No One Prepares You For The Peer Pressure That Forces You To Choose 'Better' Decisions

No One Prepares You For The Peer Pressure That Forces You To Choose 'Better' Decisions

Even if you have the next four years planned out, hearing what others are doing can make you doubt what you want.
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If I had chosen to follow in others' high school plans, I would be regretting it years from now.

There's the classic case of seeing others engaging in bad (but compelling) acts, like smoking or drinking and being forced by them to join in, but no one really prepares you for the peer pressure that comes with making decisions about your future. Yes, I know that people say, "Choose what you feel is right for you specifically," and I have done just that. Every decision I've made about my future thus far has focused on what I want, but these all have been tiny yes or no's — not ones that have shaped where I'll be heading career-wise for the rest of my working life.

And after the decision-making comes the second-guessing, which happens only to some people who are more susceptible to it than others.

I've always found myself able to easily stand up against addictively-gross habits that are known to destroy people's lives, but never did I realize how open I was to being persuaded by what others see for their futures. A few days ago, I received my course recommendations for the upcoming school year, and I could not have been prouder of myself. The courses I was given matched perfectly to my high school plan, and I was right on target with what classes I felt were most interesting.

But I'll own up to the fact that I can lack balance. I am the straight image of a workaholic, and up until a few years ago, that was all I felt was necessary to being successful. Work, work and more work. I thought there was nothing wrong with working so much because I enjoyed doing it. So when someone finally came clean and told me that I had to cut it down before I went insane, I realized how much the rest of my life had been impacted by my addiction to working. Everything else came second to the papers sitting in my bag, waiting to be completed.

So I spent the next years after that working on my extracurriculars and spending more time with my friends. I had a lot more balance in my life, and even if I thought I was initially happy filling out papers all day, I was even happier mixing it with my life outside of working.

Now, because it'd been so long since I'd received a wake-up call, I didn't know how to handle a sudden reminder from someone that I needed to stay balanced. Because I was hitting every point in my life perfectly, I could see the gold medal waiting for me. I actually felt excited for the rest of my high school career.

That was, until the college conversation began.

Course recommendations are a stressful time of the year because you have to make a decision that you'll stick by for a whole nine months. I was fairly confident in my choices, but when I sat down in my next class that day, I heard my friend mention all of these fancy names for courses she was taking.

I felt a pit of dread grow in my stomach, and I felt... stuck. That's a good word for it. Stuck. I thought because I'd set a high school plan, I chained myself to it and had made a pact that there would be absolutely no way for me to get out of the deal I made with myself. I wanted to change all of my courses for some reason, the ones that I'd been itching to take for years because of my interest in those fields. I wanted to change them because someone else's courses sounded better.

So I went home that day, feeling a few traitor tears fall because I was so nervous about losing my chances at getting into the colleges I wanted to go to. Suddenly, I could see the gold medal at the end disappearing and being replaced with a rusty trophy that said, "You could've done better."

People don't prepare you for the peer pressure that forces you to make "better" decisions. They don't let you know just how important it is to follow your own future and not be blinded by the image of someone else's. But that evening, I learned how vital it is to be true to yourself in all aspects, especially when the topic concerns your future.

I like to think that I live for who I am, and 99 percent of the time, that's true. I needed just that little nudge in the right direction to understand that the one percent of the time I'm living for others, I'm not living my best life. So now, I'm back on schedule and once again ready to take on the world. No one said life would be as easy as can be, but I know I can take away those unnecessary bumps along the way if I just relax and lead my own path.

I can already start to see that gold medal shining again.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Jonathan Daniels

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Tanya Gold, Your Fatphobic Article Is Uneducated And Arrogant

BREAKING NEWS: Women come in all different shapes and sizes!

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Just recently, Nike released a plus-size mannequin at one of their stores in London that showed off their plus-size leggings and sports bra. And, because we live in a world where being fat or overweight or obese is somehow the worst thing in the world to some people, this has sparked a lot of discussion.

Tanya Gold wrote an article for The Telegraph saying that this mannequin “cannot run" and is “likely pre-diabetic" and “on her way to a hip-replacement." Not only is Tanya's article uneducated and poorly written, it's completely fatphobic and embarrassing.

What I would like to know is this: why can't plus-size women work out in Nike clothes just like a size 2 woman? People want to scream from the rooftops that plus-size women are fat because they don't exercise and when companies FINALLY start catering to plus-size women with clothes they can EXERCISE IN, people lose their minds and think that they're promoting obesity.

What are plus sized women supposed to work out in if they can't even wear Nike leggings without being fat-shamed?

Would you rather them wear jeans? Overalls? A parka, maybe? What about a garbage bag?

Let's also discuss the fact that being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy, just like being at a “normal" weight doesn't make you healthy. Did you ever stop to think that some women have diseases that make them gain weight that they, in return, can't lose? Some women can eat salad for every single meal, seven days a week and they still can't lose weight.

Let's all say this together: SIZE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FITNESS. Being thin doesn't equal being healthy and being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy.

Everyone (and yes, I mean EVERYONE) should be able to be comfortable in their own skin AND in their clothes.

You can't sit and pout saying that fat people don't care about their health and then when they want comfortable clothes to wear while they're EXERCISING, hell has frozen over and how dare Nike cater to people who aren't a size 2.

Tanya, be honest with yourself. You aren't anywhere near a size 2, either, so where is all of this coming from? Are you self-loathing? Do you have some kind of internal fatphobia?

Pick a side, Tanya. You can't hate people who are overweight because you think that they aren't exercising and then when they do exercise and they get clothes that cater to them, it's all of the sudden wrong and horrible.

We are damned if we do, damned if we don't. As if women (and men) weren't already being shamed enough for being plus size, we're now being made to feel bad because a brand caters to our size so we can wear the same clothes all of the other sizes can wear.

Thank you, Nike, for making your brand more inclusive for all shapes and sizes so we can ALL feel confident in our clothes.

I think it's worth mentioning that Nike released their plus-size line in 2017 AKA 2 years ago... Why weren't you mad then?

Oh, and, Tanya Gold, you might want to stop smoking since you're all about being healthy, right? You don't want to get lung cancer or anything, do you?

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