You are never alone

A Fight worth fighting for

She was the girl. He was the boy.

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She was the girl who did as she was told and nothing more. She was polite and put together, never a hair out of line, and she always smiled from ear to ear. Her purse was filled with lip gloss and gum. Her voice was soft and subtle. She had hands which could hold the whole world, yet gentle enough to engulf a baby dove. Parents saw her as an example. Siblings saw her as a mentor. Relatives saw her as a success. She was the girl everyone wanted to be and more. Embodying grace, beauty, power, and strength. Her classmates trusted her judgment. Her teachers appreciated her work ethic. Her peers knew her as a go-to gal. Boys would flirt and girls would befriend her for her genuine heart. She would listen to others talk about her with such high praise and freeze in that moment of time trying to see what they saw.

That girl looked in the mirror and hated what she saw.

She changed 10 times, fixed her eyeliner over and over again, switched out shoes to match her outfit, and constantly picked at her hair, hoping one look would make her feel normal. She sat in class silently judging herself next to the "It" girls. Every detail of their appearance made her feel like less of a person and more like a troll. She went to class seeing her grades slip and her social life deteriorate. She ate lunch with a group of people who didn't even know her last name. She bit at the tips of her fingernails to avoid talking to anyone.

During athletics, she would go in the bathroom stall to change because she didn't want other people to see what she saw. She would admire people around her thinking "if only I had her hair" "her smile" "that girl's body." She was constantly grabbing visual images of others to re-create this ideal imaginary figure in her head where she was popular and skinny and someone that could freeze a room when she walked into it. She would hear whispers and think people were talking about her. See cameras and run for the hills trying to hide her face. She would make up excuses to stay home instead of being in the terrorizing public where she always thought she was either a laughing stock or completely invisible.

Coming home from school would lead to her changing outfits again, looking up the tabloids and trying to match the photoshopped images which she craved to become. She dieted, exercised, exhausted herself, thinking it would make her happy. Then she would crack the door of her bedroom just to hear voices bouncing off the walls reminding her that she wasn't good enough. The rumors would become true to her and the words would sting like a taser over and over… until they went numb.

She was the girl who had it all but never felt more alone.

He was the boy who just made it by. He would do the minimum to make others happy and feel like he did his job. He would shower and slide on his Nike elites and scuffed up sneakers. His hair was always parted the way his mom liked best. Everyone around him thought he was just doing his own thing and enjoying life. He was patient and understanding. Doing as he was told and then waiting for more. He was the life of the party, always finding ways to make people laugh and bring a smile to their faces. He would not talk back or make excuses, just took the punches as they came, and handled life with a "meh" look tattooed on his face. He played his video games, played sports his entire life, and always gave his momma a kiss goodnight. His grades could be better, but he tried all he could, and then some. He never turned away a friend. Never let the little guy get pushed around and helped anyone in need. Listened when he was spoken to and sat silently when he felt overwhelmed. He did what he could, and nothing more.

That boy looked in the mirror and didn't care.

He used video games as his escape. Sports were his outlet. He felt like he was capable but never good enough. Never strong enough or smart enough. He would see the smart guys and wish they knew he wasn't dumb. He saw the bad kids and would think that they were the only people who would accept him. Home reminded him of a jail cell. School reminded him of a job that he needed to quit. Girls would see him and look away. Teachers would give him lecture after lecture that he was not good enough. He felt like there was no one he could relate to and his family was just there to be there. They didn't know him. They didn't see what he saw. He was the outcast, the scapegoat, the victim, the problem. He would walk in the house to hear yelling and fighting. He was ignored and stuck in the middle of everyone else's struggles. He heard so many bad things about himself that he decided to let himself become the rumors. He drowned the boy he once was and came out as the interpretation everyone made him be.

He took the phrase "If you can't beat em, join em" and created this fake identity where he was a combination of all the things he was told he was. No one really saw him for him. He spent all his time trying to help other people be satisfied that he lost himself in the process and felt all empty.

He was the boy who couldn't find his way.

We are all chasing ourselves in other people trying to grab pieces of them to fill our battle wounds. We feel empty inside because it is our bodies way of rejecting the fake solutions we paint for ourselves. We are our biggest critiques and we weigh all our mental struggles on our shoulders that one day we just fall.

The girl in this article is every girl in the room. The boy if every guy on the field. We see flaws in ourselves no matter what, because we are human and by definition, we want to be the best versions of what we can be. There will be days where you think so low of yourself that you can't pick up the pieces. There will be nights where you bury your head under your pillow and block out the world. There will be people who make you feel insecure and judge you.

"Your skin is the wrong color"

"Your hair looks gross"

"You're too fat"

"You're dumb"

"You're gay"

"You should go kill yourself"

Woah…

Those 5 words are no longer what they used to be. They aren't just a collection letters spelling out a meaningless sentence. They are a bullet. They hit hard and deep straight into the center of someone who was thinking that all along. It lodges itself into an unreachable spot and continues to go deeper and deeper until they no longer feel the sting… they just feel at peace with those 5 words.

We want more than average. We want to be seen for the real us and love what we see. Everyone sees the flaws in themselves and the easiest thing for us to do is correct them by changing who we are. Stop trying to change yourself to fit another people's definition of perfect because you know what if they never see the real you how would they even know what you are capable of. That you are beautiful and strong and vibrant. You are smart and funny. You are given the gift of life because someone thought you were worth it. Someone looks at you from across the room in awe of how quickly you freeze the room. Someone looks at you and wants to fill their empty spot with they think you do perfectly. Someone is jealous of your talent or your appearance or your positivity and they want to radiate that energy which you give off. Someone loves you and prays for you and dreams of you. You are the reason someone smiles. You are here for a purpose and everyone around you has felt just like you at one point. Do not give up when things get too overwhelming. Do not cry from things you can't control. Do not think you are alone in this fight.

It is a fight. But you will always come out on top if you keep on pushing toward a better tomorrow. Find that internal light and spark the flame which never goes off. Look at your battle wounds and remember that YOU overcame them. All the hardships YOU overcame. Not because of anything other than the fact that you deserve to be here and be happy.

So, laugh all day, have a contagious smile, inspire those around you and use your "bad days" as a sign that there is more to life and more to love than dwelling on the past. Leave your shoes at the door because you have so much more in store for you than you could ever imagine. You don't need anything dragging you down when you realize that you are perfect just as you are… nothing will ever change that.

This is a piece written in memory of victims of suicidal thoughts or attempts. For more information on how to cope with overwhelming days visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call 1-800-273-8255. You are not in this fight alone.

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20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!
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After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvUCbnwzySKgbKiB_...



14. Some activities on my bucket list are...


This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...



What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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When You Decide You Don't Love Me Anymore

I'll forgive you.

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I never thought I would write this, but I feel like I have to: there will come a day where you won't love me anymore. This won't be a sad day, but instead a day I have waited for all along. You see, they all leave and that is perfectly okay. People may not be meant to be in my life for all of it, not in any of our lives but this is normal and although initially saddening it is a part of our lives and inevitably part of our journey.

When this time comes I want you to know that we did our best, that we were in fact in love once and that we had hoped it would blossom into a lifetime commitment but it didn't and I accept that and will respect you always. I know you did not wake up one day out of the blue and stop loving me, I know this feeling grew over time in your heart and that it was not something you planned on. I respect this.

You were the only person I trusted and the one I loved the most, but nothing lasts forever and I hope you can understand there is no animosity here and certainly, no stone left unturned. We just are not those kinds of people, we would have tried everything to keep our love burning bright and tried for quite a while to understand where the cracks began so that could fix them, it just isn't that simple. Love is a long complicated process, you know that and falling in love with me couldn't have been easy, I am misunderstood and stubborn as all hell and I am FULLY aware of that but that does not mean I didn't try to ease up on you, I promise I did my best.

I have always done my best to understand you, to make you happy, to keep the flame alive, but it has been extinguished. Love does that sometimes, it is there one day burning bright and then it slowly starts to dim with every fight, every unrequited "I love you" and every day passing by in which we spoke less and less about the things that mattered and more and more about worthless things.

This is all okay, it is a season of life, a part of our lives in which we do suffer but one we must grin and bear. I want you to know that I will always love and care for you, although it is now in a much different way, now we no longer look at each other with doting eyes and open hearts but instead with the freedom to let go and move on.

It is time for us to go on with our lives and find a new adventure, one that will light our hearts on fire instead of continuing to snuff our joint flame. You will always be in my memory and a huge part of my life that I once had but I accept that it's over and that time sometimes wears on things as it has worn on us.

You are the love of my life and that is truly the reason I must forgive you.

Goodbye, my love.

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