Strong Is Beautiful: How The Gym Gave Me My Confidence Back

Strong Is Beautiful: How The Gym Gave Me My Confidence Back

Step away from the mirror and step into your sneakers.
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Billboards. Magazines. Television commercials. No matter where you look you look you see rail thin models advertising everything from clothing to perfume to beverages. Being exposed to the same image hundreds of times a day leads you to wonder... Is that what I'm supposed to look like? I do kinda wish I looked like her. Then all those clothes would look good on me, and I'd look just like every other girl.

Ever have these thoughts? Yea, me too.

I went through months and months of self-loathing and comparing myself to every girl I saw and wishing that I could suck in a little more here and there and have a wider thigh gap. Teenage years are hard for every girl, and these misleading images of what 'girls should look like' are the furthest thing from helpful.

I've been an athlete all my life and when I finally stepped away from soccer I started comparing myself to these size zero girls. Something about losing my daily workout routine made me doubt myself immensely and I wished that I looked so much different than I did.

I finally decided to join my local gym, hoping that this would help me feel better about myself.

It did.

Getting back into working out made me realize that I could never look like a model, and that that's okay. My body isn't built to be a double zero and no matter what I ate or didn't eat, my body structure was never going to change. After all those years of playing soccer my body was used to be pushed to the limit and feeling sore. Once I got into a daily routine of going to the gym I noticed my body toning, my muscles growing and most importantly I felt so good about myself. Once you stop agonizing over someone you wish you could be, you can start pursuing the best that you can be.

Flash forward a few years and I wake up early every morning to go to the gym. I am in the best shape of my life and I am so happy with the way I look and even more happy, with the way I feel. I could never have pictured how strong I would become in just a few short years and how naturally weight lifting would come to me.

To any girl that is struggling with body image, know you're not alone. Know that those posters and magazine ads you see of six foot tall, size zero models are not what you should strive to look like and know too that they are mostly photoshopped. You may not have always been an athlete like I was, and when you think of the gym you may feel intimated and not want to go but please remember that everyone starts somewhere, and the time to start is right now. Step away from the mirror in your room where you stare at yourself critiquing every flaw and step into your sneakers. Walk a mile on the treadmill, try lifting a few weights, grab a mat in the back and try some yoga- anything will help you feel better. I use the gym as my stress reliever, my confidence booster and everything in between. I recommend going to the gym to any girl because it will help you feel better. Remember, strong is beautiful.

Cover Image Credit: my photo

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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To All Lawmakers, Keep Your Laws Off My Body

My body, my choice.

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This past week, Ohio and Alabama received a lot of attention in the media after bold decisions were made regarding abortion laws in these two states. Alabama has signed an extreme abortion ban into law which gives no exception for even rape or incest. Women and doctors could end up facing 99 years in prison for performing an abortion in this state. In most cases, rapists only serve about 6 years of jail time. This means that a woman could spend more time in jail for attempting to abort the fetus than the man who planted it inside of her. In Ohio, similar laws are being put in place that denies women from getting an abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. However, that is only 5 weeks into the pregnancy, or one week late of a period. Most women do not even know they are pregnant at that time.

I originally was very hesitant to write this article. Not because I did not know what I thought about the issue, but rather because I was afraid what other people would think of me writing about this. I'm typically not one to post anything too political but there comes a time when something must be said.

When it comes to abortion laws, pro-life advocates often argue that the fetus could be the next Einstein or the person to cure cancer. However, the women who are going to be taking care of the child could have potentially done the same. Instead, they are often forgotten about and their lives are changed for good. There are so many women who will have to give up so much such as their education, career, and happiness as a result of the laws that are being put into place.

Furthermore, if a woman is not capable of taking care of a child at the time she gets pregnant, the child will end up being the one to suffer the most. If the woman has no option but to keep the baby, the baby has the potential of growing up in an unstable home where it will not have the resources it needs to live.

Pro-life advocates push for women to just give the child up for adoption, but that has its own set of problems. If the woman puts the baby up for adoption, there is a ginormous possibility that the child will live their entire life going in and out of our country's broken foster care system. Lawmakers should not be advocating for the protection of fetuses unless they are able to make sure the fetus will be able to grow up in a stable environment.

Putting laws to prevent abortion into place isn't going to stop abortions from happening. Instead, it is going to make women turn to hazardous practices that could end up with them harming themselves. Many people, including some pro-life advocates, have even admitted that the bills being put into place are too far.

The most amazing thing to me about the bills being signed into place is that the support for them is heavily reliant on men. It is very easy to jump behind supporting something that doesn't affect you. These men will never be able to experience what it is like to carry a child around for nine months and care for it after. That is why it makes absolutely no sense that they are able to tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies.

Being pro-choice is not necessarily being pro-abortion. It is being for women to have the freedom to do what they believe is best for themselves. A women's right to make her own choices should not be a conservative or democratic issue. It is a human issue. It shouldn't matter what the circumstances are. If a woman feels she is not ready for a child she should have the ability to do what is needed to be done. I hope that as a country we are able to take the necessary steps to prevent us from moving back in time. So to all lawmakers, keep your laws off of my body.

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