Thursday, December 31, 2015

What Twenty One Pilots Means to Me


Everyone says how Twenty One Pilots helped them through tough times, maybe even saved their lives. I don't really have a sob story like that, but Twenty One Pilots is just as meaningful to me.

In the past, I've dealt with the occasional bout of depression, social anxiety, and loneliness. I also pluck my eyebrows obsessively. All of these things are out of my control.
The worst part of social anxiety is that nobody believes me. Every day I overcome social anxiety, and it's hard, and since they can't see it they don't believe it. They think I'm just shy, or just rude. I've learned to ignore it now, but I still sweat and/or shake when meeting new people, even online. Sometimes I'll be in a new situation, meeting new people, and I'll convince myself I'm fine, but then I'll notice I'm shaking and can't hold a pen, or my pits are sweat stained. Sorry for the mental image.
When I heard Twenty One Pilots for the first time, I thought of all my issues and even though I don’t totally understand what the message is of every song, their music makes me feel like I'm not alone and that I shouldn't give up.

Right now, I've been doing well for a long time. My last bout of sadness/depression was in October, when I slipped away from a get together with my friends, convinced nobody would notice if I quietly walked in the other direction. They did notice, but I almost felt like they were relieved to have me gone. It was really bad. I felt like nobody cared about me. I just got detached.
These difficult times can arise at random, with no apparent trigger, or they can be triggered by a prolonged period of time without seeing my friends. Which is strange because I was always a loner as a kid, and I would have considered myself introverted until high school. Maybe that's why I have this problem now. In elementary school, I never had friends who liked me. I had mediocre friends, sure, but they all seemed to genuinely not like me. They were always annoyed by me. I remember one time in fifth grade, everyone got in groups for a singing-related assignment and I asked two of my friends if I could be in their group. They said no. So I had no group. I went to the teacher and told her I didn't have a group, and she put me with my "friends." The first thing they said to me was, "you're out of tune." We were eleven years old. I didn't know what "out of tune" meant and I doubted they did either. To this day, I live in fear that people don't like me unless they go out of their way to show me in a million different ways.

Twenty One Pilots helps. Their music tells me to keep going and to never give up and that I'm not alone and one day maybe I'll be happy. It'll all be okay. I know other people have it way worse than me, which is why I say "I don't have a sob story." I simply want to show you how much their music means to me, as your average teenager with teenager problems.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Article Response: Having Big Boobs

This article is more about how to feel confident with big boobs. (source)
This article was extremely meaningful to me because I struggle with body image issues due to my big boobs. People think I'm half-joking when I complain about my boobs, but if I'm being honest, having big boobs can really fuck with your confidence. I'm also very short, so my boobs take up at least half of my torso space. Which consequently makes me look shorter and fatter, even though I'm not fat and I'm not tragically short. I'm 5'1 (maybe 5'2 by now). And I haven't even gotten to how the fashion industry makes smaller boobs look ideal.
At this age, I'm fifteen, almost sixteen, I go to school most of the time, which leaves me with limited outfit options. I can't wear anything too dressy. I can't wear heels or fitted blouses (I mean I could, but I wouldn't feel comfortable doing so). I also can't show a lot of cleavage, even if I wanted to or felt comfortable, and I can't wear anything super tight. Also my parents are pretty controlling about what I wear (probably because they're not used to me wearing anything with a neckline lower than the collarbones. What I wear isn't actually particularly revealing). In summary, in my situation it's hard to wear clothes that accentuate my curves.
Last year my friend had a pool party, and I went out of my comfort zone and wore a more revealing bikini. It was lightly padded, with just a bit of push up for some lift, resembled a bra but cuter, and it was a dream. It was a tad too small, but I could get away with it, easily. The band size was too big as usual, because it was a sister size to my bra size, so I tied it around the back instead of using the clasp. I could never get it tight enough, however, so I had to tie the halter tightly, hoisting my boobs up and creating the illusion of a more voluminous chest. It had a push-up effect. I could finally reveal my secret boobs! I shamelessly flaunted my risqué ensemble. I only had one nip slip, and it was among mostly close friends! This was during the early stages of summer break. A few weeks ago, a friend admitted someone made a comment about my outfit. "Revealing," she called it. I had thought I flew under the radar with it. I had hoped everyone was jealous Apparently that was not the case.
That wasn't the beginning of my love-hate relationship with my boobs, however. I got boobs in the fifth grade. "Wow, this is great! I look hawt!" I thought, naively thinking my journey would end there. I'm now at the biggest cup size and smallest band size sold at Victoria's Secret. The Secret's out, Victoria doesn't cater to big busts. Thanks for nothing, Vicky. And neither does any other store in my area. This is the last size before shit gets real. I'm just crossing my fingers and trying to eat less.
My bikini was similar to this one from Aerie, except with navy and white stripes.

Here's what I hate about my boobs:
  • I look frumpy in any kind of t-shirt. The worst part is, my wardrobe consists of mostly graphic tees.
  • They take up half my torso space when wearing a bra.
  • Waistlines that are supposed to land at the waist (shocker) land right under my boobs, yet in the right spot on my back.
  • I can't throw on any old shirt and look normal, like girls with average-sized boobs can. Boobs are hard to style.
  • Bikini shopping is excessively difficult. It shouldn't be, all I need is a waterproof bra. Can't you see I don't need "ADD TWO SIZES!!"?
  • Girls with smaller boobs can throw on a push-up bra and look big for one night. I'm big all the time.
  • Bras that give me a nice shape are usually too thick and sweaty in the summer, and show bra lines under sweaters in the winter.
  • Sports bras and minimizer bras just don't do the trick and make my chest sore. On top of that, the shape is all wrong. Is it that difficult to mimic the shape of normal boobs?
  • Since I've been blessed with the boobs, I get no ass. My ass resembles a frying pan. A frying pan that's been sitting in dirty dishwater for two weeks to the point of no return. No amount of exercise will repair this sad derrière.
  • I can't wear infinity scarves.
  • Even knotting the side of my shirt can make me look bulky and midsection-heavy, because it leaves a gap in the space under my boobs.
  • Normal-fitting t-shirts have the same gap under my boobs.
  • I don't feel comfortable in form-fitting shirts that accentuate my boobs and actually fit them. I've been trained to be ashamed of my boobs.
  • A lot of t-shirts are tight across the upper half of my boobs and then hang down from the other half, making my boobs look smaller in diameter but with a strange shape, which is just a weird and unnatural look.
  • People laugh in my face when I complain about my body image issues saying, "that's not a real problem."
  • There's so much advice on "How to minimize your big boobs!" "How to downplay your chest!" But I want to accentuate it and embrace it, not hide it. I also can't find any advice on how to feel confident with big boobs, because it's assumed that I know big boobs are ideal.
  • I get attention from the wrong kind of guy. It's the materialistic, superficial guys who I get attention from. Please, if I wanted your cheap hookups I'd go to wrestling practice and pick up a hotter guy.
  • I've been reduced to boot cut and flare leg jeans. Almost every day. Because that's the only way I can flatter this kind of figure. I love me some flare leg jeans, but it's hard to find the right fit, especially since I'm so short. It's a good thing I know how to hem my own pants.
  • The fashion industry always uses tall, flat-chested models. I assume they're more versatile and photogenic, and probably easier to style. But that just leads to confidence issues for those of us who are the polar opposite of that, and in reality the models don't look perfect either. They just have amazing Photoshop artists, and a professional hair and makeup team.
The hardest thing for me to come to terms with has been accepting my differences. I'm unique, and that's not only okay but preferable. I wish I had perfectly sculpted eyebrows and maybe a little more height (I wouldn't mind a Barbie-doll ski-slope nose, either), but I don't and that's what sets me apart. No, I don't look like a model straight off the runway, but that makes me unique. I've learned the art of the "half tuck," where I tuck in only the front of my t-shirt to avoid the tent issue. I have to put more effort in putting outfits together because I can't throw on just anything. I have trouble accepting that some people can do that, and I'm not one of them. I have trouble accepting that I can't have it both ways. The article emphasized the importance of accepting your differences, and even though I had already realized this was a necessary step to achieve body confidence, it was good to hear someone else say it.
That all being said, I'm not terribly insecure about my boobs, they're just a nuisance and often unsightly in my mind. It is what it is. C'est la vie, mon amie.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

November Favorites

I normally haaaate these monthly favorites posts, but I have some makeup stuff I really want to share. There's some products and some techniques.

  1. L'Oreal Voluminous Extra-Volume Collagen mascara in Black Brown. I actually don't think it looks super voluminous. I love it because it looks natural, not clumpy, and the color matches my eyelashes to make it look not overdone with my warm toned brown hair. Some would say, "what's the point of wearing mascara if it's not black?" and I would say, "because it looks like your natural eyelashes, but better!" Overall, I like it because it looks like my natural eyelashes, but better. I don't like the waterproof formula much because it comes off at the pool but not with makeup remover (I haven't tried it with a non oil-free makeup remover though, that would probably work).
  2. Heating up the eyelash curler. This is particularly helpful when I'm not wearing mascara and I just want to curl my eyelashes, because they stay curled! This is a Pinterest hack. It's like using hair curlers overnight versus using a curling iron. I'm not sure if it's safe, because my eyelash curler is metal and rubber, but I haven't had any problems so far! ha ha...
  3. Almay Eye Makeup Remover Liquid. This makeup remover is great because it's NOT oil-free! Most makeup removers are oil free now because oil is bad for your skin, but oil is great at removing oily makeup. It's a pro at removing my NYX Color Mascara. Remember to fight oil with oil! It's like how you can't fight an oil fire with water, you gotta use the fire extinguisher or a fire blanket.
  4. Simple Cleansing Micellar Water. I use coconut oil on my eyebrows (and occasionally my eyelashes) overnight, and I use this to remove the leftover coconut oil from my eyebrows in the morning because it doesn't leave an oily makeup remover residue that will make my makeup slide off. I also use it at night occasionally to fight acne and oily skin, but I have to put the moisture back in my face with moisturizer afterward.
  5. Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Pink-A-Boo. I love the color because it's sort of a nude pink color, which is perfect to add a bit of color and light to a makeup look, but also keep it natural. I love the formula because it's moisturizing and not too heavy or slippery. But I do feel ridiculous applying it in public because it looks like it's for kids.
  6. Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief moisturizer. It's great because it's a gel formula, which means it soaks in fast (under two minutes) and leaves your skin feeling dry and supple, NOT oily and lotiony. Also it's heavier than my summer moisturizer, which is perfect because it's winter.
  7. Dewy skin. I've been using powder only on spots I wear concealer (I don't wear foundation) and skipping it elsewhere. It's hard because I want my face to look matte,  but when it does, it doesn't look as good. But yeah I love the look of dewy skin. I also use a finishing spray but I'm not sure if it's doing anything.
  8. L'Oreal True Match Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator in Rose. Honestly, sometimes I use this on like most of my face. The places I use it most are on the browbone, in the tear duct area of my eyes, on my cupid's bow, and on the top of my cheekbones. They also suggest using it down the center of your nose, but I have a bit of a wide nose so that just looks kind of strange on me. There's a light pink, a dark pink, a white, and a champagne. I either use them all together, or pick one. I often use the champagne shade on my eyelids as eyeshadow, because it gives a bit of shimmer for a nice summery glow. Screw winter, I want that summery glow. I also appreciate that it has a mirror for travel.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Why I Choose to Be a Woman

Ever since I wrote my "Which Sex Has it Easier?" post and "Unfair Things About Being a Female" and got some (overly vulgar) feedback on it asking things like, "Why do you still choose to a woman since it's so difficult?"
This issue came up in English class yesterday, while reading the short story "The White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett. The overarching theme of the short story is accepting society's gender role as a woman, or acting according to your own values. Spoiler alert: Sylvia meets a guy she likes for the first time, and he's great (and rich!), except he kills birds for fun. He wants Sylvia to tell him where the extra-special white heron lives so he can kill it, and Sylvia has to decides to marry him and get the bird killed (which is what she's supposed to do according to society) or not marry him and let the bird live (which would be acting according to her own values). She chooses the latter.

Why do I choose to be a woman, and waste my time shaving my legs and have long, inconvenient hair and wear constricting clothes and wear painful high heels? As a woman, I'm seen as "ornamental" (thanks, English teacher). I have to look nice, while men are free from that. I have to pluck my eyebrows and do my hair, and a man can just roll out of bed and come straight to school or work. It's deep-seated societal sexism and misogyny. Why do I do this to myself?
Because I like it. I like looking pretty and beautifying myself (hence the obsession with eyebrows and makeup). But why do I like it? Because society tells me that's what the ideal woman looks like, and that's what I'm subconsciously striving for, or because it's actually my personal preference? I'm not a psychologist, so I don't know. I'd like to think it's a little bit of both. I don't wear heels because it hurts my feet, and I pluck my eyebrows because I can't stand them being the wrong shape or having stray hairs, and I do makeup in my free time, not just in the mornings for necessity. That makes me inclined to believe it's my personal preference. And there are some girls who don't shave their legs or have long hair or do their makeup or pluck their eyebrows. Perhaps that suggests it's personal preference. But most girls do those things. Perhaps that suggests it's society.

I don't know the psychological reason I like to look pretty, but I like it and that's why I strive for it.  Probably for some girls, they do it because society forces them to (consciously or not), and for others they do it because of personal preference. For anyone who wanted to post another vulgar misogynistic comment.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Eyebrows: Tinting and Hair Removal

I've been trying to grow out my eyebrows and at this point they have very little shape and I have trouble growing them in. They've been over plucked countless times. I've been plucking from the beginning, but I should've been getting them done. Here's some things you can do to your eyebrows to clean them up or make them look better, when you should choose this method, and what it looks like.

1. Tweezing/Plucking
I recommend Tweezerman tweezers. They're really strong and can pull out the shortest of hairs. This method is good if you already have a very defined brow shape and you just need to clean up a few hairs, if you're between waxing/threading appointments, if your skin is sensitive to hot wax or the friction of the string during threading, or if you're short on money. Don't use this method to reshape your eyebrows! I did in middle school and I'm left with a sparse mess! You will make mistakes, and the lines won't be as clean. It's not very painful because it's one by one. Some areas are more painful than others.

2. Waxing
This method is good if you want a natural, not extremely defined shape. Threading gives you neat lines whereas waxing gives more natural but still pretty neat lines. The pain here is over quickly, which a lot of people like.

3. Threading
This method is perfect if you have virgin brows with little defined shape, or if you just want very clean lines. I wish I had done this in sixth grade before touching my eyebrows with a tweezer.

4. Tinting/dyeing
Tinting is usually combined with waxing to make those tiny blond peach fuzz-like hairs visible on your eyebrows, creating a fuller look even though it's really just highlighting what you already had.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

How to Wear Colored Mascara

If you're friends with me, you know I love to try outrageous and unconventional makeup. I live for black lipstick and a blue smoky eye. But I recently rediscovered a more wearable unconventional makeup product: colored mascara.
(source unavailable)

Maybelline Great Lash limited edition colored mascara (source)

I bought three of the Maybelline limited edition Great Lash mascara back in the summer of 2013 when they came out (in Wink of Pink, Teal Appeal, and Vision in Violet), along with the one colored mascara from their permanent line (in Royal Blue). I remember I had the toughest time choosing which colors to buy. I was there with a friend, and was on a seventh grader's budget. Yesterday I had to dress in all pink for spirit day because I had a swim meet that evening. I thought it the perfect opportunity to don pink mascara (with matching pink lipstick, too). It was a big hit at school! A classmate from the swim team mentioned it at practice because she heard about it but didn't get to see it in action. I got tons of compliments! But pulling off colored mascara is no easy feat. Allow me to offer some tips and brand suggestions.

Where to Buy Colored Mascara
DRUGSTORE brands that offer colored mascaras:

  1. NYX's "Color Mascara", $7
  2. Maybelline's "Great Lash Washable Mascara," $7
  3. Milani's "Lash Art Colored Mascara," $5
  4. Physicians Formula's "Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Mascara," $11
  5. Covergirl's "Exact Eyelights Eye-Brightening Mascara," $9
  6. Here's some high-end/department store ones
Outdated drugstore limited edition colored mascara lines:
  1. L'Oreal Paris's "Voluminous Color Creations Mascara" from 2014
  2. Wet n Wild's "Color Up! Colored Mascara" from summer 2015
  3. Maybelline's "Great Lash Limited Edition Colored Mascara" from 2013
My suggestion? The NYX one, by far. It's the most opaque and readily available from what I can tell.

My Tips on Rocking Colored Mascara
(the links are to more detailed articles)
  1. Pick a color that compliments your eye color. Brown eyes can rock just about any color, there's a plus for those of us with boring eyes! Here's a chart on what colors compliment what eye colors.
    Best Colored Mascara for Every Eye Color
  2. If you're wearing pink/red and it looks like you have pinkeye from far away, you're doing it right. You want your lashes to be completely covered. Don't worry, from up close you can tell it's the lashes, not the eyes.
  3. If you can still see black (or whatever color your natural eyelashes are) through the color, you're doing it wrong. Try applying it with a fan brush (see #4) or using more coats.
  4. To get the color all the way to the roots (especially from the aerial view of your lashes), use a fan brush or flat eyeshadow brush. This tip is also great if you have blonde lashes and use a brown or black mascara on a daily basis! How to Apply Mascara With a Fan Brush
  5. You can make your own makeshift colored mascara by heating up colored eyeliner. We all know colored liner is easier to find than colored mascara.
  6. To avoid clumpy, spidery lashes, wait for each coat to dry before going in with the next one.
  7. If you still end up with clumpy, spidery lashes, separate the individual lashes with a small tweezer or a sewing needle. If this method is good enough for Audrey Hepburn, it's good enough for you! It sounds tedious, but it's actually not that bad. Audrey Hepburn Mascara Trick
  8. Apply your mascara after you pick out your outfit, so you can match it better without having to guess what color you're going to wear today.
  9. I'm sure you could get away with it, but if you're doing winged liner, I wouldn't go for the standard black. I would use the mascara as liner so your eyeliner matches your eyelashes. There's a life hack/travel tip that if you forget eyeliner but you have your angled eyeliner brush, use your mascara as gel liner. Don't use it on your waterline though! I'm looking at you, people who used liquid eyeliner on the waterline as a kid. How to Use Mascara as Eyeliner
  10. As far as eyeshadow goes with colored mascara, I would stay away from it. I simply dust translucent powder across my eyelids to cut shine, and apply the mascara. Eyeshadow would distract from the mascara and make it look overdone.
  11. To make the color pop, use a matching, white, or nude pencil liner on the waterline.
I might make a similar post in the future for colored lipstick. If only I had readers to tell me if I should do it or not.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tips, Hairstyles & Haircuts for (Straight) Middle Parted Hair

All over Pinterest and the Internet, I see girls with side-parted hair. I've tried a side part, and it doesn't look good with my hair or with my face and I feel like I can't pull it off or don't know how to. In any case, I have a middle part and I never see tips or hairstyles that work for girls with middle parted hair.  A lot of Pinterest hairstyles show models with side parted hair, and it doesn't work on middle parted hair. Or the models have bangs and I don't.

  1. Your hair may be straight and organized-looking, and you may have a middle part right where everyone can see it, but you don't have to have a flawless part. A messy part (but not TOO messy. Not "one half is on the left, one half is on the right") can look effortlessly cute.
  2. You may have a middle part, but you can still do that thing where you finger-comb your hair from the front of the part to make it fall effortlessly and give temporary volume.
  3. No, you can't use texturizing spray. If you curl your hair, you can, but don't do it if your hair is still straight. It just emphasizes the weird, accidental waves that happened while drying.

  1. Stick-straight. This is achieved by straightening or blow drying your hair. Flat ironed straight hair looks better on girls with a middle part. Yes, even though you have straight hair you can still buy a straightener, and no, it's not a waste of your money. But make sure it's sleek and not frizzy!
  2. Normal, but not stick-straight. This is usually how I do my hair anyway, regardless of hairstyle. I part my hair before the shower (so I don't have to brush it after showering), brush my hair in the shower (after conditioner, to help evenly distribute the conditioner), and towel-dry it when I get out. I don't brush it after getting out of the shower. This helps with volume and avoiding having stick-straight hair (which can be boring or drab). Once it's completely dry, I brush it though and add moroccan oil.
  3. Half-up half-down. There's two ways I do this. The first way is by taking a three-inch section from the top of my hair and brushing it back, not leaving the part (Figure 1). The second way is by taking a bigger section from halfway between the part and my ears and brushing it back but leaving the part (Figure 2). Both look great when a hair bow is added on top of the hairband.
  4. Messy bun. I do the messy bun by tipping my head over and using gravity to my advantage to create a voluminous high ponytail, then twisting from the base to the tip (not starting at the tip and just twisting- this creates an off-center, lopsided bun) and twisting around, then using the hair elastic (Figure 3).
  5. Waterfall braid(s). I waterfall braid one or both halves of my hair, and bobby pin it in an X shape about halfway back. (Figure 4)
  6. Sometimes I take an inch sized piece from the front of each side of my hair and bobby pin it in an X about halfway back. Sometimes I twist these sections. It's sort of like a modified half up half down.
Figure 1

Figure 2
Figure 3 (xxx)
Figure 4

  1. The Rachel... from season 4-5 (of Friends). (Figure 5a & b) I have this haircut and while it's annoying when it sometimes curls outwards from the angles, it still ends up looking pretty good and when I make an extra effort to make the angles dry inward, it looks amazing. It also looks great when doing tip #2.
  2. Bangs. (Figure 6a & b) The only way to bangs is to middle part.
  3. The "U" (Figure 7a &b). This haircut looks far better with a middle part. I had this haircut for a long time and loved it when straightened. However, my hair sometimes curls up a bit, and it didn't flatter my accidental waves.
  4. Angles and layers (Figure 8). This is a toned-down and straighter version of #1. The angles are longer and shallower.
Figure 5a
Figure 5b
Figure 6a
Figure 6b
Figure 7a
Figure 7b
    Figure 8

Friday, October 9, 2015

Article Response: Don't Compare Yourself to Others

After submitting my discussion essay on "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, we talked about it in class. In English, we just discussed what the article was saying and summarized/paraphrased it, and we didn't get to share our opinions on what Emerson was saying. That's what I've come here for.

The article said a lot of things, but this is one thing that particularly strikes me (aside from what I wrote about yesterday, pre-class discussion).
"Imitation is suicide."
Envy is ignorant because we're all unique and you need to be yourself. (Ex. I'm jealous of so-and-so's hair. But maybe I have nice hair too, so I shouldn't go out and get their haircut.) Envy dehumanizes you because it robs you of your uniqueness. In modern terms: be yourself because everyone else is taken; don't compare yourself to others.
I struggle a lot with comparing myself to others. I think it's mainly because I have a unique face. It doesn't look like everyone else's. I can't exactly match my face shape to any of the seven face shapes (oval is probably the most accurate, but it's more of a squarish/round oval). My nose is wide but not triangular, and I have a small mouth. I look at other people and see something very different than what I see on myself. I'll see a girl whose eyebrows are pointed and on fleek and think, "I wish my eyebrows looked like that." But the thing is, if you copied and pasted some harsh, defined, shapely, arched, pointy eyebrows onto my face, it wouldn't look right on my soft features. Or I'll see a girl with a perfect, ski-slope nose and think, "I wish I had her nose." But my nose looks good on my face. I've been told by friends, "I like your nose!" My nose has character, okay? I'm sure when other people look at me, they don't think, "her eyebrows aren't pointy enough."

Another thing (unrelated to the article): "If you've ever caught yourself saying, 'they're only saying that because they're my friend' when a friend gives you a compliment, stop yourself." (I remember hearing this in a YouTube video, but I couldn't find the video.) Logically, if they didn't believe what they said, they could've said nothing. They didn't have to compliment you. That's not to say you should get your self-worth from what others think of you, but don't put yourself down when you receive a nice compliment.

Another thing: It's all fake. All the beautiful girls you see (especially online) who you're jealous of are wearing craploads of makeup. If you wear a shit ton of makeup, you can look like that too.
[Extension: The concept of wearing makeup because it's fun and you enjoy it vs. wearing it because you're insecure and want to cover up blemishes/etc. is tricky. Your goal as a makeup-wearer is to wear makeup because it's a fun way to express yourself, not correctional makeup to cover up blemishes, redness, sparse eyebrows, or anything else you're insecure about. If makeup is making you insecure, you might want to stop wearing it. Even if you have redness and insecurities. You can stop wearing makeup. (maybe I should take my own advice...)]

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Conformity as a Teenager

I'm a caucasian female teenager (as you might have assumed), and there's a lot of stereotypes associated with us. Especially because I'm not particularly unique in my dress or manner. We all try to avoid being a "basic bitch" to an extent, but this notion is particularly prevalent in girls like me.
I read an excerpt from "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson for English homework tonight, and the assignment was to write a discussion essay on "pick two lines that strike you and react." Here's what I wrote.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” explores the theme of conformity. In the essay, while discussing human nature and his own experiences, he observes: “The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you is that it…blurs the impression of your character” (332). Emerson argues people strive for uniqueness and unconformity because it’s what differentiates them from everyone else. One’s unique quirks are what defines his personality. Furthermore, a person wants to be unique because it gives him value; it makes them worth something.
Fighting the “basic bitch” stereotype is a daily struggle in my life. I try not to drink my iced coffee with cream and sugar, I avoid wearing oversized sweaters, and I stay away from listening to pop music. However, fads are popular for a reason: because they’re delicious and energizing, or comfortable, or pleasing to the ear. I deprive myself of these small joys to preserve my uniqueness. Sometimes I try to walk the line between my unique preferences and “white girl” trends, such as wearing Uggs but in purple instead of beige, or buying a generic black backpack but covering it in pins that express my individuality, or wearing a sweatshirt and leggings but with Converse instead of running shoes. I’ve always been aware of this “white girl” stereotype but it came to my attention when a friend accused me of being one when I wore an oversized sweatshirt with leggings. I protested, “but I’m wearing it with Converse!” but in the end, there’s no fighting the stereotype. There will always be someone else doing the same thing as you, so if it makes you happy, it’s worthwhile to stay with the trends regardless of it interfering with your individuality.
I hope my English teacher doesn't mind my usage of swears. In my defense, it was the only way to get my point across! "White girl stereotype" just wasn't cutting it.
Anyway, I mainly just wanted to share my essay with you because I thought it could help someone out there who's trying to go against the grain but to no avail. I just wanted to let you know it's okay to be basic. Don't sweat it! We'll all be adults someday, and those pumpkin spice lattes you consumed will all be trivial.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

How to Eliminate Frizz for Straight Hair

I have dealt with frizz for many years now. Everyone seems to think people with straight hair have no problems, so I don't see any advice online. I think I've successfully defeated the enemy. I tried to find a picture of it but couldn't! Because the Internet doesn't know the straight hair struggle!
  1. Rinse your hair after conditioner in the shower with cold water. I've started doing this, and while it's very uncomfortable in the shower while you're doing it, it makes my hair exponentially smoother and less frizzy.
  2. Moroccan oil to keep it hydrated, smooth, and shiny.
  3. Blow dry it.
  4. Straighten it. In my experience, there's no one product you can slap on your hair and eliminate frizz. Frizzy hairs with straight hair are those curly hairs that float around your head. They have split ends, which is how they're also near the roots. You need to either prevent them from happening (rinsing with cold water or blow drying) or flatten them out with a heat tool once they've happened (straightening).

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tattoos I Want

(updated) Honestly, I will probably never get any of these tattoos. But right now, I think it would be cool to have these tattoos.
I like minimal tattoos, but I'd be down for a more complicated one if it means a lot to me.

1. Asterisk
I'm not sure, but I might want something more minimal than this. This one is the Hot Chili Peppers logo, which is why it's so thick, but a big thick tattoo is a big commitment and it's all about RHCP, which isn't what I want. I also like the RHCP one, but I think I'd just want the traditional five-point asterisk.
Meaning: the asterisk is the fine print. It's the * and the afterthought at the end. I think life comes with a great deal of fine print. There's a lot of stuff no one tells you about. No one tells you people are selfish and primarily self-concerned, and you can't 100% rely on anyone. No one will be your codependent. There won't always be someone there to be your net to catch you and your safety blanket to provide security.
Location: my right side, upper middle thigh.

2. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon Prism
Meaning: The first time I heard Pink Floyd was the first time I realized I can think for myself and I don't have to accept what I'm told without question. I believe it was in eighth grade, and I had this self-actualization moment in the car with my brother when he was telling a story.
Location: Next to my left pelvic/hip bone, on my stomach but near the bone.

(xxx) sorry this is a Harry Styles tattoo forgive me, it was cute and minimalistic
not my picture
not my picture

3. Twenty One Pilots |-/
Meaning: nothing really, I just like their logo and I think it looks dope. I wouldn't get it with the circle around it though.
Location: on the bottom of my foot (on the arch).
Location: finger? I don't know, I definitely wouldn't get this. I like the idea though.
4. XO
Meaning: fake bitches. Staying true to yourself. Nothing.
Location: under my left armpit. Not right under, a few inches below.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How I Feel About the Term "Pansexuality"

(Similar: Pansexual Awareness Day)
I have found that the term "pansexuality" is widely misunderstood, so I wanted to make a post about it to clear some things up.

Dictionary definition:

A common person's (inaccurate) definition of pansexuality:

The difference between bisexual and pansexual:
Things I've heard and whether or not I agree with them:
  • "It's impossible to be pansexual. There's no way you can be gender-blind and just not care what someone's gender is." I agree with the second part of that statement. Most people think pansexuality is being blind to someone's gender. But that would be impossible, because men and women are very different. However, that's not pansexuality. Pansexuality is being attracted to ALL genders, not REGARDLESS of gender. So that stultifies the first sentence.
  • "Pansexuality is basically the same thing as bisexuality." They are similar, but pansexuality includes non-binary and trans people, whereas bisexuality is exclusively male and female. (see above)
  • "Pansexuality is for Tumblr people. Normal people don't actually use it." Yeah, I guess you could say that. But I'm your average person and I use it and identify as it.

Why I think the term "bisexuality" is offensive:
Because it excludes trans and non-binary people, when there's no way someone will be attracted to MEN AND WOMEN and exclude trans/non-binary people. I feel like if someone did that, it's probably because of internalized transphobia. Trans and non-binary people have the same parts as men and women! It's not like they have different genitals!

Why I identify as pansexual (for right now):
  • The term "bisexual" is inaccurate for me. I could be attracted to trans or non-binary people.
  • I find the term "bisexual" offensive to trans/non-binary people because of their exclusion, and I feel like it's almost transphobic, which is extremely not okay.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

10 Unfortunate Moments for Quiet/Socially Anxious People

I diagnosed myself with social anxiety last fall. It usually flares up at the beginning of the school year because I have to warm up to everyone again. On top of that, I'm also pretty quiet in certain situations. This can make for a tepid-looking personality to the casual observer.
  1. When I'm talking at a normal volume and no one can hear me. "You talk so quietly!" Or maybe you need to listen closer!
  2. Some people think I'm really quiet and shy (usually acquaintances or other students at school) and some people think I'm loud and opinionated (friends, especially close ones).
  3. When I'm sitting a few feet away from a group of people but don't want to just invite myself into the group. If I'm lucky, someone will invite me in, and they'll usually say something along the lines of, "Julia! Come sit with us!"
  4. Any kind of vagueness. Please explain everything in full detail so I don't have to ask a question.
  5. Getting a bad participation grade even though I know a lot of the answers in class. Usually it goes something like this:
    Teacher: what's the answer to number five?
    Me: *thinks I know the answer but not 100% sure*
    Another student: fifteen!
    Me: goddamnit
  6. When someone says "hello" or "how are you?" as I'm passing by. After this happened a few times, I developed a few answers that you can't go wrong with.
    For "hey!" or "hi/hey Julia!":
    1. Hey [insert person's name here] (if time permits)
    2. Hey!
    3. Oh, hey!
      For "how are you?"
    1. Good, thanks (if I'm passing quickly).
    2. I'm fine, thank you.
    3. I'm good, how are you?
    4. Good thanks. How are you?
  7. When I need to buy something and I'm not with friends/family. Just the thought of walking up to the cash register and reciting my order is scary. What if I forget part of it? What if someone cuts me in line and I can't say anything about it? What if it takes too long to get out my money/card and everyone's waiting for me while I fumble around with my wallet?
  8. When I am with friends and I'm buying something and they assume I'm too shy/anxious to purchase it myself. I'm fine when I have people I know around me. Because if something weird happens (which it never does, but I still worry about it), my friend(s) will be there to save me.
  9. When people unexpectedly strike up a conversation with me. I would like to be mentally prepared for when I have to face my social anxiety.
  10. When reconnecting with friends I haven't seen in a while, and I need to warm up to them again and they notice but aren't sure why. "You seem quiet today. Are you okay?"

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Article Response: Political Correctitude

Note: I wrote this post before fully reading the article because I didn't want the article to influence my opinions. However I did skim the first couple paragraphs. This post isn't a direct response to the article, it's more of a spinoff question regarding my opinion on political correctness (in general, not just in the presidential elections).

For reference, this is the Google definition of "political correctness."

We live in a very politically advanced age.
Is political correctitude good?
           The young people of this generation strive to be more accepting of diversity (LGBT+, races/ethnicities, religions) and want to do the right thing. It's an example of political development at its finest.
            I think political correctness is a good thing, otherwise it would be regression rather than progression and it wouldn't happen. I find that political correctitude benefits me because I'm not discriminated against for my sexuality or my ethnicity. Political correctitude also prevents bullying because now when you call someone a "fag" or a "nigger" it's offensive rather than your average insult, so now rather than people agreeing with you, they'll scold you for being insensitive. I feel like the world is a better place now that people care about hurting other people's feelings. I also think that the people who don't believe in political correctitude (Donald Trump, for instance) are stuck in the past and are the same people who still believe in old-fashioned gender roles. They refuse to change their views based on what's actually right and wrong and instead accept what they're told to believe and hold on to it (such as still believing in gender roles that make no sense) and are convinced the new generation is "going soft." It's likely that all the old-fashioned thinkers who oppose political correctitude are in an ethnic/racial/gender/sexuality group that's not commonly discriminated against. I.e., cis white males. If you're not experiencing it, it's hard to empathize with and care about discrimination.
            I try to be politically correct to a point. I express my unadulterated opinions, and they usually happen to align with the politically correct ones. If they don't, such as my view on the death penalty (pro), that's fine too and it just means I have a different opinion that other people might not agree with. I don't try to conform to politically correct opinions just for the sake of political correctitude.
Political correctitude opposers argue people go to far with it and people are too touchy and too easily offended, but to that I counter: doesn't that police how offensive you can be, which is a good thing because less offensive things will be said?

            Regarding the article, do I think Trump will win the election (for the party/for the presidential elections)? No, I think the politically correct young people of this generation outnumber the crusty old-fashioned thinkers. Plus, some of the old-fashioned thinkers disagree with a lot of Trump's extremist views.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Which Sex Has it Easier?

Disclaimer: this is excluding transgenders, gender-fluids, genderqueers, etc. They have their own problems.
Inspired by: this video because it's stupid and incorrect
Similar: It's Easier to Be a Guy

Things women have to deal with

  1. Not being able to walk around topless (similar: Legalize Female Toplessness) when it's sweltering out. It's literally illegal to take off your shirt if you're a woman in public. LITERALLY ILLEGAL. How is that not a violation of our constitutional rights?
  2. They have to go through the pain of birthing a child if they want a biological son/daughter.
  3. Periods. Obviously.
  4. Bras. Obviously.
  5. Boobs and sore breasts.
  6. Women's pants have small pockets. Men's pants have big pockets.
  7. Therefore we have to carry a purse, which can be annoying to have to drag everywhere.
  8. Being afraid of being outside alone at night.
  9. Being objectified.
  10. Coming out of Adam's rib.
  11. Being expected to be a diligent housewife.
  12. Being way more prone to rape.
  13. Having to watch what you wear, especially in the city, for rape prevention.
  14. Being shorter because of genetics.
  15. Wage gap.
  16. The "war against women."
  17. People are trying to stop funding Planned Parenthood, our only safe place for minors to get affordable birth control and abortions.
  18. Breast size insecurities.
  19. Men have faster metabolisms than women.
  20. Men can lose weight faster than women.
  21. Being expected to shave your legs and underarms.
  22. Being expected to wear makeup.
  23. Being expected to wax/pluck/groom your eyebrows.
  24. Fearing men.
  25. Soap/deodorant/shampoo/conditioner/razors/everything being more expensive and less effective but you still have to buy it because you don't want to smell like a man.

Things men have to deal with

  1. They don't get the joy of birthing a child and breastfeeding him/her.
  2. Women usually get custody of a child during divorces.
  3. Random boners.
  4. Being looked down upon for being a stay-at-home dad.
  5. Penis size insecurities.
  6. It's not as easy to get away with being chubby.
  7. Women are scientifically more empathetic than men.
  8. Having to find a good haircut. Women can just get their hair cut straight across and it will still look fine.
  9. Being feared by women.
  10. Having to take off your shirt at the pool or looking weird/insecure.
  11. Being seen as weird/gay if you choose to wear makeup.
  12. Being shut down with the whole "meninism" thing.
So, either I'm biased, I don't know much about men to make more points about them, or women have it a lot harder.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dense Swim Seasons

  1. I can relate to this:
    but not this:
  2. My friends are always available to hang out and I'm not.
  3. My friends make plans in the group chat but I can't go.
  4. Other people getting mad at me because I can never hang out and I'm MIA for three months once a year.
  5. High school going by way too quickly because I lose three months out of every year.
  6. Worrying that senior year, I'll regret spending so much time swimming.
  7. I don't actually enjoy the sport but I do it for college and no one understands.
  8. Being utterly sleep-deprived and exhausted but still having to go to swim practice.
  9. People still try to talk to you the next day after you had a 8-10pm swim practice and still had to do homework and shower afterwards.
  10. People don't think it's as time-consuming as it is.
  11. People don't think it's as exhausting and draining (mentally and physically) as it is.
  12. My summer comes to a harsh end with the start of the swim season.
  13. My summer ends a week before everyone else's because swimming starts a week before school does.
  14. Not even remembering what "me time" means.
  15. Not having time to buy school supplies so using the broken ones from last year.
  16. Having literally no one to talk to because no one understands what you're going through with having absolutely no "me time" ever.
  17. Feeling like you just lost three months of your life when swimming ends.
  18. When a fast person insists on letting me go ahead of them so they can talk to their friends. And then they touch my feet constantly.
  19. Casually hating your goddamn life.
  20. Casually wanting to die when you've swum more than you've slept this week.
  21. Casually sobbing into my pillow every night because I have no time or energy or sleep to run on.
  22. The intensity of the season being inexplicable to an outsider.
  23. People thinking I'm overreacting when I complain about swimming when it's actually an accurate description but it's unbelievable.
  24. Being legitimately concerned for my own health because I haven't gotten a full night's sleep in months.
  25. Probably stunting my growth from lack of sleep when I'm already short as it is.
  26. Having to refuse hanging out even when I'm available because I'm exhausted and overworked.
  27. Not having time to adjust to the new grade and workload because I'm too busy swimming, and then when the season ends three months later being like "wait.. I'm a sophomore? And it's a quarter way through the year?"
  28. People probably hating me because I can't help but be sour and rude and in a bad mood all the time.
  29. Falling asleep on your homework because I'm so tired and waking up a few hours later realizing my homework is not done. (great anecdote from last year's season: one time I came home from swimming, took a shower, ate dinner, and resumed my homework but fell asleep on it and I woke up at 2am to my dad saying "Julia, go to bed!" and then had to wake up and continue my homework.)
  30. When my parents tell me to go to sleep at 2am but I can't because I still have hours of homework ahead of me.
  31. Not having time for babysitting [your job] and not making any money. But it's cool, cause you have no time to spend it, either.
  32. Away meets that are 45 minutes away.
  33. Teachers assigning the most homework on away meet days.
  34. Taking a sudden hiatus from my blog for three months.
  35. When my friends want to do anything that involves physical exercise in the middle of swim season when I'm sore as hell, and then get mad at me for being "lazy."
  36. All people see is me looking rather normal at school, so they assume my life is fine, and think it's okay to get annoyed at me for not being able to hang out.
  37. My extreme business being just a nuisance to friends who want to hang out.
  38. I'm the slowest person on the entire team (at least as of last year).
  39. Thinking there's something wrong with me because I don't get a rush of adrenaline before a race.
  40. Sacrificing my studies and seeing teachers before/after school because you literally have no time.
  41. Sacrificing sleep for homework that I couldn't finish earlier because of swimming.
  42. Giving zero shits by the end of swim season.
  43. Being surprised I'm not LITERALLY DEAD by the end of the season.
  44. Having team dinners seldom because swimming itself is time consuming enough as it is.
  45. How I feel in the height of the season:
But I get to eat whatever the hell I want and nobody can say shit about it!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Apple's Pages vs. Microsoft Word

I just bought a new MacBook Air (I sound casual about it, but it was a splurge) and it came with Apple's Pages as opposed to Microsoft Word.
My first thought was, "OK, I have Pages now. I'm used to using Word, and I love Word dearly, but I'll try this with an open mind. I'm trying to be more open to new concepts and ideas. It's part of Self Improvement Summer." This hasn't been a problem yet because I haven't started school and therefore haven't needed to type a document. But I thought I should familiarize myself with Pages before I'm forced to.
Disclaimer: I'm comparing Pages 2015 on my Mac to Microsoft Word 2010 on my PC. So Word for Mac might be little bit different.

  • Pages always asks you what template you want to use before creating a new document. For Word, you have to go to File > New > Sample Templates if you want anything other than the standard blank document. But this is just Word 2010, I'm sure they fixed that in Word 2013.
  • It looks cleaner.
  • Instead of having to go to Insert > Symbols, in Pages (and on Macs in general) all you have to do is press and hold a key.
  • I have used Word 2013 on computers at school, and there are more templates preloaded on it than Pages.
  • You can't choose your own colors for a graph. Given, their color themes are great, but what if I want two specific colors to match a logo?
  • Pages doesn't have WordArt or ClipArt (obviously). For ClipArt, you can always Google Images it, for example "cat clipart" instead of "cat cartoon."
  • Pages has no "text effects" such as "outline," "shadow," "reflection," or "glow."
  • Pages calls highlighting "character fill color." It shouldn't annoy me this much, but it's just stupid! It's called highlighting! Don't try to make it sound fancy! Now I feel like I'm not getting the same thing!
  • Word Count is deep into the task bar at the top on Pages, but it's always right at the bottom on Word.
  • Word has better "Smart Art." Apple's version of Smart Art is some fancy colored graphs. There are no "Process" graphs (you know, like a flow chart) or "hierarchy" graphs (tree map). But I'm sure Apple is working on that. I didn't use any of those anyway, honestly.
  • You can't change the margins in Pages. You're stuck with the standard margins.
  • Pages files are in ".pages" format. Most people still have Word, and Word documents are in ".doc" (for 1997-2003 versions) or ".docx" (for 2006-2013 versions). I sent the Pages document to my PC and it glitched every time and I couldn't open it. However it's easy to export as a PDF, Word (yup!!), or Plain Text.
  • There is no option for a simple table. Every table has to be fancy. You can't make it un-fancy. There always has to be special colors and stuff. I don't have a color printer! It can barely do gray! If fancy is what you want, your book report is gonna look hella. But if you just want a plain and simple table, and it'll just look like you're trying too hard if it's all fancy, you're stuck.
  • Example table (the simplest table possible)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Back to School Advice

I don't know who I'm writing this post for, because nobody who reads my blog needs this advice. I just thought I'd put it out there? I really just needed to post.

  1. Try to be unique instead of trying to fit in. If you want to wear those cat tights, go right ahead. Don't refrain from doing so because nobody else is doing it. Do what makes you happy, and in the end if you still feel like you stand out and you aren't happy, stop doing it. For example, if you want to go to school in cat tights but you know nobody else will and you feel like you're stick out, do it anyway. If you do it, and people look at you but you don't care, cool! This will encourage you to keep wearing what you want. If you do it, and people look at you, but you feel like everyone's eyes are on you and you're downright uncomfortable, don't wear those tights again because you will feel uncomfortable and it won't improve your overall happiness.
  2. Regarding making new friends: be you, and people will like you for your unique qualities. Don't try to fit in or conform to what everyone else likes to relate to them. You don't have to share all the same interests to be friends with someone! That is not the only way to make friends! With a lot of my friends, they like rom com and I like horror. They like pop and I like classic rock. When you click with someone, it won't matter if you like the same things. When you're friends with someone, you can talk and talk and never run out of things to say. That's friendship. Not bonding over the cutest 5sos boys. Although, you can totally do that too (5sos trash right here). Your unique qualities is what makes you click with someone. So don't repress that.
  3. A great conversation starter is wearing a T-shirt with a logo on it. Maybe a logo for a band you like or a cute meme. More people will approach you, because they already know what to say, and it's clear that you have some of the same interests.
  4. Don't worry too much. The more you worry and spend time being anxious about something (whether it be an upcoming project or test or making new friends), the more difficult it will be when it happens. Just try not to think so heavily about it. Change your mindset from "worried/anxious" to "excited/eager." I understand that this is easier said than done, especially if you have an anxiety disorder, but I went through a time in my life where I had self-diagnosed social anxiety and I used this technique and I think I'm doing a lot better now. All I had to do was gradually try to be friendlier and not overthink so much. When someone waves to me, instead of wondering if they're actually waving to me or the person behind me, I just wave back. Sometimes it will be the person behind me, but making mistakes and getting embarrassed is part of having a social life.
  5. If you have trouble falling asleep because you're stressed out and have a lot on your mind, have a sheet of paper (or whiteboard or something similar. I use my Boogie Board. So green.) by your bed and write down what's bothering you. It helps me to get it all out so I don't have to think about it anymore. There's nothing you can do when you're going to sleep, so you might as well relax and enjoy your overnight rejuvenation.
  6. If you're mysteriously having trouble sleeping, even after trying tip #4, try turning off all sources of light in the room. Even the light from a digital alarm clock or the green light from your charging laptop can be distracting and interrupt your natural sleep cycle.
  7. Find a happy medium between doing schoolwork and doing fun things. Don't spend too much time on either.
  8. Sometimes there is no happy medium because there simply isn't enough time in a day. Keep this in mind, and cut out or cut back on certain things such as extracurriculars, clubs, sports, maybe even spending time with your friends. But school is #1. School is your future. Don't find yourself in however many years, not getting into your dream school, and regretting not spending enough time studying. Don't realize it when it's happening.
  9. College doesn't have to be your motivation to do well in school. Most people have an instinct to do well in school, but some don't. Some people just don't think that way. There's not much you can do about that. Find your motivation instead. Maybe it's to do what you want later in life. Maybe it's to have a family when you grow up. Maybe it's to move to New York. Maybe it's simply to make your parents happy. Maybe it's that accomplished feeling when you see an "A" on your report card.
  10. Regarding when people ask you what you want to do when you grow up: it's okay not to know now. In fact, it might even be better not to know, because then you won't feel locked in or trapped in a particular occupation, and later discover that's not what you want to do at all.
  11. Right now, instead of focusing on what you want to do when you grow up, focus on what you want to do now. That will in turn help you figure out what you want to do later when the time comes. But for now, focus on what you enjoy doing and what makes you happy. What do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
  12. Be confident. Love yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and love what you see. Realize that you are fucking beautiful, no matter what happens; no matter what anyone says; no matter how hard you are on yourself. You are beautiful, and that is fact. Sometimes when you get wrapped up in school, it's easy to get down on yourself. Don't.
  13. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. I always see people with eyebrows that are on fleek and think to myself, "damn. I wish I had her eyebrows." But then I get home and try to replicate that with an eyebrow pencil in hand and brow products scattered around me, and it doesn't look the same on me as it did on her. Everything will look different on everyone. You're beautiful in your own way, not in comparison to anyone else.
  14. DIY projects will probably never turn out how you wanted or expected. Let it go. LOL. Maybe try a different route for whatever you're trying to achieve.
  15. Indulge, but everything in moderation. Eat a few cheez-its, not the whole box. If you eat a few, you'll probably get the same effect as if you ate the whole box, just without all the guilt and it was for a prolonged amount of time. At the end of the day, you're not going to remember how great those cheez-its were. The happiness was temporary. It's worth it to sacrifice those cheez-its for healthy eating.
  16. However, if you're on a sports team and you're working out for 2+ hours a day, I'm sure you can eat whatever your little heart desires. They say a healthy lifestyle is part diet, part exercise, but if you exercise enough, you can skip the whole "diet" thing. It's not like you're looking to come out looking like a model. You just want to get through the season and enjoy your sport. This is probably terrible advice.
  17. If you have a bad teacher, my best advice is: first go home and try to figure it out yourself, because nobody can explain it to you better than you can, and if you can't, go to your teacher after school with specific questions. I suggest you write down your questions so you don't confuse yourself right before you go see your teacher.
  18. Don't be awkward or shy about asking questions. Your teacher is there to help. No question is a stupid question. Trust me, they've seen it all before.
  19. Everyone looks like they have their shit together, but when they're in the shower, thinking about life, shit goes down. Everyone has that time of day when they ponder life questions and basically have a mini existential crisis. Most people just don't talk about it. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, you just don't know about it. People have a way of hiding what's really happening, because they don't think anyone cares or needs/wants to know.
  20. Look it up. The Internet is a beautiful place. Unless it's an incredibly specific life question, someone has probably addressed your question in some dark corner of the Internet. If it's a homework question, and it's specific, there are websites that take algebraic equations and solve them for you. If it's a proof for geometry, yeah maybe they can't help you. I would go in to school early to see your teacher about it if you honestly cannot figure it out.
  21. There's always a solution, don't get worked up about it. Especially don't get worked up about it if there's a solution that you're avoiding. For example, if there's a proof you can't solve, and you tried looking it up and asking both of your parents, all your siblings, and all of your friends, and you know your teacher wouldn't mind if you went in to school early and asked for help on it but you don't want to get up early, just do it. There's no use freaking out about it when that's really the best [only] option.
  22. If you don't have time to go see your teacher, email them. This is only if you have absolutely no time to see them in person. They will understand! Teachers are people too, and they've been through this. Explain that you have no frees this week or before the assignment is due, but you really need help on it. Maybe they'll give you an extension on the due date or offer to stay after school to help you. Teachers (hopefully) want you to learn. And don't spend too much time artfully crafting a professional-sounding email to your teacher. It shouldn't be that difficult. Just do it. Stop being so nervous.
  23. Sometimes it will feel like you're at your breaking point, when you've had five hours of sleep this whole week and you have multiple projects due and you just feel like you're going to drop dead... But all of your friends want to hang out. You can't. Don't try to. If you feel like you're going to explode or black out, sometimes you need to say no to hanging out because you physically can't. And don't feel bad about it. They should understand. Say something like "I've had a really terrible and mentally/physically strenuous week, and I would love to hang out, but I just need to rest. Hopefully we can find the time to hang out another time. I just can't right now." It sucks that you'll be missing out, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Says the girl who's writing this at 3:19am and is slightly sleep-deprived even though it's summer vacation. ;)
I hope you got something out of this, or if not, at least I enjoyed writing it. I learned a lot of this from The Happiness Project and things I realized during my Self Improvement Summer and life experience. I finished my first year of high school, so I like to think I have a bit of experience under my belt. Bask in your last few moments in the freedom of summer. Actually though. I have under a week left until school activities begin. shoot me

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Should I Be Offended?

I have run into this problem a lot during Self Improvement Summer. When someone says something mildly offensive, I'm never sure if I should call them out on it or not, because everyone will get annoyed, but they're being ignorant, and I want to enlighten them.

Examples of things that are offensive:
  • Sexism
  • Racism
  • Transphobia
  • Homophobia
  • Biphobia
  • Any other sexuality or gender phobia
  • Prejudices
  • Stereotypes
  • Judgements
  • Gossiping, especially about someone you know
  • Generalizations
  • Ignorance (This could be taken many ways. Examples of offensive ignorant things:
    • Insulting a band they've never listened to.
    • Disliking a food they've never tried.
    • Giving advice on something they know nothing about.
    • Making an argument without checking their facts.)
Examples of things that are NOT offensive:
  • Insulting your favorite band. "Have you ever heard of Cage the Elephant? Their music sucks! It's so unoriginal." Instead of, "Cage the Elephant is my favorite band! How could you?! I don't think we can be friends. Also I'm blocking you on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and Myspace. And Quizlet," I would suggest "Really? I love their music! I find it very original. Did you know that for their Melophobia album, they distanced themselves from the influence of other music? 'Melophobia' actually means 'the fear of music.'" (sorry, I got a little carried away there with Cage the Elephant.)
  • Insulting your outfit. "Oh my god, Becky. What are you wearing?" "It's my favorite outfit. If you don't like it, shove it."
  • Insulting you personally.
Examples of situations where you should/shouldn't call people out on something that's offensive:
  • Anything that sounds like a light-hearted joke and isn't very offensive: let it go.
  • Anything that sounds like a joke with a bit of sincerity: call them out on it.
  • Anything that's actually offensive: call them out on it, but be respectful. Instead of saying, "WHAT HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY SAY THAT?!? OMG THAT WAS SO SEXIST YOU PIECE OF SHIT," say, "That sounded a bit sexist. Do you mean to say [insert less sexist way of saying what they just said]?" People hate being wrong, so don't make it look like you're correcting them. Make it look like you're tweaking or adding onto what they said.
Basically, the main guideline is: if people will get annoyed at you for being offended, don't call someone out on saying something offensive. If people will agree with you for being offended, call them out on it for the greater good and so that they don't offend anyone else. This post may not have been that helpful to you. I apologize. I mostly wrote it for myself, to help me learn when to and not to get offended.