You Do It To Yourself | RANT

So, you just got hurt again. You are torn, and all you can think is “why do I have such bad luck?” Then, you blame the people you associated yourself with for hurting you and praise yourself for recognizing how toxic they were and cutting them from your life. Most people would give you sympathy, but I cannot help but think, “how many times do you have to learn the same lesson to get it?”

Of course, you have to make mistakes so that you can learn from them. But if you never learn from your mistake, you will keep making the same mistake over and over–and it does not help when you do not take responsibility for your mistake, either!

I am writing about this topic because I see it everywhere and I am sick of it. I want to help people stop making the same mistake, so if this situation applies to you, get ready for some straight-forward, hard-to-hear advice:

There is no “everything happens for a reason” trash. If you genuinely believe that everything happens for a reason, you are naive. There are unexplained traumatic events that you will experience, and telling yourself it happened for a reason is only going to cause you to avoid the real pain and other emotions you are experiencing. You will never move past your mistake by thinking you had nothing to do with it and then moving on. Face it once and take precautions so that it does not happen again.

“Do not try to grow up too fast because you do not want to grow up“–why? People say this all the time. I do not get it. I understand the first part, about living in the moment by enjoying the age you are now; what I do not understand is why people look negatively upon growing up. Are you so lazy that working to pay bills and taking initiative to create a social life for yourself is not worth the independence, leisure, and responsibility that comes with being an adult? Being grown up does not mean you are stressed and drink all the time and blah blah blah. If the life you are living does not satisfy you, change it. Stop freaking kids out about getting older. 

You do not have bad luck with friends; you choose the same bad people to make friends with. I heavily recommend daily self-reflection. Sometimes you do have bad luck, but a lot of the time, you bring it onto yourself. I had the same problem in elementary school and the beginning of middle school, but once I realized I have the power to choose friends who are positive influences on me, my life became much happier. I have never had problems with friends since. But, see, if I had waited for my friends to leave me and had not recognized the part I played in the relationship, I would have made new friends who were just as horrible or worse. I know it is hard to hear, but you have to take self-responsibility. If you think it would be helpful, give an objective source the details and ask him/her to give you his/her opinion. It can be beneficial to have an outside view when the inside view is blurred. However, whether or not you reach out to outside help, you have to be the one willing to be honest with yourself. Is this not your fault? Or is it? What went wrong? How can you fix it? Just make sure that after you get out of something bad, you figure out what to do to prevent the same bad situation from happening in the future. (Ex.s Do not be so quick to trust, create standards all your friends have to meet, etc.)

The fact that you read this whole post says a lot of good things about you. So go take initiative to improve your relationships!

Lessons I Learned From My Grandma

  1. It is healthy to poop at least once every day.
  2. If you drink water in sips, you will not have to pee.
  3. Always stir flour in with the mix before mixing in the mixer; otherwise flour will get flung all around the kitchen.
  4. When you are frustrated with your husband, call him a sleazebag–even though you have no idea what that means or where you got that word.
  5. Your riding boots should be somewhat roomy because feet swell in heat.
  6. It is possible to get sunburned through your jeans.
  7. Something even more sentimental than a greeting card is a handmade greeting card.
  8. Experiences are worth more than gifts.
  9. Get rid of your first pair of shoes and weight set you no longer use because your grandchildren will not want them. (Do not be a pack rat.)
  10. History is important because it defines the world today.
  11. Do not stop trying something new.
  12. You are never too old to ride a horse or ski down a mountain.
  13. Keep in touch with friends you make at all points of your life because relationships are important.
  14. Do not point out the obvious–it is annoying.
  15. The elderly tend to interpret play fighting as real fighting.
  16. Do not keep used tissues in your pockets–it is disgusting.
  17. If you physically can, exercise every day.
  18. Describing every detail of an event to someone will put him/her to sleep.
  19. Know your limits and do not ignore them.
  20. Do not stop living life until you no longer can.

Public Speaking Tips

1) Write bullet points or your entire full-sentence speech on index cards and have them with you while presenting (even if your teacher says not to).
Index cards are ESSENTIAL to presentations so that if you forget what you are going to say, you will have awkward silences or brain-farts in front of your audience. Write either bullet points–if you can glance at it and know exactly what you are going to say–or full sentences–if you have memorized your full speech. Just remember to know ahead of time what topics you want to cover. Remembering key words may be helpful so that you have a direction. And, in my opinion, you should still hold your index cards with you while you present even if your teacher tells you not to, because the whole point of the presentation is to get the information across to your audience–not to memorize and recite sentences. Trust me! No one wants to watch you stand there and contemplate what your next sentence is!
 
2) Practice.
The ideal situation is that you do not have to use your index cards–or that you use them a minimal amount of times. However, the only way to make that a reality (unless you happen to be talented at making things up on the spot) is to practice. If you cannot visualize the classroom and standing in front of the mirror weirds you out, try it out in front of your close friends or family members. Honestly, the more you prepare and the more you prepare in front of PEOPLE, the more prepared you will actually feel when you present in front of your audience.
3) Go to bed early the night before, drink lots of water, eat breakfast, dress up.
You need to feel happy and healthy when you are presenting to have the best experience possible, so take care of yourself. Get eight hours of sleep, drink water, eat well. If it is required, dress professionally. If not, dress in something appropriate (conservative or non-distracting, meaning no neons, patterns, etc.) that makes you feel good. I find that dressing “cute” when I feel blah makes me feel “cute” and puts me in a better mood.
 
Water
4) Look around the room; pick 3 points or people–I know it is hard but you look WAY more confident if you look up and around than looking down or at one spot.
When you look around while you are speaking, you appear to be talking TO people rather than just regurgitating memorized information. You will be much more interesting to watch this way too. Also, remember, that if you are thinking about what you are saying while you say it, making eye contact with people should not phase you because you are thinking about your speech and not about them.
 
5) Move your hands in a comfortable, natural manner and keep your knees bent. Avoid fidgeting.
This point is all about body language, which is the KEY to CONFIDENCE. Ask science. Even if you feel completely awkward, everyone else will think the opposite. (Trust me–I use this tip and even though presenting gives me anxiety, people always tell me I look comfortable.) There are many other tips than what I am mentioning, though, so you may want to look those up for more help. However, I think the most important body language tip is to–when you are moving your hands/arms–bring your elbows out from your body. Obviously do not do this so that you look like a chicken, but your elbows should be at least 4 inches away from your body. Your elbows should not be touching your body at any time while you are talking: this is the difference between someone that appears shy and someone that appears outgoing. Even if you are shy, how hard is moving your elbows? 
Body Language
 

How to Get Over a Crush (w/ Video Accompaniment)

Getting over a crush is one of the hardest parts of life! Ahh! And the worst part is it seems so simple in theory, but when you are actually putting that theory into effect, it becomes near impossible. So, we gotta clarify some steps for ourselves. Here are the ones that have worked for me:

  1. You have to WANT to get over your crush/Be MOTIVATED
  2. Allow yourself to be sad/Let out your feelings
  3. Know in advance that this process takes time
  4. Cut out all contact with your crush–online and in person  (exception for friend/crush-relationships!)
  5. Make a list of cons
  6. Keep your mind busy/train your mind to stop thinking about your crush
  7. Do NOT talk about your crush with ANYONE–INCLUDING BEST FRIENDS
  8. Be aware that you do NOT transfer your feelings onto someone else

 

For further clarification on any or all points, watch my video below:

Was this helpful? Do you have any other tips? Thank you for your time!

The Best Advice I Have Ever Been Given

“Choose none of them.”

I stood there, awestruck. Never in my life had I thought that choosing not to choose was an option. Maybe it was bad advice. After all, it was from a stranger whom does not have the acumen necessary to properly analyze my sticky situation. On the other hand, maybe I should listen anyway. After all, choosing them has not worked so far.

The little voice in my head stayed silent in this moment. Thank Satan it did.

I spent my childhood angry and in acrimony yet confused and sensitive. I longed for attention, specifically from my family. Instead, I received attention from the friends I never wanted. We–my clique–had so many problems that my sixth grade teacher arranged for us all to attend a counseling session every single day at lunch, together, and we were banned from playing Truth or Dare.  Apocryphal and restless, I felt trapped.  

Fast forward to middle school. On a sunny day with a blue sky, everything was peaches and cream until only one girl from my friend group showed up to our lunch spot. My intuition drove me solo around the campus, where I found it to be spot on. My friends split into groups of two and integrated themselves into new cliques–and all because of the one girl in our group that sat with me! I felt relieved I was not the one they decided they hated today; however, all relief went out the window as each pair told me I was to choose between all of them.

I was terrified. I wanted to please everyone, but this time it was impossible. In the end, it was the hated girl’s friend who I had never met before, who enlightened me.

Who should I choose?

“Choose none of them,” she suggested.

So I did. Not long before, I met a girl named Claudia Book through a mutual friend. I did not know her well, but had confided in her with my friend troubles in which she responded by offering her friend group to me as an alternative. Albeit I appreciated her offer, I never thought I would take her up on it.

Joining Claudia’s circle was weird…I only knew her out of the ten girls there and I did not know what to do with myself without the usual animalistic chaos. Regardless, every single person welcomed me. I gazed at their backs, a mighty fortress, lined up one-by-one, against the blue lockers as I faced them every day. It took months, but, eventually, I sat there with them.

Though I liked all of them, Claudia was my favorite. Of course I appreciated her humanity, but the real reason was because I envied her. She was happy, confident, beautiful, funny. There was something intriguing and charismatic about her. She would make stupid noises like a child one second, then provide me with adult advice the next.

Regardless of my drooling and her perfection, I never wanted to be her. I wanted to embody her, in my own way. As terrible as this sounds, Claudia pushed me to be the person I am today–I would complain about something that was worrying me and she would ask, “how does it have anything to do with you?”; I would ask her if I should buy that pink blouse with Cherry Blossoms on it and the cool cutout in the back, and she would demand I do it so as to explore and mature my style–and I could not be more grateful.

As much as I love to gush about all the useful advice Claudia has given me, it was not really her advice that transformed me. In fact, it was her beautiful aura. Watching her laugh, inform, obsess, opinionate, walk, talk, write, work, anger, question, live, I learned how to be myself. I found the things I liked in her and made them my own. Talk about visual learning–jeez!

Today, I annoy all my close friends with the story of how Claudia changed me for the better. She once embodied everything I wanted to be, and all it took was her presence to abrogate my anger. Whenever I start to lose myself, I think of the stability she projected out into space, and know I can regain mine. By choosing Claudia Book that day in middle school, I opened myself up to a world of possibilities. So, when life hands you a ‘book,’ open it.

I titled this post before writing anything down on this page. Some days later, in my english class, my teacher had us model a paper after https://www.magzter.com/article/Fashion/ELLE/This-Dress-Will-Change-Everything and fill in the title as ‘This ______ Will Change Everything.’ I filled in the blank with the word ‘girl.’ Originally, I was going to write this post in my straight-forward, pedestrian way and focus more on the advice than on my best friend; but, the significance of this story is me meeting my best friend and improving myself–even though I always refer to this story for the best advice I have ever been given–and I think this paper embodies that. What is the best advice you have ever been given and how has it affected you? Thank you for your time!

12 Things You NEED To Learn In High School

Currently, I am going into my third year of high school, and in my high school experience so far, I have come across many students whom I know will crash and burn in the real world. Of course, I am still a student myself and have not been in the real world yet, but I have been told many things by adults. In addition, I have some wisdom myself and know that, even though I am young, my opinions and views are still valid and people can learn from them. So, here are ten things that within your high school experience you really need to learn in order to thrive in life after school:
1) NO ONE IS AGAINST YOU
As a young adult, still trying to find herself/himself, it is easy to feel outcast, alone, and like no one is on your side. However, it is just the opposite. What you may not realize is that everyone your age feels the exact way that you do. Take me, for example. Every time I think I have it all figured out, something new opens my eyes a little wider and I question everything. But this is all a part of growing up. Other people’s experiences may be different than yours, but they ultimately are the same. There is a reasonable explanation for everything: that smart kid that gets straight A’s studies until he passes out on his bed. That girl that bullies you every day feels alone and does not know how to healthily express her emotions. That teacher that gave you detention only wants you to benefit from the lesson he prepared because he knows it will help determine your future. Your parents only grounded you because they know what it could lead to. I know it is hard to imagine, but if you realize that everyone in your life wants you to succeed, you will be a much happier and cooperative person.
2) HIGH SCHOOL IS NOT SUPPOSED TO PREPARE YOU FOR THE REAL WORLD
I see this one all over social media as well as hear it from my peers constantly: “School is literally pointless. We should be taught how to pay taxes and get a job, not about mitochondria being the powerhouse of the cell.” And, yes, while knowing that mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell will not help you pay taxes in any way, shape, or form, it is that knowledge that will make you ready to enter the real world. When you apply for college, they look for well-rounded students. When you apply for a job, they look for well-rounded people. So what does this mean? It means that you cannot even get hired for a cashier job if you do not know basic math. And let’s say you are laying in the grass on a Saturday and your child asks you what makes the sky blue. Having basic knowledge makes you smart and prepared for most anything. Also, taking basic courses will expose you to things you had never even heard before, and this may lead you to take courses in college  and it may even end up as a future career. You need to give it a chance. Do not know how to do taxes? ASK YOUR PARENTS. THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE THERE FOR. And you know what? My parents pay someone to help them do their taxes–most people do that–so there would be literally no point in school teachers teaching 14 year-olds how to do taxes; it is too complicated. Hopefully, now you can see that high school really is preparing you for the real world and that you just have to take it easy the first 18 years of your life to figure out who you really are and what you want to do.
3) FRESHMAN YEAR MATTERS
Do not fall for what most freshmen do. Colleges may not look at that one C or D or F in a class, but they for sure will look at your overall GPA at the end of high school. And guess what factors into that GPA? That class you got an F in! Freshman year is a time to try things out, adjust, and make mistakes. But do not make the mistake of not studying and not trying. Try to get B’s and up and you can always pick up the slack. Though, of course, I recommend getting straight A’s if that is a possible goal for you; but if not, pick a goal that you know you can pull off. However, always have high expectations for yourself. Be smart and treat freshman year like any other year of school you have ever had, except take it (more) seriously.
4) ARROGANCE IS NOT ATTRACTIVE
I am going to have to try really hard not to go on a rant with this point. Anyway, let me start with the big one that everyone notices at the beginning of their high school career. So, obviously high school is split into upperclassmen and lowerclassmen. Juniors and seniors make up the upperclassmen and freshmen and sophomores make up the lowerclassmen. However, sophomores seem to somehow have put themselves in the category of upperclassmen. DO NOT LIE; you know exactly what I am talking about: Calling the freshmen “fresh meat” and looking at and talking about them as if they are stupid and 6 years old. GUESS WHAT? WE ALL GO TO THE SAME SCHOOL. WHY CAN WE NOT ALL BE FRIENDS? And just let me tell you to all the high schoolers who complain about freshmen being stupid–I know freshmen taking JUNIOR-level classes. In fact, I did that my freshmen year. Maybe some freshmen are arrogant–I will get to that in a second–but you cannot categorize the whole group of incoming freshmen as stupid or rude or arrogant when you have met just a couple ugly faces. Besides, have you ever even talked to them to see if they are stupid? And to all the sophomores who complain about freshmen being stupid–do not lie, I know plenty that do–GROW UP! Freshmen are stupid? You are basically still a freshman! I know that you think you are mature and that you are rolling your eyes right now or agreeing with me and thinking about other people that do this (and maybe you are not like this; I am just addressing the people that do), but that does NOT give you the right to put other people down. In fact, that makes you WEAK. Stop pretending that you are better than everyone else. In the end, we are all just students who attend high school to learn. Every single student at your school deserves the same respect you do, so be a role model down here on Earth.
5) LISTEN TO ADVICE, NO MATTER HOW CLICHE 
This point includes adults–both staff members and adults outside of school–and friends. I think the hardest people to believe sometimes are adults. Let us be honest; they can be really annoying with their talk of “back in the day we didn’t have _______” and such. However, these are the people we really should be listening to. Us teenagers like to think we are mature and already know all of the advice. But we really do not. Adults have much more life experience than teenagers do. They are stable–they have found themselves and are doing with their life what they love. They are only here to guide us if we would just listen. They can see bad things ahead. They can also see good things. They have already gone through high school, so they know how it works. Whether it is studying advice or life advice, high schoolers should listen to adults. And about the cliche advice they give you, why do you think it became cliche? Because it has been used so many times and lead to a positive result! If we move on to friends, this can seem obvious. It is way easier to take a friend’s advice than an adult’s. Your friends are most likely the same age as you or within a couple years of you and are also in high school. Also, because you get to choose your friends, chances are that they understand you fairly well. This probably inclines you to trust them. This is a good thing if they give you good advice–and listen to it–but always be cautious of toxic friends. I could go into a whole lecture about how to tell if your friend is toxic, but the bottom line is that you need to make the judgment for yourself. That goes for their advice too. But be open-minded when you judge it. Overall, just listen to people who want to help you. Whatever advice you have been given was given out of care.
6)  YOUR TEACHERS CARE
I know you probably want to slap me right now, but just hear me out. I will make this short: Teachers went to college for their job, so they WANT to be there. Yes, they may HAVE to be there, but coming to school and planning a lesson for you is a CHOICE. Sometimes teachers need a break, so give them one. And some teachers are just plain bad. Let them be. (Besides, at least they have personality.) It is your job to learn the material and ask questions. Teachers also have to follow the rules. If you have your phone out in class and they take it away and give you detention, do not be mad at them! You deserved it. It is against school policy. But also, you are disrespecting them by not paying full attention. Lastly, everything they do is meaningful. That essay you complained about was meant to strengthen your writing skills. That DBQ was meant to prepare you for the unit test. All in all, just know that your teachers really do care about you and want you to succeed. Do not blame them for things and hate on them outside of class just because you refuse to own up to a mistake or are having a bad day.
7) LAUGH A LOT, BUT NOT AT EVERYTHING
This is your time to have fun, make mistakes, learn from your mistakes, and find yourself. You should laugh and smile and be happy. Nevertheless, you also need to know that everything is not a joke. That D you got on a test? Do not high five your friend next to you that got the same grade, and definitely, do not brag about it. What you need to be doing is figuring out what you got wrong, why, and how to do better next time. That girl that tripped in the hallway and is now super embarrassed? Why are you laughing at her? What you should be doing is asking her if she is okay. Basically what I am trying to say is that you should have fun in your high school years, but you also need to know the boundaries.
8) OPEN YOUR EYES AND PUT OUT YOUR HAND
This point is all about communication skills. (If you would like, I can make a list of some that people need to learn, but I will not go into that for now.) Teenagers seem to have a real problem listening. Sometimes it may be better to be the shy girl in the back of the class. I think observing people helps you learn things about them, about life, and about yourself. Just like I discussed in point #5, we should really take the advice that is given to us. We also really need to use the people around us as a resource. Put your phone away and make eye contact with the person talking to you and whom you are responding to. Also, because we are still finding ourselves, we should be experimenting and finding out what kind of a person we are and what kind of a person we want to be. Furthermore, learn how to give a good handshake. This is very professional and you will definitely do this many times in the future. It is a basic skill and something I wish people did casually when meeting someone–anyone. Basically, just be respectful and use common sense.
9) SUCK IT UP
Now onto something you like hearing: you are in control of your life. You can do whatever you want. With that said, STOP COMPLAINING. Most things are temporary, and teenagers–including myself–tend to constantly blow things out of proportion. Sometimes, though, we really just need to suck it up and push through. A class may be hard, but you should still study and try your best because it is meant to benefit you and to push you to be the best you can be. Sometimes you may get stuck going to a restaurant your friend wants to go to that you absolutely do not. But maybe just this one time you could do something for her. Not because you have to, but because you want to. I think the real meaning behind the expression “suck it up” is change your attitude. Hannah Montana got it right when she said: “life’s what you make it.” Trust me; I learned the hard way.
10) YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE, BUT YOU DO NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOUR VALUES ARE
As I have said earlier in this post, high school is a time to figure yourself out. And even if you think you have already figured yourself out, you will come to find that either you are more different to who you are now than you thought or that there is more to you than you thought. Anyway, you are not fully developed yet. This should not scare you, though. You do not need to know who you are in order to make the right decisions. As long as you know what your values are, you will be fine. So what are your values? Know what you look for in a friend. Know what is okay and what is not–what will you tolerate? Know your personal rules–no smoking, drinking, dating, etc. Know what is important to you. If you know all these things and more, you are ready for high school as well as anything else that comes your way.
11) ALWAYS HAVE A GOAL–EVEN IF YOU CHANGE IT
You have probably noticed by now that you cannot sit around and expect things to happen. If you want to get anywhere in life, you have to have a goal. It does not matter how general or specific your goal is, as long as you have an idea of where you want to go. Also, make a plan of how you are going to reach it. Write down the steps to achieve your goal and start right away. If you decide you want something different, start again. But my advice is to always have something you are working toward. Not only is it good for you and your character, but it sets you up for a bright future.
12) YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND THE WORLD SHOULD KNOW IT
I may be a teenage girl who has never worn makeup–and has no interest to–but just like everyone else, I have struggled with self-image. In fact, I still do to this day. In this society, we are told what beauty is supposed to look like, and since no one fits into that category, everyone feels ugly. For me, my struggle has been my acne. Starting around when I turned 13, I all of a sudden got really bad acne. It was mostly on my forehead but also on my nose and chin. I tried so many different products and they all did zilch. Eventually, I got annoyed and picked them and now I have scars on my forehead (updated–they are fading!). I would always feel embarrassed to talk to people, thinking they were staring at my forehead. I even had a girl literally come up to me, address my acne, and then proceed to act disgusted by it. (She was just rude so whatever.) The fact was that I just had to accept my acne and not let it define me. What is on the inside really is the only thing that matters. Just think, how do you pick out your friends? Because, just a note, I know NOBODY that picks out their friends based on their skin condition or hair color. You can feel confident with no makeup on or with acne or with whatever struggle you have. Once you overcome it, you can truly feel beautiful. And you know what? If people ask you if you think you are pretty, you should say yes. There is nothing wrong with that. You are NOT self-centered for loving yourself, and anyone who says otherwise can answer to me;)
Please feel free to email me @free.element.monique.blog@gmail.com with any questions you may have or comment below. Also, if you have any requests for future posts, make sure to send them to me and I will definitely consider. 
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