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Aubrey Best

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Home Life, Lifestyle, Relationships

    How to Make Your Parents Proud

    parents

    Many of the parents I know, including my own, give everything for their children. My parents allow me to go on endless adventures and support me through any opportunities I have. They let me study abroad for the summer, they are allowing me to go to residential school for the next two years, and they are always positive lights in my life. The least I can do is strive to make them proud, right?

    Growing up, I had ideas of what my parents expected from me. Regardless of the amount of truth in these ideas, I agreed with some… but was extremely confused by others. I thought they wanted me to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a lawyer. Or that my mom wanted me to stay close to home and my dad didn’t want me to ever grow up.

    Me with my dad

    I didn’t know who I wanted to be, because I wanted to be who they wanted.

    I don’t know where I got these ideas because my parents have always been supportive and encouraging in everything I do. Is it even possible to make your parents proud if you don’t grow up to be like them? I wasn’t sure at the time. But yes, it certainly is possible.

    My ideas of my parents’ expectations couldn’t be farther from the truth. My parents always wanted me to be whatever I wanted, with a few actual expectations. They taught me that I could be whoever I wanted to be, as long as I was kind, hardworking, generous, and had integrity. Honestly, I am ashamed that it took me so long to realize what they were doing. They want the best for me, but they wanted me to make mistakes. They allowed me to learn on my own, probably because they knew I wouldn’t listen if they told me directly. My parents never truly placed any expectations for my future, because they want me to be independent.

    I have to figure out my own life, with their guidance, because it is mine, after all.

    My mom and dad’s goal is for me, and my brothers, to be happy, healthy, and love what we are doing. It’s that simple. Although, it’s cliché, it’s true, all you have to do to make your parents proud is be yourself. If I would’ve spent my life trying to make my parents happy, I would’ve missed the opportunities I had to accomplish things that truly make them proud. It is important for me to fulfill my own expectations, with the help of my parents. I take everything I am given to the fullest potential and hope that I can add to their pride, through doing what I feel is right.

    Parents should let their children live their own lives, let children make decisions, and fail sometimes. I know my parents enjoy watching what I can accomplish independently, after learning from them my whole life. I experience whatever is on my own path, regardless of what is on the paths beside me. Dreams have to be fulfilled by the dreamer. You can’t live someone else’s dream for them. The only way to succeed is to follow your own dreams, and have the ones you love support you along the way.

    Spend time with your parents and family! Here are some ways that you can grow closer this summer.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Movie Review

    Falsettos: significant and timeless

    falsettos

    Some works of art have clear messages, while others you have to hunt for. Art makes us feel and causes us to think. It should make us ask questions. Falsettos is a musical that ticks all of these boxes.

    What Falsettos is all about

    Falsettos is a two-act musical comprised of March of the Falsettos, written in 1981, and Falsettoland, written in 1990. They’re written by William Finn and directed by James Lapine. The show opened on Broadway in 1992, revived in 2016, and had a national tour in 2019.

    The story surrounds a Jewish family in New York. Set in the early 80s, the AIDS crisis created mass panic and fear. The plot revolves around Marvin. He is married to Trina, and they have a son named Jason. When Marvin leaves Trina for a man named Whizzer, their “tightknit” family is quickly disturbed. Trina begins to lose her mind and starts going to therapy. She eventually falls in love with the family psychiatrist: Mendel.

    Just as Trina starts to pick up the pieces of her life, Whizzer becomes sick. Jason is stuck in the middle of all the conflict. He is frustrated, confused, and starts to act out. Much to his parents’ horror, he states that he doesn’t want a Bar Mitzvah. The “lesbians next door,” Dr. Charlotte and Cordelia, are unconditionally supportive to everyone else. Will this family be able to move past their conflicts to support Whizzer, and each other, through his diagnosis?

    How I found Falsettos

    Personally, I was introduced to the world of Falsettos with the 2016 Broadway revival cast. I was a fan of other projects the cast had been apart of, so I thought I would give it a chance. I was obsessed with the cast recording. Something about the arrangements, the vocals, and the lyrics felt different from any other show. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Will Marvin ever learn to control his emotions? Will Jason push through the chaos and grow up to fulfill his potential? Does Jason only look up to Whizzer? Is Trina okay? What in the world is a “banana-carrot surprise”?  Still, to this day, whenever I listen to the album or watch the filmed version, it makes me think.

    I saw the national tour in Charlotte, NC, and got to meet the cast! The production exceeded my expectations. I was in awe of the pure talent on the stage and the emotion in the room. Falsettos is heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and important. Some members of the audience have memories of the time period, while others weren’t even born yet. I think this speaks to the significance of the story, and shows that we still have a long way to go.

    Why Falsettos is Timeless

    Not everyone was accepting of the story and characters of Falsettos in the 90s, and lots of people still aren’t. That’s why the story, and others like it, should continue to be told. Falsettos is simply an illustration of family; it proves that love conquers all. The family is far from perfect, but they make it work. Every person in the audience can relate to something within one, or between two of the characters. 

    Some things, like acceptance, should be expressed until everyone listens and learns. Life-changing pieces of work stay relevant throughout time, and have the ability to impact many generations because family and love are themes that will never expire.

  • Articles, Music, Shero

    Betty Who: Music and A Message

    Betty Who

    Anyone who has attended a concert has experienced “that” feeling. The excitement, the anticipation. All of the hours you’ve spent singing, or crying over, the lyrics suddenly feels like minutes. It’s loud, it’s hot, and you might’ve already been elbowed in the face by someone trying to get by, but you wouldn’t trade it for the world. Suddenly, the lights go out and your heart starts to race. It feels like you are floating in the air and everyone in the room becomes unified at that moment. It truly is surreal.

    Personally, I think it is important to support the content and the character of artists you look up to.

    Artists who are truly powerful highlight their message as much as their music.

    I’m pretty sure I was introduced to the music of Betty Who the same way most everyone else was – the viral proposal, flash-mob video in Home Depot. I fell in love with her song, her message, and with her voice. Betty’s music and her concerts are always welcoming. She creates a safe space for anyone who needs it.

    (Editor’s Note: I had never seen the Flash Mob video that Aubrey mentions, so I searched it and attached it in case you also want to have the biggest grin on your face for five minutes straight.)

    Betty Who isn’t just a Singer. She’s my Role Model

    The first time I saw Betty Who perform was at the South Carolina Pride festival. I had never seen so many people on Main Street. Everyone, including me, was waiting for Betty. We sang every word together. We danced together. A few months later, I saw her again and had the absolute honor of meeting her. She was like walking sunlight. Then I saw her again, a few months later. I couldn’t get enough of her or her crowds. They have the same energy every time and it feels incredible to be in the middle of it. No matter where you came from, where you are going, or who you love, you are embraced at her shows. We are all in that moment together, and it’s magical.

    Everyone looks to artists for inspiration. Betty leads by example. When she enters a room, it instantly becomes brighter. She has a comforting energy that makes you feel safe. Betty’s activism for equality and her dedication to spreading love reminds me to speak up for what I believe in, regardless of how loud I have to be. Whenever I feel down about something, my mom asks me the same question. “What would Betty say?” and she waits for me to say “Betty would tell me I’m beautiful, I’m strong and I can do anything in the world.” She reminds me to be kind to myself and to love my body.  

    Does Betty look gorgeous in the sparkly dress, jewelry, and full glam makeup that she wears on stage? Obviously. Does she look gorgeous in jeans and an oversized hoodie? Of course. There is a common theme between these two outfits: she always wears her confidence, and that is eternally stunning. I admire her humility and graciousness and strive to be more like Betty. I adore her, everything she does, and everything she stands for. Betty Who has permanently changed the way I treat myself and the way I welcome others. 

    Find your role model, who knows, maybe they’re hiding in your list of Spotify Artists.

    It is so important to find inspiration in others and use it. Whether it’s the content of someone’s character, something they create, or a combination of both. Inspiration is the fuel for our lives. It pushes us to always contribute something to the world around us, often spreading to improve the lives of others. 

    Betty Who
    Aubrey and Betty Who

    To Betty – Thank you so much. I don’t know if I will ever be able to fully express how much you mean to me, so just thank you for everything you do. I will love you forever, Aubrey Best

    To Zak (@zcassar) – Thank you for capturing Betty’s beauty and sharing it with the world. Thank you for being so kind to me, and for letting me use your pictures! Also, best wishes to the two of you <3

    Music can be transformative and help shape who you are. Some people find comfort in pop music like Betty Who, others find it in some stranger places… like at heavy metal concerts. Check out what you can learn from living like a metal-head.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Lifestyle, Relationships

    When Things Don’t Go as Planned, Make New Plans

    friendship

    Planning doesn’t always guarantee your preparedness, as you never know what the future holds. However, your ability to adapt and stay positive can guarantee your success. Sometimes undesirable things happen, but we must learn to use our negative feelings to push us forward, and never let them hold us back.

    I didn’t know I’d be meeting my best friend

    Every summer, I am fortunate enough to attend some sort of camp. A few years ago, I went to medical science camp at my dream high school. South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Math, a residential high school I have been daydreaming about for years. I was obviously so excited, but I was also nervous. This was to be expected, as I didn’t know anyone going into it.

    On the first day, I was trying to meet people and make friends, but it seemed as if everyone had already created their groups. Then I heard someone say “hey, you are welcome to come over here with us! I’m Sriya by the way.”, and that was it. She introduced herself and opened her arms to me. I immediately felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders and a light surrounded me. She had the most beautiful and welcoming energy that radiated to everyone.

    Something between us just clicked. We instantly felt comfortable with each other, so we decided to be roommates the next week we were at camp. During our second week, we were in different classes, so we looked forward to the evening when we could discuss our days. That week was filled with conversations, both silly and serious….and plenty of Harry Styles sing alongs. We started to talk about our futures. We both knew we were going to apply to the residential program. We knew it would be extremely challenging, but we could get through anything together. About halfway through our residential application process, Sriya found out that her family is moving.

    Here are GirlSpring's thoughts on True Friendship
    Sriya and me

    Okay, not a big deal. We will be away at school and she will just go home to a different city. They won’t be that far away, right? Wrong.

    Pursuing our dream… solo

    A few months later, I got a call from the president of the school congratulating me on my acceptance! It was one of the most exciting days of my life! After I finished my crying tears of joy and shock, Sriya was the first person I wanted to call. Then it hit me. My best friend, the first one I always turn to, is moving 8635 miles away. We live in different cities, but I can get in the car for about an hour and be at her front door. That obviously isn’t going to work anymore.

    How am I supposed to do it? How am I going to live our dream without her by my side? I felt guilty. I felt guilty about being excited. I felt guilty about being selfish. Why do I get this and she doesn’t? I don’t deserve this. Can I do this? How can I go back to Governor’s School all alone, knowing that there will never be someone like Sriya waiting with open arms?

    Eventually, after a wake-up call from my best friend, I realized a few things: I did this on my own. I got in on my own, with the support from her. Sriya will never leave my side. She will always be there, even if she’s thousands of miles away, she will always be there. She’ll still be the first one I turn to, the last one I tell goodnight, and the one I always express my love for.

    I can do this. I have to do this. I will go away to Governor’s School and I will be successful. I am doing this for us. I will use the distance as motivation to be the best I can be.

    Plans change, but that just means doing things differently

    Everyone knows that things don’t always go as planned, but the only thing we can do is make new plans. Whether your best friend is moving across the world, or you just had a bad day, it will all be okay. There is always a way to modify your situation, or just your attitude, for improvement. It is going to be hard, and it might seem inconvenient and unfortunate at first, but distance, or any other factors, cannot destroy things that are meant to be.

    We make our long distance friendship work

    To my Sriya-

    Thank you for everything – for welcoming me, for being my best friend. I love you more than words can describe, my angel. Please remember that I am always right beside you, even if we are on different continents. You will always be my rock, my #1, and the love of my life. When I held you in my arms for the last time (for now!), my heart broke. My heart broke, so I could give you a piece to take with you. I’ll come see you soon. Pinky promise.

    Our last time together before Sriya moves

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Home Life, Lifestyle

    The Power of Influence

    influence

    Anyone can be influenced

    Oftentimes I hear that children are vulnerable to influence, but that isn’t necessarily true. Adults can be just as easily influenced, but like to think they aren’t. Children are usually more open-minded than adults. This causes them to be more easy going and more likely to go with the flow. However, anyone can be influential, regardless of age. Everyone is influenced, whether they realize or not, by the people around them. It’s natural. Some people are influenced negatively and pressured into doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Others are influenced positively, and stop doing things that they normally do that could be harmful. Others are influenced to do anything, just so they can fit in. Regardless of others’ age or reputation, they still have the ability to influence you both positively and negatively.

    Influencers in my life

    The People that Influence Me

    I attribute most of my positive traits to the people I spend the most time with, who lead through demonstration. Within my family, there are a few women who I am most thankful for. First, my Mom showed me how to be strong, independent, and generous. Secondly, my Nana taught me to make my voice heard, be sassy, and confident. My Aunt Glenna showed me how to be kind, patient, altruistic, and loving.

    I spent the majority of my childhood with my gymnastics coach, Mrs. Ashley, who is my family. She taught me many useful lessons in life, like to always be the best I can be, but always work harder. Not to accept defeat, ever. I will sometimes fail, and that’s okay, but failure is supposed to be used as motivation to conquer whatever obstacle is holding you back. My school teachers taught me about their specific subjects, and also how to be successful and helpful.

    My mom taught me how to be strong, independent, and generous.

    Influence can come from anywhere

    My younger cousin, Hope, reminds me simply just to be happy. Each of my friends taught me something about relationships. Some friendships showed me that people can be dishonest, others just change over time and you grow apart. The best friendships are the ones where you learn something every day, usually just how to love and be accepting. Each experience and person we encounter makes an impression on our lives, but we choose how it impacts us and how we can help others. All of these women created the person I am today, without even realizing it. I hope I can make a fraction of the positive impact they had on me, on someone else.

    Hope reminds me to be happy!

    Initially, I thought influence typically comes from someone who is older, wiser, and more experienced. While that can be true, it also works the other way around. Some might think that discussing the power of your personal influence is conceited, but it really isn’t. Each person has the ability to interact and change people’s lives, so it is important to be positive. I strive to use what I have been taught and help others, even if it’s just through being myself.

    I think it’s safe to say that age doesn’t necessarily determine how much of an impact you have on someone. The age of role models is irrelevant, it is their qualities, and the content of their character that is significant.

    You aren’t just influenced by the people in your day-to-day life, celebrities and social media hold lots of influence too. If you’re looking for inspiring women to teach you about being the best you can be, check out our Wonder Women section, specifically our Sheroes!

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Goals, School, Travel

    Everyone Has Their Own Story to Tell

    study abroad at cambridge

    The trouble with being adventurous and taking risks is you will never know what is going to happen until it surrounds you.  Some are born adventurous, while others have to learn. Personally, I am independent, and, despite usually finding success, I am rarely optimistic about the outcome of new situations. Recently, I learned that taking risks isn’t as scary as it seems, you just have to trust yourself and be open-minded.

    cambridge

    Going on my own adventure across the pond

    In the summer of 2018, I had the invaluable opportunity to study abroad at Cambridge University. It still feels like a dream, honestly. I studied medical science and psychology, with two of the most amazing professors. My classmates were all from different countries around the world. Each student brought a different perspective and opinion. We were able to discuss and make compromises, simply because everyone was respectful. Everyone came into the program with the intention of studying abroad to prepare for future careers, but we didn’t expect that we would be so close or grow so much. I spent a lot of my time studying, as the academics were more rigorous than anything I’d ever experienced before. In my free time, I chose to explore my new environment.

    Want to have your own adventure at Cambridge? Check out some more information here, https://oxbridgeprograms.com

    cambridge

    For months, leading up to the trip, I wondered. What will the town be like? Where will my classmates be from? Will I even enjoy studying abroad? The time finally came and I arrived in England. After getting settled in my dorm, I decided to go for a walk, and in no time, this became a habit. I walked through the park between classes, and downtown after class. Every day, I saw something or met someone new. The diversity within the program, and in the town, was simply beautiful. Kids from all around the world, coming to learn about their passions, surrounded by people in the town who were welcoming and supportive. Allowing myself to be inquisitive and vulnerable allowed me to go on my own little adventures. I learned not to be afraid of the unknown, just to be curious.

    cambridge

    At Cambridge, I learned about more than just medicine

    Obviously, my knowledge of medicine expanded immensely, while at Cambridge, but I also grew tremendously as a person. I’ve found that you learn a lot about yourself while learning about what you love, especially when you are in a new environment. I learned how to trust myself. I studied at Cambridge, as a 15-year-old, and I did extremely well in my classes. I’m usually so quick to doubt that I will succeed, but this experience boosted my confidence. I am proud of what I have accomplished, what I learned, and how much I grew. Most importantly, I realized that accomplishments shouldn’t be labeled by what others find impressive, but rather based on personal growth and experience.

    cambridge

    Stepping out of our comfort zones is something we should all do more frequently because it makes us grow. I am extremely grateful and fortunate for the opportunity I had to study and learn at Cambridge. Every day, I use something I learned during my time there. Remember to have an open heart and an open mind, because every person has a different story to tell. Whether you are across the ocean, or down the street, if you open your eyes and mind you can always learn something new.

    Aubrey is summer blogging intern that also stepped out of her comfort zone and learned lots about herself along the way. Check out more articles like this, Portrait of a Gap Year.