Dear Awkward High School Me, You'd Be Proud Of What We've Become

Dear Awkward High School Me, You'd Be Proud Of What We've Become

We're looking past those Brazilian pants days.

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Dear past Ilana,

When you started high school in 2007, you were frightened, a little excited, and also a bit awkward. Okay, you were a lot awkward, and you still have your moments now, but that is not the point. High School is a strange land because we're growing up, trying to find out who we are, what we want to do with our lives, where we want to go to college and it's just really overwhelming when we're trying to balance all of that with friendships, studying and extracurriculars.

You were always known as that shy girl who was always nice to people and did all of her homework on time. You definitely didn't have a problem making friends and achieving good grades in your classes. What you were missing was your confidence. It didn't help that you were a tad socially awkward, but in your defense, nobody really teaches you how to approach people, especially the ones you liked. (To all the guys I ever had a crush on that I came off weird towards, I'm so sorry, I didn't know what I was doing). You were so worried about your friendships that you weren't paying attention to how some people were treating you. Eventually, you broke off those friendships and the ones who stayed are the ones who became family to you and stayed by your side.

When you got your braces off and you finally got contacts, you felt different. Your confidence was building, you felt more grown up and beautiful. You started to dress better, too. You traded in those dreaded Brazilian pants and Abercrombie t-shirts for jeans and nicer shirts that fit better. You traded in your ratty white sneakers you wore with every outfit for sandals. You were like your own Cinderella, in a way, transforming into someone magical.

While I look back and cringe on many moments from those teenage years, I'm thankful for them because they made you who you are today. It made you grow into someone who pushed herself to get into the university you wanted to go into, to move two hours away from your family, even though you lived as an only child your entire life. You broke out of your shell and would walk up to strangers and strike up conversations. You joined organizations on campus that pushed you out of your comfort zone.

So, Ilana, even though you were shy, didn't have the best fashion sense, and maybe got made fun of one too many times, you were the one who came out on top. You figured out who you were and you would be so proud to see your future self now. Stay real.

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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The Cliche 'Follow Your Heart' Is Probably The Most Important Cliche Of All Time

Our heart or our brain? What should we listen to first?

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In life, we are constantly faced with tough decisions concerning relationships, college, career, marriage … the list of decisions we must make in a lifetime is endless. This means, however, that there are plenty of moments in our life where we will put into question our very own intuition, where we will waste time going back and forth between our mind and our soul. So then we ask ourselves when faced with a decision, what do we listen to? What should we listen to? Our brain or our heart?

Yeah, okay so following your heart is probably the most cliche thing you've ever heard. Our younger selves constantly heard the saying all the time growing up. Did we act on it? Maybe, but not in the ways that we should be acting on it now. Give it a chance and just think about it for a second.

I've realized that as you get older, it becomes harder to just listen to yourself. There are distractions all around you. Some come from the comments of your peers, some come from the devices in your hands, some come from the news headlines you see in bold. With this, you find yourself struggling to find a balance between thinking about something and just doing it. You find yourself unable to decipher what exactly you should listen to. You suddenly become lost within your own little world.

Who would you be if you didn't follow your heart? Would your life be completely different than it is now?

If we think about how we got to the place we're at today, we simultaneously also think about those decisions I mentioned earlier. And those decisions were probably mostly made from our own intuition, not from logistical thinking. The sad part is we don't even realize this, and we don't even realize how important this is.

How did you choose a college? Deciding where you're going to spend the next four years of your life, working towards a career is a big deal. Some will describe their decision as a feeling they got when they stepped on campus. Yes, the tuition was a factor along with retention rates and undergraduate programs and study abroad opportunities, but the one factor that truly mattered was how they felt so at home, while in reality being so far away from their hometown. So, this decision was made from a feeling, this decision was made from the heart.

Relationships. When deciding to tell someone you love them, you're following your heart. When deciding to commit to someone in a relationship or in a friendship or whatever it may be, you're following your heart. You're putting everything on the line because of how you feel. Nothing else matters. Just the two of you, together, happy and in love. And because of that, because of the magnitude of that one feeling, you listen to your heart first and figure out everything else later. Now, being able to have that, being able to experience this type of love, well that's just one of the best feelings in the world.

We can even consider a career. When trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life, you are looking for that feeling, for that career to find you. You are searching for that inevitable inclination telling you, you're meant to do something in this world. You dream big imagining yourself doing this one job that you feel so passionately about, changing the world and inspiring others to do the same. You are motivated by this one field so much that you decide to do it for the rest of your life. If that's not following your heart, then I don't know what is.

It seems so obvious. We hear "follow your heart" all the time. But do we ever actually realize how much impact a heart can have on one's life? No. And that's why it's maybe not so obvious. Because we're told to follow our hearts, but we never actually take the time to comprehend it. And so, we live our lives letting this concept of intuition before cognition become underrated. We let it secretly impact some of our most important life decisions without even ever realizing it.

So realize it. From now on don't just listen. Act. Follow your heart as much as you can and never look back.

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