A Fight worth fighting for

A Fight worth fighting for

She was the girl. He was the boy.


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"


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!

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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Making a Decision: an Indecisive Guide

To all the indecisive people out there: you are not alone


I am the queen of indecision. For me, making a choice will have me frantically calling both of my parents, asking all of my friends' advice and postponing all studying until the decision is made. Of course, this is because I do not want to make a choice that I regret – such as the time I decided that starting my job at 6:30 am would be a good idea, or the time when I scared my friends with how hyper I was after drinking both coffee and Boba tea. Yet when I take this caution of making the wrong choice too far, the decision-making process itself ends up being regrettable. So much so that I called my mom approximately seven times this weekend to ask her advice on a decision. So much so that my brother used an example of me not being able to choose what kind of shoe I should wear in his article.

This weekend, I was presented with two amazing opportunities to make a difference in the world this summer and I entered a stage of decision paralysis that I did not know was possible. No matter which angle I looked at each situation from, they both would provide me with a phenomenal experience, and would both require sacrifices. Despite not (as of yet) reaching a concrete decision, I learned a lot about the decision-making process and what to do in the next time I am faced with a difficult choice. So, in the spirit of finding summer jobs, gearing up to register for classes and deciding what on earth we want to do with our futures, here are the tips and tricks that I would follow to make the best decision that you can.

Don't overthink it.


Really, this goes without thinking! Or, unlike most of us, it goes with a LOT of thinking! Seriously though, if you overthink things, they will turn into a pudding mush in your brain until you don't know what you don't know anymore. There is a very fine line between thinking through all your options and overthinking them – and judging by the number of times I called my mom this weekend, definitely crossed it.

Always use the pro-con list


Ah, the Gilmore Girls. Not only did you inspire me to read every single book under the sun or have a witty conversation full of cultural references no one else understands, but you also taught me the beauty of the pro-con list. Choosing what you want can be messy and difficult to find because of the fears you might have. distinguish from the fears. Writing it all down on paper can often illuminate the right decision and show you which path is ultimately better.

Decide on your make-or-break factor


Sometimes even the best pro-and-con lists will not be enough and will leave you in a frantic analysis ("should I go for the decision with 3 cons or 3.5 cons?") When even the Gilmore method fails, fear not! Consider which factors you truly do not want to compromise on and go from there. This can mean that even the worse decision may be the right one for you.

Trust your gut


As much as it is difficult to dig through your feelings to find your true motives behind a decision, your gut can sometimes tell you what you are most passionate about and therefore what decision is best for you to take. As my Emory Reads friends tell me, passion trumps everything. Choosing which decision aligns with your values will often lead you to make the best and most-satisfying decision.

But trust your head as well


But your gut can't always be trusted. It can lie to you, and when you overthink too much, it can change its mind. Your gut feeling may be one that is furthermore borne out of fear of the other option. In that way, I have made many a good decision based on the pure basis of rationality. Using only our heart to make important decisions allows fear to be one of the factors, whereas looking at the decision rationally can help you see the ultimate path.

Ask around


When I am puzzled about making a risky decision, I often consult the people in my life who are on my side and want the best for me. These people can help you gauge what your heart truly desires, bring up factors that you haven't considered and even act as a support network for you while making this decision. When your mind kicks into over-analysis, sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need to truly make a confident choice. Decisions are hard, people. Don't make them on your own.=

Don't ask everyone


There is such a thing as consulting others to make an important decision, and there is such a thing as relying on them to make your decision. If you ask too many people from too wide a pool, you'll end up having opinions for and against what you are proposing, which means that someone will always be disappointed in your decision. The bottom line is, asking too many people for their opinions is frustrating, no matter what – whether they have contradicting opinions, or they just nod their heads and go "hmmm, tough choice" (thanks, I guess?). In order to avoid frustration, consult the people in your life who know you the best and are dearest to you, rather than the stranger in front of you in line for fries at the DUC.

"Would my dad be proud?"


Or your granddad, or your mom, or your professor, or even a TV character. Whoever you know whose morals you can measure your decision up to will often provide reason and illumination. If the decision you are making is not too wild and you feel that you will have their approval, then it is likely not detrimental.

Stick with your decision!


Resolutely make up your mind and refuse to turn back. Exercise your right as a free individual to make a choice for yourself, and then do not second-guess it. Please don't do what I did and email a company two days later saying you've changed your mind. Please.

There is not always a right decision


Sometimes both decisions you are presented with have different but equally good opportunities. In that case, lucky you! You have two amazing opportunities and therefore cannot mess up. Rather than stressing that you are picking the wrong choice, know that you cannot go wrong in either.

Realize you will grow no matter what


Decision-making should be viewed as a challenge and a privilege rather than a burden. Make big, bold and beautiful decisions. Making up your mind can lead to a phenomenal experience that you will adore or a difficult experience that will only fashion you into a better person. Positive consequences can come out of any decision, even if we land in an upsetting position. Each choice we make can positively contribute to our character, fashioning us into the person we are becoming, day by day.

By the time this article is published, I will know my decision. And hopefully, by the end of this article, you will know yours. Let's continue to make decisions courageously, following both our heads and our hearts. Let's be determined to grow through our decisions, realizing that we have made the best choice we could, and never looking back.

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