I Am Woman

To me, womanhood is embracing your strength, defying gender and social norms, shattering the class ceiling until nothing is left. As a gender, womanhood has been challenged since the earliest stories of creation and as a modern-day woman, I feel that it is my duty to further embrace these aspects of womanhood to inspire myself, others around me, and future generations of strong, badass women.

Websters Dictionary’s website has many definitions of the word “empower, and one of them is the verb to empower, explaining it as “to promote the self-actualization or influence of [something]” and uses its example as how the women’s march is inspiring and empowering to women. The word “empower” is being adopted into the culture of feminism and equality between all regardless of gender, gender identity, skin color, social standing, etc. “Empower” has become a very common word in my vocabulary lately and it has become a positive necessity in my life that touches everything I do. Everything I study for, every conversation, blog post, thought, has come from this place of empowerment that was once so deep inside me that I didn’t know it was there. Now, my empowerment has begun to grow and flourish within me and has taught me that I need to help other people grow.

I am currently taking one of the best classes I have ever taken in college called “Women in the World” and every day it inspires me to be a better woman and helps me to understand what it means to be female. I am very empowered by my gender and sexuality and I believe that it has given me a power and confidence in life. It gives me something to identify with and gives me a further understanding with the women around me. As women, we have been subject to the stories that our ancestors have been privy to which, when taken seriously, have been an integral part in shaping society’s standards of who women are to be in relation to themselves, other women, and men. The main one is the book of Genesis in the Bible. After the fall of man, the Bible states that Eve was to go from being in equal union to Adam to being beneath him and would have to follow his way instead of her own. I remember in grade school (which was a private catholic school) when the girls and boys would get into arguments with each other because of the whole Adam and Eve story. The boys would say that because Eve sinned first and convinced Adam to eat the fruit that girls are clearly inferior to boys. These gender barriors were present in us as young children and has fed a society where, although women are making amazing strides in the workforce, in sports, in the beauty community, and so many other places, we as an entire gender are still seen as inferior to men.

Inferior to men? FUCK THAT! Feminism is not about one gender being greater than the other. It is about each gender lifting the other up in all aspects of life. It’s about men not feeling emasculated if a woman is in a higher position than him. It’s about women supporting men who may take on responsibilities that were once considered too feminine.

I asked some of the people closest to me about what it means to them to be a woman and here’s some of their responses:

“Powerful yet flexible”

“Never letting others stop you from being who you are on the inside”

“Supporting other women, being proud of who you are. Women are real life superHERos!”

“Having the ability to nurture, love, adapt, support, cry, rage, calm and grow. We are a jumble of emotions and its our best attribute.”

 

My favorite quote comes from my beautiful mother: “I think empowerment means not sitting back and letting life happen to you, but tackling challenges head-on. I think it is also being unafraid to chase your dreams and do what you need to do in order to achieve those dreams, even if those dreams challenge society’s expectations and notions of womanhood. Keep doing what you are doing!” This is a woman who inspires me every day. I am never afraid to talk to her about anything and I know she has my back no matter what I do. My mom never followed what society expected of her. She did what felt right to her. Coming from a “traditional” family, her parents pushed her to get married right after high school but she wanted more out of life. She traveled, got a job, met my dad, and began her life her way. She worked while my sister and I were young and then decided to be a stay at home mom because she felt that it was best for her family. Then when I was 7, she went to college and finally got a degree she’d been wanting for so long. She worked her ass off with two small children, pets, a husband, and so many responsibilities to become an english teacher and inspire and mold the minds of the future. Sometimes I forget how much my mom has done to make her life the way she wants it and to also help my sister and I live up to our fullest potential and that selflessness is something I can only hope to come close to paying back.

To come to a conclusion to my rambling, being a woman is finding your path in your own way. It’s fighting to make a change fot the future that’s good for all. It’s finding your inner strength to accept and love yourself so that others can do the same. Being a woman means to empower. Take your strengths to empower yourself, those around you, and those you have yet to meet.

Feeling Down About Your Body

I’ve been working this year to lose weight so I can become an organ donor for my dad, but sometimes I just feel so down about myself. Despite having a positive outlook on this experience, I didn’t realize how having a weight goal and putting more thought and effort into me weight and body would effect me emotionally. I’ve noticed that when I get out of the shower and before I get dressed, I stare at my stomach a lot. I have stretch marks and it isn’t a small stomach and I have been feeling so ashamed of it lately. Sometimes I think I see results but then I get down on myself. I go between huge bursts of confidence but then I look at myself more and more and think that I’m gaining weight instead if losing it. It’s frustrating because I didn’t think about having setbacks in this part of my life. But setbacks are a part of being human. To have doubts and question what you’re doing is a normal part of human nature. Life would not be life withouts setbacks. Nobody is ever fully confident in how they look. When I tell my friends that I feel down about my body, I’m always surrounded by intense words of love and reassurance and they point out everything about me that they admire and I feel on top of the world. Sometimes you need to let go of your fears and think more in terms of how my friends do.

I put this post down for a week because of classwork and the other day, I looked at myself in a window and just thought, “damn, I look good.” It was this moment that I reminded myself that everything is going to be okay. Having confidence in yourself is a damn good thing and don’t be afraid of it. Life is a rollercoaster full of ups and downs and you need to remember that whenever you feel down, you can only go up from there.

 

Suck the Marrow Out of Life

“I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of
life” from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden

If you are a fan of the Dead Poets Society, you know that Mr. Keating and his students strove to break the embrace of conformity in order to take life and get all they could out of it. We are in 2019, a new year. It is an opportunity to turn towards optimism for you and your fellow-man. I am currently taking a class called “Women in the World” and we have been discussing women’s place in the world and how women have shaped history and society. In the beginning of the semester, we had an open-class discussion about what it’s like to be a woman in the world today and it was one of the most empowering conversations I have ever had. I felt so connected to everyone in the class, even the people I don’t even know. It makes me feel so strong and confident knowing that there are other strong, smart, and determined women in my life who value being a woman and want to continue to fight for equality amongst all humand despite gender, race, sexuality, social status, etc. This class has made me realize that I have the power to forge a path for myself and future generations as a woman who wants to strive for respect and partnership between men and women.

Lately, I have been having a lot of thoughts and conversations about life after college and how it is my job to make opportunities for myself and get the most I can out of life. One of the best things I can do for myself is to make things happen for myself. If you aren’t going out to get jobs and pursue your passions, then what are you doing? Are you waiting for the phone to ring and just assume that people will randomly happen upon you? That’s not realistic. To quote Hannah Montana, “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.” You are in charge of the life you lead and it is up to you to bring it to its fullest potential. You are the CEO of your life and no CEO has ever been successful without putting everything out on the line and taking a chance on what makes them happy. Whether you are in theatre, film, dance, nursing, communication, finance, etc., it is up to you to put everything out there and take a chance on yourself.

Watch Dead Poet’s Society and let the words of this wonderful film fuel your inspiration. Fill yourself with self-love and appreciation that will propel you forward. Find your passions in life and achieve greatness.

Gaining Weight in College

When you go to college, something everyone talks to you about is the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen”. This alludes to the fact that most people, if not everyone, gains a little weight in college. This is a major fact for me as I have gained close to 40 pounds in the last three years. In high school, I was extremely often. I was a part of my school’s dance team which had me practicing 4 hours a week in addition to games, dance classes at a studio for 4 hours a week, and I acted in plays, keeping me on my feet a few hours every week. Once I got to college, a mix between my more sedentary lifestyle, eating unhealthy food (because it’s cheaper), and alcohol took its toll on my body. Below are pictures of me at prom and me at the PSF gala last summer. It’s me but the look of my body is completely different.

 

Gaining weight in college is totally normal, but you shouldn’t let it get you down. Most colleges have exercising facilities on campus that you have full access to. Take advantage before these are no longer at your disposal. One of the most annoying things about grocery shopping on a college budget is the fact that the healthier food is so much more expensive than the less healthy options. It’s easy to fall into habits of going for the cheaper options because you can afford it. When you’re at the dining hall, focus on the types of food you are getting. Go for healthier options more often so you know you are getting quality food in your system.

A great resource that I have been using since highschool is an app called My Fitness Pal. This is an app that allows you to track how much you need to eat in a day in order to lose some weight. You also track your exercise and water intake. It’s great because you customize it to your needs and lifestyle. If you have a more active lifestyle, the app will encourage you to eat more throughout your day. If you have a very sedentary lifestyle, the app will encourage you to eat less but still in a very healthy and reasonable way.  Throughout the day, you keep a diary of your food, water, and exercise and it gives you an idea of how you are progressing from week to week. When you load a food item or beverage, if it has a bar code, you can scan it into the app and it will give you all of the nutritional facts that are on the lable. You can also search all the food you eat in a day and it will give you several options to show you the calories and other nutritional facts. Below are a few pictures to give you an idea of what the app looks like.

I highly recommend checking this app out if you want to become healthier but don’t know where to start. It does a lot of the work for you and is a good motivator to keep up healthy habits since you must physically enter the food and exercise throughout your day.

Part of what I want to do this year is improve my health so I can become a kidney donor for my dad. This is overwhelming for me because I want to succeed but I get so self-conscious when I work out because I fear that people will judge the overweight girl at the gym. Luckily, my parents own an elliptical and I can work out at home but it isn’t healthy for me to assume that people will think poorly of me for wanting to exercise. I can’t let my fear of what other people will think of me get in the way of me pushing myself. If i truly want to get in better shape, the person I need to worry about is me. Fitness is a lifestyle that takes dedication and a strong will to keep it up. This is something that I will definitely struggle with moving on, but that’s okay.

Healthy Habits For 2019

Now that we are in 2019, I want to start working in healthier habits into my daily life for my physical and mental health, and finances. Now that I have decided that these three staples are what I need to work on, I want to start going through realistic goals/activities that I can slowly implement into my lifestyle. If i say that I must do a complete 180 on my current lifestyle, I would never keep up with it. I’m not a perfect person and I will definitely slip up from time to time. But by thinking of small things that take a fraction of a second to consider doing, I am one step closer to becoming a healthier and more content person.

Some of the things listed below, I already do, but it’s good to remind myself of the healthy habits I need to continue doing especially while I have resources at college that I won’t have once I graduate.

Physical Health

  • Park farther away from buildings at school, stores, etc. so I walk a little extra every day
  • Go for a walk when I get too stressed (this will help with the mental category as well!)
  • Think twice before I snack when I get bored
  • Try to pick a healthy alternative to unhealthy food
  • Cook for myself more often
  • Go to the gym at school and walk/cycle while reading for class (we love multitasking here at the blog)
  • Stretch in the AM and PM

Mental Health

  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Keep a gratitude log (bullet journal)
  • Monitor how negative I am toward others
  • When overwhelmed, write out a schedule of what you need to get done and how long you think it will take you to accomplish it
  • Try on a bunch of outfits and appreciate how good I look in them
  • Gush over how cute your pets are

Finances

  • Evaluate if I really need to buy something
  • Put in extra hours for workstudy
  • Go out to eat less
  • Keep a spending log (bullet journal)

A New Health Journey

As I mentioned in my blog post titled “My Pledges For The New Year”, I mentioned that a major goal for me in 2019 is to start losing weight. I am doing this for myself so that I can become a kidney donor for my father. He has had a kidney disease for the last two years that has forced him to go on dialysis and put his name on the kidney transplant list. He is in great health as of right now but I want to get tested so that if there was an emergency, I would be right there to help, as kidneys aren’t always in great supply for those in need. I have been in contact with the transplant center and they said that my BMI is a bit high for me to be a good candidate and that was the push I needed to tell myself to get off my butt and do something about it. I weigh over 220lbs and am on the short side, which means that I need to work on my physical health. Not only will this be good for me, it will be good for my family My father is an amazing man who deserves the world. He has done so much for me in my life and I feel that I need to do everything in my power to be there for him. I can’t imagine a world where he isn’t in it and that love is my best motivation.

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My high school graduation. Me and my dad (pre-kidney issues)

This is something exciting but also scary. I have never had major surgury before and if I am a match and my dad needs me, this is something that I will do. Although I have some fears, my dad is worth fighting for. This weightloss journey is going to be hard for me. I love food and am lazier than I’d like to admit and it will be an adjustment becoming a more active person but there is nothing more important than helping those you love.

Love Yourself

Life is far too short to hate yourself. You can’t prosper and suck the marrow out of the bones of life if you aren’t willing to show yourself, especially your body, the love it deserves. If you have a problem, love yourself enough to fix it. If you think dropping a few pounds will make you feel better, find a way to become more active that will bring you joy. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a lazy day or pig out with your friends, but by loving your body in different ways, you can find the peace you need to love yourself the way you are meant to.IMG_3209