You Might Have Big Boobs If…

I’m sure many of you have seen, or at least heard of, Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be a Redneck” popular bit, so I thought it might be fun to put my own spin on it. I got the inspiration for this post this morning when I was getting dressed. As I was pulling my sweatshirt down, it got caught up on my chest and hurt my wrist. While my wrist throbbed, all I could think was, “This wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have giant boobs!” Thus! An idea was born! So, without further ado, you might have big boobs if…

If you can catalogue everything you’ve eaten in a day by the crumbs found in your cleavage, you might have big boobs.

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If crop tops look like bandeaus on you, and regular shirts turn into crop tops, you might have big boobs.

If every T-shirt you find with a cute design or phrase gets all distorted and demented as soon as you put it on, you might have big boobs.

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If you’ve ever ended up with food on your chest after leaning over the table, you might have big boobs.

If you have to dig holes in the sand for your chest when you lay on the beach, you might have big boobs.

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If the thought of finding a bra that fits you for under $50 is laughable, you might have big boobs.

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If you have to hold down your chest anytime you run, even when you have a bra on, to keep from knocking yourself out, you might have big boobs.

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If you’ve ever inhaled a little too deeply, and blew out the zipper on your coat, you might have big boobs.

If you have to lift up your chest and set it on the bar when you lean against it, you might have big boobs.

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If you have a definitive line of sweat under your boobs after a workout, you might have big boobs.

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If seat belts are impossible for you to keep from wrapping around your neck, you might have big boobs.

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If you’ve ever lost something in your cleavage, and had to go digging for it, you might have big boobs.

If people are constantly bumping into, brushing against, or running into your chest, you might have big boobs.

If you put on a button down shirt and discover gaping holes between each button, you might have big boobs.

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If your boobs hit the floor every time you do a push-up, you might have big boobs.

If every time you change sleep positions in bed, you have to readjust your chest, you might have big boobs.

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If painting your toenails turn into a painful stretching session, you might have big boobs.

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If you’ve ever knocked things over, knocked things off a table, or caused mayhem on a store shelf, you might have big boobs.

If you spend a good portion of your day readjusting your wandering cleavage, you might have big boobs.

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If strapless dresses are impossible to make work, you might have big boobs.

If you have to hold your chest in place while walking down the stairs, you might have big boobs.

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If putting on a bra before your boobs are completely dry is comparable to wrangling a bull, you might have big boobs.

If you have to take your bra off slowly and carefully at the end of the day to avoid the sudden pain of your boobs dropping too fast, you might have big boobs.

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If people with a size D or DD talking about their “giant boobs” makes you laugh bitterly, you might have big boobs.

If you are the butt of countless “big boob” jokes at the hands of your friends, you might have big boobs.

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I think it’s fair to say having big boobs is no easy task, but somehow, we manage. To my busty sisters out there; keep on being your glorious selves!

If you liked this post, check out my other posts on the big boob struggle

https://historyiswhoweare.com/2016/05/15/the-busty-battle/

https://historyiswhoweare.com/2018/01/05/1318/

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If I Had Known What was Wrong With Me

If you have read any of my previous blog posts or if you know me personally, you may also know that I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and moderate depression at age 20. After a year of medication trials and errors, three different doctors, and a lot of research and education, I am now 22 and feel better than ever where my mental health is concerned. I have an understanding of my disorders, my symptoms, and how to better cope with these symptoms in healthy, useful ways. I am very open about this because I wholeheartedly believe that this is how we end stigmas- by being honest with ourselves and others. With that said, I wanted to take some time to dive into my personal past.

My struggles with anxiety and depression didn’t just pop up at age 20- they are things I had been unknowingly struggling with for most of my life. Because of this, I often wonder how different my life would be if I had known what was going on my brain earlier in life. Education on what’s going on inside my head has helped give me power over it; understanding it has made it easier to manage. Now, when my body completely freezes up when someone I don’t know sits next to me, I can tell myself that it is my anxiety and I am better able to work through that anxiety. When I feel myself spiraling down into a hole of sadness, I can recognize that it’s my depression creeping back into my mind, and take steps to prevent it from getting unmanageable. But what about when I didn’t know what was going on? What about those times I felt myself losing control and breaking down, and couldn’t seem to figure out why? What about those times I didn’t know what was wrong with me?

I truly believe that if I had been aware of these things earlier in life, my life would have gone much differently. I probably wouldn’t have checked my grades 3 times a day, because I probably wouldn’t have been so obsessed with doing everything perfectly. I wouldn’t have fallen apart at just the thought of getting a B, and I probably wouldn’t have spent so much time thinking about my grade on every little assignment. My social anxiety probably wouldn’t have been so crippling, so I probably would have had more friends. I would have ended my toxic friendships so much sooner, instead of letting them destroy my self-esteem and my trust in people. I’d probably be better at making friends now, because I would have learned how to do it then. I would have known why I couldn’t handle things out of order and panicked when there was a sudden change. The announcements of group projects wouldn’t have caused my body to be paralyzed in fear and my stomach to lurch. I wouldn’t have thought so much about self-harming and suicide. I wouldn’t have spent a period that lasted months of obsessively tracking my calories and eating as little as I could, which was sometimes less than 1,00 calories a day. I wouldn’t have spent day in and day out in my bedroom, secluded and isolated. I wouldn’t have felt so miserable all the time. But that’s just high school.

I can trace some of the symptoms I have now back even further than that. I remember having days in middle school where I felt such a deep sadness, but I couldn’t figure out why. Days where I didn’t want anyone near me and just wanted to be completely alone. Days where every little noise was just too much, and would drive me up a wall. I would have these intense stomach aches that would spring on so suddenly, that I thought it had to be the flu. I called my mom to pick me up on two different occasions when I was in the fifth grade, but as soon as I was in her car, the pain would completely disappear. As any mom would, she thought I was faking, and because I didn’t understand what was happening, I just started learning to cope with them. I would just curl up as much as I could, gripping my stomach or ask to go to the bathroom to just sit until the pain passed. I remember always feeling like people were talking about me or trying to “get me,” and being terrified that my friends were all planning to turn on me. I would lay awake at night because the pain in my stomach would be so bad. Often times, in the middle of the night, I’d go downstairs and kneel over the toilet, because I was positive THIS would be the time I’d throw up. Of course, nothing ever came up, so I’d just curl up and press my cheek to the cold, bathroom floor until the pain subsided enough to allow me to walk back up the stairs.

There are even times in elementary school that I remember experiencing symptoms, but never understanding what they were. I remember the fourth grade when we’d have color by numbers with math problems in each space. I never understood why I never could seem to get mine done. I did the math really fast, usually faster than anyone else, and would spend the rest of the time coloring, but still never get them done. Looking back now, I understand why. Most kids saw a cluster of spaces that were meant to be colored blue or red, and color the entire cluster, but I HAD to color each space individually because I have obsessive-compulsive symptoms within my anxiety. As a nine year old kid, I didn’t know this. I didn’t know I was coloring “wrong.” All I knew was how embarrassing it was for my teacher to say that I didn’t have my work done in front of the whole class. I knew that I felt ashamed and wanted to cry every time I couldn’t get them done. I felt so stupid, despite the fact that I could do my math the fastest. I remember having stomach aches almost every night in bed, but assuming my parents wouldn’t believe me, because no one’s stomach hurt that often. I remember laying in my bed, surrounded by stuffed animals, and rubbing my hand gently over my aching stomach until I could fall asleep. I remember being so afraid to ask to use the bathroom, that I would try to hold it until I got home. In the case of what elementary teachers refer to as “bathroom emergencies,” when I could no longer hold it, I would have to talk myself into asking and feel terrified when I finally worked up the courage to do so. I remember being in second grade, and every morning there would be math problems on the board to solve. I remember walking in one day and seeing the problem “6×7” and feeling like I wanted to cry, because I didn’t know how to solve it. This was the first day I was introduced to multiplication, but I didn’t want all my classmates and my teacher to think I was stupid, so I listened to conversations around me, and eventually figured out to add the number 7 six times. I think a lot of why I became so intelligent is that I was always so scared to ask for help, so I figured out almost everything on my own. Eventually solving new problems became easier and easier, that it seemed odd to me that others couldn’t get it.

So why am I telling this story? It’s not like it’s fond to remember- in fact, it makes me wish I could go back and give my younger self a hug and explain to her what was going on in her brain. I want to go back, knowing what I do know about my disorders, and do my life differently. A part of me even wants to cry for that little girl I used to be. I don’t tell this story to try and get people to feel sorry for who I used to be. I tell this story because I hope I can help other kids not have to suffer in silence like I did. The more we as adults are aware of how these symptoms can present in younger children and in teenagers, the better chance we have at identifying them for what they are when we see them. When we are better able to identify these symptoms, the better chance we have of helping these kids before they spin out of control. Before they self-harm, before they develop eating disorders, before their self-esteem is destroyed, before they get themselves in trouble, and even before they become suicidal. The more we understand about mental health, the more we can do to manage it and maybe even prevent it from getting any worse. The more we understand it, the easier we can identify it at younger ages to teach them how to cope with their symptoms in healthy, constructive ways. Most of us who struggle with mental health know that the more we can learn about our disorders, the better we can manage symptoms and prevent mental health relapses. Maybe I wouldn’t have to work so hard at this at age 22, if I had known what was wrong with me back then.

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An Inside Look

As you are all aware, I try to be very open about my mental health. I’m honest about my diagnosis and delve into my past experiences with it without holding back. The reason I do this is to try and end stigmas surrounding mental health. When I am honest about what happens in my head, but still show that I am able to function normally (for the most part), it helps people to see that mental health is not who someone is- it’s just a small part of them. With that said, I’d like to use this post to dig a little deeper into the inner workings of my twisted brain.

When people hear the words “depression” or “anxiety,” certain thoughts and images tend to come to mind, but often times, it’s so much more than what we commonly understand. There are symptoms that you wouldn’t even think are a part of a disorder, but rather a mere flaw in personality. There are so many parts of life that can be impacted by these things that most people may not have noticed or even heard of. This post is about the deeper symptoms I experience as a result of my disorders, but also ones I have found, through research, to be quite common. My hope is that by learning these things, people can start to better understand people who struggle with these symptoms everyday of their lives, whether you notice them or not.

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To give you a better understanding of my personal story, my official diagnosis is Severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Severe Social Anxiety Disorder, Moderate Depression, and Obsessive-Compulsive-Like Symptoms. I don’t have OCD officially, but I do experience some of the symptoms that tend to be associated with the disorder, such as an intense need for order and an obsession with the feeling of my hands that can cause me to be unable to function if they don’t feel “right.” Because my anxiety affects me so much more than my depression (most days), my psychiatrist (who I no longer see) seemed to think that my anxiety fuels my depression. While each disorder comes with its own list of common telltale signs and symptoms, many of which I experience, there are also many that run much deeper than what you may see on the surface. There are also symptoms I experience that you may notice, but never realized were a part of a deeper problem. I would like to add that these are symptoms from my own personal experience. While I have found a lot of them to be quite common, I am in no way saying they affect everybody. This is purely based off of my own personal experiences. With that said, I’m hoping that me being open and honest about these things can help others better understand their own disorders or that of someone else.

The most noticeable one would be my picking. I have gotten a lot of comments on this, because it is obvious for a lot of people. What this means is that I pick at myself; I pick at the bottom of my feet, my cuticles, and my face. Others may pick other places, but these are my hot my hot spots. I have taken chunks of skin off my feet so big, that it hurts to walk. I have picked my cuticles and the skin around my nails until it bleeds. I run my fingers over my face to look for even the tiniest bump and claw at it until I can’t feel it anymore. There are times that I claw at my face so much, the skin becomes completely red and angry and even bleeds. A lot of times, I’m not even aware I’m doing it. I’ve since discovered that this is a side effect of anxiety, and I’ve realized I do it most when I’m feeling anxious. I know a lot of people find this habit gross, but I can’t seem to stop it.

Another thing I tend to do a lot is catastrophize. While this probably sounds familiar, I feel that not a lot of people really understand how it can happen. For me, it mostly comes from unanswered text messages. I will text a friend and he won’t respond, and I’ll start feeling like something is wrong. When I can’t take it anymore, I’ll send another one. When no response comes I start spiraling down by thinking I did something to make them angry. I analyze everything I’ve said to him in the past few days, looking for where I might have made a mistake. I’ll take every tiny little phrase that has the tiniest possibility of being the culprit to try to figure out where I went wrong. I start obsessing over how I can make it right, and drive myself crazy thinking they are mad at me and that I’ve ruined everything and they will probably never talk to me again. The hardest part is that the logical side of my brain knows there is most likely a simple, harmless explanation for this, but no matter how many times I tell myself that, I can’t seem to stop the part of my brain that is creating scenarios in which I am the bad guy who needs to beg for forgiveness. This can make life extremely stressful, especially when it’s multiple people at once. If I do finally get a text back, I am filled so much relief, it’s like I wasn’t able to breathe normally until that moment- like whatever was squeezing my chest has finally let go. But when they don’t, I get an overwhelming sadness that takes hold, because in my mind, I’ve lost another friend and it’s all my fault. Catastrophizing happens in all sorts of situations, but this particular one seems to happen the most.

Going off of that point, another thing I struggle with is abandonment. I am constantly afraid of losing the people of care about, whether it be literally or figuratively. I try extremely hard to keep my friends happy, but I mess up and make mistakes. When I do, I freak out at the thought of losing them and find myself consumed in a full blown anxiety attack. I often feel as though I am being replaced by someone “better than me,” or cut out of a group to be left on the outskirts. I got to extensive lengths to try and prevent this from happening, such as not using a certain spoon because a friend mentioned it was her favorite, or never giving my opinion on simple things like where to eat for fear of picking something someone else may not want. I adjust my lifestyle to fit others’ wants without even discussing it, even when I don’t want to. I try really hard to be this perfect friend in hopes I won’t lose someone, but I always seem to inevitably fail.

I get into a period of sensory overload where every little noise irritates me. Sometimes this gets so bad that someone clearing their throat or shifting in their chair makes me want to scream. The ticking of the clock gets so loud that I can’t hear anything past it. Every tiny noise sounds like thunder in my brain and I just want to yell at everything to just shut up. This tends to happen when I am extremely anxious or depressed, especially when I’m a store that’s more busy than usual or something along those lines. Noises make me feel like I’m going insane. It tends to go away within a few minutes, but that doesn’t make the minutes it’s there any easier.

I get physically exhausted. I’ve written a post on this before, but I still wanted to include it to reiterate how important this is. Having anxiety and depression is unbelievably draining. Simple tasks like getting dressed or taking out the garbage suck up all my energy. Too much time spent in an anxious state can wipe me out completely for the rest of the day. When I’m depressed, I’m too tired to eat or change my clothes or even shower. Every little task feels like running a marathon. When it’s really bad, I get muscle aches from being so tense. My legs ache to the point where walking is a pain and my head feels too heavy for my neck to hold up on its own. I am so drained, I don’t want to do anything but lay down and maybe watch T.V. Even sitting up feels too difficult. A lot of people will perceive this as laziness, but in reality, fighting a battle inside your mind sucks the life right out of you. It bothers me when people comment on how I’m not doing anything or that I just lay around, but some days I don’t have any energy left to give.

Mental illness can creep up in a variety of ways that run so deep, it’s amazing to learn that it is a side effect of a disorder. There are things you thought were just your personality that can end up being another symptom. The good news is, the more we understand about mental health and how it affects people in different ways, it’s easier to recognize the signs and do our best to maintain better control over them. I hope some people found this post helpful, whether it helps you discover things about yourself or helps you to recognize these symptoms in someone close to you. The more honest we are about mental health, the more we can destroy stigmas that hold us back.

 

#97: Raising Awareness and Ending Stigmas

  In recent years, the NFL has been plagued with a variety of scandals and controversy. There have been reports of teams cheating, referees being paid off, players accused of abuse, and, of course, the heated debate of players taking a knee. Lately, it seems the NFL is always under fire, but instead of focusing on that, I want to reflect on something I feel an NFL team did right.

            Many people know I have always been a ride or die Vikings fan, no matter what kind of season they have. I absolutely love Vikings season, often get a little too into the games, and find myself in a lot of overly excited discussions. No matter the outcome of a season, the Vikings have always been my number one team. For the most part, the Vikings have steered clear of scandal. With the exception of a few incidents, such as the Adrian Peterson scandal, the Vikings seem to avoid the drama spotlight. But in spite of recent events, I think they deserve it.

            I have been watching Everson Griffin’s impressive career as a defensive end for the Vikings since his rookie season. In that time, he’s made some questionable life choices, but he has still done amazing things for our team. This past week, it has reached the news that Griffin is being banned from playing for the foreseeable future, despite the Vikings rocky start to the season. The reasons surrounding this decision all stem from Griffin’s struggle with his mental health that have been prominent in his angry outbursts at practice, as well as incident that occurred last Saturday that ended with Griffin being taken by ambulance to a mental health facility, where he is hopefully receiving the help he obviously needs.

            While I love my Vikings, Griffin being a part of that team is not the reason I want to shed more light on this topic. Instead, I see this as an opportunity to not only shed light on mental health, thus helping to end the stigmas surrounding it, but also to give credit where credit is due.

            The thing that no one wants to say or believe is that mental health does not discriminate. Everson Griffin shows that it does not matter if you are a successful man that is following your passions and making a ton of money while doing so- mental health doesn’t care. Many like to think that mental health is something you can simply grow out of or be too successful for. They think they are immune to it. But Griffin shows that you can do everything right- you can get a well-paying career in something you’re passionate about, get married, have kids, buy a house, and all things we are taught will make us happy, and still end up struggling with mental health. He shows that no one is immune to it, but also that people can still go on to have successful lives despite it. It doesn’t have to define anyone and it’s not something people should fear and look down on; it’s just part of some people’s lives. Having a mental health issue does not make Griffin “crazy” or “psycho,” it just makes him a human being that has an extra barrier to work through and has hit a minor setback. It doesn’t negate all the things he’s done and all the things he will do in the future.

            I also want to comment on the beautiful way the team is handling this. Sadly, people seem to like to make men feel like they are above mental health. All too often they are told to “man up,” “suck it up,” or “get over it.” We live in a society that loves to portray mental health as something that is only for females. Men aren’t supposed to talk about their feelings, have mental breakdowns, or seek help- they are supposed to grin and bear it. For this situation to occur in a setting as “manly” as a football team is nothing short of incredible. To see a coach step up and ban a player from playing until he had a better handle on his mental health is not something many would expect. It would be easy to discredit Griffin, call him week, or bash him into the ground, however I am inspired to see his team rallying behind him to let him know he has their support. Seeing a group of football players offering support for someone who is struggling with mental illness is honestly something I was surprised to see. To see Coach Zimmer and his teammates continue to talk up Everson Griffin without trying to cover up his struggle is inspiring. To hear them say that sanity and safety is a priority above football is shocking in the most beautiful way.

            While I’m sure this is far from their intent, I think what the Vikings team did and continues to do is a huge win in the ongoing battle of mental health. I don’t see a team that is weak or trying to cover their asses- I see a team that is saying “It’s okay struggle with mental health.” All throughout the country, there are grown men seeing this happen and maybe seeing these symptoms in themselves. How the Vikings are handling this could very well be the nudge those men needed to go seek help. Little boys who dream of playing in the NFL are seeing that mental health doesn’t have to stand in their way; that their heroes struggle to and there’s nothing wrong with that. Mental health doesn’t discriminate, but also doesn’t have to consume someone’s life and it definitely does not need to be kept quiet or ruin someone’s life. The more awareness we raise, the more when can educate about it. That’s how you end stigmas. I didn’t think it was possible, but this story makes me love and respect the Vikings even more. As for Everson Griffin- I hope he gets the help he needs and I cannot wait to see what else he is capable of, on and off the field.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings

The Racist Agenda

Usually, I try to stray away from hot topics on my blog, but this one in particular gets my blood boiling. This one makes me want to scream from the rooftops and call people to action. This one makes me sick. What am I talking about? Mollie Tibbetts. While the crime itself is sickening and infuriates me, the responses are what really gets me worked up. Before I dive into that, I want to pose the questions “Would this be getting the attention it is if she weren’t a white woman?” While her race does not take away from the fact that a young girl was brutalized and murdered, however I can’t help but wonder would her case be plastered everywhere if she were a woman of color. Here’s the thing; thousands of women murdered and never receive any media attention, so what sets this one apart? Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s because a white woman was murdered by a man of color, and the media loves to use these examples to nudge us towards a racist agenda. But here’s the secret they don’t want you to know; being a man of color did not make him a murderer. Being an “illegal” citizen did not make him a murderer. If he had been a white man, people would be saying he’s “mentally ill” or preaching about how “one bad person doesn’t mean all white men are bad.” And those of you who are using the death of an innocent woman as fuel for your racist agenda are disgusting. A young girl died for no reason. The race or status of the man who did it does not change that fact. A woman was murdered, but for some reason I don’t understand, the focus has shifted to race. This is despite the fact that our current white president has been accused of sexual assault and was recorded saying he can do whatever he wants to women, even if he has to force it, but that’s an entirely separate issue. The problem is not immigrants or people of color; the problem is the world we live in.

How many people, for one second, doubted the fact that when Mollie disappeared, a man was behind it. How many of us even toyed with the idea that a woman had kidnapped her. What does that tell you about our society? Mollie was murdered because she said “no” to a man- plain and simple. This same scenario plays out over and over again, but yet nothing ever changes. Women are killed for saying no and rejecting men so often, and yet this message is not plastered over social media. My Facebook feed isn’t littered with messages saying to put a stop to this violence. Instead, it’s full of things about building a wall and blaming immigrants for everything wrong with this country. To say that this would never had happened if this man hadn’t been in our country is saying that it would have been okay if it had happened to someone else in Mexico had he stayed there, because I can guarantee that’s what would have happened. Being an immigrant doesn’t make a murderer- if it did there wouldn’t be the vast number of American killers there are today. But there are. Instead of using this horrible situation to justify a racist agenda, maybe it should be used to show that male violence against women is a very real problem that needs to be taken more seriously by the government, by society, and by individuals.

If a white man had murdered Mollie, a situation would have played out that women know all too well. What likely would have happened would be that police, judges, defense attorneys, news reporters, and people everywhere would be asking “What was she wearing?” “What did she do to lead him on?” “What did she do to aggravate him?” “What did she expect to happen, going out jogging by herself dressed like that?” And on and on the cycle goes. But because this man is not white, the victim blaming goes away and the racism comes out. When people say “This wouldn’t have happened if we had better immigration policies” what are you telling victims and families of those who are attacked and murdered by legal citizens? That their cases matter less? That their cases are unpreventable? Because even if we took all the immigrants out of the country, women still wouldn’t be safe. They’d still be murdered for no reason. We are all so scared of pointing our fingers at ourselves, that we blame race, immigration policies, and victims. But reality is that we are responsible. We are responsible for fueling a society that is okay with violence against women. We fuel a society that blames the victim for her own murder. We fuel a society that looks to place the blame anywhere we can. Mollie was a young girl who had a long life ahead of her; a life that was stolen from her for no reason at all. Stop using your racist beliefs to take away from that, because when you do that, you disgrace her memory.

Reaching Out

Lately, there seems to be an abundance of messages telling people who are struggling with depression to reach out. Reach out to friends and family for help dealing with the overwhelming sadness that plagues their mind. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, part of depression is inhibiting the ability to reach out. People are who are deeply depressed often find themselves unable to leave their house and unwilling to talk to anyone. A common side effect of depression is participating in isolating behaviors. Because of this, it’s important to know that if you see someone struggling, it’s important for YOU to reach out. Sometimes that’s what a person needs- someone to reach out and remind them that someone is there for them. If someone seems depressed or seems to fall way out of touch for no reason; reach out to them. If someone who used to be around a lot is suddenly not around at all, reach out to them and let them know you are there for them. It may take some effort, but it’s important to remember how hard sending a simple text message can be for someone who is deeply depressed.

With that said, there’s another side of reaching out- one that may not be as well known. There are messages telling people to reach out, but what happens when people who are depressed do reach out, and they people they reach out to don’t get the memo? Often times, someone who feels like they are slipping into depression will try to reach out to others because they know what’s coming. People who have suffered a long battle with depression tend to have a better understanding of their symptoms, including when they are dangerously close to isolating themselves. They know that if they put off talking to people, they may be too depressed to even pick up the phone. So, they try to reach out, but sometimes reaching out simply does not work.

Sometimes reaching out is sending messages to five different people within an hour and getting no replies. Sometimes reaching out is sending message after message to the same person day after day and never having them respond. Sometimes reaching out is sending an outrageous picture that made you laugh to someone and waiting hours for a response that never comes. Sometimes reaching out is desperately trying to spark a dying conversation back to life because you can’t stand the silence in your own head. Sometimes reaching out means continuously finding yourself at a dead end. Sometimes, you reach and reach and reach, but no one notices. And when this happens, it can reiterate the feeling that no one cares. All those thoughts about how you don’t matter to others that come with depression seem to solidify with each unanswered message.

This is why it’s important to be aware of the fact that someone may be reaching out to you. Most likely, they won’t say “I’m reaching out to you because I’m starting to feel really depressed again and I’m trying to let you know so you can help me before it gets bad.” They aren’t going to say, “I really need you to respond because I feel unwanted by everyone in my life and your response reminds me that I’m not a burden.” You won’t read the words, “Please don’t let this conversation end because your messages are my life line right now.” It will be much more subtle than this. Reaching out is someone continuously trying to make plans with you, no matter how many times you bail. Reaching out is someone who sends you several messages even though you never respond to them. Reaching out is someone who won’t seem to let a conversation end, despite the fact that you’ve been giving one worded replies for over an hour. When someone is trying to reach out to you, it can be frustrating and just plain annoying.

It’s not your responsibility to help someone who is depressed. It’s not your job to make them feel better and it’s not your job to “fix” them. You do not have to take on the responsibility of supporting someone who is depressed. However, if someone you care about seems to be blowing up your phone for no real reason, you might just want to reply. If someone you know is sending you a boatload of mindless texts or messaging you on a regular basis, they may just need you to respond. They know you can’t take away all their problems and often times, they don’t expect you to save them. More often than not, those who are depressed just want to be reminded that they matter; that people want them in their lives. They just need a little support to help them from spiraling downward into depression. Reaching out isn’t easy for those who depressed, so if someone you care about seems to be reaching their hand out to you, you may want to reach out and grab it.

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What Could Have Been

When I think of you, I can’t help but think about what could have been.

Had things gone differently- the way they did in my mind- where would we be?

If things had gone differently, would we have

Morphed into our own version of perfect?

Would we be the people I still see inside my mind?

We had a chance to jump in together,

But only one of us was willing to take the leap.

Maybe I misread the signs and maybe

I was a fool for thinking we could be something, but maybe

We will forever be in state of missed opportunity.

There are times when I find myself lost

In the world of what could have been.

Where we are in a place where the universe is shaped around us-

Where we discover happiness together.

In my mind, we find peace in each other’s arms

And share secret smiles in the moments we steal.

But then reality sets in, and I remember who we really are.

I sneak glances at you, but you never look at me.

I rehearse what to say inside my head,

But the words never pass my lips.

I pretend it doesn’t hurt as we remain

Trapped dancing around each other

In this hollow state.

 

The Female Advantage

In today’s society, it seems that there is an increasing focus on the negative aspects of being a female. Newsfeeds are plastered with impossible beauty standards, dwindling body images, and rape culture. Don’t get me wrong- these things are very important and need to be talked about, because if no one talks about them, nothing changes. These issues are something I care about very deeply, however we can get lost in these never ending messages on why being a female sucks. While being a female can be really hard sometimes, and it can seem like we don’t have very many advantages over our male counterparts, we do have some astonishing perks. These may not always be obvious or even relevant, but they are there, even if they are hiding in the shadows. Some of these may take you by surprise, but here is a list of the somewhat everyday advantages being a girl comes with.

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We have way more clothing options than our male counterparts. Our sections in department stores are usually three times the size of the guys’, and that doesn’t even include the stores that are just for us. Our outfit options are endless! Hot day? We can choose from skirts, shorts, capris, rompers, or dresses. Even our sub-categories have endless categories. Look at any red carpet looks- the woman have a huge variety of outfits. One in a sleek black dress, one in a sparkly red dress, one in a ball gown- it just keeps going. Guys? They have tuxedos and tuxedos. Dressing up for a formal event, a day at work, or even just a day at home is way more fun when you’re a girl. Plus, we don’t have to wear those horribly uncomfortable looking jockstraps.

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Shoes. Need I say more? Arguably, this could have been included with the clothing, but shoes are so important, they deserve their own. Our footwear options are limitless! I have somewhere around 30 pairs of shoes, and no two are alike. Each one serves a purpose and can completely transform an outfit. Why do girls have so many shoes? Because we can! Guys may have four different pairs of tennis shoes that they are weirdly proud of, but us girls know that is amateur work. We can have eight different pairs of boots, each and every one a different length, style, color, heel size- the possibilities are never ending! Piggy backing off the great Carrie Bradshaw, walking in a girl’s shoes is really hard; that’s why we need really special shoes to do it.

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We can get guys to do just about anything for us by acting helpless. While guys making the assumption we can’t do anything for ourselves can get unbelievably frustrating, it can be useful. There are some days where we are given tasks we really hate or just don’t feel like doing. When this happens, we can act utterly helpless and maybe whine a bit, and our “knight in shining armor” will do it for us. I use this most at my second job when I have to do something I really don’t want to. I act like I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m in desperate need of help, and most times some guy swoops in to do it for me. Sometimes I work against the patriarchy; sometimes I let the patriarchy work for me.

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We can cry our way out of anything. I personally am not very good at this, but I know lots of women who are. Those girls who can cry on command get themselves out of a lot of trouble have an incredible talent. Pulled over for speeding? Tears. In trouble with your boss? Turn on the water works. Fight with your boyfriend? Cry. This system is fool proof, especially with men. Most men don’t really know how to deal with someone who is emotional, so when they see a woman cry, they’ll pretty much do anything they can to make it stop, even if that means letting them off the hook. Cry it out ladies. You have a superpower, so you might as well use it!

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We can get pedicures. Sure, men can too, but it comes with all sorts of stigmas that can ruin the experience. Women can get them without any backlash. There are few things better than relaxing in a comfortable chair and letting your feet soak in hot water while you chat with your girlfriends. The hardest part of a pedicure is choosing which color to have your toes painted. You get to kick back and relax while someone else makes your feet look and feel amazing. Pedicures are a luxury that happens to come with being a girl.

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We have makeup. Makeup can sometimes be a girl’s greatest weapon. When we have a zit, we can cover it up with concealer. If we feel like our face is looking extra fat, contour becomes our best friend. Need a self confidence boost? Throw on some black eyeliner and bold lipstick and you’ll feel unconquerable. Makeup can help give us the extra push we need to go through our day with confidence and style. Whether it’s just a sweep of mascara or full on face, makeup can make us girls feel unstoppable. Boys, just so you know, when girls wear makeup, it’s hardly ever for you.

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Speaking of makeup, we have the privilege to get ready with our friends. Before a night out or some big event, girls love to get together and get ready. We do our makeup, fix our hair, and pick out killer outfits. There’s nothing like cranking up some music, crowding in front of a mirror, and talking and laughing while we make ourselves pretty. Some of the best memories are made during the getting ready process, and a lot of times getting ready with your friends is more fun than the actual event. Not only do we have a blast- we get to help each other out with what looks best and put our makeup and hair strengths to work on each other. Getting ready with your girlfriends is one of the biggest perks to being a female and isn’t something I would trade for the world.

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Our drinks are so much better. When we go to the bar, we drink things like sangrias, margaritas, and daiquiris without a second thought. Even tough guys love to make fun of us for our “girly drinks” while they guzzle their beers, our drinks are way more alcoholic. Ever wonder why girls get drunk after two drinks? Because our drinks are made up of hard liquor and sugar. Not only are they strong, they also taste delicious. Boys, you can keep your “manly” wheat juice and leave the hard stuff to the professionals.

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We have girl talk. There are few problems that can’t be solved by getting together with your girls and spilling your heart out. Together, we can analyze every aspect of a situation to brainstorm the best way to handle it. When we need to get something off our chests- something we feel like we can’t tell anyone- our girlfriends are there to listen without judgment. Even when we are just sitting around talking about something completely bizarre, girl talk makes us feel a thousand times better. Nothing is off limits during this time, so we can say anything without fear of being judged or our secrets getting out. Girl talk is sacred and necessary to keep our sanity intact.

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We are changing the world. Girls are taking this world by storm. We are breaking our silence and shouting at the top of our lungs for change. We are rising up to end the discriminations we face. We are calling out rape culture, shutting down slut shaming, and working on shattering glass ceilings. We are no longer taking these things sitting down; we are standing up and saying “no more.” We are done putting up with all the unfairness that is thrown at us and we are making a change. We will push through any barriers raised against us and burn down the patriarchy if we have to. We will do whatever it takes to get the respect we deserve. The world is changing, and us girls are at the front lines.

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Being a girl can be extremely difficult, but we also have indisputable advantages. We are far from perfect and we don’t have everything figured out, but there are some things we do have that are irreplaceable. Being a girl is tough journey that I’m happy I get to walk through with the beautiful ladies around me. So, let’s keep working on building each other up. You don’t have to put other women down to feel better about yourself. Let’s stop making everything a competition and stepping on the backs of our fellow women to raise ourselves higher. Instead, let’s work on pulling each other up and being there for each other. Because at the end of the day, your girls will be there for you and support you in ways no one else will, and we are stronger together.

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To the One Ready to Give Up

Many of us have moments in our lives where we feel like the world is crashing down around us, and we are powerless to stop it. We feel stuck in a hole with no way to claw ourselves out of it. These are the times where the pain is so intense, we are desperate to do anything to make it stop. It is these moments where we surrender ourselves to our own minds, and devise a plan to end it all permanently. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and the second leading cause of death for adolescents. Obviously, there are far too many people who feel this way; who feel that death is the only way out. So this post is for anyone who feels this way. To anyone who has felt this way in the past, and survived. To anyone who has ever seriously considered or attempted to end their own lives. This post is for you.

You may be wondering who I am to think I understand what happens when the world is too much. But the thing is, I know how that feels. I know what it’s like to feel like the pain will never stop piling up and to see only one way out. I know how it feels to want to give in and stop fighting for a life I don’t want anymore. I know how it feels to want to die. A little over a year ago, I was consumed by my depression. There was so much happening in my life; I didn’t want to face it anymore. I just wanted to be done so it would all be over. I had given up on my life, because I didn’t ever see it ever getting any easier. I know what it’s like to just feel empty; to be so tired of “getting through it” that you don’t feel anything anymore. But it’s at that moment when you are ready to just let the world slip away that you need to fight your hardest, because I promise, even if you can’t fathom it, it gets better.

I know you’re tired of hearing that. I know you want to scream “When?” at the people who say it. I know you don’t believe it, but take it from me. A year ago, I thought the same way; that nothing would ever get better. But a lot can change in a year. Despite the fact that at this time last year, I was at my lowest point, today, I am happier than I have been in years. I have seen with my own eyes and felt in my own heart that it does get better. Things will start to fall into place and people will surprise you. You will find new things to make you happy and you feel yourself being brought back to life in the most unexpected ways. People will come into your life and others will leave it- both for the better. Changes happen that are scary at first, but turn out to be amazing. One day at a time, the tightness in your chest starts to subside, and you remember how to breathe. Weight starts to fall of your shoulders, and you are reminded of the things that kept you fighting for so long. You remember what it means to be alive.

I know it’s hard; it’s the hardest thing you will ever do, but you have to keep fighting. Keep fighting for your life, no matter how bad you want to give up. Ending your life is a choice you can never take back; a mistake you can never make right. You will be missed by so many more people than you could ever imagine. I know life is cruel and unfair, but you were not put on this earth to just exist. You deserve to live. If you need help, tell someone you trust that you need help now. Call or text the national suicide prevention line. Drive to a hospital and check yourself in if you have to. Do whatever you need to do to stay alive, even when all you want to do is stop living. I promise you, it is worth it. I didn’t think it was a year ago- I didn’t think it would ever get better, and I have wished a hundred times since then that I had gone through with it, but now, a year later, I’m so unbelievably grateful I didn’t. Never in my life did I think I would be this happy again; that so many parts of my life would fall into place. Yes, there will still be hard days and mountains to climb. I will still be knocked down and feel powerless against my own mind, but now I’ve seen the other side. I’ve seen how fast things can change and I’ve seen what happens when you hold on just a little longer. I know you can do the same- I know you still have it in you to fight for your life, so do it and never stop. Stay alive. I promise you, it’s worth it.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

National Crisis Text Line: text CONNECT to 741-741