Learning to Look Back in Pride

The Congratulations You Deserved, But Never Received

You did it!

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I'm currently a few weeks out from race day for a half marathon that signed up for several months ago. But this race was on my mind years and years ago. I began distance running when I was in summer training for my freshman season of college soccer. Before that summer, I never knew that I could love running. I told myself, then, that I would do a distance race when I was done with soccer. Well, four years of college soccer went by, and I realized I had a promise to uphold. So I did it. I signed up for a half marathon.

The last couple of weeks have been harder. My times have been slower. My body is feeling the miles. I got to the point where I caught myself saying, "I am just ready to get this race over with."

Unfortunately, this mindset is all too common. We're on our way to doing something that will make ourselves proud, and we get discouraged when it loses the magic along the way. I'm here to tell you: don't discredit all of your hard work. You still are doing what you set out to do. It may not look like it did when you dreamed it up all those years ago, but you're still doing it. Don't you dare look at yourself in disappointment! You followed through. You stuck with it. You did it.

No, my mile times aren't as fast as they were when I was a collegiate athlete. No, I don't crush my runs every week, but I'm still making 18 years old me proud. I'm choosing to be proud of myself.

What are you proud of yourself for? Is there a goal you met, that you never really celebrated? I have good news. It's not too late to change your mindset! Here are the congratulations you deserved: You did it! Be excited. Be proud.

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From The Girl Who's In Shape But Not Perfect

Embrace the treadmill. But also embrace pizza.
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So, here's the thing:

I'm a girl who is in shape, but hey, I'm still human. Let me explain...

I can run a 5K.

But I still get completely winded going up the stairs.

I go to the gym most days of the week.

But, I have a lot of days where I just don't move from my bed.

I try to eat healthy as often as I can.

But sometimes, a whole pizza with everything on it is the only thing that hits the spot.

I have muscles that I'm proud to show off.

But I also have rolls when I sit, which I am also proud to show off.

I'm also proud to admit that:

Chocolate is still my stress reliever.

Some days I can't get myself to go to the gym.

Sometimes I eat a bag of Doritos after my workout.

I have days where any remote form of physical activity sounds like hell.

Food is my best friend.

So yes, I'm in shape. But I'm absolutely not the "perfect" in-shape girl.

I'm proud of my body and everything that it can do, and I treat it in the best way that I can. I stay in shape, I run, I exercise, and I eat things that are good for me. However, I'm also a girl who loves herself a burger and fries, who spends a whole day in bed, who has fat on her body and lives a normal life. I have school, work, homework, a social life - my health is absolutely one of my top priorities, but I'm not worrying about how I didn't go to the gym this day or how I ate four cookies that day. As long as I can look at myself and know that I'm treating my body well and I'm happy with myself, I'm good with it.

Your health should be important to you, but your emotional and mental well-being should be important, too. And sometimes, instead of the usual day in the gym, a day in bed is what you need.

Embrace your rolls. Embrace your muscles. Embrace that pizza. Embrace a fruit salad. Embrace your bed. Embrace the treadmill.

You're all good, girl.

Cover Image Credit: Marion Michele

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Take The Time To Pronounce Names Correctly, They Mean A Lot

What's in a name? Plenty.

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Names are often one of the first labels we get. It often makes us who we are and is deeply embedded in our sense of self. It's the word the world knows you as. Many people change their names to make them feel more like themselves. This speaks volumes to the effect a name has on you.

A name is a word like any other, just used to label someone. Like any other word, saying the word properly is important, especially because it is tied so closely to someone's sense of self.

Butchering someone's name consistently is simply unacceptable. Sure some names may be harder to pronounce and may seem unnatural but not trying is not okay. If you can get names like Stravinsky and Chmerkovskiy, a Nandini, Radhika, or Namrata shouldn't be too hard.

For some reason, it often seems like people have a hard time pronouncing names of people of color, which honestly seems a little odd to me considering many caucasian names are just as unconventional.

Comedian Hasan Minhaj recently appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and addressed this issue. He pointed out that no one has an issue with the name Ansel Elgort, but they seem to have an issue with his name. Later, he joked that he goes by the name Timothée Chalamet at Starbucks, which they can handle just fine.

Mistakes are okay. We're all human and you're not expected to get everything correct on the first try. But simply accepting that you can't say it and not making an effort is disrespectful.

You don't need to say the name in the accent of the culture it's from. Say it in your accent but like any other word, keep the same number of syllables and put an emphasis on the correct vowels. Eventually, getting it will expand your horizons just a little bit more. Either way, trying is better than not trying.

That being said, to the people that need to correct others' pronunciation on their name, do it. If you don't tell people how to pronounce it, you can't expect them to get it properly. Many of us introduce ourselves with a name that isn't truly ours; it's a version that accommodates others.

Remember though, there is no shame in your beautiful, unique name so there is no need to anglicize it. Your parents didn't give you that name for it to fit better in other people's mouths.

Our names make up a large part of our basic identity and getting it right is beneficial for everyone.

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