Rise Unafraid

What it means to rise unafraid

I actually cried while writing this article. It's hard to be vulnerable and to share with others your moments of weakness, but it is what I have to do to continue my path of rising unafraid. We should all try.

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I have spent a lot of time on my own this year.

I specificaly remember my 20th birthday last November and will never forget it. I knew I was taking off for Scotland soon and I remember blowing out my candles and thinking, this is going to be the best year of my life. I can confidently say that this year of being 20 has not been dull, it has been life altering.

The definition of unafraid means; feeling no fear or anxiety.

Since the start of January to as I am currently typing this, I have had the most anxiety and the most fear I have ever felt in my entire life. Good fear, yes. Bad fear? Yes, as well.

I moved to Scotland in search of exploring a new english speaking country and went into the experience with little to no expectations. I knew studying abroad was something I had always wanted to do and I was looking forward to venturing on my own and seeing the world from a "20" year olds eyes. While everyone goes through family trouble and personal heartbreak, I had to deal with two of the largest personal matters across the world and alone and I think that brought lots of self awarness and independence to my life that I was unaware I could handle on my own. Shortly after, I was told I was moving to New York City. Yes, a dream, but also brought on anxiety. I was so nervous for my dream job to really be coming true.

So, to tie this in, you might be going through similar things. I feel this age between 20-24 is stressful. Working hard at school, trying to find a passion, holding on to relationships, staying in touch with old friends and new friends...its all hard. I serisouly wish I had a guide book to show me how to do this all. I keep saying I've been alone and I'm not. I have support but I feel in your 20's you have to be a certain type of alone and independent to work on your self-worth to get you through this crazy time.

When everything seems to be blowing up and causing stress, over the past 6 months I have handled situations very differently and some not well. I keep being told to rise to my greatest standard and I feel that is the best and worst advice all wrapped into one. You're right. I want to work towards being the best me, being healthy, being happy, and being kind. But, it's also near impossible to say that I even know what the best me looks like. I know what the happy me looks like and what the strong version of me is but I can confidently say, I will never be perfect and I have learned that is the way you should always think.

Is it okay to rise in situations and be afraid? Of course. I would say the past 6 months I have been afraid, in a great way. I have been afraid but rising to become the person I want to be. Or, just rising in situations that I have never been in. Like traveling in a different speaking country alone or dealing with personal heartbreak across the world. It's all scary but it's all doable if you can pray to something you believe in and dedicate time to yourself to find daily happiness.

How do we rise unafraid?

This is a new term for me to rise up and to rise unafraid. In daily life, daily confilict, daily self discovery, we are anxious and scared and humiliated. Staying scared and hiding behind yourself will NEVER fix any issue...trust me. It will never help your path of growth if you stay scared and see yourself as a weakness. I have taken my time in NYC and my personal hardships that I started off with here, as a weakness. But, like everyone says, at your weakest is the best time to rise up and grow. I am rising unafraid of my own fears. My fears of being alone, not loved, out late in the dark at night, whatever it may be. I am rising to finally put myself first.

I think that's what I should've wished for on my 20th birthday. "Be proud of the path to finding the you, YOU want to be." Put yourself first. This is the only life you have to complete that gift. It is scary.

But rise unafraid.

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12 Struggles Only Portuguese Girls Can Relate To

It's like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" but Portuguese edition.
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As mentioned before in my "8 Ways You Know You're Portuguese" article, I'm 100% European Portuguese. Which means that if you're reading this, you're probably somehow related to me (see #5). You know these 12 things to be true if you grew up in a Portuguese household:

1. You're pressured to marry a Pork Chop.

A Pork Chop is a Portuguese person. The older generation feels that this term is derogatory, but Portuguese Americans self identify as 'Pork Chops.' Some families will probably disown you if you don't marry a Portuguese guy, but I lucked out and my family is pretty open minded. Let me put it this way, if you're not married by the time you're 28, your grandma and your mother are going to take you to the Portuguese club to find a nice Pork Chop to settle down with. You may not be forced into a Portuguese marriage, but it's highly preferred that you marry within the culture.

2. You're always too fat, even if you're skinny.

Portuguese people are a feminist's worst nightmare. They will body shame the hell out of you and feel no remorse. You could lose 20 pounds and look/feel amazing and a Portuguese person will still say "well, you could stand to lose a few more pounds."

3. You must remember your Portuguese classes that you took when you were five years old.

It is a crime against humanity to a Portuguese person if you don't at least understand the language. If you can speak it, read it, and understand it, you've automatically earned yourself the "golden child" title. Every time I move to a different state, my Grandma's only warning is "don't forget your Portuguese," because someone's got to carry on the culture.

4. Am I white? Mixed? Hispanic? Unclear.

I grew up thinking I was some kind of Latina just because the Portuguese language is so similar to Spanish. You probably feel comfortable in Hispanic communities because of your Portuguese background. I eventually realized that I'm white, but I still get told that I look racially ambiguous. Whenever someone asks what nationality I am, I give them three guesses. It's rare that people ever guess Portuguese, but upon finding out that I am, I suddenly become "exotic."

5. You have 55 first cousins.

This is not an exaggeration. My dad actually has 50 first cousins. I have 13, but I have way more cousins in Portugal that I've either never met, or I've met them, but wouldn't be able to pick them out of a line up. If you go to Portugal and visit all of your relatives, the faces and names start to blur together and it's safe to call every man "Joao" and every woman "Maria" or "Ana Maria" and they'll be delighted that you remembered their names.

6. You have to make sure you don't marry your own cousin.

Portugal is such a small country that if you meet a fellow Pork Chop in America, chances are, you're somehow related or your families are friends. I suggest drawing an extensive family tree before shacking up with a Pork Chop.

7. Somebody is always praying for you.

Portuguese people are devoutly Catholic, so it doesn't matter if you're temporarily down on your luck or a self made millionaire, you have a tia (an aunt) that you probably only see when someone in the family passes away, who prays on the rosary every night for you.

8. You must have a name that can be pronounced in Portuguese.

There are two criteria for naming a Portuguese baby: is it the name of a saint, and can it be pronounced in Portuguese? If your uncle twice removed that you see every six years when you go to Portugal can't say your baby's name, you need to pick a new one. Names like "Riley" and "Jackson" won't get Grandma's approval.

9. You're considered adventurous if you move out of your parents house before you're married.

It's rare that Portuguese women don't live with their mothers until they find a spouse, and even once they do get married, it's not uncommon for their mother to move in with her daughter and her (hopefully Portuguese) husband.

10. You've been given something with Our Lady of Fatima on it.

Fatima is Portugal's claim to fame. It's the city in Portugal where three kids claimed they saw the Virgin Mary in 1917 and it's now a popular, religious tourist destination. Your grandma has probably given you something with the Blessed Mary on it to put in your car or in your bedroom so that you stay '#blessed' all the time.

11. You're not allowed to be a vegetarian.

Portuguese people are fishermen and their specialty is codfish, so it's nearly impossible to maintain a vegetarian diet in a Portuguese household. You can be pescatarian though!

12. You have to warn people before you introduce them to your family.

Have you ever seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding?" That's what it's like to bring a non-Portuguese boyfriend to a Portuguese family gathering. Good luck.

Cover Image Credit: CDMPHY / Flickr

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

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Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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