The Perfect Man: Daddykinz

The Perfect Man: Daddykinz

I may find a prince, but my dad will always be my kinz..I mean king

A few weeks ago, I was struggling with what to write. I was complaining to my parents about how I was rushed for time, exhausted and overwhelmed with the amount of work I had due. Usually, when I am in a rut or stressed about life, my dad is the only one who can get through to me. So, he offered to write my article for me. I thought that he was going to write about a hobby, his business, our family, the dog. It didn’t even cross my mind that he would write about me. Within minutes of bitching to him about my angst, I received this tearjerker in my inbox

So, let me tell you a little bit about Bellakinz. For the last few months, you’ve gotten a sneak peek into the beautiful and very active mind of my daughter, my mini-me, Sydney. I’ve watched with pride as she has poured out her larger-than-life soul so that you all could benefit from her experiences, literally bringing us all along as she processed the emotions of a break-up, loss, stress, low self-esteem, hope, love, family, and friends. Her articles portray who she is: unfiltered, unwavering, and inspiring.

Now don’t get me wrong, Bella can be a major pain the “tuchas”(this means a**). She talks and texts so fast it can make your head hurt. She’s stubborn as hell and has the patience of, well, me. I know this because we basically share a brain. The same beautiful, creative, restless, tortured brain. So much so that when my wife can’t seem to get through to her, she calls in the “Sydney Whisperer.” I say this not to make me seem special, or a better parent than my wife (which I clearly am NOT). I say this because I am truly grateful to share such a special connection with my daughter.

And I’m not being all that selfish. The way that Bella’s twin sister Drew connects with my wife is something I constantly marvel at. That’s because Drew (Emma to me) is her mother, maybe with a little of my goofy side thrown in for good measure. They’ve got theirs, and we’ve got ours. We all love each other, but we respect the special bonds. Now, my son will have something to say about all of this, of course, but let’s leave that for another article.

Bella, I am so proud of the young woman you have become. You are uniquely you, which means a little bit of me will go with you wherever life takes you. I cannot wait to watch, listen and read about all the places you will go (Amsterdam), people you will meet, and lives you will impact. Don’t change for anyone.

Honestly, what my Dad wrote sums up our relationship to a T. I don't know how I'm going to follow that. So there isn’t much detail that I could add that would describe us better. Rather, this is my time to formally and publicly thank him. (Although I don’t think it could ever do him justice)


Thank you for being my best friend and giving me back rubs, even in my most spoiled state. Thank you for showering me with love and always having faith in me. Thank you for pushing me to victory when I couldn’t see the finish line myself. I don’t know what I would do without you picking me up when I fall. There is no one else on this planet that can calm me down the way that you do.

Thank you for making it impossible for anyone to measure up to you. I honestly do not know who I would be without you. I don’t think you understand how fortunate I am to have gotten your humor. (Even though I pride myself on being funnier and Mama will attest to that.) Thank you for giving me my tiny gene and teaching me how to scurry our little bodies through the world together. My life is as incredible as it is because of YOU and I never allow that to slip my mind. Thank you for being my mind reader and psychiatrist—notice I didn’t say psychologist—because you pay for my prescriptions as well as talk me off the ledge.

Most importantly, thank you more than anything for showing me what strength is. You make me more proud and inspired every single day as a result of your patience, resilience, and ability to persevere. (You’re also smart as hell, something Alex was lucky enough to snatch in the gene pool.) At least Mama’s ditziness makes Drew and I entertaining.

Whether it be a job, friends, or school, I catch myself comparing anything and everything to you. I think to myself “What would he do, ” or I look back at your past successes and go from there. Nobody can tell me that there’s anyone better than Matthew Friedman and get away with it. You are an unbelievably remarkable man, and I can only hope to lead half the life you have been able to provide for us. Words cannot even describe how fortunate I am to have you as my superhero, best friend, teacher, protector, and Daddykinz. I am who I am because of you.

I love you. More.



Cover Image Credit: Sydney Friedman

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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15 Amazing Junior Year Memories That I Don't Think A Busy Senior Year Will Make Me Forget

It's the last week of school, but I think of it more as the last week of my favorite year of high school.


Ups and downs, highs and lows. Whatever I call the many bumps on the journey I had in the past nine months, that won't change the fact that the fun parts of the year were truly fun. I met so many new people and made so many new friends that I can't keep track of how quickly time is passing when I spend time with any of them. I learned so much new content in my classes that my brain hurts just trying to remember everything. I feel so happy when I imagine various moments in the past year that it just wouldn't be fitting to let them all fly away.

1. When Homecoming Dinner Couldn't Get Any Weirder

Let's just say that the restaurant wasn't as family-friendly as it had originally advertised. And, not to sound like a restaurant critic, but the food certainly didn't make up for the strange environment. In fact, I had to go home from feeling sick. But even with the mess that dinner was, the night was a crazy adventure that I doubt I'll forget anytime soon.

2. When We Went To Barnes & Noble To Study For Finals

One of my best friends and I have a tradition of going to either a local Starbucks or our Barnes & Noble just to study, and if we're not able to get our table (the one with a leg rest and outlets), then we can't focus. In fact, we'll stare at the people at our table until they leave on their own. Plus, once we get started on studying, the next two to three hours are nonstop working.

3. When We Celebrated Halloween By Hiking Through A Forest Five Times

Am I exaggerating? Absolutely not. For Halloween, a few of us volunteered at our local nature center to lead tours around the surrounding forest for the children who came to the event. From six in the evening to 11 in the night, we walked step after step through winding hills and large fields, and when the leg pain came afterward, we couldn't stop complaining.

4. When We Found A Planetarium So Close To Home

My dad and I found a small planetarium at a nearby college that was open every Friday night for anyone to visit, and we'd spend every Friday for two months going there to see how the star patterns had changed in the past week. Sometimes, I'd accidentally fall asleep during the presentations because I was exhausted from school that day, but being able to learn surface-level knowledge about astronomy was priceless.

5. When We Went To A Concert Twenty Minutes After Hearing About It

There was one time my best friend and I were studying for finals at Barnes & Noble back in December, and she brought up a concert happening at our school that was going on that night.

"Do you want to go?" I remember her asking.

So we drove quickly to school with half an hour left before it started by the time we reached. We sat there and stared at the school building, and this one song that neither of us will ever forget began playing on Spotify. That was probably the most nostalgic, heartbreaking moment I'd ever experienced. The school stared back at us, empty hallways lit up and visible through the windows, and I remember just thinking about how there would be a day that we'd see some of our friends for the last time before college.

The concert was amazing, though.

6. When We Drew Flowers On A Balloon In Physics

I had gotten a balloon in the previous class, which I brought with me to Physics. I should've known how bad of a decision it was on my part to mention the balloon because all of us took turns drawing flowers on it using a Sharpie. We were so tired that the only thing we could focus on was drawing plants.

7. When The Class Grew Glowing Bacteria Cultures

Unfortunately, our group couldn't grow our bacteria because of a small procedural error, but I still love this picture of another group's. It was magical to see how simple scientific concepts could come together to make microscopic bacteria glow just as brightly as huge stars in the sky do at night.

8. When We Watched An Episode Of "Friends" In Biology

I sometimes stumble upon this picture and laugh because we were all incomprehensibly tired in class that day. To make a point about the mystery of the debate between evolution and religion, our teacher showed us the episode of "Friends" where Phoebe and Ross debate the two concepts.

9. When Starbucks Could Never Spell My Name Correctly

As if this is the only instance of my name being spelled incorrectly. I've also received "Shraya" and "Shrenya" if we're wondering.

10. When A Club Induction Ceremony Felt A Bit Sinister

When they began to light the candles and made us stand up to take an oath (which, by the way, sounded oddly cult-like), a couple of us were wondering if we were supposed to feel a darker vibe. In any case, though, the cake they gave out afterward was the best I'd had in a while.

11. When We Built A Theme Park In Honor Of "The Great Gatsby"

Our AP Lang class channeled "The Great Gatsby" vibes when we were challenged to create a theme park that delved into the details of the book. Being tasked with creating a park for West Egg, this was the first time I got to meet three of the most amazing people.

12. When We Binge-Watched Two And A Half Seasons Of "Lucifer"

Another one of my best friends asked me one day if I'd ever seen the show "Lucifer," and I went on an entire spiel about how I watched every episode of the first season when it was on cable a few years ago.

"Okay, but do you remember any of it?" she asked.

"No, why?"

"Do you want to watch the show from the beginning?"

13. When We Went To Our Friends' Art Showcase

This showcase took place earlier in May, and it was amazing to see the talent right in our school. Three of my closest friends had their works on display, and I almost made a bet with myself to see if I'd fill up my phone storage with the countless pictures I was taking of their pieces.

14. When We Went To The Dam For An Entire Afternoon

It was unforgettable mainly because my family and I used to go to the dam all the time, but because this was probably the first time we'd gone in a year or so, I felt at home for the first time in a while. The dam is always serene, save for the sounds of children screaming and playing in the distance.

15. When We All Danced To "High School Musical" In The School Hallways

I even told the people I was with during this memory that I would never forget that night. Science Night had just ended, and with all the children gone home, we were left to clean up the experiment stations. Of course, before we could clean up, we all needed a bit of time for ourselves, and in the completely empty main hallway, five of us danced to "High School Musical" songs.

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