Because I’m a Woman

I watch a channel on YouTube called Yes Theory.

Their entire philosophy is based on the premise that when we start to say yes to things, we open ourselves to experiences that would never have been possible if we had said no. It encourages its followers to be spontaneous and preaches the idea that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.

To live out this philosophy, the main people involved are three 20-something, friendly, and fit guys who travel around the world and complete challenges based on the spontaneity and kindness of strangers.

In their latest video, one of the guys is abandoned alone in Slovakia with no money and no phone, where he must attempt to return to his friends in Budapest.

I love everything about this channel and I hope someday I can live my life in a similar fashion.

But, I know this isn’t as realistic for me. Simply, because I’m a woman.

The thought of being dropped off in and exploring a random country sounds like a dream. The thought of being dropped off alone in a random country sounds terrifying.

I hate that just by being female, doing anything becomes more dangerous. I am a strong believer that a woman can do anything a man can. While that is true, it’s also true that women have to take a lot more precautions than men do.

I read a study that asked groups of men and women about the things they do in their everyday life to avoid being assaulted. The responses from women went on for pages. For men, there was one answer: “Nothing. I don’t think about it.”

Photo Credit: twitter.com

Words cannot express how much I wish this weren’t the case, how much I wish men and women were really, truly equal when it comes to things like this.

I wish that my mom didn’t have to worry about me going to the beach with my girl friends at 5 PM, even though she is fine with my older brother going to the same place with his guy friends at one in the morning.

I wish that women weren’t twice as likely as men to experience sexual assault or violent crimes.

I wish it weren’t like this, but it is. And let me tell you, it sucks.

To any men who are reading this, appreciate the fact that you don’t have to make sure you have your keys in your hand when you’re walking to your car at night. Be grateful that when you’re running by yourself and a truck drives behind you, you don’t have to stop to let it pass so that you can see what it is doing. Remember that there is a reason why girls always go to the bathroom in groups.

Tell this to your sons. Make them understand what it’s like. Teach them how to make women feel safer.

Maybe someday we’ll live in a world where a young woman can walk through a city alone, the only thing on her mind being how grateful she is to be there, and her biggest concern being what she will eat for dinner.

That’s all we want.

 

Advertisements

cigarettes

via melbournechapter.net

I’ve always been fascinated by cigarettes.

I suppose there’s something sort of compelling about them, being a glorified, rebellious accessory of sorts.

I used to love the smell of smoke. It reminded me of when I was younger.

Now I never trust anyone who likes cigarettes. Cigarettes kill people.

They do it slowly, squeezing the air out of your lungs little by little, until one day, you can’t breathe at all. They burn holes in your throat and melt your skin, but, at that point, you’ve grown so used to the feeling that you’re convinced it makes you feel better.

In the beginning, before it becomes a problem, you can still decide when you want to smoke. You know it’s addicting, but you tell yourself you’d never let it go that far.

But, after a while, when your first urge after you wake up is to go outside and smoke or when a meal never feels complete until you’ve finished a cigarette- that’s when you really have no control at all.

Cigarettes kill and if you still smoke that either means you just don’t care or you live under the false pretense that young people are invincible. Either way, you’re foolish.

Maybe I’m wrong. I probably shouldn’t be so judgmental.

But, there are plenty of other ways to be fascinating.

A Letter To My Younger Self

You’d be surprised how often I write letters to people I can’t send them to. I write them to mom, dad, past friends, future friends, animals, and now I’m writing one to you, my younger self.

I could just see your face reading this. You’d scoff, then toss it aside not wanting to read it. You were never a fan of reading; now you read all the time.

You’d be surprised how much has changed.

I no longer want to be a movie star, nor is UCLA my top choice. In fact, I want to be a lawyer, and I want to go all the way to the other side of the country and pursue law in New York City.

Hannah Montana isn’t my favorite artist anymore, and Wizards of Waverly Place is shockingly not my favorite TV show anymore.

Instead, you went through the embarrassing seventh grade emo phase you shamed Rachel for going through.

If I’m honest with you, younger self, I’m so much different than I thought I’d be.

Some things stayed the same. Logan is still alive, I still love horses, and I still love to sing- though the older I get the worse I seem to become.

But, oh boy, I am definitely not the person I thought I’d become.

I no longer have hair that goes down to my hips, instead it’s right below my shoulders.

I dont have beach blonde hair or sun-kissed, clear skin. I have glasses, and I have freckles, and I have scars.

I don’t go to a big public school where I’m the most popular girl. I don’t go to beach parties on the weekends or sneak out of my bedroom window at night time. Instead, I go to a small boarding school. Instead, I spend weekends going to the movies and riding horses.

I haven’t had a boyfriend yet, but I really could care less. It was something I dreamed of, but now all I dream about is getting into college or passing my math test.

This may not sound appealing to you. You always dreamed of the crazy nights, city lights, and the “celebrity” life, and maybe a glimpse of that dream will come true in NYC, but trust me when I say what’s happened after mom and dad is quite possibly the best thing that could’ve ever happened to us.

Life has gotten so much better. I’m writing this letter contently from the warmth of my bed, music through my headphones. Summer begins in five days, and I’ll be going to Disneyland, one of your favorite places, a week from today. You used to be obsessed with Maroon 5, and I finally see them next Tuesday.

Though you had all these dreams when you were younger, none of them seemed possible due to our circumstances. They were all just dreams in arms reach, yet they seemed so far away.

Well, I’m glad to say that I’ll be a senior in just a few days. That while my dreams weren’t the same as they were when I was younger, they’re coming true, and I hope you’re proud of me.

Photo Credit: takemygist.com

A Biography for Stress

I’m not one for advice.

Actually, I probably give some of the worst advice I’ve ever heard.

But, one thing that I’m probably even worse at is managing stress, and, more importantly, giving people advice about it. Because, in all actuality, I have no idea how to manage it and I don’t think anyone really does.

Stress comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be as little as that paper you know you should have enough time to write for your English class, yet you psych yourself out because, after all, it is a big chunk of your grade. And stress can be as big as….. well anything. It can take over your life and control you if you let it.

Photo Credit: anxietyuk.org

For me, one of my larger stresses I refer to as competition stress. This comes with all sports competitions, no matter the magnitude of it. It’s the pressure and the anxiety sitting on your shoulders like a bird watching its pray from way above so the pray can’t see them.

Lastly, the big stress, the whole shebang, is what I call the stalker stress; this is the type that even if you kick, scream, run, and hide it’ll find you somehow. It is the type of stress that resembles a person you don’t want to get to know, and one that you hope doesn’t know you. It is the boogie man hiding under you bed when you’re little and the clown hiding behind your door. It’s the reason that you hate walking alone in the dark because you don’t exactly know what you’re scared of at this point, you just know you’re scared.

But, I’ve learned one thing, and if people do ask me about stress this is the only true piece of advice I can give: it’s hard to manage stress, but it’s even harder not to be scared of it. So once you manage how to not be scared of the inevitable, life becomes easier, I don’t exactly know how, it just does.

P.S. I don’t want you to go on thinking that I have it all figured out, because I don’t. I’m so far away from it, but I’m managing, and will continue to until I can stop stressing about the little things and go on living life. But that will be a while, because it’s difficult and stressful.

Photo Credit: psychologistworld.com

Skin

One of my favorite things in the world is skincare. Maybe not the most deep or expected of passions but know you know. While I may not have the best skin, I do really love washing and moisturizing my face, plus all the steps in between.

I remember as a kid I never washed my face, or occasionally I snuck some of my mom’s face wash, but that was it. Then when I got older and interested in actually caring for my face, I got whatever I saw show up the most often on drugstore shelves.

The face-wash made my face feel tight enough that someone could play a snare drum solo on my face. Whatever moisturizer I mistakenly picked up was essentially a too strong concentration of salicylic acid (an effective BHA acid in small doses) suspended in a silicone cream; it left my skin sensitive and irritated.

It was a dark time that almost killed any desire I had to take care of my skin.

It was frustrating, what was supposed to help me feel good about myself was instead making me feel like I didn’t even want to try to take care of myself. Instead of feeling relaxed, my skincare was stressing me out, which in turn made my skin freak out.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

So I began to actually research skincare. I started with the products that had made me so sad and pinpointed what ingredients didn’t work for me, and ones that could.

I followed obscure internet trails into back alley articles about the difference between moisture and hydration, pressure points to take down face swelling, and that products with pearl powder are known for their brightening properties.

Now, one of my favorite parts of skincare is all the research that goes into learning about different ingredients and their uses. In fact I often become obsessive and go down rabbit holes I didn’t even realize I stumbled into.

For example, did you know that snail mucin, which is exactly what it sounds like, is great for hyper-pigmentation, and that the best way to harvest it, cruelty- free, is to pamper the snails by putting them in a dark room and avoiding stressing them out. It’s like prepping escargot but the snails live in the end.

The more research I’ve done the more quickly I’ve discovered that skincare is an extremely subjective topic; recommendations and “holy grail” items don’t apply to all. While one person could love birch sap another could hate it, plus everyone’s skin is different.

Through all my research I also learned that caring for my skin isn’t about vanity, it is about taking care of myself mentally. It has become a part of maintaining my mental health.

I look forward to it before I go to bed and when I get out of bed in the morning. I use it to decompress at the end of the day or armor up for one. Skincare to me is time I have carved out for introspection and reflection, which helps me feel less anxious and better about myself, inwardly and outwardly.

A good book for more research is Charlotte Cho’s The Little Book of Skin Care.

Suggestions for Personal Growth #2

The first blog post I ever wrote was in 2017, titled Suggestions for Personal Growth. So, I think it is fitting that my first post of 2018 be a sequel to that letter.

A follow-up letter to my current and future self.

For some, along with the new year comes a new state of mind. To quote my past self, here are a few suggestions for personal growth as we head into 2018:

Image via IllustrationSource.com

1. Be friends with your friends. 
Stop trying to get close to everyone. If you don’t want to be friends with someone, why are you trying so hard to build that relationship? Always be kind to everyone, but it’s just unnecessary to put so much effort into pleasing people who you don’t want to be close with. Keep in mind that you should only want positive and beneficial people in your life, but try to learn from the people who seem negative. In the end, you want people who are going to build you up, not weigh you down.

2. Be present but look forward.
Things that seem so important right now might not matter one bit to you later on (for better or for worse). Make the most of your life as it is currently, but if certain situations seem like they just couldn’t get any worse, remind yourself that you probably won’t even remember it in a few years.

3. Zip it.
Although it sometimes seems like the best thing to do is speak your mind, there is also power in saying nothing at all. If you have something to get off of your chest, go to the people you know you can trust. But otherwise… no drama, no worries!

4. Listen.
This one comes from the first post I did, but I want to reiterate it. Be present, and give the people who are speaking to you the same focus and open-mindedness that you would want in return.

5. Reduce your impact.
YOU ONLY HAVE ONE PLANET! As Auden says, it is too late to “turn away quite leisurely from the disaster.” We can’t pretend that we aren’t killing our planet. All you can do is your best; be mindful. When you buy apples at the grocery store, there is no reason for you to put them in a plastic bag. Keep your showers as short as possible, purchase plastic and/or unnecessary packaging as little as possible. Look for new ways to conserve your resources!

That is all for now, but this list will surely be updated at some point.

Exhausted

Image Credit: Celestialhairgallery.com

For the girls: a few questions.

Isn’t it exhausting? Exhausting to have a standard already set for what makes a woman beautiful? Everywhere you look, you see a beautiful girl with beautiful hair, skin, and eyes, a beautiful smile and a beautiful body, a girl who looks nothing like you. She doesn’t seem to look like anyone you’ve ever met before, either, except for the hundreds of other girls you see on billboards or magazines. Those girls all look alike.

Isn’t it exhausting that from the time you are born, you are programmed to think that the basis of your worth comes from the extent of your beauty? Why is so much of your importance based on your physical appearance, when really it shouldn’t matter at all?

How long have you felt the pressures of upholding the image of a “woman”? Since as long as you’ve been able to communicate, you are told what you should and should not do or say, how to act, and even how to sit properly.

Isn’t it exhausting to feel like you’re never good enough? Isn’t it exhausting to be chastised for speaking your mind or disagreeing with someone, to feel guilty for eating a big meal? Doesn’t it frustrate you to think that you might not be paid the same amount as the man sitting in the desk next to you and who signed the same contract as you?

Do you get angry? When you have too much contact with the opposite sex- you’re flirtatious and need attention, but when you don’t engage with men- you’re a prude.

Isn’t it exhausting to always be comparing yourself to, competing with, and feeling threatened by other strong and capable women? Girls shouldn’t have to feel this way about each other; girls should want to support each other. Do you ever try so hard to make everyone else appreciate you that you forget to appreciate yourself?

Why is it okay for your brother to tell a sexual joke, but God forbid a sister should make one, for then it becomes “disappointing” and “irresponsible.” Why in third grade PE do the boys have to do twenty push-ups, but the girls can only do ten “girl” push-ups? Why do boys use the phrase “like a girl” as a way to insult one another, why should boys be warned not to “throw like a girl”?

Isn’t it exhausting to always be made so aware of how you look? To feel self conscious about even your chipped nail polish because a boy commented on it, to feel uncomfortable walking past groups of men on the street for fear of hearing how pretty you look in that little dress.

Why are skinny girls the only ones allowed to wear certain clothes, the only ones you see in advertisements? Does it make you sad to think about how strongly society correlates being thin to being beautiful?

And why is it- no matter what- everything always comes back to your physical appearance?

Being a girl myself, I think I can sum up the answer to these questions, on behalf of all girls: Yes. It does make us sad, and angry, and frustrated. It is exhausting – and we’re tired of it.