I Shaved My Head

I Shaved My Head

It changed more than just the way I look.
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Last week, I got my head shaved at a St. Baldrick’s event. The idea behind the organization is to raise money for childhood cancer research. Many participants choose to get their heads shaved in order to show support for children and families affected by childhood cancer, and to raise awareness of the funding gap between childhood and adult cancer research.

I got up on stage to get my head shaved, not fully realizing what I was doing. I had finally found the perfect routine that made my hair look great every day. After years of struggling, I had found the magical ingredients that made my natural, bouncy curls stay all day. For years, my self-confidence has been wrapped up in my hair. If my hair didn’t cooperate, I felt like I couldn’t get through the day. I felt most beautiful when my hair looked good. It sounds crazy! I didn’t realize how much my self-image was related to my hair until it was all gone.

It wasn’t until a few days ago that I processed the magnitude of what I had done.

I raised $775 for childhood cancer research and have been showing support for people affected by childhood cancer, as well as raising awareness of the funding gap.

For the first time in my life, I feel beautiful.

Before this incredible change, I saw a pudgy body, unruly hair, and sharp features. I felt ugly. I walked down the street hoping that people didn’t see in me what I saw in myself—a fat, ugly, loud, annoying woman. I tried to disappear everywhere I went. It worked. Wherever I went, my existence went unnoticed. I was happy with this because I was afraid of what people would think of me, but it still hurt sometimes.

I’m ugly. Fat. Annoying. Bossy. I don’t deserve to love or be loved. I don’t deserve to live.

These are all thoughts that constantly swam through my head because I felt worthless. I couldn’t see what I see now.

I walk around with my head held high because I feel good. I feel good about raising money for research. I feel good about supporting friends and families near and dear to my heart. I look in the mirror and I see beaming brown eyes looking back at me. I feel more confident than ever. I am starting to understand that I am important, irreplaceable, and kind. I am beautiful and talented. I deserve happiness, love, and life.

I am beautiful and I am loved.

If someone had told me that a few weeks ago, I would have laughed in their face and said, “You’re kind, but you’re lying.” But they wouldn’t be lying, they would be right. I am beautiful and I am loved.

It’s crazy that it took shaving my head for me to understand this about myself, but I’m so incredibly thankful for my bald and beautiful head.

I hope you feel beautiful and loved, because you are. You are important, you are irreplaceable, you deserve to love and be loved, and you deserve to be happy.

Cover Image Credit: Meera Sinha

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Knowing

A wake-up call.

356
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"How they make you feel says a lot about them, and nothing about you.

Trust me when I say, someone who makes you question if you are worthy of being loved is not worthy of being loved by you."

- Bianca Sparacino

I saw the above quote in an Instagram post, and it really spoke volumes to me.

The importance of "knowing your worth" is something I always stress to people, but I've often found that I wasn't quite heeding my own advice. It often took a wake-up call for me to realize that. And that wake-up call would often lead to guilt. It would lead to staying up at an ungodly hour thinking things over, and about what I could have done differently. It would lead to constantly asking myself how I allowed things to continue the way I had. It would lead to self-blame, and I'd often start asking myself why I wasn't worth it.

But I am worth it.

And so are you.

And if that isn't being recognized, then it's time to pack up. Because you deserve better - whether that's increased effort, improved communication, whatever else you may (and damn well should) expect. And asking for any of that is not asking too much.

But this article isn't only about knowing your worth. It's about "knowing" in general. It's about anything in your life that needs to be figured out. There are going to be times in your life that you're stuck between two (or more) options, and you don't know which is the best one. Sometimes, weighing out the pros and the cons just doesn't cut it.

So, you may not know which way to go right now. And that's okay. You're not going to be 100% certain on everything right away. The important things take time. It's all in how you act once you figure things out for yourself. This goes for "knowing" anything. Knowing whether or not something should be pursued. Knowing when it's best to walk away. You name it.

But in figuring it out, don't make excuses for yourself and/or others. You don't know how anyone other than yourself is going to act/react in any scenario - nor will you ever. Assuming that you know everything about anyone/everyone involved is unfair and just overall wrong. So definitely keep that in mind before/while thinking out any potential outcomes.

If you're trying to reach a decision, do NOT simply choose the easy way out. How many times have you heard something along the lines of "the right choice isn't always the easy one?" News flash - it's not just a cheesy mantra. Almost nothing that's truly worth it is easy. If "I don't know" is looking to be a "no," that's okay. That's just how it is sometimes. But if that decision is being made purely because going the "yes" route would be more difficult, reevaluate.

And when you DO finally figure things out:

If you "know," do not proceed to act as if you don't. Don't let others continue to believe that you haven't reached a decision, especially those who are relevant to whatever you just figured out. And if you're asked about it, don't lie and say that you're still unsure. That could potentially be damaging to everyone involved, including yourself. Dishonesty is outright disrespectful, and it's unfair to you and those you are dishonest to. Think: how much do you really care if you're willing to lie? Did you ever really care at all?

When you figure out whatever you've been thinking over, be honest with yourself and all who are involved. Even if it's bad news. Yes, it will suck at first - but the truth always comes out one way or another, so it's best to acknowledge it early on. Especially if it's not an issue pertaining only to you. Dragging things out is the worst thing you could possibly do. You may be choosing to do so because you're worried about how the truth will impact him/her/them... well, I can guarantee you, based off personal experience, that every day you put it off will make your truth hurt a hundred times more. Please, give those who are involved in your particular situation the decency of honesty.

I don't know about you, but I hate uncertainty more than almost anything. It's scary, and often very frustrating. I avoid uncertainty at almost all costs, simply because I hate it so much. But I've put myself in situations of uncertainty if I truly saw potential. Has that come back to bite me in the ass? At times, absolutely. But each time, I learn a little more about myself. And I guess that's the point.

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