Hating Yourself Isn’t Fashionable

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There my dad stood patiently, at the top of the lush, grassy knoll of our backyard in Washington state, holding it—the beast I feared so greatly: a pink, sparkly bicycle with flowers on the wheels and tassels flowing off the handlebars. Training wheels were nowhere to be seen… Fast forward ten minutes (a lot of angst and fear later) and I felt the exhilarating, flying feeling of riding a bike for the first time. The grin on my face stretched from ear to ear.

I’d like to think that confidence isn’t that different from riding a bike, that it can be learned. There might be fear leading up to it and perhaps even an unwillingness to try, but ultimately you can train yourself to love who you are through practice and patience. Imagine how much wider your grin would be if you could experience that for the first time. Yes, I’d like to think that confidence can be learned, but I haven’t proved it for myself. Yet. Continue reading

Everything You Need to Rock Your First Day Back at School

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Usually by the end of the summer, I’m more than willing to go back to school. It’s not the long grueling math assignments or the shrill chirping of my alarm clock that I miss; rather, I long to see my friends, to have a real schedule (sitting on the couch all day binge-watching Netflix can get a bit exhausting, after all), and most importantly, to get dressed every day. I’m not ashamed to admit that I live in either athletic clothes or loungewear the entire summer, so the return of school grants me a real excuse to play dress-up again.

But with that return comes a series of stresses, especially the first day back. What will I wear? What if I can’t find a seat in the cafeteria? What if my armpits are noticeably really smelly? I can speak about that last scenario from experience, but thankfully I came to the first day of school prepared. And here are ­­three ways you can be prepared too—time to rock that first day back! Continue reading

Picture This: The Power of Visualization

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Back when I played soccer, my dad–the soccer connoisseur of my family–always told me to visualize on game day. He’d joke and facetiously say, “Be the ball,” like you see in movies, but his words also held some sincerity. He told me that if I pictured myself running off the ball, having a great first touch, and kicking with firm precision, then I would better be able to actually accomplish those goals in the rush of a game. So on early Saturday mornings, with puffy eyes and fresh dew coating the landscape like a blanket, my parents drove me to my soccer games as I dreamt of little black and white balls in the back seat. And I felt ridiculous doing it. I can’t say for certain whether visualization ever improved my skill in a game, but I do know it has found an unexpected yet welcome home in other aspects of my life—and it should work its way into yours, too. Continue reading