Don't Let Your Size define Who You Truly Are

Don't Let Your Size define Who You Truly Are

There's so many more important things to worry about in life than the size on the scale or the food that you are eating.

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Starting at a young age it was always instilled in me to watch what I eat. Growing up in Louisiana was especially hard for me. There was this verbal and nonverbal way of living and I was always put in this box to make me think that I wasn't perfect if I wasn't thin. A lot of times the first time I'd see someone in awhile when I was younger that was there first response "oh you look thinner" or "you have grown" which would be said in a negative way towards my weight. Even having the number on a scale or the size of my pants defining who I was. Even when I was working in retail when I moved to Pennsylvania this was still present.

When I worked in retail, I'd have girl crying because they tried on pants or shorts and they went up a size. I'd explain to them that the size didn't matter if they looked amazing in their outfit but a lot of times it didn't matter. The damage was already done and the girl thought they weren't worthy to call the outfit cute because the size wasn't small enough for them to be happy. There has been many different article and videos explaining how different companies size their clothes completely different from each other based on their target weight of their customers. This means some companies actually make sizes smaller while other companies make the same size pants bigger. That being said there isn't one true size when you go into different stores. After learning this, it made me feel a lot better when I went into stores to try on clothes. I had to remind myself that nothing is wrong with me for not being the same size or to increase or decrease in size.

Even though there is a lot of people trying to reverse this stigma people have with sizes or weight, it's still present even for people who are my age. I see so many fitness accounts who are all about body positivity but then call their food cheat meals. This is something so discreet but that still enforces negativity towards food. I went through a phase where I'd watch every sign meal I ate and mentally take notes on what "good" or "bad" things I was eating. While I was the thinnest I ever was and people constantly gave me compliments on how small I was, I was miserable. I constantly was weighing myself and if I ate someone I'd consider "bad," I'd go to the gym multiple times a day.

Seeing these fitness girls showing that they had a big dessert and saying they had to go to the gym harder the next day only installed my way of eating and responding to food I love. It was so much work to constantly be thinking about everything I ate or drank and how many calories I was consuming versus how many I was burning at the gym. After I quit doing all of this and just eat whatever I wanted I gained an intense amount of weight. I was happy but it then caught up to me that I didn't want to live a life where I was either extremely healthy or eating only unhealthy food. I started to believe in portion control and feeding your body when it's hungry.

From the different experiences I have been through, I have finally found a happy with my weight and food. I truly love trying new foods, I don't want to call them cheat meals. I'm happy to just enjoy food without having to justify to myself why I am eating it. Also not letting my weight define who I am has made me a happy person all around.

Cover Image Credit:

Caroline Domingue

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What Losing Someone To Suicide Really Feels Like.

In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

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A word that describes what it feels like to lose someone to suicide? That doesn't exist. It's actually a whole jumbled up pool of emotions. Almost unbearable comes to mind, but that still doesn't quite cover it. You never think it'll happen to someone you know, much less a family member.

Let me start off by telling you about my experience. I was up late one night studying for a big nursing test I had the next morning. My phone started ringing, and I automatically assumed it was my boyfriend who knew I would still be up at midnight. It wasn't, though. It was my mother, who usually goes to bed before 10 every night. I knew something bad had happened.

"Mama, what's wrong?" I could hear her crying already. "Baby, Andrew shot himself," my mother then told me. I flooded her with questions. Where? Is he okay? Why was he playing around with a gun this late? What happened? She then said, "No, baby, he killed himself."

Disbelief

Disbelief was my first reaction. No, that couldn't be true. Not my Andrew. Not my 17-year-old, crazy, silly, cousin Andrew. Not the kid who eats sour Skittles while we walk through Walmart and then throws away the pack before we get to the register. Not the kid who, while we all lay in the floor in Grandma's living room, is constantly cracking jokes and telling us stories about how he's a real ladies' man. This can't be real. I'm gonna go home and it is all just gonna be a mix-up.

Confusion

It wasn't, though. I sat in the home of my grandparents, with the rest of my family, confused. We tried to go over what could have caused him to do it. Was it a girl? Did we do something wrong? He acted normal. Nothing seemed off, but I guess nobody will ever truly know.

Anger

For a minute there I was mad. How could he do this? Did he not know what this would do to everyone? So many people loved him. I just couldn't understand, but I wasn't Andrew. How could I understand?

Regret

Regret was my next feeling. Why didn't I do more? What could I have done? How did I not notice he was hurting so bad? There wasn't anyone who knew, though. For the longest time, I told myself that I should have texted him more or just made sure he knew I loved him. In the end, I always realize that there wasn't anything I could have done and that he knew I loved him.

Pain

The funeral was almost insufferable. A church filled with people who loved Andrew. People that would never get to see him or hear his laugh again. The casket was closed and the whole time all I could think about was how I just wanted to hold his hand one last time. My brother, who spent almost every weekend with Andrew since they were little, didn't even want to go inside. They were only a year and a half apart. At one point he just fell to the ground in tears. This kind of pain is the heart-breaking kind. The pain of picking a 15-year-old off the ground when he hurts so bad he can't even go on anymore.


Heartache

This led to heartache. I thought so much about how his life was way too short. He would never get to graduate high school or go to college. He would never get his first grown-up job. He'd never get married or have children. Dwelling on these thoughts did some major damage to my heart. We missed him. We wanted him back, but we could never go back to how things were.

Numbness

For a while after, I could honestly say I was numb. It had hurt so much I think my body shut down for a little while. That disbelief would pop up again and I would forget it was real. I'd try to block out the reminders but that doesn't really work. Every time I see sour Skittles I think about him, or wear this certain pair of earrings he'd always try to get me to give him.

Longing

This past week marked a whole year since he passed away. What am I feeling now? Still all of these things plus a little more. Longing is a good word. I miss him every day and wish so much that he was still here with us. I'll see little reminders of him and smile or laugh. We had so many good memories, and I could never forget those or him. That's what I cling to now. That was my Andrew.


In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."


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

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5 Healthy Snacks For Your Dorm Room

Ditch the dining hall and opt for these instead.

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College is filled with fun--from sporting events to social events, to extracurriculars, there's an array of options when it comes to preoccupying yourself. However, there isn't always a wide array of options when it comes to food. As much as they try, it's extremely difficult (and expensive) for dining halls to mass produce healthy food. Thus, we college students are left with a decision: Do we succumb to the mass-produced, lackluster dining hall food, or do we ditch the dining hall and make our own food?

After a semester in college, I decided I'd had enough crinkle fries... something I never thought I'd say. I started hitting up Target and Trader Joe's like my life depended on it (which, it kind of did). Soon enough, I found some healthy and affordable food that have become dorm room staples. Here are five of my favorites.

Long gone are the days where I'd make bets on what exotic way chicken would be prepared for dinner. I have these snacks, as well as many more I can make with these same ingredients, to thank for that.

1. Fancy Oatmeal

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Even though I thought it was commonly called "porridge" until the third grade, oatmeal has always been one of my favorite breakfast foods. Once I got to college, I realized Quaker Oats apples and cinnamon wasn't the only type of spiced-up oatmeal out there. Soon, I was adding a sliced up banana, peanut butter, and chia seeds to my oatmeal every morning, helping me stay fuller longer. In this particular bowl, I sprinkled chopped almonds and blueberries just for fun.

2. Carrots and hummus

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Baby carrots are good for you, and they don't go bad as quickly as other veggies like lettuce and cucumbers. Popping a couple in a plastic bag along with an individual container of hummus and stuffing it in your purse or backpack make for a great on-the-go snack.

3. Turkey Roll Up

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This snack is so easy to make and yummy I'm surprised more people don't know about it. Take a stick of light string cheese, place it on a piece of deli-shaved turkey, and roll it right up like a burrito! Sometimes, I even add a little mustard to my turkey slice before rolling it. It's just like a sandwich without the bread!

4. Sustainable Salad

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Worried you might not get to all your lettuce before it starts to wilt? Here's a hack: Putting a paper towel inside the bag of lettuce will allow it to soak up the moisture that otherwise would turn the lettuce brown. Still don't trust yourself with eating it all before this? You can always snag some lettuce from your dining hall and add your own toppings to it later. My favorite include grape tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, string cheese, and turkey or frozen grilled chicken strips. Add light ranch or a vinaigrette dressing and wa-la! You have a filling, healthy meal.

5. Fruit Smoothie

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The most expensive part of this snack is all in the preparation: the blender. Trust me, though, this is worth it. I love mixing a little frozen fruit, almond milk, and honey together in my mini blender and enjoying a smoothie on the way to class. If I'm feeling really fancy, I'll add goji berries, chia seeds, or granola to the top for a little extra boost!

With snacks like these, I'm glad I left the french fries and mysterious chicken behind. As you can see, many of the ingredients overlap--it's pretty easy to turn a simple grocery list into a collection of yummy, healthy snacks!

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