I Hope You Found Wonderland, Gabs.

My best friend died yesterday.

Typing it out loud hurts. It feels like it makes it real and I don’t want it to be real. I want it to be a joke or a cruel prank or a dream because I don’t understand.

She was only eighteen.

I first met Gabi through Musical Theatre Workshops. We both liked Alice in Wonderland and Panic! At The Disco and horror movies. I couldn’t tell you our first conversation because I don’t remember all of the details. It kills me a little bit to know that I can’t even recall the first thing I said to her. But, honestly, the first day wasn’t what mattered. Gabi and I clicked from the second we talked. I remember that much. We ended up hanging out a few days later and roaming around bookstores and malls until our feet hurt from walking and our sides hurt from laughing.

Gabi was one of those people that just loved with her whole heart. Once she cared about you, she wouldn’t stop. She never gave up on people, even the ones she probably should have. She was convinced that she could turn the worst people good because she wanted to believe it. I think part of her needed to. I remember every time a boy broke my heart or hurt my feelings, she would be completely prepared to go beat him up or text him something that was sure to make him cry. She was the kind of person who would protect the people she loved with her life.

We had so many adventures, too many to count. From sitting in the parking lot at Lady A and just talking about life and drinking energy drinks to being camp counselors for MTW and bursting into tears when it was all over. From sleepovers and that time we dyed my hair bright red and made the bathroom look like a murder scene to watching the first three Saw movies because “Molly, they’re not even that bad.” Spoiler alert, they were that bad and I still have nightmares about Jigsaw. But it was worth it because Gabi was there to hold my hand and let me break her fingers on the scary parts, a.k.a. all of them. It didn’t matter that I was at college for the last half of our friendship or that we both got super busy. We still found time to talk and catch up. I remember that time we took dozens of photos at your birthday party and even though most of them were blurry and ridiculous, they’re still my favorites.

Gabi, I have enough memories with you to fill at least three scrapbooks, but right now all I can think about is that we can’t make anymore and it hurts. I keep racking my brain, trying to figure out what happened and what I could have done to help. I knew that you were sad and in a bad place, but I thought it was getting better. I just keep thinking that I talked to you the day before you did it and you were fine. Or, maybe you just said you were because you didn’t to be a bother. I don’t know.

You were never a bother, Gabs. Every time we talked, it made me unbelievably happy. You were always beautiful. You were kind and you were sweet and you were special. You deserved to be here and you deserved to be deliriously happy. I’m sorry that life got in the way and you felt that you had no other option. I know you felt like no one would care, but I had to leave class because I was crying so hard this morning, so I want you to know that you were wrong. I’m sorry that you didn’t realize how loved you really were. You’re forever my best friend and you were supposed to be the Maid of Honor at my wedding. I don’t know what to do because you’re just gone and this was never supposed to happen.

I snapchatted you today because for a few seconds I forgot. I waited for you to open it and then it all came crashing down again and I couldn’t breathe. I just sat there and tried to understand. I’m a planner. I always have been. But I never planned for this and now I don’t know how to act or what to do or what to say. All I know is that it hurts and I don’t like it.

I feel like part of my heart is missing now and I can’t find the words to say and that’s not normal because I’m a writing tutor and an English major and words are supposed to be my thing. But you’re not here and that’s not normal either, so I don’t know if I even know what normal is anymore.

I love you, Gabi. I’m sorry that wasn’t enough. And maybe it’s pointless to think about what-ifs and what-could-have-beens, but that’s really the only thing I can do right now.

I’m sorry.

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Of Mental Breakdowns and Time Management

Well.

It’s that time of year again. The point in the semester where everything feels like it’s building up and preparing to squash you like a bug. And, to be honest, it probably is.

Midterm.

Ugh.

Not only does this mark the point where you actually take your midterms, but it also means that you’re halfway through the semester. Halfway to finals, which can make or break you.

If you’re not careful, this time of year will drown you. It will eat you alive and then spit you back out with stresses that you didn’t even know you had. It’s that point during school where every professor seems to be assigning extra homework, papers, and projects at exactly that same time. Personally, I’m about ready to crawl under a rock and hibernate until Thanksgiving Break.

Realistically, however, that is not exactly an option. So, here are some tricks for surviving the semester without your mind spectacularly exploding.

Tip #1: Breathe.

Before you start any paper or assignment, take a deep breath. If you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a minute to just inhale and exhale until your heart rate goes back to normal and you feel some semblance of calm.

You’re not going to get anything productive done if you spend the entire time worrying and convincing yourself that whatever you come up with won’t be any good. You can do this. You just have to take it one step at a time.

Tip #2: Stay ahead.

Try to make time for your homework the day before it’s due. Finishing things early keeps a load of stress off your back and allows you a little bit of time to relax before class instead of hastily answering those last few questions.

Tip #3: Time Management is crucial.

College isn’t just about keeping up with your assignments. It’s about knowing when you have exams, quizzes, or papers due. It is about being able to plan your time in a way that you have a little bit of breathing room for if a commitment or activity goes longer than you thought it would. When you have everything you need to do laid out in front of you, whether in a calendar, planner, or online scheduling app, it takes a load off your shoulders because you can physically see what you need to do.

This allows you to stay on track much more easily than if you were just trying to remember everything.

Fun fact: Today in Psych, we talked about how the brain can actually only remember 4-7 bits of information at a time.

Tip #4: Take a break.

While it’s important to get everything done in a timely manner, it’s also just as important to give yourself a break when you need it. Don’t be afraid to plan out time for a Netflix episode or an hour of video games. It’s okay to do something completely pointless to get your mind to stop working so hard. Even the smartest of us need a break sometimes.

It doesn’t make you any less intelligent or any less capable because you took a few minutes between Math homework and your English essay to fangirl over the new Gilmore Girls trailer or to go on a short nature walk.

As long as the ratio of productivity to breaks leans more towards the former, it’s okay to take a breather. Your mind works a lot better when it has time to rest.

Tip #5: Get a good night’s sleep.

Yes, you’re in college, the time of adventuring and late nights. But adventures can happen during daylight too. Staying up til 3am seems like a great idea until your alarm goes off for class the following morning. Stay up on the weekends if you really want to, but try to get a decent amount of sleep on school nights. When you are awake and alert, your mind is more likely to retain information that you learn during class.

Bottom Line

College is tough. It will make you want to pull your hair out, especially during these midterm months. But if you stay focused, get enough sleep, and allow yourself some downtime, you should survive fully intact and no longer on the edge of a mental breakdown.

When you feel like crying, look up dumb puns on the internet or YouTube videos of cats. I promise that the semester isn’t as hard as you think it is. You aren’t actually drowning. It just feels like it right now.

You are smart and successful and you can do this. 🙂

To The Girl Who Saved Me

We all have regrets.

Some of them are small. Some of them are large. Some of them are significant. Some of them are not. Some of them we fight to remember. Others we wish we could forget.

Every single one of us has done something that we wish we hadn’t or said something we wish we could unsay. We all have things in our pasts that we wish would just go away.

Personally, I’ve had my fair share of regrets. Unfortunately, I’ve got one regret that stands out above all of the others.

I used to go to a private school. It was very Gossip Girl-esque in a lot of ways, but it wasn’t nearly as snooty. While, yes, there were some snobs, there were also great people. People that would hug you in the hall on the way to class and make you feel like you mattered.

There was a girl named Natalie. She was one of those people that didn’t talk much in public, but would always smile at you when she saw you. She was a sweetheart, to say the least. You could tell she was shy, but she had a big heart and it showed. For the life of me, I cannot remember what brought us together. It was probably a play or a class or something. It was years ago and honestly, that wasn’t what stood out to me. She would always say hi and I would wave back and that’s just how it was.

I remember one day when I was having a rough time. I have no idea why I was upset, but I was. I was sitting outside the middle school on a bench instead of going to the cafeteria for lunch with the rest of the school. I was kind of a nerd, so I spent my lunch period filling out the pages of my science workbooks and reading whatever stack of novels I’d managed to check out from the library that week. That day I was too upset to do any of that. I remember sitting on that stupid bench and crying my eyes out.

And then Natalie sat down next to me. She asked me if I was okay and I shook my head. She didn’t ask what was wrong or what had happened. She just sat next to me and waited. I eventually started talking and she just listened. When I was done with my awkward mixture of crying and rambling, she nodded and said it was going to be okay. And the funny thing was, I believed her. She smiled and said it like it was a fact. It didn’t sound like the empty platitudes that you give people all the time. It sounded real and I knew she meant it.

She had barely known me. I mean, we were friends. We saw each other in the halls. We could have a conversation. We could make small talk. We knew each other. But we didn’t hang out in the same social circles. We were complete opposites in a lot of ways. She didn’t have any obligation to stop and talk to me. And, yet, she did. She stopped and sat down and made sure I was okay. She listened to me vent and she didn’t make me feel stupid about it. That was just the kind of person she was. And she was the kind of person I needed that day.

I think about that day a lot now.

Natalie took her own life on January 27th of 2015.

I had left Augusta Prep about a year after that talk. I started homeschooling and only went back to Augusta Prep once to reconnect with some of my old friends. It was my second semester at college. I remember I was sitting in the game room with Brendan when I saw a post on my Facebook feed. I remember freezing and Brendan asking what was wrong. I remember crying because it couldn’t be true, right? It had to be a joke.

It wasn’t.

I couldn’t tell you how long I stared at her profile, reading all the posts and trying to understand. I’d like to say that I was surprised. I’d really, really, really like to. But, honestly, I can’t. Looking back, I had known she was struggling. I’d even wondered a few times if I should message her and see how she was. Every time she posted something on Facebook, I would get the urge to open up a chat and tell her I liked her hair or let her know that she was beautiful. But I never did. And I will always regret that.

I’ll always wonder if it would have helped. If it would have been that one thing that changed her mind. Logically, I know that’s stupid and selfish. But emotionally, I just feel guilty.

Natalie, you were always nice to me. You were always there to smile and wave. I wasn’t close with you and I wasn’t a big part of your life. But you were still there when I needed someone to talk to.

You don’t know it, but you saved me. In the beginning of 2015, I was having a really hard time. I was struggling and my anxiety was all over the place. I was having suicidal thoughts and my depression was eating me alive. Honestly, I was about to give up.

And then I heard about you. And I saw all of the posts from your friends and family. I saw how people were breaking and I just kept thinking that it could have been me.

You saved me without meaning to. You made me realize how much it would hurt the people around me. You showed me that life is worth living because people are worth caring about. You matter. And you will never know how much I appreciate your small, but significant part in my life. Thank you for the smiles. Thank you for that day.

I hope you’re happy up there in Heaven. If anyone deserves peace, it’s you. I’m sorry that I never sent you that message. I’m sorry that it’s too late now. I hope you can forgive me.

You’re a shooting star, Natalie. You always have been. So shine on.

 

What I Really Mean When I Say No

(Because there can never be enough blog posts about consent.)

When I say no, what am I really saying? Clearly there must be some hidden message for you to decode. Obviously I cannot actually mean no. Right?

Wrong.

There is an astounding number of people who don’t actually know what consent is. It’s one of those things that should be common knowledge, but, for some reason, isn’t. And, honestly, that is a terrifying thought.

Let’s look at how Merriam-Webster defines consent.

consent

noun | con·sent

Simple Definition of consent

  • : permission for something to happen or be done

  • : agreement about an opinion or about something that will happen or be done

As you can see, this definition really leaves no wiggle room. Consent is permission. It is the agreement that something will or will not happen.

That means that if you ask me something and I say no, you do not have my consent. For instance, let’s say my boyfriend asks if he can kiss me. I say no because I’m just not feeling it. Because I said no, he is not allowed to kiss me. Even if he really wants to, he has to keep his lips to himself until I give him consent.

Consent is an extremely simple concept, but there are a few things that need clearing up.

First of all, consent is not permanent. 

Just because someone has agreed to something once does not mean that they are agreeing to it forever. If I give you permission to hold my hand, that only applies in that one instance. You can’t just hold my hand whenever you want after that. You need to ask every time because my answer may change.

Second, consent is not implied. 

You cannot assume that you have someone’s consent. You have to ask them outright because the answer might be different than you think. This sort of goes along with the first point. You can’t assume that you don’t have to ask just because it’s happened before. People are allowed to change their minds.

Third, you are never entitled to someone else’s consent.

I cannot stress this point enough. There is such a thing as sexual assault by spouse or partner. You are not entitled to someone else’s body because you’re dating or married to them. Consent belongs to the individual and it is always required, no matter the circumstances.

Let’s go back to the example about my boyfriend asking for a kiss. Now, obviously, he doesn’t pause before he kisses me to ask every single time. We’re dating and I like to kiss him. However, if I tell him no, he respects that. He doesn’t get to kiss me anyway because we are dating or because we have kissed before. Consent doesn’t work like that.

Consent equals communication. You can’t assume consent, no matter what the situation is. You can be married to the person and that does not mean you get to decide what physical activity you get and when. That’s a joint decision that both parties have to agree with.

Consent is black and white; it is not gray. It is simple and people need to stop trying to change the definition of it. Consent is a verbal exchange in which two people agree to a certain action or activity.

There is a lovely little video that compares tea to consent. I highly suggest that everybody watches it because it is precious and cute and explains things very well.

Bottom line: Consent is a prerequisite, not an luxury.

Once Upon A Time…

I like fairy tales. I like them a lot. I’m a total sucker for happily-ever-afters and Prince Charming and glass slippers. And I like to think that everyone is living a fairy tale, whether they know or not.

I mean, think about it. Fairy tales aren’t just about the romance. They’re not just about kissing the right guy at midnight or turning frogs into princes. They’re about finding yourself and getting your happy ending because no one is going to go out and get it for you.

Look at Cinderella. Her life started out pretty horrible. She lost her dad and ended up with a stepmom who couldn’t care less about her. She was basically stuck in a life of abuse and neglect. She was in an absolutely horrible situation, but she refused to have a horrible attitude. She was kind and sweet and caring and never stopped dreaming. Obviously, having a fairy god-mother helped move things along, but Cinderella was the one that decided to go out there and make her dreams come true by attending the ball. She went out and danced her heart away until the clock struck midnight. She fell in love and fought with all of her heart to find her Prince Charming.

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How many of us have lost a family member? How many of us have had that friend that gives us the push we need in the right direction to fight for what we want?

And what about Elsa? One of the most recent Disney movies, taken from a tale by Hans Christian Anderson, Frozen tells the story of the Ice Queen. After gravely injuring her sister  Anna as a child, Elsa takes her powers over ice and hides them under gloves and layers until she becomes Queen after her parents pass away tragically. Though Elsa wraps herself in shields of aloofness and coldness, it is clear that she misses her sister just as much as Anna misses her. She hides herself in her room for years, terrified that she will cause hurt to someone she loves unconditionally.

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How many of us have had something that we are ashamed of that keeps us from relationships or even just friendships? So many people have done things that they regret and feel ashamed of that make them shy away from comfort and people. The fear of the past prevents an astounding number of individuals from moving on to the future.

This happened in the case of Elsa, though she eventually learned to “let it go” and just be herself. We can take the mistakes in our past and turn them into lessons. No one is perfect and we can’t expect to never mess up. The best we can do is apologize to the people we hurt and try to find a way to fix it.

My personal favorite fairy tale is the story of Alice in Wonderland. As most people know, this is not a typical fairy tale by any means. Some may not even call it one. I do, however. I love it because Alice is just a child driven by curiosity and wonder. She isn’t thinking about romance or love. She just sees a rabbit with a waistcoat and a pocket watch and wants to know where it is going. Obviously, she follows the rabbit and falls down the rabbit hole, finding herself in a new and strange world when she lands at the bottom. After experiencing a flood of her own tears, a tea party, and a trial, not to mention her almost execution, Alice is woken up by her sister, revealing that the entire story was a curious dream.

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Whether you look at the story as a dream or not, we can all relate to Alice’s struggles. Her curiosity leads to her to new friends and a new place, but also gets her into trouble when she isn’t careful. We should never stop being curious, but we should always be careful to appreciate what we already have.

Fairy tales are full of morals and lessons, but if you look closely enough, you might find more of yourself than you thought in Ariel, Aladdin, or the Mad Hatter. Our lives are already fairy tales. We just have to treat them as such.

 

That Thing I Typically Avoid Talking About

Alright, guys. Here it goes. I’m gonna do it.

I’m gonna talk about politics.

Ugh, I freaking hate politics, first of all. I hate how it makes people act, like they’ve forgotten every lesson their parents ever taught them about correct, decent behavior. I hate how much power politics has over people and how much power it gives people that have no right to it.

A few days ago, I was walking with my boyfriend through the streets of my little town. We were on a nature walk, which, as you can probably guess, was supposed to be a way to relax ourselves after a stressful week. We were peacefully strolling through my neighborhood when a car screeches past us with the windows down and a kid leans out of the driver’s seat and screams, “VOTE FOR TRUMP.”

What.

I’m sorry, but this kid looked like he wasn’t even old enough to drive, so there was no way he was old enough to vote.

This experience scared me, to be honest. It made me fear for my country.

I do not know a lot about politics. I know that there are two main parties– Republicans and Democrats. Now, most of my family is Republican. Most of the politicians that made my parents scrunch their noses and frown were Democratic.

I am… neither. Both. I don’t know.

I don’t want to be either of those.

I just want to be Molly.

I think it is the absolute dumbest thing ever for the two parties to fight over issues like Marriage Equality, Abortion, etc.

Since when does government get to dictate happiness and agency? Since when does someone else get to sit there and tell you what you can and can’t do with your life? Excuse me, you stupidheads, but did I ask you? No? Then stop talking about it!

Do I support gay marriage? Yes.

Am I pro-life? If you are asking if I support the creation of life, then yes. If you are asking if I think I have some convoluted say in what a woman does with her body, then no.

You are allowed to not like something. You are allowed to not like people. You are allowed to not want something for yourself.

This does not mean you get to condemn anyone else who has a different viewpoint.

For instance, some religions strongly believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. This is fine, but no one has the right to decide whether or not a homosexual couple can get married.

Let’s say I believe in the traditional sense of marriage. Okay, fine. I’m entitled to my own beliefs. However, my entitlement ends there. I can make the decision for myself, yes. I can decide that I am straight and that I desire to marry a man. I have made that decision. However, I have no grounds to make that decision for anyone else.

I do not understand why this concept is so hard to grasp for the rest of the population. We are human beings. Each of us has the ability to make choices. If someone does something that does not hurt anyone else, but makes them happy, why are we so determined to find a problem with it?

If I have two male friends that decide they are in love and want to get married, is it going to affect me?

Heck yes, because I’m going to have to buy a dress for when I go to their wedding and tell them that I’m glad they’ve found someone that they want to spend the rest of their lives with!

Other than that, no. No, it does not. Two people have found happiness. It’s not like their getting married will suddenly invalidate any marriage I may or may not have in the future. It’s not going to cause all heterosexual marriages across the world to disintegrate.

To put it extremely simply, imagine you don’t like carrots. You think they’re a disgrace to all other vegetables and you hate them, so you never eat them. This is perfectly fine. But when you start preaching to the rest of the world that carrots are damned and should be burned at the stake and never eaten again, you turn into a lunatic.

Listen to yourself, people. You’re literally complaining about someone else’s life choices that IN NO WAY AT ALL HAVE ANY IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE.

You don’t have to sacrifice your beliefs.

But you desperately need to sacrifice your hate.

My generation is full of dreamers and creators and open minds and hope. The generation before me is filled with hatred and oppression and judgement.

If something doesn’t change, my generation is going to be broken. The hatred is going to sink down until it blackens every once youthful heart. It is going to stop people like me from sticking up for those that society deems “wrong” in some way. It is going to cause us to start attacking instead of defending.

Someone on my Facebook feed posted a status recently about how hatred isn’t illegal.

They were right. It isn’t. I don’t like the word “hate,” but I’ve definitely had strong negative feelings towards people before. I’ve glared and rolled my eyes and wished they would move to Canada so I would never have to be in the same room as them again. But you know what? I didn’t dislike them because of their choices. I didn’t dislike them because of their skin color or their religion or their beliefs. I disliked them because they wronged me in some way or because they stared at my boyfriend.

Hatred isn’t illegal, but it is wrong.

The world needs to stop looking at people and their pasts. Instead of their sins, look for their goodness. Instead of skin color, look at their hearts.

People are fundamentally different. We all work in different ways. But we also all breathe the same air. We all walk on the same Earth and we all have the same right to be here.

We all deserve to be happy and that’s not something anyone has a right to change.

So when you vote in the Presidential election, please please please, do not choose hatred. Do not choose someone purely because they are in your political party or because they share some of your beliefs. Choose human life. Choose happiness. Choose equality.

But most importantly, choose kindness and love. Choose acceptance.

How To Be Happy

Happiness is not the easiest thing to obtain. It is also not the easiest thing to hold on to. This makes for a difficult situation.

For me, one of the key factors getting in between me and happiness is other people. I am well aware that I put too much trust, faith, and pixie dust in the people around me. People that honestly don’t have a right to dictate my happiness.

It’s hard to not listen to what people say about you, whether it be behind your back or to your face. When someone calls you ugly or fat or stupid, you tend to listen. There is a quote that says, “Call a girl pretty, and she’ll forget it in an hour. Call a girl ugly, and she’ll remember it for the rest of her life.” When you compliment someone, it will make them smile, but if you insult them, they’ll hold onto that and think back to it whenever they get a compliment in the future.

You should never base your happiness off of someone else’s. Do what makes you happy. One of my biggest pet peeves is when parents try to force their kids to go into fields that they don’t find enjoyable. There is a difference between being concerned that your child will not earn enough money to sustain their lifestyle and making your child feel like their dreams and desires don’t matter.

If you want to be an artist, go for it. If it makes you happy, do it. But be practical when you do. The idea of a “starving artist” is romanticized when it definitely shouldn’t be. Embrace your inner artist and do what makes you smile, but find a way to support yourself at the same time. Whether it’s freelance jobs online or working part-time at a local restaurant, it doesn’t matter. Find a way to support yourself enough that you can become independent and then focus on making it as an artist or a musician or an actor or whatever you aspire to be.

Are you happy? If the answer is yes, then clearly you’re on the right track. If the answer is no, change something. Look for damaging people or stressful situations and remove them from your life. You can’t keep people that hurt you around because you feel guilty or obligated. You are entitled to your own health and happiness. If someone is compromising your goals, you are allowed to drop them. You are allowed to walk away. It does not make you a bad person. It does not make you mean or cruel or wrong in any way. If having someone in your life causes you stress or sadness or anger, why are they still present? Why are they still a part of your life? Clearly, they don’t deserve the privilege of being there. Being in your life is not a right. It is a privilege and you will meet people who don’t deserve it. You shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed because trying to please someone else is making you miserable and compromising your own happiness. You have the right to kick someone out for your own benefit.

There is not a magic formula for being happy. But I have come up with some tips that should aid in the process.

1. Never go to sleep angry. 

Figure out why you’re angry and solve it. If you go to sleep angry, you’ll wake up angrier. Work it out with yourself or someone else and then get a good night’s rest because emotions are exhausting.

2. Enjoy the little things. 

Watch the sunrise or the sunset. Count the stars every once in a while and see if you can pick out constellations, like Orion. Listen to your favorite song a few times. Smile at a friend. Stop to smell the roses.

3. Spend more time outside.

Nature is scientifically proven to improve moods and lessen stress. Find a trail and go hiking with someone you love. Walk through a tiny town. Go on a scavenger hunt to find different types of plants and animals.

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4. Fake it til you make it. 

I’m not saying fake a smile every time you’re upset. You don’t have to pretend to be happy. But, sometimes, the best plan is to put on a grin and act like you’re having the best day in the world. If you act like you’re miserable, chances are, you will be. You might miss out on having really great experiences and laughs by being too lost in your emotions.

5. Exercise. 

Do some push-ups. Go for a walk. Find something fun to do that will get your energy up and make you work. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands; they just don’t.” I think Elle from Legally Blonde definitely had the right idea.

6. Stop worrying. 

I know that I’m guilty of this to the extreme. It’s something a lot of people do and it’s definitely not healthy. We worry so much about things that have no chance of happening. I worry about getting to class late, so I leave thirty minutes early, even though I live four minutes away. I worry about embarrassing myself so much that I keep my mouth shut in public because I’m too scared to talk. Worrying is an epidemic and it’s absolutely horrible. It makes people change their entire personalities and go to ridiculous extremes to avoid situations that may not even happen. Take a deep breath and stop trying to find the bad in everything.

7. Do things that make you happy every day. 

If you love drawing, draw. Even if it’s just a stick figure in the corner of your history notes. If you love singing, sing in the shower. If you love exercise, run around your neighborhood once or twice. If you love animals, YouTube some cute cat videos. It doesn’t have to be something huge that takes hours. Just do something that you genuinely enjoy every day.

8. Keep challenging yourself. 

Always be striving to be better, whether in skill or behavior. Never stop learning new things and perfecting things you already know.

9. Let yourself be happy. 

You deserve to be happy. Even if you’re not perfect. Even if you feel like you’re not worth it. You are and you deserve the world, darling. You are special and beautiful and you are something to be proud of. Smile, because happiness isn’t a privilege. It’s a basic human right. Repeat after me: I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be proud of myself. I deserve to smile.

Happiness isn’t black and white and it isn’t easy. You might not have it right now, but you will before you know it. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to feel like the world is against you. But it’s not. The only thing against you is yourself. Buck up, buttercup, you’ve got the world at your fingertips and you will find happiness.