The artist, Sophia Peralo was inspired to draw this because of many of her friends, who seemed to be stuck in toxic relationships and the drawing celebrates them breaking free.
The girls I’ve met through Miss Alabama and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen organization have become some of my dearest friends. I just competed for the title of Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen. Although I did not walk away with the pageant title, I had the best weekend of my life, and I got to witness one of my dearest friends getting crowned. The weekend layout is super busy, but it’s a good busy. The phases of competition include a private interview, fitness, talent, evening gown, and an onstage question.
Months before competition begins all of the girls involved meet at orientation. It was such a daunting day for me, being my first orientation. Everyone I met the day of orientation was so nice and understanding. Everyone arrives in shifts. First, you turn in all of the paperwork and then you head back to get headshots taken for the judges’ books. After you get your headshot taken you get sized for your fitness outfit. After you get done with all of that, then you wait for the meeting to get started. During the meeting, we draw which number we will compete with and the director goes over the rules.
Two months later we check in the Friday night before the pageant. Friday night is such a crazy night! Over half of the girls interview on Friday night, then the last few interview on Saturday morning. Also Friday night you practice your talent, run through fitness, and you learn the opening and closing numbers. I interviewed on Saturday morning, which in retrospect was a good idea for me. At orientation, everyone picked their spots, and when picking their spots they found out when they competed. I liked the order I competed and I think it was best suited for me.
On Saturday, all of the girls competed in the preliminary competitions, and then on Sunday, we found out who the top 20 were. Although my name was not called for the top 20, I still had the best weekend. No matter win or lose, rain or shine, the girls I competed with on the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen stage will forever be my dearest friends. The directors and volunteers at the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen pageant are some of the absolute best people I’ve ever met. They work so hard to make sure that everything goes off almost perfectly, and they are some of the most hardworking people ever. I am so thankful that I got to work with them at the pageant. To say that the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen organization shaped me into who I am today is an understatement. When I think back to the past year, I am so happy that I got to do it with the best girls ever.
Want to know more about Pageants? Check out “The Life of a Pageant Girl!”
Some Tips on How to Stay Safe During Pride Events.
As many of you may know PRIDE month is right around the corner. For those who don’t know what pride month is here’s a definition: The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world. ( Wikipedia ) But in my words basically a celebration for the LGBTQ+ community!
If you are planning on attending any PRIDE events, parades, parties, etc. Here are some safety tips you could use just in case.
1. Stay with a friend or a group of friends: Often, when attacks have occurred the victim are usually alone leaving a party, at a party by themselves, or simply just walking home by themselves. If happen to find yourself alone stay as open in the public as you can and always check your surroundings. (even if you are just going to a bathroom)
2. Drinking: If you’re an ADULT please drink responsibly!! And if you have had too much to drink please do NOT drive, have a friend take you home. ( I don’t advise taking an uber or lyft in that state of mind because you do not know the driver.)
3. Have protection: I do not recommend any type of weapons on any occasion but if you are considering getting one: mace, taser, pepper spray, etc. Anything to protect yourself if an attacker approached you.
4. Clubs: If you are planning on attending any type of club or public function check if there is security and if weapons are or aren’t allowed in the building. Also, be aware of emergency exits!!
5. Last but not least… HAVE FUN!!!!: Pride Month is a month of celebration for being who you are! If you are looking for events to attend you can ask a friend you trust or look up events in your area. If you plan to attend one, BRING A FRIEND OR FRIENDS.
If you are a teen in the Birmingham area, MCAC (Magic City Acceptance Center, http://www.magiccityacceptancecenter.org) has many great events coming up.
If you are in the LGBTQ+ community and you are not out yet, I understand. Coming out isn’t easy, wait for when it’s perfect for you!!
Happy Pride Month my loves, bri xx
Spring break season is upon us.
In our heads, we think of this glorious, week-long break from school as a time to relax and recuperate from the trials and tribulations of spring semester. But in all actuality, is it really as revitalizing as we make it out to be?
Spring break falls into two categories: making memories with friends or spending quality time with your parents. Although both have their pros and cons, spring break is never actually as relaxing as we make it out to be.
I spent this past week in Arizona with my parents. After long days packed with hiking at the Grand Canyon, searching for wild horses and watching baseball in the desert heat, I’m finally back home– and let me be honest, I’m more tired than I was before the vacation.
On the other hand, a group of my closest friends spent their spring break in California. Even though laying at the beach, sightseeing around Beverly Hills and chatting around a bonfire doesn’t seem to strenuous, they’re ready to return to everyday life, as well.
So if spring break is going to inevitably end up in exhaustion, how do you make a decision on what you’re going to do?
In my opinion, spending vacation with your parents is always the way to go. Yeah, you’ll miss your friends (and probably encounter quite a bit of FOMO), but after a short week, you’ll be back together again.
Spring break-ing with parents is much more smooth– the group is more organized and overall does more activities (and hey, not paying for everything with your own money is a perk). You don’t have to worry about travel or living situations, and they’re you’re family, so you know you’ll get along. Sometimes.
Experiencing new things with friends is always a good time, but truthfully, spending too much time with them could produce some difficulties.
I missed my friends this past week, without a doubt. But there’s nowhere else I would’ve rather been than with my family. Plus, family vacations aren’t forever– milk it while you still can!
If you’re debating on whether to spend spring break with friends or family, follow the number one rule: family comes first. Besides the perpetual state of tiredness after it’s over, a great time is guaranteed.
Jenna Prez raced home from school blood dripping down her face as the bruise on her forehead pulsates. She didn’t take much time throwing her bookbag down and running off to the bathroom the check the damage. She stares in the mirror not cleaning herself up but letting the blood drip from her mouth, and tears from her eyes. Why can’t the leave us alone, she thinks, can’t they mind their own business. Jenna goes to an all girl catholic high school where she met her first girlfriend, Regina Price. She had always known she was not attracted to boys, but until Regina, she wasn’t sure she was attracted to anyone. They had kept their relationship ‘on the down low’ for the past three months enjoying the secrecy of their teenage love. They would go on secret dates and hold hands pretending only to be best friends. There secret was well hidden until today when another girl, Janet Kinkle, saw Jenna kiss Regina on the cheek under the bleachers during gym. Jenna and Regina were unaware of Janet’s presence until they got back to the locker room where six of Janet’s friends were waiting on them. As soon as Jenna and Regina walked through the door, the other girls pummeled them to the floor scratch and punching them while yelling derogatory terms for lesbians. The coach, eventually, heard the commotion and broke up what was going to seem like a fight and not a clear attack on two innocent girls. Jenna and Regina were sent to the office for their misbehavior and were sentenced to three days of suspension while also having a call to home for what they had been hiding. The principal didn’t punish the other girls because she understood why they were enraged by this ‘immoral’ behavior. Jenna hears a loud knocking on the bathroom door, and she checks the time on her apple watch. Her mother was home from work. She builds up the courage she can and opens the door, and as soon as she meets her mother’s eyes, she is slammed into the door by her mother’s hand. Her mother slapped her across the face with tears in her eyes stating Jenna would never see Regina again, and she is disgusting. Her mother walks away, and Jenna shuts the door once again staring at herself in the mirror- not crying or speaking-only staring. She had no one in her life who fully accepted her but Regina, and now Regina was gone. Jenna was completely alone. Her breathing becomes heavy, and she slams her fist into the mirror breaking her reflection.
There has been a lot of controversy over Donald Trump’s rise to the Presidency.
His biggest sell to our country is the promise of safer borders and less overcrowding due to foreign immigration. This promise began with the attempt to build a wall. Which has been less a structure and more a human resources enabled deterrent. The plan is to station 5,200 American soldiers along the border to prevent a caravan almost 4,000 people from Mexico.
(More on the caravan and citizenship proposal here: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/trump-wants-end-birthright-citizenship-executive-order-n926081 )
The people in this country are scared, but half of the population seems to believe “the people” shouldn’t expand. So, what does Trump propose next, to ensure that immigration numbers decline? He announced on a TV interview with HBO’s Axio’s (https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/trump-seeks-to-eliminate-birthright-citizenship-axios-1356703811948?v=railb& )that he will implement an executive order to withhold citizenship rights from foreign-born babies.
The issue I would like to discuss does not start with Trump, nor will it end with Trump. It goes back to the mindset that in the United States of America, certain people deserve a certain standard of living.
Why is it that people celebrate Cristopher Columbus when he sailed to the Americas and enslaved and warred with the native races? When immigrants from a border country try to find solace and a better life, they meet rifles and hatred. There is a disparity in how we treat people.
My great, great grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian, but my great-great-grandfather was almost entirely European.
At some point in my family tree, an immigrant came to America to have a better life. My family wanted the freedom to practice their religious beliefs and wanted to live in a country where the sky was the limit. I can imagine that those trying to cross the border only want the same things if not more.
If our country was an unsafe place to live in, would we not want another country to help us find peace?
The idea that President Trump can change the 14th Amendment is going to push two sides of people to surface. One side will want what’s best for themselves, and the other side will want what’s best for other everyone. However, if we let the selfish side of ourselves win, how can we expect others to treat us and how can we forgive our actions?
The stigma towards an entire race of people is causing tremendous loss. At the border, they force families to separate. Some people immediately return to their countries. While others are forced to live in an unfamiliar territory alone. The women who come to the U.S. illegally, and have children are only doing it for a better life for their child. They understand the risk of being separated from their babies. However, this would not stop a loving mother from doing what she can to provide for her family. This is the purpose of the 14th Amendment. It gives every person the right to a free life in a free country.
If you have opinions on this topic, whether in favor of or against, please comment down below. I am curious to know where other people stand on this situation and am open to hearing all sides.
Meet Claire and Maddi, vegan athletes. Claire is a senior in high school, and Maddi is a sophomore. Both are competitive figure skaters that train and condition regularly. And both have made the life-changing decision to not consume animal products, to go vegan.
How long have you been vegan?
Claire: Three years.
Maddi: Since September 20, 2017, so a little over a year.
What influenced your decision to go vegan?
Claire: Before I went vegan, I already faced dietary restrictions due to lactose intolerance, which was an influence to my choice. However, my ethical beliefs also influenced my decision.
Maddi: I had a lot of different influences. The first being Claire, who had first introduced me to veganism, and the second being wanting to improve my skating and overall health. Once I did more research on veganism, I started doing it for ethical reasons, as well.
How has your life changed since you went vegan?
Claire: I have become a lot more aware of what I eat and no longer care as much about what others think about my decision.
Maddi: It’s changed my life for the better. I’ve learned a lot about food and what is actually good and bad for me. A lot of people seem to think that when you are vegan you can’t eat out because restaurants don’t have food for vegans, which I have learned is definitely not the case. So that aspect of my life has not changed much if any. Lastly, I have learned to think for myself and not worry about what other people think.
Have you noticed a difference in your health?
Claire: I have absolutely felt a difference in my health. I have a lot more energy, and in general, I feel stronger.
Maddi: I still get tired but I have way more energy. Also, I feel less bloated after I eat.
How has becoming vegan affected your athletic life?
Claire: Becoming vegan was the best thing as an athlete! I have found my recovery time is much faster now, and I just feel so much better in general.
Maddi: I have noticed a huge improvement in my skating. I had way more energy and endurance. I also started sleeping better which helped me with training and mental health overall.
What are some of the difficulties you’ve faced?
Claire: Eating out has been a slight difficulty. Also, facing judgement from my family members and sometimes strangers too.
Maddi: The biggest struggle is dealing with family, friends, or even strangers that don’t understand or respect my lifestyle. Having to deal with this almost everyday has taught me that I can’t make everyone understand or agree with what I am doing, but I can still do what I think is best for my own health and the world around me.
Explain how you have adapted your daily life.
Claire: I always make sure to have vegan food stocked up and let new people that I know that I have dietary restrictions. I definitely cook all of my food now as well.
Maddi: I started packing my own lunch every day for school and I always check the ingredients of items before I eat or buy them.
How do you order from restaurants?
Claire: Normally when I order from restaurants I’ll pick an already vegetarian item, or I’ll ask the waiter if I can get my item without dairy or other animal products. Most restaurants are very accommodating and don’t mind at all! After all, they are there to serve you.
Maddi: Ordering from restaurants is really not that difficult. I will typically choose an item on the menu with the least amount of non-vegan items in it, and then I’ll ask them to remove whatever isn’t vegan. Other times I order a whole bunch of sides together as my entrée.
What advice would you give people thinking about going vegan?
Claire: Do your research! Make sure you are getting all of your nutrients and vitamins. Don’t expect going vegan to turn you into a health guru. Also, don’t restrict yourself of any vegan foods. Lastly, keep everything in moderation.
Maddi: I would definitely say do your research on what being vegan actually is. It is not just eating dairy, meat, etc., there is a whole other ethical side to it. Make sure you educate yourself on what actually happens within the meat and dairy industry. Secondly, do your research on the necessary vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Know that people won’t always understand or even agree with your lifestyle and beliefs, and that’s okay. Do what you think is right and don’t worry about what other people think you should do.
What is your typical meal?
Claire: A typical meal would be tofu or edamame and veggies.
Maddi: My typical meal is either a baked potato with ketchup, broccoli, apple, and a soft serve dark chocolate popsicle or some sort of burrito with rice and beans.
What is your favorite vegan recipe?
Claire: My favorite recipe has got to be lentil spaghetti or a really great veggie burger.
Maddi: My favorite recipe is a good veggie burger.