Why I Never Regret Taking Pictures

Why I Never Regret Taking Pictures

...Because every picture has a story
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Picture this (literally). You are out with friends at a new place you’ve never been to. You wanted to snap a picture, but no one wanted to take it for whatever reason. Are you ever too afraid to even ask someone to take a picture of you experiencing something new or exciting? I see this often and it’s very disappointing. Everyone has some excuse to not take a picture. Here are some examples:

“It’s not the right lighting”.

“There’s no filter to make my skin look better”

“I don’t feel like it”

“We have enough pictures already”

“There are too many people around”

“I look so bad!

I’ll admit that I will make these excuses every once in a while, but I’ve learned over the years that it does not matter how good or bad you look. Those pictures mean you have PROOF in your own hands that something you experienced was worth getting a picture of. Growing up, I used to decline my mom’s offers all the time whenever she would say “Want me to take your picture with your friends?” I would just want to walk away. Sometimes I didn’t even get a choice. “I want a picture of you and your brother.” Back then, I would dread it for no reason. Now, looking back, I am forever thankful of her and wanting to be my own personal photographer. I’m at the point in my life where I don’t care what the situation is or how awful my face looks, I take every chance get to snap a picture, or pose for one if I can. They don’t have to be serious. They can be funny, or classy, normal, or even a candid. Moments should always be captured, even if the picture isn’t of the best quality.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a believer of enjoying every moment without technology in front of me, but sometimes, those moments are so precious that you just have to capture them. Some examples include seeing fireworks at a new location, witnessing a wedding, attending a concert, or going on vacation and seeing a celebrity there. It can be meaningful to look at life through a lens because you can go back to that moment whenever you please.

So, don’t be afraid to ask for someone to take a picture with you, of you, or for you. We take precious moments for granted and constantly tell ourselves “Oh, well. Next time.” What if there isn’t a next time? What if you never go to that new place again? It’s hard to remember what was so wonderful about a powerful moment in your life when you go through pictures on your phone and they aren’t there.

Every chance you get, take the picture. You’ll thank yourself later when you go back to that memory and that’s all you have. They say if you want to know what people are afraid of losing, watch what they photograph. So, keep your eyes open, smile, and don’t give a damn about what you look like. Capture moments with people you make the best memories with. And even if one day you aren’t as close with those people, you still get to hold onto that memory for as long as you want. People change; pictures don’t.

Cover Image Credit: Photo Provided By Emily Boni

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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.

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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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This One’s For Africa

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Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.

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It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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