A Perfect Day in my Favorite Place

A Perfect Day in my Favorite Place


I wake up sometime between nine and ten in the morning with texts and missed calls from my friends and roll around in my bed to stretch. The sun is shining through the window that hangs over my head and tints my entire room green from the curtain it glares through. As soon as I become energized enough to get up, I head downstairs to pack my bag for the day. Within twenty minutes I am out the door and in my little black Toyota Avalon headed to the shore.

I roll all the windows down and allow the hot, humid air to hit my barely dressed body in every direction while blaring country music. My hair whips me in the face and the smell of salt air erodes my nostrils as I cross over the bridge into a little town called Longport that sits at the bottom of New Jersey. Streets are piled in with cars from block to block with different licenses plates from all over the country. The black parts of the streets are hot and burn my feet with every step I take closer to the wooden steps leading me onto the beach.

After stepping on the third step you can see if the beach is busy or not, which it usually is. As I walk onto the beach, the sand creeps in between every crevice of my feet and warm my toes as I walk over to a group of my friends sitting about 50 feet from the greenish-blue ocean water. The wind is light and cool, but the sun blazes hard on my face as hundreds of seagulls circle above overhead looking for food to pick out of visitors hands. I immediately start to feel my pale skin burn from the sun and start a slow jog down to my friends. I am greeted with music coming for the boom box and somewhere between twenty to thirty hellos, plus the sounds of waves crashing on the shore in the distance. The fog from earlier in the morning is still disappearing from the air and the buildings from the surrounding towns are becoming more and more visible to our eyes.

Immediately, I walk down to the water to feel the temperature. The wind becomes stronger with each step, along with the smell of salt. My feet sink deep into the muddy sand as I pass little kids building messy sand castles with brightly covered shovels and pails. A mixture of laughter and cries come from them depending on whether or not other kids are sharing and, suddenly, as I'm not paying the slightest bit of attention, a shock of cold liquid comes over my feet and ankles and I bounce up on my tippy-toes. I take my time going deeper and deeper into the ocean trying to avoid the sharp shells that sit underneath the water that I cannot see because it’s far from clear. I push the thoughts of creepy critters and flesh-eating sharks out of my mind as the water engulfs my entire body and I go under the water.

We all run in and out of the ocean sporadically throughout the day as we get sweaty and sandy playing games. Pizza and subs are delivered to groups from the local food shops, which have the seagulls on high alert.

The lifeguards begin to pack up as we do and we are the last people to leave the beach. Walking off is much different from walking on the beach. The now-cool sand sticks to the bottom of my moist feet and my body is sticky with a combination of sweat, salt, and sand. Walking back to my car is quiet and the streets are empty from other cars. I crack the windows and journey home still blasting country music and reflect on the day, only knowing afterwards that it was one of the most stress-free days I’ve had in a long time. Then the countdown begins as to when I can return to me most favorite place on the planet.

Cover Image Credit: longportnj.gov

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."

It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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My Eating Disorder Was A Secret, Even From Me

No one ever talks about it, and if they had my life might be different.


I remember ninth grade health class very well, specifically one day in particular. The day we talked about eating disorders, I was ready to hear about anorexia and bulimia. I was not ready to walk out of that classroom with confirmation that I had an eating disorder, but that is exactly what I did that day.

After speaking on anorexia and bulimia, my teacher told us about Binge Eating Disorder.

My 14-year-old ears perked up. I had never heard of this disease, but I was immediately interested. I knew anorexia and bulimia well, they were the diseases that, at the time, I wish I had the determination to try, but I was too scared to hurt my body.

Binge Eating Disorder was new to me. My teacher described it as continuing to eat after you were full and eating for hours at a time. As the signs and symptoms continued to be read, I realized... that the last three years of my life had been plagued by binges. There was a lot I couldn't control in my life, but eating was one thing that I always had control over. It was the one thing that always brought me comfort.

Most binges would start after I came home from a hard day at school, or maybe after I got in a fight with a family member. Maybe I felt insecure about the growing number on the scale, but I ate.

It always started with half a bag of chips, then maybe a cookie or other sweet treat, and then I would finish with something else I could find in the pantry. My mother would come home and begin making dinner.

Ashamed, I would hide the food anywhere so my family could not tell I had been eating and then I would go eat dinner.

This was a common occurrence for me, but I had no idea that my habits were wrong or should point to an eating disorder. The only thing that I knew was wrong with me, was that I was gaining weight.

For the longest time, I thought an eating disorder was something that helped you lose weight unhealthily, not gain weight. It wasn't until I sat in a health class that I realized that there was anything wrong with me.

Education is so important in overcoming eating disorders. We are making such great strides about informing people about the dangers of eating disorders and positive body image.

It is so important that we start making Binge Eating Disorder a topic that is as known as anorexia and bulimia. No one ever discusses Binge Eating Disorder, not even the dangers of it, maybe if they had my life might have been different.

Maybe I would have found out about it earlier and could have gotten help before it got out of hand.

I wish I could say that I left that health class that day and never had a binge again. The truth is I binged several times after that, and still to this day I have an episode, although they are very rare.

It would be unrealistic to tell you that I overcame my eating disorder that day because it is a journey I am still completing. Every day presents a new challenge, and sometimes I fail, but I will succeed, and succeeding is worth a few failures.

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