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A Letter to the Guy Who Wrote the Total Frat Move Listicle

To the author of the Total Frat Move Article,

I appreciate reading your list of what makes the perfect college girlfriend. I am so sorry, but my love handles and I would rather lick the railing of a subway in New York City then put my mouth within a five-mile radius of your genitals.

Your misogynist rhetoric and perception of women astound me. I wonder if you, Mr. narcissistic Greek Letter wearing, natty ice drinking, Trump supporting ass even had a relationship in your lifetime. And, even if you did, I would like to send that poor girl a sympathy card, because she must be scarred for life. Either that, or she’s really smart to dump your sorry ass before it’s too late. I also wonder what makes you think that you could actually land a girl, but that’s not the main point here.

Based on the article you wrote, I can tell that your ideal girlfriend will be expected to bow down to you, fan you when you are hot, and feed you grapes. She would give you endless blowjobs, and look like the perfect ten (both with clothing and without) for you at all times so you can always be turned on. This girl will put up with your stupid and drunken frat boy antics, and let you run the show. She will shut up and not talk to you about anything meaningful, because God forbid if she ever disturbed your drunken existence with a thought that isn’t about how to do you better. And, she will be hairless, and pass the expectations that you set for her appearance.

Basically, you want to be treated like a king, and your partner is going to be the peasant.

But, what really bothers me is the amount of double standards you mention throughout the article. You are allowed to have sex with all of the partners that you want, however, you expect that a woman should not. The only time that she should do anything slutty would be in your presence. You expect that a woman should always be a size zero, but you will drink so much beer that you will have a beer gut. And, you say ‘you’re not my mother,’ yet you then go on to ask that she takes care of you whenever your dumb ass has too much to drink.

I don’t think you want a girlfriend. I think you want a Barbie doll, someone without any original thought, and whose only focus is to maintain a perfect body and appearance – in addition, to pleasing you sexually.

Reading your list honestly scares me. It frightens me that there are guys out there with that exact mindset. If every guy out there was like you, I could only predict mayhem for this country. And, the sense of entitlement – that you deserve to get whatever you want and whoever you want – scares me the most. When a woman says no, it wouldn’t mean stop – it would mean yield and keep going. Women deserve to be treated with respect, and I would like to know where you got the notions that they should be treated otherwise. Here’s some advice for you, bro — treat your girlfriend like you would treat your mother. Because, chances are you wouldn’t talk or expect others to treat your mother like that.

To be honest, you sound like a creep, jerk, and a pervert. So, please take your oversized pick up truck (which I’m sure is to compensate your lack of something else . . . you know what I mean), and go learn a thing or two about how to treat a woman. Chances are, until you do, you’ll end up drunk and alone every weekend and live a life without meaning. And, if that appeals to you, then good luck with that.

positive thinking

In Bloom

“Some kind of magic happens late at night

When the moon smiles down at me, and bathes me in its light”

Brand New Day, Josh Radin

Lately, I have been obsessed with the song Brand New Day by Josh Radin. I first heard the song when a friend from high school sent it to me to soothe me after a breakup with my first boyfriend, but lately it has held a new meaning to me.

As the April showers begin to clear up, it seems almost as if everything is brand new. It seems as if there is an endless plethora of new opportunities, all within reach. The mistakes from winter seem to be washed away, and all that is left is just sunshine and beautiful flowers.

I feel almost as if this season is a brand new day for me. For the first time in God knows how long, I truly feel as if I will be okay. I am peace with what happened in the past, and plan to leave it in the past. Now, I am ready to look and move forward. I am ready to seize every opportunity that I possibly can, and to look at the new ones that I am so lucky to have with a new lense. The world is my oyster; I am ready to take the pearl.

So, in some senses, I am in bloom like the flowers outside. I am done hiding the weight of my mistakes, broken hearts, and anxiety. I am ready to leave that behind for the beauty of a new tomorrow. And to quote the song once more, for the first time, in such a long time, I know I will be okay.

And, that my friends, is such an awesome feeling.

Raise your latte cups and let’s celebrate new beginnings. Let’s embrace every opportunity that comes our way, and let’s try to have a clean slate. For some, this may be just a celebrating a new season. For others, it may be more literal, as you graduate and begin a new chapter. Either way, you too will be okay.

You too, will be in bloom.

Uncategorized

Defending My State University Education

For four and a half years, I have called Southern Connecticut State University my home. During that time, I blossomed and grew into the woman that I am today. I learned many different things, both in and out the classroom. And, I met some awesome people along the way. All of that – good stuff.

One of the benefits of attending a state university is its affordability. Thanks to my decision to attend a state college, my tuition was a fraction of what it would have been if I attended the neighboring universities, such as Quinnipiac University, Albertus Magnus College and the University of New Haven. I also commuted for my entire college career, which cut my expenses even further.

I did get a lot of bang for my buck. Each and every one of the 124 credits I took were both interesting and challenging, with maybe the exception of alegebra. I also got to take some fun classes, such as jewelry and metals, and a class that took field trips to the beach.

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A shot I took of the SCSU Science Building in fall 2015.

And, as for my major, it is safe to say that I have been challenged. I was lucky to have a team of talented professors to steer me into the right direction as a writer and a journalist. Thanks to them, I was able to gain the skills to navigate the world of journalist. After all, I was able to get a job right before I even graduated. That would not even have been possible if it weren’t for those professors.

With that being said, my status as a commuter didn’t exactly make my college experience peachy keen. For about the first year, I absolutely hated it, and wanted to transfer to a smaller campus. As a commuter, especially as a commuter who didn’t have her license for the first half, it was nearly impossible to make friends. It wasn’t until I began to work on campus and joined clubs such as the Student Newspaper, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society that I truly felt like Southern was my campus. Because of my involvement, I was exposed to new opportunities, and people that have become a part of my college experience.

I am not writing this as someone who wants to convince and sell the state universities to you. However, it does bother me when people say that state universities are worse than private ones. No, it’s not Yale. However, college is what you make it no matter where you go. So, don’t knock the state university until you truly take a look at it, because it offers the same experience as others. And, with less debt.

That is why I’ll proudly say to whoever asks (or listens) that I am proud to be a Southern Owl.

Relationships

A Note To My Future Boyfriend

Last week, I read this wonderful article on the Odyssey called “To My Future Girlfriend.”Reading that article inspired me to write my own verision of that article. 

Dear Whatever Your Name Is,

I want you to know that I am looking forward to the day we meet, if we haven’t met already. Despite whether or not we are in each others’ lives, I genuinely hope that you are doing well. And if you’re not, I hope that you get to a point where you are.

I am interested in learning how we meet – whether it may be online (as many relationships nowadays consist of people who met online), at a library, through work, coffee shop, grad school or through an event that we both attend. I am looking forward to getting to know you as well. I am looking forward to long conversations, easy laughter, and learning your story and who you are as a person. I am looking forward to smiling like a complete moron, just because I am your girlfriend and you make me laugh like a hyena.

I can’t wait to sit across from you in coffee shops and drink fancy lattes, share meals with you that come with a side dish of easy conversation, and sharing events together such as concerts and parties. Despite the fact that I am eager to share these things with you, I am patient enough to realize that they will come at their own time. Until then, I’ll be able to do those things on my own or in the company of friends. I also want you to know that I am so incredibly lucky to have you in my life, even if I don’t verbalize it often. You are awesome. After all, that is the very reason why I chose to date you, a decision that I will never look back from.

With that being said, I want you to know that I come with my own set of baggage filled with rocks, and scars that grow faint every single day. Those scars, though, still handicap me. I promise to share how I got them with you, and despite their existence, will not let that be a roadblock in our relationship. It may cause me to show hesitation in our relationship, and for that I am sorry. But, I am working on not letting them prohibit me from living my daily life, and hope that you help me grow so we can overcome them together.

In the event we break up, which let’s face it might happen, I want you to know that I can live without you. I promise not to bash you on social media and on my blog, even if you did something shady. I also will cherish the time that we did spend together and respect you, because while our relationship did not last forever, it still existed. It may hurt and take time, but I will move on from that. I will grow stronger from it, because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

But, no matter what, I want you to know one thing. I am really looking forward to being in your life, whether it may be long or short term. And until we actually meet, this is probably the last time we’ll speak. So, until then, take it easy.
With love,

Natalie

positive thinking

Make It Happen

My biggest pet peeve is when someone talks about something they are unhappy about in their life that they have the power to change, or make better. This may be in any aspect of life, from where you work, your state of mind to relationships. Chances are, there is something you can do to alleviate that stress or change it. It starts with you.

Throughout my life, I’ve had many shitty things happen to me. To top that off, I also have anxiety. These things were definitely roadblocks in the road to my happiness. Thanks to my therapist and Jen Sincero (the author of You Are a Badassgreat read by the way), I have learned just because I have anxiety doesn’t mean that I can’t change or control what is bringing me down.

Whenever I want something – from a job to a boyfriend to an outcome – I ask myself what can I do to get there? I then ask myself what steps I can take to get there.

For example, I want to write a novel — a daunting task. To get the outcome I want – a completed novel – I ask myself what I can do to get it done. I can do NanoWriMo. I can write a chapter a day/week. I can schedule a dedicated writing time, and progress further and further. I have options. I have a plan.

By having a plan is the first step to completing that lofty goal.

This isn’t the only aspect of life that you can apply this mindset to. I have anxiety, which causes a lot of unhappiness. With anxiety, you have two different options. You can either just accept panic attacks as a reality, or you can do what you can to change them. This same philosophy applies to when you are dealing with an awful situation, whether it may be dissatisfaction in a job. You can change it by finding a new one, or doing whatever you can to change the circumstances.

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You have the power to change that. It’s up to you.

No matter what you want in life, there’s always a way to change it. You just have got to figure out the steps to get there. And, then you do them.

As the weekend commences, think about what outcome or goal you want to get to. Then, think about what you can do to get there. It may be writing a few pages a day to get that novel done. It may be learning to see the good in everyday to make it stand up against the bad. It may be immersing yourself in getting back out there to meet new people.  If you want to go to France, ask yourself how am I going to get to France. Whatever outcome you want, you can make happen.

So, my concluding question is: what’s stopping you?

Uncategorized

Life, Post Lent

It has been three days since Easter came and went. My fridge is stocked full of all kinds of Easter treats, but that’s not the only thing the bunny was able to bring. Easter marks the end of Lent, which in turn means that I am now able to buy books once again.

Post Lent Splurge

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Taken from my trip to Books and Co., located in Hamden, CT.

Yesterday, I decided to treat myself by finally buying some books that I had my eye on for a while. For Easter, I not only got a book from my mom – Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – but a Barnes and Noble gift card as well. Score.

I was originally intending to go to the bookstore to pick up some books. After all, there’s no better experience than actually going to the store to pick out some books. However, my plans quickly changed when I noticed that books were significantly cheaper online, and there was a 10 percent off your entire purchase coupon. I decided to change my plans and just get them online.
Best decision ever. I ended up getting five books – the first two books in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, the Infinite Sea, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, and This is What Happy Looks Like. The price? $33 for all five.

But, I didn’t stop there.

I still craved to go to a bookstore. So, I went to Books and Company, a used bookstore not too far from my house. The books are half off list price. And, to top that off, I had some trade credit. I bought three more books for less then $10 – Speak, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and Something, Maybe.

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My loot from Books and Company!

It’s safe to say that I have a lot of reading to do. But, I am looking forward to reading each new book.

Reflection

It has been a long 40 days, but I was able to get through it. I only managed to slip up twice: Saint Patrick’s Day, and a week before Good Friday. Even though it does count against me, I’d like to think that I still made progress in kicking my book addiction. I managed to read 11 books in that 40 day time period, and am currently reading The Fifth Wave. Of those books, eight of them have been sitting on my shelf for years.

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The book from my last ‘cheat day’!

I also was able to figure out what books I wanted to part with, and ended up making room for some new books.

Not buying books for a period of time helped me realize just how much money I was spending on them. Sure, I could use the library. However, there’s something about owning my own books. I like having the option to read them again and again and my leisure.

However, I do realize that there comes a point where I should think before I buy them. That is something that I should apply to every time I buy anything, but I would buy a book every time Barnes and Noble offered a coupon or sale. Sure, I would read them. But, I would neglect the books that have been sitting around my house for years. And, that’s not good either.

From now on, I will try to read as many as I can — before being tempted to buy more. On average, I read about 1-2 books a week. Sometimes, I read books in a day. Sometimes, it takes me ten days to go through a book. With that being said, I want to be more mindful of what I haven’t read, before I add to the pile.

Overall, this exercise served its purpose – I managed to knock some of my books off of the to read list, and I was able to save some money. I am so proud of myself because of that, and so excited to get some new books.

Total books read: 11

Books: The Bermudez Triangle, Queen of Shadows, Charlotte’s Web, Career of Evil, Audrey Wait!, Beautiful Creatures, Between the Lines, The Magnolia Story, Fairest, Home to Italy and Killing Monica.

Mindfulness

The Importance of Enjoying Life

Recently, I read the book Home to Italy by Peter Pezzelli. As I was reading it, it got me thinking about something.

From what the book said, life seemed completely different then it is in the U.S. Every afternoon, the entire town shuts down for a while to rest and eat lunch. Here in America, some don’t even take their 30 minutes for lunch.

Which one of us has it right?

Here in Connecticut, we’ve had some unbelievable weather with the sun finally sticking its head out of the clouds, and temperatures souring into the 80s. I began to develop a severe case of spring fever. Therefore, I flocked to every local park to enjoy every blissful ray of sunshine that I could.

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Wharton Brook State Park in North Haven, Conn. — what a lovely lake!

During one of my walks, I realized something. For about three years, I was completely engrossed in two things – work and school. Those two things took over my life, and resulted in a completely stressed out college student. I never did anything for the fun of it. I did things to add onto my resume.

As I head into this new phase in my life – where I would be essentially figuring out my next place in this world – I want to spend every second I can enjoying the beauty that life allows us to. I mentioned this earlier on, when I wrote the post The Little Things. But, why can’t we incorporate those mindsets in our daily lives?

I think we need to take a page in Italy’s book. Life is too short to live in a cycle that consists of work and education. There is so much true beauty in the world, beauty that can be overlooked. By doing this, it will help us become happier beings, and more holistic beings. This in turn will keep us from burning out.

How can we do it?

Start by taking breaks. Take your lunch break, and if it’s nice out, spend sometime outside. Schedule time where you do something fun. Rest when your body tells you to. Schedule a vacation so that you can decompress.

And last but not least – balance. Balance, my friends is the key to life.

mental health

Why 13 Reasons Why Should Be Integrated in High School Curriculums

Online bullying, finding out your sexuality, betrayal from friends, suicide, depression, and slut-shaming are some of the issues that were portrayed in the novel turned Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. These are also issues that many high school across America face as well, which is why the novel 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher should be introduced in high school English curriculums.

I’m not saying throw Dickens and To Kill a Mockingbird out the window, as those books are classics. But adding this book along side them offers teens a chance to talk about suicide and bullying. According to Teen Suicide Statistics, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young adults, and is 100 percent preventable — if you recognize the signs. This book allows exactly that.

By introducing it in the classrooms, it opens up a forum to talk about these issues as it pertains to them. Many can relate to what Hannah Baker went through. According to Bullying Statistics, 30 percent of teens are bullied in the U.S. And, teens don’t escape that bullying once they leave school for the day. Thanks to social media, it’s easy for a kid to be bullied 24/7, from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep. Therefore, now more than ever, it’s important to recognize the signs and become aware of the effects of bullying, as suicide is one.

It also helps them become aware of the signs of suicide. This awareness can then help kids notice the signs if they notice a classmate struggling with them, which will in turn help them intervene. Sure, they can Google them. However, I think we should put them in the curriculum for kids to really hammer it in. This message is a bit too important not to.

Hannah Baker was the scapegoat among her classmates. She was betrayed by someone that she thought was her friend and by a guy that she thought she loved. She even reached out to someone, who told her to suck it up.

While Hannah is a fictional character, there are many others who deal with what Hannah did. Bullying is real. Slut shaming is real. And, supposed jokes can hurt. By witnessing what can happen by those words that one thought was a joke can prevent something as tragic as what happened to Hannah.

Integrating this book into the modern high school curriculum may not be the answer to ending teen suicide. With that being said, it does allow it to be brought to the table in a way that teens can relate to it. It gets them talking. And, that is a start.

Body Positivity

Ignore The Numbers

When it comes to your body, it seems that everything is measured in numbers – how much you weigh, how many calories you burn or consume, and what your pants size is. By using numbers as a method of comparison, it is easy for those to compare their numbers to others.

There is so much self-hatred when it comes to our bodies. When a friend says “oh, I’m fat, because I haven’t hit the gym in a while,” we are quick to contradict them. When we are in the mirror, we begin to notice our own faults, and tell ourselves that we need to hit the ice cream parlor less, and the gym more. Every single bulge and imperfection is something that should be taken care of.

I think we need to translate the words that we tell our friends into a language that we speak to ourselves. Our bodies aren’t perfect. If each and every one of us had a perfect body, then we would be the same.

So, my question is this: Why are we trying to mold ourselves into perfection? Instead, we should fall head over heels in love with the person that we are versus the person we think we should be. We should fall in love with being healthy and treating ourselves correctly, versus beating ourselves up for every single calorie that we didn’t burn at the gym or getting fries instead of a salad with a meal just that once.

Bodies come in all shapes in sizes, and that’s okay. I think as long as we eat everything in moderation, and exercise regularly, than that’s all that matters. If you want to lose weight, do it for your health — not because you want to fit in a size zero.

Instead, focus on how you feel – not on the sizes and the numbers. Eat a cupcake, run a mile – do whatever you need to do to feel both happy and healthy. And remember this: you are wonderful, no matter what size you are. Learn to love who you are, and what you look like. Why? Because you are pretty damn beautiful. And don’t you forget it.

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Why I Refuse To Be A Victim

Raise your hands if you’ve ever been broken up with or suffered the cruel effects of heartbreak. Okay, now keep them up if you met someone new, but still nursed the effects of a broken heart – and, as a result, caused you to keep them at a safe distance away.

Relationships – and life in general – can deal you a bad hand on occasion. Sometimes, you are dealt with something like a bad breakup, anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, physical health issues, and so on. These circumstances can cause you to claim one specific title – the victim.

You see, there are two types of people in any given situation – the people who do something to hurt or offend the other and the person who gets hurt. With that being said, there are plenty of situations where this doesn’t apply such as anxiety or depression.

When going through something traumatic no matter what it may be, you have to stop what you are doing to tend to those wounds, both physical and mental. Otherwise, it will build up to a boulder that can knock you down permanently. But, once the feelings have been felt and the scars begin to fade, the title of the victim should as well. It’s not easy, but with persistence and a few stumbles, eventually you’ll be as good as new.

I know so many people – myself included – that keep perfectly nice people at bay because they are afraid of what happened to them occurring again. Eventually, though, you’ve got to stop playing the victim. You have got to stop letting the scars and minor pain from long ago cloud how you approach current situations.

Today, I am going to do just that. Sure, I have had my share of pain, broken hearts, and shitty situations. But, I am no longer interested in using it as a shield to keep love from pouring in. Instead, I am ready to drop that title, and make it less significant. I want to let that love that I so rightfully deserve into my life and heart. Yes, I have anxiety about it (both literally as a person with anxiety and having anxiety about doing so), but allowing myself to run away from a situation simply because I am not ready to let love in due to fear is no longer an option.

So, I am not a victim. I no longer will allow myself to hide behind the title’s crown. Instead, I am a survivor. And, I am not going to let anything – my past, my anxiety, or anything else for that matter – get in my way. Why? Because, I deserve it. I deserve to feel love, and playing the victim won’t get me there.

And so, let’s try to stumble out from what hurt us and look at the world with fresh eyes. By allowing it to keep us down only does one thing — let it win. And, screw it, I deserve to win. Not my broken heart. Not the person who caused it. Not my anxiety. Nothing will get in my way from being happy.