8 Things That Don't Define You

8 Things That Don't Define You

It's important to remember what's important.
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It's very easy to get stressed out. And I mean just stressed out in general. Sometimes it feels as if the weight of the world rests on our shoulders, that we have to be perfect in everything we do, or else it isn't worth doing. We put so much pressure on ourselves to accomplish tasks, to complete goals or to overall succeed, but to what length? A little pressure is healthy, but a lot of pressure will ruin us. Stress takes years off of our lives, and, honestly, makes us look older than we are. So just remember things aren't as big of a deal as you think, and we are better defined by who we are inside and how we treat ourselves and others.

1. Our GPA.

Yes, it is very important to keep up a good GPA. It's important to go to class, to take notes, to pay attention, to study, and to learn. But sometimes we can do all the right things and not receive the best grade, and we can't beat ourselves up over it. A good GPA isn't the only thing necessary to get a job after high school or college.

2. Our weight.

I love exercising, but sometimes it's easy to get caught up in fitness and looking a certain way. It gets to the point where the satisfaction of working out and eating healthy turns into an unhealthy obsession of chasing something uncatchable. We should be content in our healthy bodies whether they look like a Victoria Secret model's or not, but our weight isn't an important part of who we are.

3. The money in our bank account.

Yes, money is stressful, especially if you pay for your own rent, sorority/fraternity dues, groceries and things like that. But it's important to remember our lives cannot be run by money and the constant drive to make more. It's important to take time to step away from the finances and realize really amazing things are completely free.

4. How we look in general.

It's so easy to compare ourselves to others and to find reasons why we aren't attractive enough. Personally, I hate that I'm not tan enough, I don't have a jawline and I have a very short torso. The thing is, there will always be someone more attractive so it's pointless getting caught up on things we can't change. "Good looks" aren't important because they rarely ever last.

5. How many "likes" we get.

We've all heard this before, but I don't think we actually listen. I always tell myself I won't care how many likes I get on an Instagram or a tweet, but I'm a total liar. I completely care; it's really hard not to. But the truth is, social media should be somewhere we can share our honest thoughts, pictures and art. It should be fun, not stressful.

6. What major we are.

OK, this one technically defines us in the way that it tells people what we're interested in and how we want to make money for the next forty-to-fifty years, but people can't make accurate judgment calls based off of our majors. I get embarrassed telling people I'm a Communications major, because I know they're thinking I'm not smart or driven enough for a "real" major, but then I remind myself I'm plenty smart and driven, and judging someone because what they decide makes them happy is childish.

7. How often (or not often) we travel.

Traveling is really cool, but not everyone has the money or the means to travel all over the world. Traveling a lot means you're lucky, not that you're more sophisticated than someone else. And not traveling doesn't mean you're boring or one-dimensional, you just find thrills in local endeavors. Both options are totally acceptable ways to live!

8. Your sleeping habits.

I am so sick of being told I'm not going to be successful because I hate waking up early. One time Benjamin Franklin says waking up early is good, and we're all supposed to just follow his word for the rest of forever? Early-risers and late-risers have an equal shot in this world and I refuse listen to a anything against that ideal.
Cover Image Credit: Jolie Delia

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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To All The Girls Out There, Everyone Is Responsible For Their Own Happiness

You are not ideal. Nobody is perfect.

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Your body belongs to you, and no one is allowed to violate it without your permission. If a man forces you to have sex when you do not want to, it is rape. If someone hits you, even a slap, it is violence. No matter whether the man is your father, brother, husband, or lover, no one is allowed to invade your body in any way.

Do not let anyone say that you cannot do something just because you are a girl. It is a bit rough to say, but if it doesn't need "that thing" to do, it is not just for men. If you want to study engineering, study engineering. If you want to beat the drum, play the drum. If you want to play soccer, go to the football field. If you want to love a woman, find yourself a girlfriend.

Many people will ask if you have a boyfriend or not and if you don't, they will feel very pity. It is as if women must have a man next to them to fulfill their mission as a woman. That's silly! You are a perfect, individual and independent person. You can choose to have a single life if that suits you. You can choose to love someone because that person makes your life beautiful, not just to show it to someone else.

In many cultures, there may be people who advise you that women have to wait for men to ask them out because men do not love women who are actively chasing after them If you listen to that advice, you might still be single for a long time. Some men like shy women. Some others like women that are strong and energetic. Just be yourself! Follow what you want, and you will meet the man who loves you for who you are. If you pursue someone who doesn't like you just because you're "active," that person doesn't fit into your personality anyway.

Also in some cultures, you will probably meet a man who wants you to stay at home to do the housework. If you want to spend time raising your children, that's a good thing. If you want both spouses to work and share the burden of housework, that is also a good thing. I already met many women pursuing careers, and their husbands help them by staying at home to do the housework, that is no problem at all. A decent man will listen to your wishes and have confidence in himself to overcome social prejudices about the role of the husband. Both can discuss to come up with a decision together. No one can impose you on their 'ideal woman' model. You are not ideal. And nobody is perfect.

I realized that beautiful women have many benefits. You can learn how to do makeup, use your beauty as a weapon to get what you want. But beauty is not your responsibility. As poet Warsan Shire said: "My existence is not about how desirable you find me." So be beautiful, inside and outside.

If you want to have gender equality, you will have to give up the rights that only women can have. You are not entitled to claim that your boyfriend has to pay for your dinner. If both of you have your career and make money, then both of you should pay. You don't have the right to ask your boyfriend to pick you up wherever you go. You have legs so that you can go by yourself. You are not allowed to make your boyfriend wait for you more than an hour just because you don't know and cannot choose any appropriate clothes to wear. No one is allowed to make others wait for them. But if your boyfriend voluntarily does all the things for you without any complain, then congratulations! You are lucky to have both gender equality and a beautiful relationship.

Finally, remember that you can control your life completely, and whether or not you are happy, it depends on you.

Wishing your life will be filled with peace and love.

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