Tuesday, December 30, 2014

things to work on in 2015 :)

1. get up at 5:30am every day. watch the sunrise.
2. after the sunrise, run for a full hour. (don't care about distance or speed, just enjoy it)
3. do homework for an hour a day
4. write more
5. read more
6. call my parents more
7. receive compliments better
8. lift weights (at least) 5 times a week
9. never skip church
10. stick to daily devotions
11. read the Bible every day with grant
12. give compliments more
13. STAY POSITIVE
14. learn to feel beautiful without make up
15. focus on the important things
16. be kind to strangers
17. break my habit of picking my nails
18. serve others
19. learn to love myself and all my flaws
20. forgive others
21. go to God with all of my struggles
22. share the word
23. find myself (wear things i want to wear)
24. become more involved in college
25. feel more comfortable in my skin
26. make an effort to hang out with old friends
27. love more deeply
28. embrace my talents
29. make more friends
30. don't be jealous
31. listen more
32. stick to my morals

hope you all make some resolutions for the upcoming year to hold yourself accountable! i'm proud of you all for making it another year.

Never back down

A quote I love goes like this:

“Look at you. You’re young. And you’re scared. Why are you so scared? Stop being paralyzed. Stop swallowing your words. Stop caring what other people think. Wear what you want. Say what you want. Listen to the music you want to listen to. Play it loud and dance to it. Go out for a drive at midnight and forget that you have school the next day. Stop waiting for Friday. Live now. Do it now. Take risks. Tell secrets. This life is yours. When are you going to realize that you can do whatever you want?”

Recently I've realized not to back down- ever. Whether it be in an argument, stating your opinion, loving someone, learning new things, or whatever you choose- don't do it half way. People might not understand. Who cares? When you love something, love it with all of your heart. Try to start 2015 with newfound courage and energy to do whatever you want.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Why sometimes loving God is not enough

1st Peter-
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow upon your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

I was in church this morning when the words "Why loving God is not enough" came out of my pastors mouth. Wait, did I hear that right? Loving God is not enough? Let me clarify. For sake of getting into Heaven and being a believer- loving God is enough. We have been taught that whosoever believes in him will have eternal life. However, as believers, why do we stop there? He explained it this way: You cannot live for God and not love others. These things cannot be separated; they must go hand and hand. If you meet God and you tell him, "Lord, O Lord, I have loved you every day!" He would give you the proper praise but quickly ask you, "Have you loved my people? Your brothers?" We cannot truly love God if we don't love those around us.

I have read countless verses in the Bible telling us how we should love others, just as 1st Peter 22 does. But not many go into detail of how we should not love others. Just as chapter 2 says, we should not be malicious, hypocritical, envious, or slanderous. And these are things I struggle with every day. To love others purely, we must put these things aside. But how do we do that? That's where we must crave it. Like a newborn, we have to want this more than we want to live. Once we crave it like we crave life itself, we will be born again and able to love others more purely. However, cravings can go both ways. We can also crave things that are bad for us. We can have cravings that push us away from God. But ultimately, as humans, we are beings of desire. And we desire the things we need the most. Our craving for God should always outweigh out cravings for any worldly thing. 

Our hardest thing about loving others is that we believe they don't deserve it. They don't deserve our forgiveness. They're a bad person, they wronged you, they continue to hurt you. Most times when we have such strong hateful feelings towards a person, we haven't given them the time of day to explain themselves. Sometimes we've never even met the person. But suppose you have sat down with them, and they're as bad as you thought. Maybe even worse. They go against you every single day when you have done nothing but good to them. Now go back and realize that this person is yourself every day, and that Christ has decided to love you endlessly anyway. Christ's unending love for us is a perfect example of how we ought to love others.

Don't make others wonder if you have tasted the Lord's goodness. Show in your every day life- every day, every hour, every minute, every second- that you have tasted that the love of Christ. Don't let your actions be deceiving. See to it that no one misses the grace of God. Make it your job as a Christian to show others the love God will show you for eternity. You can't just be in love with Jesus, you have to be in love with his people too.



Saturday, December 27, 2014

DON'T feel guilty about moving on!

Heartbreak is terrible. Heartbreak is often times sudden, devastating, earth shattering, shocking, depressing, confusing, simply put- it's hard. But the worst thing about heartbreak is that it's inevitable. Every person I know has gone through some sort of pain and I've had my own fair share of heartbreak. My favorite author John Green once put it this way. "That's the thing about pain- it demands to be felt." Since we do live in such a corrupt world, we will feel heartbreak at some points in our life. It's unavoidable. However, heartbreak does not last forever. And that's a topic most people don't talk about. 

When you're in a relationship, you often overlook the bad and focus on the good. For example:
"He lied to me"
"Why don't you break up with him?"
"Well.. *insert excuse here*
Obviously this is a cliche example and not something always worth breaking up over. (Not to say you should put up with lying in a relationship, because you should not!) However, I hear something of this type almost every day. Boys and girls alike are afraid to end their relationship because at the core of it all, they don't know if they could get better. They're used to being in the relationship. They feel guilty. Especially with long relationships, a certain attachment develops and you feel bad about ending it. One of my favorite profiles on instagram posted this photo once which I think everyone should read: 

I've been in multiple relationships where something just wasn't right. I didn't return feelings as strongly. I was lied to. He watched porn. Our morals didn't align. He was too flirty. He cheated. He wasn't passionate. He put me down. He used me. These are all signs that you're with the wrong person. But chances are, if you're like me, you feel guilty. You think to yourself that even though he does go clubbing without you on the weekends, that it isn't reason enough to end it with him. You think that even though she flirts with every guy she meets, that you'd be wrong to break up with her. And what people all over the world need to grasp is the concept that you do not owe anything to anyone! If in your heart of hearts you know this person isn't the one for you, you are doing both the person and yourself a favor by ending it. When you're with someone, the only 2 options you have are staying together forever or breaking up. By putting off the obvious, breaking up, you're just momentarily postponing heartbreak. And you both deserve more than that. It's hard to leave someone, especially if you both loved each other at one point. But sometimes, the people we love change. Unless you are married, you have no duty to stay with someone. If you're being mistreated, or lose feelings, or simply want to be single, you are free to do so. It's worse to stay in a relationship where your heart is only half way into it. 

And once you do finally make the decision to leave the relationship, you are free to do whatever you want. Especially if you were mistreated in the relationship, being single can be a breath of fresh air. Most people don't leave relationships looking for a new one right away, but sometimes it just happens like that.

People will talk about you when you start dating someone new. Your ex will be upset. Your parents will be hesitant. Your friends might tell you it's too soon. But whoever is reading this, you must understand that you cannot live for others. If you meet someone the day after you end it with your ex, that's okay. You have to do what's right for you. You deserve happiness, no matter who it is with. Just like the picture says, if you are with the wrong person, you cannot reach your full potential. God's plan for your life is so much better than you could ever imagine. And if you have a feeling you want out of the relationship you're in, no matter what the reason, you are free to do so.

With that being said, make sure you're getting into your next relationship for the right reasons. Simply rushing into a new relationship is not smart. Being with someone new to make your ex jealous, or to move on, or to feel wanted again, is never a good enough reason to be with someone. Don't force your heart to feel anything. When the right time comes, you will find someone new. Whether it takes a day or 6 years, you will be happy again. Never allow loneliness drive you into the arms of someone wrong for you.

I entered college laughing at people that got into relationships their freshman year. I had no desire to be in a new place with new people with a boyfriend my first year. College is the best time of your life and being a girlfriend was the last thing I wanted. To be honest, I had a couple of guys interested in me that I turned down because I wasn't ready for a relationship. And then one day I was sitting in a dorm room when a guy walked in. He introduced himself, sat on the bed, and acted if it was the most casual thing in the world. This boy's name is Grant. From the very second his face appeared from around the door, I knew he was different. I had the guys that liked me and ex's making me feel guilty for showing an interest in Grant. And for a while, I suppressed my feelings. He asked me out to the movies and I told him only if we went as friends. I tried not to see him one on one. I tried not to flirt. All because I was letting my past relationships control my future. Once I realized what I was doing, I stopped talking to those guys all together. They didn't care about me, they just saw me as a prize they could win. After I stopped talking to them, I really let myself fall for Grant. And to my surprise, he fell for me too. Once I stopped letting others influence what I felt, I decided I liked him. And we've been dating ever since. I'd been in past relationships where I thought I was happy, and maybe I was for a while. But something always happened to ruin it. But I would stay, and settle, because I didn't think I could be any happier. And I am living proof that that mindset of "it wont get better" is false. Grant is the best thing that's ever happened to me. Giving him a chance was the smartest choice I could have made. He treats me well and loves me better than I've ever been loved before. I should have never let others influence my decision to be happy.

In conclusion, if guilt is something you're struggling with while moving on, stop! You have no reason to feel guilty. You deserve happiness. You deserve someone that wants to be with you as badly as you want to be with them. You deserve someone that wont lie to you. You deserve someone that won't break up with you. You deserve someone that would give anything to be with you. You deserve someone that puts you above themselves. You deserve love in the purest form, and you shouldn't settle for anything less. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve devotion

It's 1:22 as I type this (sorry this is technically a day late!) and I guess some things never change- I still can't sleep on Christmas Eve. Although I know Santa isn't real and there isn't anything specific I'm hoping to unwrap, the excitement still gets to me. I hope all of your Christmas eve's were wonderful! And if they weren't, I'm sorry. Tomorrow is a new day to celebrate. I spent the whole day with my beautiful family. My message for tonight is simple and sweet: focus on what's important tomorrow. I know we hear this every year, but brother and sisters in Christ, I urge you to keep your mind set on what Christmas really is. My devotional puts this well for today's word:

"Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside my glory, so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions- a filthy stable. That was a dark night for me, even though angels lit up the sky proclaiming "Glory!" to awestruck shepherds.

When you sit quietly with me, the process I went through is reversed in your experience. As you identify with me, heaven's vistas open up before you- granting you glimpses of my glory.  I became poor so that you might become rich. Sing hallelujah's to my holy name!

As you celebrate the wonder of my birth in Bethlehem, celebrate also your rebirth into eternal life. This everlasting gift was the sole purpose of my entering your sin-stained world. Receive my gift with awe and humility. Take time to explore the vast dimensions of my love. Allow thankfulness to flow freely from your heart in response to my glorious gift. Let my peace rule in your heart, and be thankful."

I cannot stress enough the importance of identifying tomorrow with Christ. Not with presents, or trees, or candy, or Santa, or pajamas, or family. Because you might not get that present you wanted. And you might not have family to celebrate with. Jesus is what you should be celebrating tomorrow. Excitement for presents and the upcoming day are normal and nothing to be ashamed of, but you should take quiet time tomorrow to thank The Lord for everything you received. Whether you receive 20 gifts tomorrow or 2, remind yourself that you already have the best gift of all- Christ. I pray all of you enjoy your day tomorrow! Thanks for your patience and I'm sorry they've been lacking lately- the Christmas season business has taken it's toll on me! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

PUPPY

Day 6:

If you know me at all, you know how big my heart is for animals. And I'm overjoyed to announce the newest member to my family, Scrappy!





















Needless to say, I have spent all day with our new pup. Needless to say, I would rather spend time with our new pup then write this post. So this will conclude my writing for the day! I'm going to go get some animal loving. I wanted to keep true to my word and give you all a reason for such a short post. Hope you all had a merry christmas eve eve! I love you all very much :)


Monday, December 22, 2014

To those pressing through the darkness

"It's so dark right now, I can't see any light around me. 

That's because the light is coming from you. You can't see it but everyone else can.”

-Lang Leav


Ever since I can remember, I've struggled with depression and other things. (I wont list off the specific things I have dealt with in my life partly for my own peace of mind, and partly because I don't want pity). But I have experienced darkness firsthand, and know what it's like. I know what it's like to lose hope. To not have a friend to turn to, to not have a person to talk to, to not have anywhere to go. I've been at my lowest point multiple times. And I will admit, I wanted to give up. Everything got too hard. I genuinely hated myself. The therapists didn't help. Talking about it didn't help. Medication didn't help. Nothing helped. And I didn't know how to help myself. Luckily enough for me, I found God in my darkness and he brought me out of the quickly vanishing hole I was in and helped me move ever onward. But others never get that helping hand. This is to them.

I don't know what you're going through, but I know that you feel helpless. You might feel like a burden, or a lost cause, or too far gone for saving. And let me be the first to tell you, you're wrong. You are so wrong. You are so unique, and beautiful, and full of worth, and rare, and strong, and loved. I love you. Have you heard that recently? I'll tell you again. I love you. You are cherished. You offer things that nobody on this earth can offer. I might not know you, but I don't have to. You stumbled upon my blog and to this post and for a reason. I'm here for you. I cannot express the amount of times I felt I had no one to turn to. And maybe you feel that way too, but now you have me. I don't care if you know me personally or are someone halfway across the globe, I am here to help you. I don't care how long it takes, we will get through this together.

First things first, you've got to stop hating yourself. I know why you do. Every day life is hard when you hate yourself. People underestimate how hard everyday living is. I would argue that waking up is one of the hardest parts. Sometimes mustering the strength to get out of bed is more than I can bear. Having to look at yourself in the mirror when you don't recognize the pair of eyes staring back at you is a scary and confusing thing. Having to plaster a smile on your face is exhausting. Having to train yourself to laugh at the proper times can feel like a job. The most courageous thing a person can do each morning is to make the decision to get through the day. I'm so proud of you for making that decision this morning. I'm so proud of you for living despite every thing in your life making you want otherwise.

You might think that the world would be better off without you. You're wrong. You probably think that everyone would be much happier with you out of their lives. Once again, you're wrong. "You are not just here to fill space or be a background character in someone else's movie. Consider this: nothing would be the same if you did not exist. Every place you have ever been and everyone you have ever spoken to would be different without you. We are all connected, and we are all affected by the decisions and even the existence of those around us.” You are on this earth for a reason. You might not know this reason yet. It could be a small reason or it could be a world changing reason. But it's a reason. Focus all of your energy on finding that reason. Put down the bottle of pills. Don't you dare pull that trigger. Put down the blade. No amount of red bath water can make you love yourself. Treat yourself like a work of art, because you are.

Life gets better. I still have my days and I am not cured, but I am better. I'm thankful everyday I didn't give in. Not a day has gone by, even my worst days, that I wasn't glad I was alive. It gets hard sometimes. And somedays I stay in bed all day and ignore the outside world. But so many beautiful and mysterious things have happened to me lately that I am ecstatic I am alive to see them. So many wonderful things have happened to me in even the past 6 months that I never even thought could happen to me. And they can happen to you. But first you have to continue to choose living.

Choose life. I know that the opposite seems easier. It isn't. Choose sunsets. Choose coffee in the morning. Choose holding someone's hand. Choose sleeping in. Choose rainy days. Choose meeting strangers. Choose picking flowers. Choose pumpkin patches. Choose cookies from the oven. Choose making that yellow light. Choose music. Choose seeing old friends. Choose meeting new friends. Choose getting that parking spot. Choose clean bed sheets. Choose kissing. Choose the beach. Choose compliments. Choose laughter. Choose sunny days. Choose falling in love. Choose getting mail. Choose taking a drive. Choose a bubble bath. Choose playing with puppies. Choose road trips. Choose tire swings. Choose a good movie. Choose cuddling. Choose concerts. Choose roller coasters. Choose relationships. Choose getting an A on a paper. Choose dancing. Choose a compliment. Choose high fives. Choose a children's giggle. Choose playing in the rain. Choose pillow fights. Choose everything this crazy, hectic, beautiful life has to offer. Choose life. Choose life. Choose life. Choose life. Choose life. Choose life. Choose life. Choose life. Choose life. Do not choose death. It does not want to choose you back.

#everonward



When I say I will be here for any of you I mean it. Any time, day or night, any day of the week, feel free to contact me. Don't be afraid of judgement or introducing yourself. I will help you through this.
My number: 901-619-4316
Email: Mbeale@samford.edu

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A feminists thoughts on "Chivalry is dead because feminism killed it"


Scrolling through twitter, I came across this post on my newsfeed. Posted just over an hour ago, this tweet already has over 2,000 retweets and 6,000 favorites. My eye was immediately drawn after seeing the word feminist, and I was appalled as I continued to read what it had to say.






 Now before I get responses of people debating me left and right, hear me out. I don't agree with the girl who's name has been blurred. Shocking, right?! A feminist that doesn't hate all men?! A feminist that disagrees with another feminist?! A feminist that can think rationally in terms of both sexes?! Absolutely unheard of! My problem is with the Cloyd Rivers account. Cloyd has nearly 1 million followers on twitter that will most likely see this post. Although I strongly agree that each person is entitled to their own opinion, I cannot agree with the way Cloyd goes about this.

I am a feminist. I love being a feminist. I love opening my mouth and always speaking up for women. And I am sick of having a negative connotation attached to the word feminist. A dictionary definition of a feminist is someone whom fights for the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. And what's so wrong with that? Yet somehow, whenever I tell someone I'm a feminist, I get a mixure of three reactions. 
1. *Rolls eyes* Oh, she's that girl.
2. Derogatory laughter
3. Confusion as to why I identify as a feminist in the first place
And I'm sick of being looked down upon for wanting equality for women. I will never back down. I will never shut my mouth. I will never stop fighting. I will never change my mind. I am a feminist because the very word feminism makes people turn a blind eye. 

My biggest issue with Cloyd is his misrepresentation of feminism. Cloyd does not just call out the one girl that directly messaged him, he targets an entire group of people (assuming that there are still men in this world that identify with feminism, because believe it or not, it's possible!) With any group of people that share a common belief whether it be religion, culture, race, or even feminists, there will be separate opinions. Not all people in a group have the same exact ideals and beliefs. There are differences. For example, there are multiple different types of feminism including liberal feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism, cultural feminism, and more. And for Cloyd to target feminists of all kinds and to group them into one "chivalry killing" cult makes me sick. One of my favorite quotes concerning feminism would have to be by Dale Spender. She says: “Feminism has fought no wars.  It has killed no opponents.  It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law. If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,”  I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”” I love this quote because it gets down to the reality that feminism doesn't hurt anybody. Feminism is the radical notion that women are people too. The fact that people are debating and hating on feminism so much just proves the need for it. And the fact that this account is now teaching young adults all over the world that feminism is a bad thing is disgusting to me. Just because one woman decided to state her opinion, suddenly all feminists are to blame for "killing chivalry"? This girl is not the spokesperson for feminism, so why are we treating her like she is? For the record, I do disagree with her opinion. I believe that obviously women are capable of opening their own door and paying for their own things. Because, get this, we're humans too! I don't even believe that this is a gender issue. I currently have a boyfriend of my own whom offers to pay for my things every meal we go to. However, I have no problem with paying for my own. And paying for his whenever he lets me. I appreciate that he respects me enough to open my car door, and I appreciate the fact that I know I am fully aware to open it myself. He respects me enough to let me pay for myself when I want. And he pays for me when I want him to. That being said, he knows very clearly that I am a feminist and we have talked about these things. I would never expect for him to pay for my every meal and open every door that appears in front of me. We should not expect these things from all men, and especially just towards women. Men should hold the door for other men. You should do nice things for one another and have respect towards everyone you meet, regardless of gender.


Cloyd amazingly goes on with his final statement to actually contradict everything he's previously said! After multiple tweets and screenshots about the importance of men treating women with respect because its the "gentlemanly thing to do", he turns around and makes a derogatory comment towards the woman. His joke about her with airplane windows is the real problem with chivalry today. Men should respect women, and women should respect men, because we are all members of the human race. Not for anything that we've done. Often times, men use the nice guy facade until they get what they want and when they don't, they complain of being "friend zoned". (Friendzoning is a completely separate post that I will be creating soon) Cloyd is so quick to defend men and how respectful they always are, until a woman disagrees with him. And the second this girl stated her opinion, he insulted her intelligence. That goes to show his character. Some people are nice simply because others are nice back. So the next time you want to say that feminism killed chivalry, remember that chivalry isn't chivalry if you want something out of it.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Why I hate Nick Jonas' song "Jealous"



"Protective or possessive, 
call it passive or aggressive"
"It's my right to be hellish
I still get jealous"
"Cause you know I get excited
When you get jealous too"

These are lines from Nick Jonas' new song properly called "Jealous". Don't let the title of my post fool you, I usually consider myself a Nick Jonas fan. (I mean, have you looked at him?)  However, I am fed up with this culture's obsession with jealousy. And it's not just Nick. Nearly every time I turn on the radio, I hear a singer teaching young people that jealousy is normal for every relationship. And both sexes are at fault. In Taylor Swift's song "Blank Space" she also gives into the fascination and romanticism with jealousy, stating:

"Screaming, crying, perfect storms
I could make all the tables turn
Rose garden filled with thorns
Keep you second guessing like oh my god
Who is she? I get drunk on jealousy"
"Boys only want love if it's torture"

The common denominator in the pop songs we hear everyday on the radio is that jealousy is a good thing. Its our right. Boys like it. And it makes me sick whenever these songs start to seep into my brain, because what they are portraying could not be further from the truth.

Jealousy has always been my downfall. It has ruined a 2 year relationship for me, it has ruined my confidence, it has, at times, ruined my life. Jealousy sucks. The amount of times I have gotten on my knees and prayed to the Lord to remove my jealousy are far more times than I can count. If I could change one thing about myself, it would be my jealousy. Jealousy ruins trust, it ruins loyalty, it ruins love. Jealousy is a sin and something I have to work on every single day. Unfortunately for me, jealousy and insecurity go hand and hand. So I can speak from experience that jealousy is not "fun". I don't "get excited" when they get jealous too. One of the worst feelings in the entire world is jealousy. The constant feeling of not being good enough. Comparing yourself to others. Imagining the worst situations in your head. Being unable to trust your partner. Immediately hating anyone of your gender that talks to your significant other. Staying up until 4 with the devil on your shoulder telling you you aren't as pretty as his last girlfriend. Jealousy creates problems that aren't there. Jealousy is an excuse to control your partner in a relationship. Jealousy is the opposite of what love should be. Jealousy is not protective, it is evidence of lack of trust.
Jealousy is not your right, it is your insecurity seeping through your relationship.
Jealousy does not make you excited, it breaks you down until you are shattered into a million pieces. Jealousy is not a perfect storm, it is a storm that can take even the strongest foundations down. Jealousy is not a rose garden, it is the thorn in your side. Jealousy does not get you drunk, it gets you so intoxicated you can't see left from right until you are throwing up remnants of your last failed relationship. And the last thing I want from love is torture.

So, what should love be?
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13. And that, my friends, is what love should look like. It shouldn't look like attempting to make your significant other jealous. It shouldn't be the pit in your stomach when you see who they have been texting. It shouldnt be favoring tweets. It shouldnt be taking pictures with the opposite sex to make your partner mad. It shouldn't be all these stupid things we do to ourselves everyday. Jealousy is something we have learned to pit against each other, in hopes of heightening feelings. Often times, it is our intention to make our partner jealous. And why do we do this? We do this in hopes that the other person will see how lucky they are to have you and love you even more. But true love is not jealousy. True love does not need jealousy thrown in their face to realize their love for you. Trust me, jealousy is not fun. Despite what the songs say.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Comparing Yourself to Others


           

          I hate this society for teaching me that there is a “type” or a “standard” I have to fit into. That there is a look that I can attain to be craved like meat. That there is a bra cup that will make me desirable to men. That there is a waist size that will make me worth something in this life. That if I don’t look as good as the girl next to me,  I will always be second best. That a number, or a skin tone, or a picture, can define me.
I’ve grown up staring at pictures of photoshopped models for as long as I can remember and then comparing that to myself. And I’ve been let down since age 5 when I realized our bodies were not the exact same. And I tried to fix it -tried to fix myself- to meet these standards. I’ve starved myself, I’ve gotten hair cuts, bought clothes, lost weight, put on make up, and photoshopped my pictures in hopes that maybe I’ll become more “beautiful”. Society has taught me that there is a certain way I must look and a certain way I must act at all times if I want a significant other, or even to have worth in this life. And I hate myself for falling into it’s trap. Because every post I see of a girl in a bikini makes me upset because I don’t have her thighs, or her waist, or her smile. And I wish I could realize that, I’m right, I don’t have all or any of those things. But I have a personality and certain traits about me that should be worth more than any number. Beauty is not the most important thing in life and I wish I could ingrain this into every young girls head, including my own. Because the last thing I want is for a boy to only be able to tell me how beautiful I am. I want to mean something. I’ve been stared down by old men and I’ve been cat called by 8 year olds. I’ve been undressed by more men’s eyes than I can count. I’ve had men with their families look at me with lust. I’ve had men try and pick me up and I’ve been followed. And that’s what the magazine covers don’t tell you. Sure, beauty is important. But I don’t need to show off my body to get a man. I want people to like me for who I am, and what I want to be, and what I will become, and what I am not. I don’t want anyone who only looks for a pretty face or an instagram with someones body half naked.
HOWEVER, I still workout, and put on make up to look good, and take pictures of myself. But the difference is that I’m doing all of these things FOR myself. I put effort into my look because I want to, not in hopes of gaining a boyfriend. Considering I am a radical feminist, I strongly believe that one of the most important girls a thing can do is love herself. Every last bit of herself. Its like that cheesy saying “only you can be you” but its true. Young girls are taught that they should aspire to be pretty; they’re taught that being attractive is the most important thing a girl can do in her life. I recently read a poem that stated:
“when your little girl
asks you if she’s pretty
your heart will drop like a wineglass
on the hardwood floor
part of you will want to say
of course you are, don’t ever question it
and the other part
the part that is clawing at
you
will want to grab her by her shoulders
look straight into the wells of
her eyes until they echo back to you
and say
you do not have to be if you don’t want to
it is not your job
both with feel right
one will feel better
she will only understand the first
when she wants to cut her hair off
or wear her brother’s clothes
you will feel the words in your
mouth like marbles
you do not have to be pretty if you don’t want to
it is not your job”

I love this poem because it gets to the bottom line that girls, just like men, should aspire to bigger and better things that physical attractiveness. That being said, we should also stop shaming girls for having confidence. If that maroon lipstick makes you feel good about yourself, cake it on your lips. If that vest people think is weird accentuates your features and makes you feel better, get it. We have to learn to love ourselves and embrace ourselves- for every quality and quirk. Do what makes you happy and wear what you want to feel good in. Don’t wear anything for someone else.  I’m not going to marry somebody because they’re pretty, I’m going to marry someone because I am in love with them- not their appearance.
I realize this is something easier said then done, considering even now I struggle with it. Making the transition into college is tough. I’m in a new environment, meeting new people every day, trying to be the best. And sadly, with trying to be my best comes my focus on physical appearance. All of my friends know I struggle with insecurity and that it’s only risen since I got to college. A quote that I love goes like this:
“You are enough. Paint it on your mirrors, on the back of your eyelids, drown it in your stomach, sing it in every word you say. You are never too much. Eat your food, sleep eight hours, walk like you love yourself. You are enough. Say it in your sleep, mantras to carry you through your day. There is never enough of you. You are a thirst that is never quenched. I crave you when you’re away. I love every piece of you. But I cannot make you love yourself.” Michelle K., You Are Enough. (via milagetinmykunis)
Girls, boys, men, mothers, brothers, aunts, women, all people of this world, YOU ARE ENOUGH. Now start treating yourself that way.
Nowadays, young people’s main aspirations including being socially accepted among the "popular" crowd and fitting in. Nobody is better than anyone else, no matter the money you have, or how many likes you get on instagram, or what you believe, or your appearance. I see far too many young people trying to fit in and doing whatever it is the populars are doing, and compromising themselves. Popularity will always exist but you have to grow a strong backbone for yourself. You will find people who accept you for who you are without having to compromise your morals or wear a certain outfit. Why do people do this? Why do individuals find the need to compare themselves to people in their own school they look up to as celebrities? I can tell you from experience that popular isn't fun. And if you're constantly trying to fit in with them and be "cool", you'll always be disappointed. Being "popular" or "cool" or pretty or good looking are not the virtues we should be chasing after. There are so many important things in this life besides your social status according to what you look like.
           I've struggled with confidence nearly my whole life. I'm not a stick skinny girl, I don't have wavy blonde hair, I have never been tan in my life, and I most definitely don't have a perfect exterior. I could rant on things that I'm terrible at besides my stunning appearance. But I urge people to focus on the important things. I once heard the quote, "You are not a body with a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." and that is exactly what I am getting at in this little sermon. Your body is literally the exterior holding your bones and flesh together. Is it needed? Yes. Is it what most people define you as? Yes, most definitely. Is it an accurate representation of who you are? No. Absolutely not. Your body, although essential to your living, does not define you as a person. In the end, when I'm an 80 year old woman, I'm not going to be telling my grandkids about how perfect my classmates' eyelashes were. I'm not going to be writing about how toned a girls stomach was. You never hear about a person's hair from across the world. You hear about life changing people that were courageous, fearless, loving. That's because what we ultimately want, what we crave, is a soulmate. We search our whole lives for character qualities- patience, humor, curiosity, a big heart, leadership, compassion, etc. It's called a soulmate for a reason. A soulmate (or soul mate) is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity,[1]similarity, love, sex, intimacy, spirituality, or compatibility. You're not going to know if someone is your soulmate by looking at them. You know someone is your soulmate, or your idea of "perfect" (that is, what you perceive as perfect) when you discover who they are. You fall in love with the way they're passionate about dumb things, how they're never late, how they listen to you. And this is something society couldn't have more wrong if they tried.
           For the girls: There are plenty of things that affect our day to day actions. And for me, being a girl, there are plenty of things that make me feel less beautiful. And it has to stop. Girls from birth are exposed to photoshopped models, television, and magazines. All of these things construe our idea of beauty and make us feel as if we're not somebody's idea of "perfect". But think about it this way. If you were the only person on earth, would you think you're pretty? Beautiful? Ugly? Fat? Skinny? Chances are, you'd be happy with the way you look because you don't have anything "better" to compare yourself to. Girls know what I'm talking about. Sometimes we wake up and surprisingly our hair is falling in all the right places. Then we do our make up and it turns out flawless. Our outfit is lovely from head to toe and we stare at ourselves in the mirror and feel pretty. Then you walk outside of your room and are immediately bombarded with girls. And the girls are prettier than you. And suddenly, every ounce of confidence you have is evaporated. And I want that to stop. This is easier to stop if you have a good friend or significant other that reminds you of your beauty. But it's tricky if you don't have that. And I've had both. But what I've realized is that either way, it's possible to feel pretty. But you have to understand some things first. 
There will always be someone prettier than you, or so you think. You will never go a day with thinking you're the prettiest girl that you've seen. And if you have, you can stop reading and be happy with the security in your own skin. But here's the thing. You see that girl over there that you think is perfect? She's looking at the girl in the corner thinking that she's perfect. And the girl in the corner is looking at the girl sitting down wishing she was as pretty as her. And the girl sitting down is looking at you, feeling ugly compared to you. No matter where you go, you'll always find someone who is prettier than you. But also, everywhere you go, you will be that girl that is the pretty one to someone else. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You are not lovable for your appearance, people will love you for who you are. 
          For the boys: This will be a tad trickier since I myself am not a boy, so I can't exactly give you advice on how to love your appearance for what it is. But I can criticize you for what you're doing wrong, can't I? (Ha!) Boys have it tougher than we think. Girls spend the day comparing themselves to others, but boys have to look at all of it and try to figure out and decide what is beautiful. They can't even walk into the mall without having a blown up picture of a Victoria's Secret model being pushed onto them. And like I've previously stated, girls love to dress up and look good. Push up bra, tight pants, low cut shirt-  and we’re ready to go. But boys need to learn to realize that a girl might be beautiful on the outside but that that doesnt necessarily match the inside. Boys nowadays are trained to block out a girl's face and decide if they're "hot" or "sexy". Heck, you can crop out a girl's face and send a picture of a girl's body to almost any boy and they wouldn't notice. And that's where they need to change. A girl is not her bra size. A girl is not her eye color. A girl is not her legs. A girl is a human being. You should love a girl for who she is, not what she looks like. I do believe that men and boys should be held accountable of their actions. Viewing of pornography, magazines, social media, naked pictures, and even more issues are are real problems that men engage in. All of these things are setting extremely high and unrealistic standards for women that we cannot possibly attain. (All of this is for a different post that I will be making soon) But girls, when it comes down to it, know that guys don't want porn stars for their wife. When you find a real man wanting  a real relationship, he want a bond with the woman. Not just her appearance. Which brings me to a full 360 to my main point. 
My point in all of this is that our idea of good looking is wrong. It's fundamentally wrong, it's morally wrong, it's wrong. It is just wrong. You are beautiful for character. And there are different types of beautiful because different people want different things. Don't get me wrong, I love a good hair day. And I put effort in the way that I look! But the way I look doesn't define me, as society is telling us. When you love a person, you love them for who they are. Not for their legs. You love them for their willingness to make you happy, not for their muscles. You love them for their endurance, not for their eyes. And if you think that nobody will love you, they will. You are young. It might not happen in the next month. It might not happen in the next 10 years. You might never know who loved you because they could decide to keep it a secret. It might be from a friend. Or a stranger. But I can assure you, boy or girl, you will be loved. And you will be loved for the right reasons. You will be loved for who you are, not who you aren't. 
           To conclude, beauty is something everyone craves. But not everyone knows what they need. And you'll get it wrong sometimes. And you'll see a beautiful boy and think he's your soulmate. But he isn't. Then you'll look right past a boy that ends up being your husband in 5 years. Just remember to love yourself for who you are, and never change for anybody's idea or perfect because chances are you'll never fit it if you're constantly changing.