To my future daughter…

To my future daughter,

I want you to know that the world is beautiful.

It is here and nowhere else that butterflies are free to fly and elephants roam about.

The world is beautiful all around because it is here where you may always live in curiosity,

Because here you shall never be disappointed when you are striving to learn.

Little girl, the world is so beautiful,

Because it is here that flowers bloom every year and colorful leaves fall above you.

Baby girl, I hope you always see this beauty,

Because only here can you dance in the piazzas of Venice and stand in awe at the beauty of Paris.

My pretty girl, I will not lie, this world is not only filled with beauty.

It will hurt you, push you, kick you.

But this world is forgiving and this world is kind.

It will pick you up and encourage you to fly.

So, my beautiful girl, please listen to me now,

This world is yours to live in and yours to share.

Your beauty exists to mix with the butterflies and elephants and piazzas and create this amazing place.

To my future daughter, take what I have learned,

Dance in the rain and sing with the birds,

Because you are so beautiful and your world is too.

I am not embarrassed to love myself, and you shouldn’t be either

As I sit here in this coffee shop, drinking chai tea and looking at the people sitting around me, I quickly notice the diversity that surrounds me. There is an older woman next to me who looks to be in her late 40’s doing school work. A little bit farther, there is a black girl scrolling through Twitter. To the right of her, an Indian boy listening to music, mouthing out the words while looking through a textbook. Next to the door, a white girl who biked here, drinking a frozen mocha and looking out the window. We are all different, and we may have nothing in common except the fact that we all happen to be at Biggby Coffee on this day. With that said, I cannot find anything negative to say about these people, and that is exactly how it should be.

Confidence is a hard thing to have. Nowadays, it takes real courage to stand up for yourself. Why is that? Why should it take everything you have to look in the mirror and say, “I am an incredible human being”? There should be nothing that stops you from believing that. Other people should not affect how you feel about yourself; their opinions should not dismantle your own. However, that is much easier said than done.

For a long time, I believed that there was some magical recipe for being beautiful. I thought that if I straightened my hair every day and made any cellulite I had invisible and wore really expensive makeup, people would look at me and think, “wow, I want to look like her.” As I grew up though, I realized that there is no magic potion that would make me beautiful. In fact, I began to understand that the only way other people will perceive me as a beautiful person is if I believe that I am. I’m not only talking about physical beauty either – I would have to believe that my mind exhibits something amazing too, which was very difficult.

That is exactly the problem. Convincing myself that I am worth everything and anything should not be difficult. I found a quote on Tumblr the other day that actually presented this in a very deep way:

“At seventeen,
the hardest choice you should have
to make is what clothes you want
to wear,
or what food you want
to eat;
not sitting at the edge of your bed
at four in the morning
considering whether or not
your existence matters in this world.”

This is an issue so many people face, and it is one that often goes unnoticed. We are a generation of “I’m fine”, and “Don’t worry about it”, rather than “I need to vent, can you listen for a bit?” We are a generation that questions ourselves and whether or not we are good enough for the people around us even though we know that we will constantly disappoint ourselves by thinking this way. We are a generation that doubts our own beauty and worth simply because we aren’t up to date on the latest trends. We are a generation that blames society and by doing so, blames ourselves.

I dare you to look into a mirror today and tell yourself that you are amazing. Compliment yourself. Walk outside, think to yourself that you are beautiful, and do whatever you need to do. Smile at everyone you walk past and tell a stranger they look good. If you present an aurora of confidence, it will pass on to those around you. In order to breed confidence, you must start with yourself. Let me get you started: I am not embarrassed to love myself, and you shouldn’t be either.

Someone explain to me the obsession with prom?

As my readers know, I’m at the end of my senior year of high school. I still have plenty of memories to be made within the last few months of my senior year, including graduation, graduation parties, the senior party and… prom. Ugh.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love getting dressed up and looking pretty as much as the next girl, but prom seems to be held up on a pedestal for high school girls and I just don’t get it. I see girls obsessing over how they are going to get asked and plotting how to get the perfect boy to go with them; “proposals” are all over my twitter feed showing over the top, ridiculous ways to get asked. For example, there are girls getting asked with new Nike shoes, Michael Kors watches, and puppies or kittens. Why is that necessary?

You are spending one night with this person. Why would you spend that much money for them to go to a school function with you? I obviously missed the memo that told girls to expect ridiculous things from boys. I honestly don’t know how I would react if a boy showed up on my front porch with a puppy, just to ask me to prom. I would most likely question what was going through his head when he thought that was a good idea.

What is even worse than the “promposals” is the dress shopping. Here’s why it’s insane:

“OMG her dress is the same color as mine! I can’t go looking like we almost match!”
“Wow her dress is so ugly… why did she leave her house looking like that?”
“You only spent $200 on your dress? Well I spent $860 so obviously mine is better.”
“She looks so gross, haha thank god I look better than her.”

I can’t even put into words how frustrating this is. Prom shouldn’t be about who looks the best or who spent the most, it should be a stress free event to celebrate the fact that you are done with high school. No one should care about how much other girls dresses cost or how they got asked or who they went with. Yet unfortunately, that is exactly how prom is now.

I hear these comments again and again and it’s truly depressing. Girls and guys alike are so rude to each other, and for what? What satisfaction does that bring to you? Please share with me how putting someone down makes your prom night better.

Girls – please focus on yourself when this night rolls around, and guys – please refrain from blowing your parents money on something that is better when it is sweet and simple. Let yourself enjoy prom, don’t ruin it by stressing yourself out over nothing.

Why you should love yourself … “#LikeAGirl”

I will be the first to admit that I have no idea how football works. I don’t understand it whatsoever, and no matter how many times my family and friends have tried to explain it, I simply just don’t get it. So when super bowl Sunday rolls around, I usually find myself a seat next to the chips and salsa and wait around for the commercials to start. Yesterday, I believe most people were quite disappointed with the lack of comedic commercials; it seemed as though almost all of them were either extremely dark (Nationwide) or very emotional (moms, dads, self-esteem…). One, however controversial, stuck out to me.

The feminine product brand Always had a commercial showing what doing something “like a girl” means to people; specifically the difference between prepubescent girls and teenagers. I found it absolutely empowering for young girls. I think most people forget how horrible it is to grow up. As a young girl, you’re not worried about makeup, clothes, boys, acne, money, popularity… all you care about is getting chores done so you can play outside. I was thrilled that they created this social experiment to show why we have feminism, because so many girls are put down simply for being a girl, and that needs to change.

I can definitely say that I’ve had more than my fair share of experiences with low self-esteem. It’s a phase that almost every girl goes through. Girls are taught from the start to look a certain way and talk a certain way, and what happens if they don’t? Well, society just pushes those girls down to the bottom rung of the ladder. Every girl is supposed to be skinny, they should have long hair that shines, pretty blue eyes, a perfect complexion, and the most important: curves. It’s easy to get down on yourself if you don’t have these features.

What makes it even worse is that girls aren’t even allowed to love themselves. If a girl posts a picture of herself that is captioned “I just felt beautiful today,” her peers either don’t like it or attack her for being conceded. Since when did self-love become conceded? PLEASE explain that to me. If I want to say I’m beautiful, who are you to tell me I’m not?

So this is what we need to do – we need to teach young girls that freckles are cute, that scars can be pretty, that hair of all types is gorgeous, that every shade of skin color is absolutely stunning, that each and every girl can feel like a queen without having someone tell them they are. We need to preach self-love and confidence so it doesn’t die as they grow older. Girls need to believe in themselves, they shouldn’t have to rely on others to figure out if they are beautiful or not.

As for myself, I can tell you that I’ve grown to hate the little lisp that slips out when I get nervous and the freckles that magically appear when I go outside. I have never liked the way my hair curled in some places and not in others and I hate the fact that my skin is basically at war with me. I’ve always wished my feet were smaller than a size 10 and that I was shorter than 5’7″ and my waist was smaller than a size 8.

However, with confidence I have come to learn that the lisp that slips out is part of me, that my freckles come out when I’m enjoying the sun – they arise from happiness. My hair looks natural and that in itself is beautiful, my skin will change in time just as everyones does. My feet and my height and my waist all perfectly coincide with each other and that is how it was meant to be. I was not put on this earth to spend the years hating myself, I was put here to love myself and spread that love to those around me. So why don’t we start teaching every girl that this is how it should be?

“OMG you are like, soooooo pretty!”

Every girl wants to be beautiful. They want to be confident in their own skin. They want to be noticed for how pretty they are. I don’t blame them, who wants to be known as the ugly girl? I take the time to curl my hair and put make up on and wear clothes that are “cute” in today’s society too. I’m just like any other girl. But I think about it much more than the average girl. With that extra thinking, I’ve come to a single conclusion.

Beauty is subjective.

I could go around and interview a random sample of people and ask what they considered beautiful and I can guarantee you all of their answers would differ. (Maybe that should be another book idea…)

The definition of beauty changes between ethnicities; it changes between regions; it changes between genders. There are so many factors going into beauty that it is absolutely impossible to label one specific set of traits as ultimate beauty.

There’s also the classic debate between physical and mental beauty. Hey, it’s what’s on the inside that really matters, right? This may be true, but we cannot deny that our first judgements occur the first second our eyes pass over someone. In that split second, our mind makes the decision for us to introduce ourselves or to be weary of interaction.

Girls commonly complement each other – if you know the person, you are simply required to tell them that they are pretty. (This is commonly seen on Instagram, the common ground of the classic selfie.) So therefore, is beauty dependent on friendship?

Like I said, there are too many different factors to determine ultimate beauty. However, this does not mean that we should not use comparisons. For example, why are girls starving themselves to look skinny when Kim Kardashian is getting unbelievable attention for her beauty? Especially with her recent (scandalous, I must say) photo shoot, I cannot see why a girl would want to put herself through the pain of hunger to take away curvy features.

But as I previously stated, beauty is subjective. So maybe we should stop striving to be something we are not, and find the gold in ourselves.

My Original Take On “Expectations of a Teenage Girl”

Hey guys! Well, I guess guys and girls to be correct… anyways…

Thank you for excusing my brief moment of inactivity! Today’s post is kind of generic… and sort of overdone… but I thought I’d put my own original spin on the topic “Expectations of a Teenage Girl.”

Now, we all know the obvious, people expect girls to be “ladylike”, which includes being polite, sympathetic, caring, intelligent…. and wait for it… submissive? Now, I don’t mean to offend the feminist movement in any way, but when did being submissive become part of the classic “ladylike” personality?

Think about it, this is 2014. Women aren’t quiet anymore. Why do people expect girls to be submissive and do whatever a guy says, but also expect them to be part of the feminist movement and stand up for themselves? The funny thing about it is, the “people” that expect this are usually girls. It’s so unbelievably contradicting!

The “good girlfriend” stereotype, created by girls, (also extremely opposed by girls), involves cooking your boyfriend meals, surprising him with little gifts, hooking up with him just to cheer him up (hold on – sex is not supposed to be that one sided… It is not a gift…), allowing him to do whatever he wants, basically putting yourself on a shelf so he can pick and choose when he pays attention to you.

WHY DID GIRLS MAKE THIS A STEREOTYPE FOR OTHER GIRLS?!?! WHY DID WE BRING THIS EXPECTATION TO LIFE?!?!

Of all the guys I know, including my own boyfriend, I have never ever heard them say that they don’t like opinionated girls. Never have I heard “I had a rough day, and she could tell, but she didn’t even come close to coming on to me! What is her problem man?”

So, this “expectations of girls” thing going around, is only still a thing because of girls. So I’m going to end my part in it with this post. I’m done. I’m going to be my own self, I’m not going to expect anything from other girls because what does it matter? Their life isn’t mine.

These stereotypes are something that we’ll never be able to escape from. There will always be a stereotype for what’s sexy, what’s nerdy, what’s slutty, what’s preppy. Our minds can’t help but create them. So let’s stop hating the fact that stereotypes exist, and instead make them positive.

I like being “ladylike.” I like being “nerdy.” I like being the stereotypes I fit into because I’ve made them positive. I’m nerdy – and because of that I’m well-read, a good student, scholarship worthy, and I can pull off glasses. I’m “ladylike” – and because of that I love cute dresses, am obsessed with new hairstyles, am a genuinely nice person, and am picked to lead charity work. There are perks to every stereotype, to every expectation. You just have to find them.