Book Reviews, Uncategorized

You Are A Badass Book Review

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One of the reasons why I love reading so much is because books truly have the impact to change your life. This is why You are a Bad Ass by Jen Sincero is one of my favorite books.

The book is not your mother’s self help book, and is truly unlike any other. It approaches the topic of changing your life and giving you the momentum to actually go out there and do it. Sincero approaches each with of the 27 chapters with wit and is extremely entertaining. In fact, one of the chapters is called “Your Brain is Your Bitch.” Take that, Freud.

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What I like most about this book is that it reminds you that you have the tools to change your life, and that it is up to you to change the way you think to get change. The attitude of being a bad-ass is something that you can bleed into your daily life – whether it may be doing something because you want to, or deserve it, or going for things because you want to. She also prompts you to stop thinking about doing something, and start doing it. Being a badass means forgoing any feedback from others, and doing things your way. This is something each and every one of us could use more of.

Furthermore, this book also talks about going out of your comfort zone, and trying something that you always wanted to try for the hell of it, whether it may be sky diving or taking an art class. By doing things for the hell of it, Sincero stated that you learn to enjoy life, and it’s worth it.

However, what is unique about this book is how Sincero ends each chapter with two simple words – love yourself. Two simple words that truly have an impact on a reader who may need to hear them during a time of turbulence.

A little background information about my relationship with this book: it was actually recommended to me by my therapist. Since I read it back in September, my attitude towards life has done a complete 180. For example, when something in my life isn’t working – a relationship, job, for instance – I refocus my energies to figure out why that is and what can I do to find a resolution. Sincero writes that when you don’t you allow others (and yourself) to feel sorry for you. But, instead of allowing that to happen, you get out and do something about it, thus allowing change in.

Because of reading this book, I was able to have the attitude to go out and get what I want, and that I actually deserve it. Why, you may ask? Because I am truly a badass, and completely worth it.

Reading this book made me want to kick ass and get off of mine to do something about my life. With that being said, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to change their life or is unhappy with it. Why? Because you too, are a badass.

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Why I Deleted My Tinder

Recently, I woke up and decided to delete my dating profiles.

No, I didn’t meet some prince charming, although I got the numbers of a few prospective princes before deleting the apps.

The decision to delete them had very little to do with the outer world, and every bit to do with me.

You see, every day, I would go onto those apps and spend at least an hour of my time looking for a guy. Actually, looking is a mild way to put it. When I first downloaded the apps back in September, it was similar to when I went to three bookstores desperately searching for a copy of the Handmaid’s Tale. I was obsessed with going out with someone, and finding a boyfriend. It was quite unhealthy.

That attitude lasted for about a week and a half. Over time, my interest in the app waned to the point where I only checked it whenever someone of interest would message me. Going on these apps were exhausting! Swipe left, swipe right! I was tired of the endless amounts of let’s have casual sex messages, or the guy who couldn’t get the picture that I wasn’t interested in even talking to him. I was tired of having the

So, last week, I deleted every one of my apps. And it felt pretty great.

At the end of the day, I realized that I don’t want to be the girl who is so caught up with looking for a guy that once she finds him, she loses herself. I want to have solid, concrete interests, as well as opinions. I want to be able to say that I had more going for me then just being on a dating app.

Who knows? Maybe one day I will be back on the app for the fun of it. But, in the meantime, I want to enjoy life without the constant swiping. With that being said, whenever I do meet someone – online or offline – I want to do it simply because I want to get to know them or enjoy their company. Not because I feel like I just have to have a boyfriend.

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Happy Mother’s Day

My mom and I at my college graduation, December 2016.

For those who may not know, I was raised by a single mother. My father left my mother when I was two and a half, and never had much involvement in my life since.

But today’s post isn’t about that.

The best media comparison I can give you to what my life was like having a single mom is the relationship between Lorelei and Rory Gilmore, in Gilmore Girls. Of course, instead of being 16 years older, my mom was 33 years older.

But, what the cameras don’t show is the struggles that my mother went through.  Truth be told, I can never fathom what it was like for my mom to go through all that she did — a nasty divorce, taking care of a constantly sick daughter and maintaining a household on a single paycheck.

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Mom and grandma, circa 1994.

But, somehow she did. And, she did it with strength, class, dignity, and grace — and was able to raise a child in the process. That is why my mother is my hero.

Sure, there are times that my mother and I do not see eye to eye about things — but then again, in every relationship, that happens. With that being said, at the end of the day, I do know that my number one cheerleader is my mom. She read nearly every article that I’ve written since my high school newspaper days. She sat in every high school performance that I had, attended as many badminton games as she could, bawled her eyes out at my high school (and college) graduations, and helped me edit articles.

So thank you, Mom. Thank you for putting me through four and half years of college so I could be debt-free. Thank you for reading every article, even though you didn’t understand them. Thank you for buying me books, and feeding my love for the written word. Thank you for raising me all by yourself, and giving me the best that you can give. Thank you for sitting through boring high school concerts, and for helping me get through a rocky couple of months.

Thank you for being my mom. 

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

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Oh, The Places You Will Go!

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Myself with a baby goat named Disel! 

I declared a major in journalism in my sophomore year of college, but I knew I wanted to pursue a career in writing ever since I was younger. When I was growing up, I would write newspapers that detailed the happenings of my stuffed animals. In high school, I wrote a blog that was basically a diary where my friends read my innermost thoughts.

However, I didn’t declare a major in journalism, not at first anyways. When I first entered college, I actually was a psychology major and wanted to be a social worker. Once I took the classes, however, I realized that psychology wasn’t the career for me. It was time to the drawing board, where I constantly questioned what am I going to do with the rest of my life?

The answer came to me one day in journalism class. We were watching a documentary about George Seldes, a journalist who was dedicated to delivering fact based journalism without bias. I remember watching that, and thinking I want to do that!

I soon began to chase that dream of becoming a journalist by becoming a regular contributor of the Southern News Opinions section, where I would become the editor. Contributing my opinions on whatever matter I wanted was the beginning of everything falling into place. I thrived whenever I got behind the computer to write my stories, and developed a thick clip pile.

After leaving Southern News in May of my junior year, I became a Staff Writer and Copy Editor for the Hamden Journal before leaving to focus on my final semester last fall. Recently, I began to contribute to the Quinnipiac Valley Times as a reporter, and have taken to the position like a duck to water.

While my career has had both highs and lows, my passion for being a reporter never seemed to go away. And believe me, there were a lot of lows. Since I worked three jobs during my undergraduate career, I was always overwhelmed and unhappy. When graduation was rolling across the corner, I doubted whether or not it would be possible for me to have a job. (Luckily, I did find one in communications, before figuring out that communications wasn’t the right career for me.)

Even though I did have my doubts on whether or not I wanted to be a journalist, my passion will always and forever outnumber it. When I go out to cover a story – from interviewing someone for a profile, town meeting, or concert – I always come back feeling energized, and walking on sunshine.

Why? Because, I am in love with it.

I love talking to people. I love listening to their stories. I love learning more about something that I may not have previously known much about. I love hearing what makes someone passionate. I even love learning about what is next for the town in terms of policies.

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Backstage with the Hamden Arts Commission and Kansas, July 2015.

But, what I love most is the places that I’ve had the opportunity to go to throughout my career. When I was a staff reporter for the Hamden Journal, I got the opportunity to go backstage during a Kansas concert to meet the band and interview them. Recently, I got to hold a goat at a local farm that employs people with special needs. In addition, while at Southern, I was able to attend conferences in Los Angeles and in Disney World to network and obtain new skills.

I don’t know where I am headed next in the writing realm (I currently work at a radio station), but I am not worried. With every story, I fall more and more in love with what I do, and the opportunities that I have to do it. With that love and passion, as well as a stubborn streak to seize every opportunity that comes my way, I believe that I will be just fine.

So, while this is only the beginning of my journey, I am so excited to figure out some of the places that I will be going to next.

Relationships

What’s In a Label?

Define the Relationship (DTR): When two people discuss their mutual understanding of a romantic relationship.

Source: Urban Dictionary 

Nowadays, there are so many labels to a relationship – boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, friends with benefit – that it can make anyone’s head spin. With every relationship, comes two things – commitment and mutual understanding.

I began to think about the concept of dating, relationships, and the ultimate label that every girl that I know craves – boyfriend.

But, my question is, what does it mean to have a boyfriend?

When someone is in a boyfriend/girlfriend/or in a relationship that is similar, both parties agree to a monogamous relationship and have a mutual understanding of such. They are committed to being with each other solely for the time being. There is also a mutual love and attraction shared between the two parties, and thus, both a committed to giving it the proper nutrition for it to grow.

When someone is in this sort of committed relationship, I believe that there is a lot of communication that occurs. For example, asking your partner some of these questions — what makes you happy? What can I do to make you happy? What is something that may otherwise prevent you from having a relationship, such as divorced parents or a terrible relationship? – are some that often occurs. When you do something that hurts the person that you are with, what is something that you can do to help mend that hurt? Basically, there’s a lot of talking.

I recently began to think about what it means to have a boyfriend, and the whole meaning behind the word. In our society, there is a huge pairing between the words ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ and ‘commitment,’ as the connotation of having a boyfriend is loyalty. By having a boyfriend, you are committed, and there’s no other ways around that.

However, I began to question the label and the importance that we stress upon it. There are so many people out there – on dating apps, friends, etc. – who desperately search for a boyfriend/girlfriend as if they were lost in the desert without food. While to each their own, I think that by looking for only that limits your sight, and speeds things up. Having the relationship that you crave requires time, love and tenderness, and does not happen overnight people. You need to get to know your potential partner before slapping a label on it.

My personal conclusion on the label is that it shouldn’t matter, and should not be the central focus on a relationship. Call me a hippie or someone that simply wants to have a relationship that has a recipe set up for disaster. But, hear me out for a second.

As I mentioned a moment ago, slapping a label on the relationship too soon causes both parties to feel pressured. The movies, at least the ones that I watch, often portray relationships as whirlwind, and the couple often is together within the timeframe of the movie. That’s not how it works, sorry to say.

To fall in love with someone, you need to truly get to know someone – sexually, personally or both depending on your beliefs and comfort levels. I think each couple has to have deep conversations with that person, learn their ins and out, and just spend sometime together in that regard – without worrying about the l word.

But, but, but, what about the commitment factor?

I think by my description of a healthy relationship, that the label will come naturally — when each party is ready for that commitment.

And, when the relationship reaches that stage, it will thus be strong and have the foundation to blossom into something bigger.

So, as many of you rush into a summer romance, I invite you to throw out the need for a definition of what the relationship is, and instead focus on the person and how you feel. Chances are, eventually, it will all fall into place.

 

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A Letter to Those About to Graduate

Take a moment. Breathe.

Yes, I know that life is stressful for you now, especially with finals and trying to figure out what the next chapter of your life will be. For some of you, it may be out to the workforce. For others, it’s grad school, law school or medical school. The opportunities are endless for you, even though you are overwhelmed by them.

I know that this is crazy, but try to push the thought of needing to know the next step out of your head. It’s easier said then done, but here’s the thing – you’re about the graduate college. Trust me when I say this, this is a really big deal. All of the stress, hard work, and sleepless nights are worth it. You’re about to become a college graduate.

Six months ago, I was in your shoes. I applied to jobs while balancing final papers and projects. However, while I was lucky to be offered a full time position the week before I graduate, I quickly learned it takes a while to find a job that works for you. So, don’t worry about not having a position as you walk the stage. As cliché as it sounds, everything happens for a reason, and you’ll walk the path that was carved out solely for you.

In the meantime, just enjoy the last wave of college. Enjoy every last second of having your friends with you down the hall or in the same place, because once you walk the stage, it’s going to be hard to see those faces again. Cherish every moment and celebrate every ‘last.’ If you don’t, then you’ll easily let those moments go and you can’t get them back. Photograph every second, and soak in the emotion of the day, because it’s over just as fast as it came.

And yes, you’re going to make mistakes. Yes, it’s going to take some time to get used to the very fact that you’re not a student anymore – believe it or not, it’s going to take some time to adjust. That’s perfectly okay. Chances are, it took some time to adjust to being a college student. But, as you got through that change, you’ll get through this one.

Lastly, congratulations. This is your time. This is your day. You deserve to celebrate every moment of it, because you did it. You survived college. Not many people can pull that one off.

I’m going to leave you with a quote from Monica from Friends: “Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re going to love it.”

Congratulations class of 2017!

anxiety, mental health, Mental Illness Awareness Month, Mindfulness

11 Mantras Everyone With a Mental Illness Needs to Hear

Having a mental illness – or even just going through a rough time – can be the most isolating thing on the planet. It is like you are in a downwards spiral, and have no way out of it.

With that being said, it’s hard to think that there will be an end to the suffering and the pain that you are dealing with. So, I’ve decided to provide a list of mantras for those who are going through a mental illness or a rough time to serve as reminders that you truly can get through it.

  1. I am worth it.
  2. I can beat this.
  3. I am worthy of love.
  4. I am strong.
  5. I am beautiful.
  6. Everything is going to be okay.
  7. I am loved.
  8. It is okay not to be okay.
  9. I am going to get through this.
  10. My best is good enough.
  11. I am good enough.
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A Thank You Letter to All of My Teachers

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and I wanted to take the time to say thank you for all that you’ve done for me.

Thanks to you, I know am enriched with the beauty of knowledge. Thank you to my elementary school teachers for teaching me to appreciate the adventures between the pages of great books. Thank you to my music and art teachers for helping me figure out that I lack artistic/musical talent, and to help give me an appreciation for those who do. Thank you to my history teachers for learning the important dates and events that helped shape our country to be where it is today. And lastly, thank you to my college professors who gave me the foundations to obtain the skills to progress my career and make my dreams come true.

No matter what stage of my career as a student we’ve crossed paths, you’ve given me the nutrients and the water to help me blossom. Thanks to your involvement in my learning experience, I now have an appreciation for the value of a holistic education. Being in your classroom has not only taught me the skills I need – it also taught me what I needed to know to improve them.

I may be done with school for the time being, however, I still possess a hunger for learning. This is why I tear through novels day in and day out, and pay attention to the news as much as possible. I believe that all began while sitting at a desk in your classroom.

I probably didn’t thank you when you were a part of my life, so I am going to take the time to do so now. Thank you. Thank you for helping me get something so much more out of something than the basics. Thank you for never giving up on me when I struggled to understand the formulas for algebra. Thank you for helping me appreciate the combination of beautiful prose written by many of the great writers, and for the curiosity to look for the meaning behind them. Thank you for critiquing me to become a stronger writer.

But, most of all, thank you for being my teacher. I am proud to call myself one of your former students.

anxiety, mental health, Mental Illness Awareness Month, Relationships, Uncategorized

Not Tonight Dear, I Am Having A Panic Attack: Anxiety and Dating

As a person with anxiety, it is safe to say it has had an impact on my relationships. When I was in my previous relationship, it was when my anxiety was in full swing, and panic attacks were a regular occurrence. However, I was really lucky to have a boyfriend who was supportive and did whatever he could to help me with dealing with it.

While I am lucky to have minor anxiety now, it still exists. I am unsure how anxiety will play out in my next relationship. But, I learned enough about it over the years to give advice to couples that may have to deal with anxiety.

Note: While this post mainly talks about anxiety, these tips pertain to all mental illnesses, from eating disorders to depression.

Talk it Out

With all relationships, you need to communicate, as communication is key. When it comes to my anxiety, I pretty much am an open book and am completely honest with my partner, or a potential one. If not, then you are putting on a façade of someone you may not actually be. Since my anxiety is a part of me, I like to take the time to have a thoughtful conversation about it with my partner. In that conversation, we’ll discuss things such as what makes me anxious? What are my triggers? What is my role in this anxiety thing, and what can I do to help?

One thing that my former partner and I did was go to therapy together to have an open space to discuss anxiety. I believe that it was a helpful thing for us to do, because it induced productive and effective conversation, and is a worthwhile option for those who are willing. However, therapy is a private thing – meant only for the indexed individual. So, if you don’t want to have your partner sits in on a session, then that’s okay too.

Be Supportive

With that being said, always do what you can to show your support for them and their journey. This can be something as simple as hugging your partner while they hit a low, asking them about their therapy session, or just reminding them that you’re here for them.

While the ideal partner is always supportive, it is especially important for when your partner has a mental illness.

It’s Not One-Sided

Sometimes, sadly, a relationship can be consumed with anxiety. It can be overwhelming for anyone to deal with anxiety, especially the loved ones of that person – I am not going to lie. However, it is important to remember that your partner does care about you as well, and wants you to take the time that you need for yourself.

While it is up to you how you prioritize how you divide your time, it can be overwhelming when you constantly feel like you are on call for your partner. Newsflash, you are not a doctor. So, Be sure that you take care of yourself. Play your video games, go for that run, or do whatever it is you do for fun.
In addition to that, do not be afraid to be honest with your partner. If you feel overwhelmed, tell them. I definitely understand, and to be honest, I would want my boyfriend to tell me how he’s feeling.

Just Be There

Sometimes, all we need is a hug and someone to tell us that everything is going to be okay when the world feels like it’s crashing down on you. You may have to do this a lot sometimes, but trust me, it does not go unappreciated.

Be Understanding

You might not understand what a panic attack feels like, or the effect it has on the person going through one until you see your partner stare off into space while kissing you because they are scared and feel unsafe. This is especially true if you yourself have never dealt with anxiety. However, all you can do is just understand and be patient. And, if this does happen to you, kiss their forehead and remind them that it will truly be alright.

Remember They Are More Than Their Anxiety

I am much more than my anxiety. I am a writer, a photographer, a person, a bookworm, and so much more. Mental illness, especially the label, does not define the patient. Remember that they are much more than that, and they too are human. So, whatever you do, be sure to remember that there is more to them.

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A Letter To Those Who Doubted Me

Dear all,

Guess what? You didn’t break me. You didn’t cause me to stop trying, to stop shooting for the stars, and to reach my goals. You may have inflicted doubt on me, which caused me to believe that I am incapable of reaching my goals, but despite your attempts, I will never give up.

You tried to bring me down. And, you may have caused me to spend some time feeling sorry for myself, and wallowing in self-pity with some Netflix and some cookies.

But, that isn’t going to happen anymore.

So, to the boy that broke my heart, guess what I still believe that I am worthy of love, and that I will find an amazing partner. To the professor who said that I wasn’t a good writer, guess who is making a living as one. To the boss whose words cut me down with their doubts, guess who is making strides to being a journalist.

That’s right – me.

You all were just roadblocks in my success. And, when I do reach that point, I promise to be as obnoxious about it as humanly possible. Because, despite what you may have done or said, I am still going to shine.

So, thank you for breaking my heart, for telling me that I am not good enough, and for doubting me. Because of your doubt, the pain that you caused, and the amount of times that you said that I couldn’t do anything, you made me want to get to the top that much more. And, once I get there, I will appreciate it that much more.

I’m going to prove you wrong – just you see.