite a while considering she's my cousin.

Image courtesy of Power of One Entertainment.

Lauren started writing and speaking poetry at the age of 15, and it has since grown to become one her favorite ways of expressing herself. But it's not as easy as you think. The poem she reads in her talk titled "Let's Flip the Golden Rule" at TEDxSMU was extremely difficult for her. It was vulnerable. It was deep.

"Often times I would hide behind the poem, but with every rough draft I grew a little stronger," Lauren recalls about her process of writing and sharing this poem. "Every time I shared it, the shame would disappear a little bit more."

Lauren went on to explain the power of storytelling. Even though sharing her story was difficult, it came with more benefits than anything else.

"Owning your story does not make you weak, it makes you stronger. And every time I share my poem I get a little stronger too. Poetry has given me an outlet to express my story in a way that others can relate to, and words cannot describe how grateful I am for that."

In this specific poem, Lauren talks about her battle with binge eating, which is an eating disorder that rarely gets talked about. She explained to me that it's negligence is a result of the stigma society has placed on it. Society has made it seem as if binge eating is more shameful, embarrassing, and unworthy of forgiveness than other eating disorders.

"Obviously, I cant speak for every one who has struggled with binge eating, but as far as my story goes, I was embarrassed. I tried to hide it. I thought I was alone and no one would understand what I was going through. That's why I wanted to share my poem. Even if just one person realizes that they are not alone, then it is all worth it."

As Lauren has made evident, she believes in the power of spoken word and the sharing of stories. She also has the desire to use her story and her words to change the world.

"When I talk about my disorder, it's as if the monster loses power," Lauren tells me as I ask about her passion for spoken word. "It was difficult, but each time I said it, I was in some way liberated."

Lauren's TEDTalk was done at an event held at Southern Methodist University in her hometown of Dallas, Tex. for a TEDxKids event. I asked Lauren why she thought this was an important age to address a problem like this with. Her answer was perfect: "These are my people!"

Although I was only able to read this response, I can easily imagine the excitement and loudness with which Lauren would express a statement like this. Her smile would be huge, and her blue eyes would be sparkling with passion.

"These kids are the world changers we've been waiting for. They are at such a critical age where nothing makes sense and insecurities are almost unavoidable. For me, I was in middle school when my eating disorder developed. As a result, I want these kids to know what I wish I would have known as a seventh grader."

So what does she want them to know?

"We were not meant to live in shame or in chains. There is freedom in sharing your story, even if it's just with one person. Someone as unique as you is worth fighting for."

If you haven't checked out Lauren's talk yet, stop reading this, scroll down, watch her video, and be inspired.

I've always looked up to Lauren, and I don't think that's something that will ever change. At one point in time, that meant matching Fourth of July dresses and unicorn tattoos, but today it means dreaming of inspiring people like she does.

We might not all be as well-spoken and bold as Lauren Bagwell, but we all have a story. So let's share them. Let's change the world one story, one poem, or one article at a time.

Check out Lauren's TEDTalk video, below!



Cover Image Credit: TEDx Talks

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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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6 Ways To Decorate Your Dorm Or Apartment For The Holidays On A Budget

Baby, it's cold outside.

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As the holiday season approaches, it's easy to get sucked into the Pinterest vortex of holiday decorations, party favors, clothes and more. Unfortunately most of us college students don't have the money for all of this cute stuff so we have to watch for bargains or DIY it. Here are my six recommendations to get into the Christmas spirit:

1. String some festive lights in your room

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199565827208188172/

I have Christmas lights hanging up in my room all year around because I love them so much, but you can find some cheap lights at Target or Walmart. You can get snowflake lights, lantern lights, normal Christmas lights or anything else that you want. Use command strips to hang them up, and soon it'll feel more relaxing and you'll be more in the Christmas spirit.

2. Use window clings

https://guide.alibaba.com/shop/merry-christmas-window-clings-north-pole-train-snowflakes-penguins-gingerbread-men-1-sheet-15-clings_1005699551.html

I love window clings! You stick them on from the inside (obviously) and then you can see them from the outside. I have different window clings for almost every season. If you have some old window clings that don't stick anymore, just put a little bit of water on the back of them and they'll stick like they're brand new.

3. Raid the Target dollar section

https://corporate.target.com/article/2015/11/bullseyes-playground

So, this depends on where you live and how often your local Target changes out their dollar section, but you would be surprised in what you could find there!

4. Hunt around for a mini tree (real or fake)

https://www.yourbestdigs.com/reviews/best-artificial-christmas-trees/?nabt=1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

I used to have a fake little green Christmas tree with cute little ornaments but sadly I don't have it anymore nor do I have room for it anywhere in my room. A little Christmas tree in your room or on your dresser just makes everything a little bit more festive. I used to have my little Christmas tree on my dresser until my cat found it. Yeah, you know where that is going.

5. Make easy DIY decorations

http://findinghomefarms.com/10-minute-christmas-decorating-idea-chalk-pen-galvanized-buckets/

Pinterest is the best website for this, well actually they're known for DIY projects. Why spend $50 on one Christmas decoration when you can do a DIY and spend only $20?

6. Use Winter themed candles

http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/e/christmas-gift-guide.html

I love Bath and Body works because they always have the best sales and you can usually get something half priced or sometimes something for free! Plus everything smells so good in that store and it's so tempting to buy everything but if you come into the store with a goal, you'll leave with your goal.

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