We Give The Word “S-K-I-N-N-Y” Too Much Power

We Give The Word “S-K-I-N-N-Y” Too Much Power

Let’s overthrow the tyranny of “s-k-i-n-n-y." We are more than just bodies.

A word: a seemingly insignificant pairing of letters…a singular term among 171,476 others in the English dictionary.

The word “skinny:” s-k-i-n-n-y… a seemingly insignificant pairing of letters that comprise a singular term among 171,476 that we as a society have transformed into a dominant concept with potent superpowers. These superpowers consist of the ability to manipulate minds, define beauty, alter moods, and determine success.

“Skinny” is not an ordinary word nor an ordinary adjective.

Skinny, rather, is an invincible force that society has tied in an interwoven knot with achievement, happiness, and beauty.

Yes… one word, one singular shape that may have once assumed only the esteem of the word “triangle,” or “tall” or “circular,” maintains the power to control the way we perceive ourselves and others.

Allow me to provide you with a scenario. My family of six traveled to my cousin’s home this Thanksgiving. My cousin is a seventeen-year-old student at the top of his class at a prosperous private school…who was recently invited to participate in a debate in India…who recently won a crew regatta…who recently asked out his first girlfriend… who lost a significant amount of weight since the last time we saw him. Subsequent to a quick “hello” followed by a hug or a handshake, the proceeding remark made by each and every one of my immediate and extended family members was something along the lines of “Wow… you look fantastic… you look so… skinny!”

Positive reinforcement was not only present but also very prominent the entire holiday. Numerous dialogues revolved around his weight loss. He was showered with abundant compliments. He was regarded as a “new and improved” kid, quite distinct from who he was just two months prior when he had been characterized by his buxom physique.

An adolescent, living a life robust with activity, achievements, and adventures, spoke primarily “skinny” talk this Thanksgiving holiday. “Skinny” talk seemed to be the most important to him and the people around him. These people around him, all loving friends and relatives, clearly focused on the "skinny kid", rather than the kid with limitless triumphs and attributes.

This is an allusion to our society as a whole.

We exist in a society teeming with political disbelief, technological advances, an ever-changing opportunity structure, fascinating research about outer space, unique intersections and diversity. Now more than ever is the time to speak about each and every scope of life. Meaningful discussions are opportunities to acquire new knowledge and thereafter, create positive changes. Yet, the societal fairy god-mother has granted the letters s-k-i-n-n-y with the power of a tyrant.

We speak highly of the letters. We prioritize the letters. We converse about the letters. In fact, that six letter dictatorship has the authority to make us happy or sad, to warp us into success stories or failures. In a world where one individual can have so many attributes and perform so many significant roles, we actively allow for the tyranny of s-k-i-n-n-y to prevail.

You, your friend, me, my cousin…

We are all far more than those six letters.

While it is simple and subconscious to allow the dictator to dictate, I invite you to remind yourself and your friends that our world is far too complex to allow for a number on a scale or a six-letter word govern how we feel.

Engage in a more meaningful conversation than that. Compliment one’s character. De-emphasize that word and all of the social constructs that arise with it. Because a word is just a word unless you give it those mighty superpowers that it does not deserve.

Cover Image Credit: @aerie

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.


"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

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Here's Why That Infamous Social Media Cleanse Is Exactly What You Need This Summer

You may have heard a friend say they're taking a break from social media.


You know yourself better than anyone else. You're probably reading this on a phone, desktop, or tablet device. These days, people have a reliance on technology that I couldn't even imagine 14 years ago. We are hardwired to our devices and this won't change anytime soon. We eat, breathe, and sleep with our smartphones in hand. The smartphones not being able to leave people's hands is not just because they want to text and call. The smartphones not being able to leave people's hands is largely due to social media.

We go back and forth among apps, from Twitter to Facebook to Snapchat to Instagram to LinkedIn to Google+ to WhatsApp. Social media is weird in that it lets you instantly share information, ideas, interests (career interests), and essentially yourself. In the palm of your hand is someone's life that they choose to publicly share. Social media dictates how we connect with organizations, communities, and individuals. The whole social media in the palm of your hand thing makes it seem impossible to disconnect. However, nothing's impossible.

The social media cleanse is something you can consider, if you need to disconnect. Personally, I do not see any reason to take a detox anytime soon but it is always a good idea to get your head out of your phone. It is crazy how much we use social media on a daily basis. If you are an iPhone user, you can see the breakdown of applications used by checking your battery usage. It is truly more important to pay attention to what is going on in the real world. It can be hard to remember just how much we use these sites and apps actually to be social. If you want to disconnect, you need to understand you will be missing crucial information.

People use social media to be social whether it's sharing a meme on Instagram or inviting friends to an event via Facebook; you wouldn't want to miss the Facebook invite. By breaking away from social media, you can remember what life was like before Instagram and Snapchat notifications plastered your phone screen. Social media is instantly gratifying, and you may not want that. You can delete the applications off your phone and take a break if needed. A social media detox may be beneficial for some, and if I ever find it necessary for myself, I will not hesitate. There are pros and cons, and as I said before, you know yourself best.

Social media should not control your life. A friend recently posted on his Instagram story that "Instagram is toxic" and that he'll be taking a break. By him taking a break, it really opened my eyes as to how social media makes everyone feel. Some people like Instagram, and other people like my friend can happily live without it. I was still able to see him in person and to call and text. A social media detox can be beneficial. Maybe this summer, you'd like to see yourself use less social media. Delete the application off your smartphone, turn off your tablet, or close the Internet window on your computer. Maybe a social media cleanse is needed -- you be the judge.

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