To Me, To You, To Everyone reading this,

It is okay to be down sometimes, to feel like the world has stopped turning and that nothing is going to get better. It's okay to not like if you've gained weight, it's okay to be unhappy with some decisions you make, and it's okay to fall in love with the wrong person.

What isn't okay is to wallow in your mind and let the bad things swallow you whole. It's alright to be upset for a while, but there comes a moment where you have to pick yourself up and keep on moving. This whole entire year I've struggled, with school, a dead-end relationship, gaining weight, and just life in general. As my academic semester comes to an end, I'm looking back on everything that has happened and looking forward to everything that will happen.

I closed my semester with passing grades, definitely not the grades I hoped for but I passed. I let myself get too involved in a relationship going nowhere that caused me nothing but anxiety and stress that I didn't need. It only added to everything I was already feeling being in a new environment away from everything I knew. My first semester was filled with tears, stress eating, and no sleep.

A relationship is meant to be hard. Love isn't easy, but when you're dating a manipulative dumbass who only cares about himself, you tend to get the short end of the stick 99% of the time. But as the year went on, I got into the mindset of "I'm not going to let it bother me. If that's how he wants to act, then so be it." That brought me so much peace of mind but also caused him to try and bring more drama. He is finally out of my life after a tumultuous two-year relationship. The aftermath, however, is something I am still dealing with. Weight gain, trust issues, awkwardness around guys, and some serious sleep deprivation.

Like anyone, when I get stressed, I eat. Literally, I would eat my weight in anything cheesy, sweet, or salty my first semester and part of the last semester. Mix that with not dancing for 6 months and not going to the gym, I gained a total of twenty pounds. People tell me they don't see it, but I do. I'm struggling with being okay that I gained weight. Yes, some stuff might not fit the way it used to, my stomach is a little more plushy that it was, and my thighs have gotten bigger.

I am not going to let it rule my life though. I started dancing again, watching what I ate, drinking more water, and trying to embrace my body more. High waisted jeans, shorts, and bikinis help me feel comfortable, they shape everything and hide it some. I'm learning how to dress for my body type, but that will not stop me from putting on a bikini and going out and having fun on the beach with my friends.

A swimsuit body is easy. You have a body, you put on a swimsuit, and you're done! Embrace YOU. You are beautiful, handsome, happy, fun, weird, annoying, and amazing the way you are. My goal for this summer is to be a healthier version of me, do I want to lose weight? Yes, but I am not going to let it consume my entire being. My main focus is to be a better version of the me that I already am.

To whoever is reading this, if you've had a bad day, a bad week, a bad month, a bad year, things will get better. Sometimes it seems like there isn't a bright side, no light at the end of the long dark tunnel. But there is.

You will be happy.

You will be successful.

You will find love.

You will graduate.

You will get a job.

Stop worrying about things you can't control, life doesn't like plans. It tends to throw them out the window pretty quickly. To quote Pocahontas, "listen to your heart, you will understand." Always listen to your heart, but never forget your logic and how smart you truly are. Everyone is capable of incredible things, no two people are alike, if we were all alike then there wouldn't be anything wonderful about this great vast world that we call home.

So go out. Explore. Wear that dress. Kiss that guy/girl. Eat those tacos. Apply for that job. Change your major. Move to a new city. Do the things that terrify you. I am terrified that I will not find a job in the career field I desire or find someone to spend my life with. That's okay, life isn't meant to be happy-go-lucky, or simple. Life is meant to scare you and push you to do to hard things. Embrace your life, you only get one.