The Girl Who Made Me Smile

The Girl Who Made Me Smile

From The Kid Who Was The Middle School Freak
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Throughout my entire life, I have been told time and time again that I am extremely nice. Sometimes, people even tell me that I’m too nice; especially to people who “don’t deserve it.” I get a lot of people asking me, “but why?”

The answer is simple: I know what it is like to feel neglected, friendless and bullied. I know what it is like to have everybody I have tried to befriend turn me down and make fun of me. That kind of lonely experience has made it very easy for me to look into the eyes of somebody not well-liked, choose to be friendly and simply say “hi.”

Middle School is hard for everybody. Everyone is trying their very best to fit in; wearing the latest trend, putting on the makeup, trying to make it on to the most popular sports teams. Every kid wants to be considered part of the ”popular crowd.” This also means avoiding the socially awkward and “nerdy” oddballs who showed up at school. That was me. I was the oddball.

Having had attended only private schools in the past, I had only ever had to wear the same uniform every day. My outfit was picked out for me, and in elementary school, nobody really cared how your hair was cut or what jewelry you wore. When I entered public school for the first time in sixth grade, I didn’t really know how to put together a matching outfit. I was also a huge tomboy and had my hair cut short. It was a “boy’s” haircut. Everything about me was the opposite of what was considered cool. To make matters worse, I moved into the school in the middle of the year. Everybody else had known each other since the beginning of the year; often enough, even years before that.

Twelve and 13 year olds in middle school are anything but discreet, and it was very easy to notice the other kids whispering to each other and giggling. At the time, I didn’t really know what they were giggling about. However, I eventually came to the realization that the giggles, whispers and mockery were about me. There I stood in my cargo shorts, an oversized T-shirt and crocs, with my thick glasses and short hair. To top it all off, I made it worse by talking about all my nerdy and unpopular interests of dinosaurs, science fiction and fantasy right off the bat. I got weird looks, people were laughing at me and when lunch time came around, nobody wanted to sit with me. Being the socially awkward girl that I was, and not realizing that people really didn’t want to hang out with me, I attempted to push my way into conversations and recess games. People didn’t take too well to that. I was the middle school freak.

Over the course of my stay at that particular school, I was openly teased, laughed at, name-called, pranked and was the butt of sexual jokes that, as a seventh grader, I didn’t even understand. The look on my parents’ faces when I asked them what those things meant will forever be ingrained in my brain.

Then a new girl moved in. As usual, I introduced myself to her right away. She was nice, but I thought that after she saw how the other kids treated me, she would resort to the same thing. To my surprise and delight, she didn’t. Even though we didn’t hang out that often, she ate lunch with me some days, openly expressed interest in my mood and my day and after a few months, she even invited me to her Bat Mitzvah; a Jewish coming of age ceremony. What made it all even more astonishing to me, was that she didn’t do it because she was lonely and wanted a friend. Everybody seemed to really like her. Still, she decided against to go against the status quo and befriend me. Years later, I still remember everything about her. She made everything about the couple of years I spent at that school much more wonderful to look back on.

Middle school is tough, and I am sure that the kids who bullied me have changed since then, just as I have. The people who know me now would have never recognized me in my middle school years. Many people may even be surprised to hear about the younger 13-year-old me and deny I could have ever been like that. However, the impression that girl had on me taught me one of the most valuable lessons yet: be kind. You may not want to hang out with the “oddball,” and that’s OK. However, if you can put aside what others may think when they see you speaking to the “oddball,” please remember that simply smiling and expressing an interest in how their day is going will often make up for their frequent, terribly lonely days.

Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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The 6 Best Stores To Shop In When You're Just A Little Bit Tipsy

It's like drunk online shopping, but like, irl

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If your hometown is anything like mine there are chain restaurants surrounding your mall. From Olive Garden to Applebee's, Red Robin to On The Border, the chain restaurants do not end.

These glorified fast food spots are the best for a quick bite to eat, but offer something McDonald's can't: alcohol. I typically meet a friend at one of these restaurants before we set out on a shopping endeavor and end up getting a glass (or 2) of wine or a marg. By the time we leave and start shopping, I have a little buzz going which I found on a Saturday afternoon makes shopping that much more fun.

I had my first taste of tipsy shopping in Las Vegas where you can drink on the strip and most places let you bring your drink in and it was AMAZING. Ready to give this a try? Here are the places you should make sure you shop at when you're just a little bit tipsy:

1. Target

I mean, duh! The holy grail. Try on that dress girl! Buy those shoes! Get lost in the home decor! The activities in Target are ENDLESS and makes your Target run more exciting.

2. World Market

World Market on Instagram: “Light-infused and filled with florals, our NEW Natural Blooms collection has furniture, decor, accessories and more for lovers of natural…”

World Market has beautiful home furnishings and interesting food to explore. You will wander through the aisles wishing you could afford to furnish your college house rental with these pieces. The design inspiration you leave World Market with will have you dreaming about it for days.

3. Sephora

When you're just a little bit tipsy, you're more confident. Try that bold lip out! Buy that palette you've been dreaming of!

4. Marshalls or T.J. Maxx

These bargain stores will be thanking your wallet as you leave, let's be honest, one stop here when you're tipsy and you have the desire to update your wardrobe.

5. Homegoods

After you've updated your wardrobe and you're still dreaming of all the furniture at World Market, stop by Homegoods. You can actually afford the home decor here.

6. Costco

Everyone's favorite warehouse, it's not just another grocery store - it's so much more. You will get lost in the maze of aisles and you know what? That's ok. Also, the "food court" has amazing food that is extremely affordable. If you don't have a Costco membership I feel bad for you BUT you can still access the food court without a membership - eat your heart out.

One place you should not go is a grocery store, I went to Meijer and I was MISERABLE.

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