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    An Honest Post on Eating Disorders

    An Honest Post on Eating Disorders

    OK. This is so scary for me to be posting in front of a bunch of strangers. But I feel really passionate about this subject and I can’t let my fear get in the way any longer. So here we go.

    As National Eating Disorder Awareness Week comes to an end, I just want to say a few things. This topic is pretty sensitive for me but it’s close to my heart so bear with me. Eating disorders suck – Period. They are not glamorous and you most definitely don’t choose them.
    I’ve suffered from an eating disorder since I was 14. I’ve been through all of the ups and downs – the calorie counting and restriction, the excessive exercise, and the shame of feeling horrible in my own body.
    Some days, I would eat only one meal with a few snacks and then run or exercise to try to burn it off. I was cold all the time. I lost my period for three years! My brain was also in a perpetual fog. Even though I looked the most fit I ever had, I was not mentally healthy. Now don’t get me wrong, eating well and exercising can be great. As long as you don’t let it consume your life and thoughts – which happened to me.
    Going from 130 pounds to 108 pounds in a span of a few months was not healthy. Especially how I was doing it. I was so scared of disappointing my friends and family by telling them about my problems. I was always trying to fight my body’s natural needs. There were little voices in my head always criticizing me and telling me I was never going to be good enough. And for what? To try to get washboard abs? Or super small legs? Why would you waste so much time And energy over something so vain and futile? Why try to fight something that should be so simple? After all, it is a necessity in life. Why are we constantly letting the world dictate how we feel?
    No one should ever feel like they have to change who they are because someone tells them to. No one should ever let worth be defined by weight. Your. Wait. Does. Not. Define. You.
    Once you realize that you were meant to be on this earth for so much more than to shrink yourself, only then will you find all the joy life has to offer.
    Guest post written originally for Instagram by Claire Rivas of Birmingham, Alabama
  • Photography

    Gun Control, Where Are We One Year After Parkland?

    Roughly a year ago on February 14, 2018, Stoneman Majority Douglas High School was under attack by Nicolas Cruz for about 7 minutes. The outcome resulted in 17 casualties, many more injuries, and the spark of a movement that has lit wildfires of fear and passion for gun control across the United States. So, one year later, what has changed? Over the year, attention towards the desperate need for gun control has made the public more involved than ever. In multiple states, gun control policies were updated and strengthened.

    In California, specifically in the wake of the Thousand Oaks bar shooting, the minimum age of which guns could be sold to was upped from 18 to 21. Another bill was passed that made it so any person with a history or record of domestic violence is barred from owning any kind of firearm.

    In Illinois, the waiting period for when a person will receive a gun has jumped from 24 hours to 72 hours. This is especially important because it usually takes 3 days for petty anger to wear off, or for an argument to be worked out. This increase in waiting time can prevent future casualties.

    In Oregon, a trend had been for reported abusers to not get married, and thus still be allowed to own firearms in the ‘boyfriend loophole’. The original law made it so married abusers could not own firearms, but by not being married, these abusers could still own their weapons. The new law took care of this ‘boyfriend loophole’, granting safety to many people in the state who might feel unable to leave an abusive situation.

    In Washington State, the age limit for buying semi-automatic rifles increased from 18 to 21. Starting in July, the state will also pass new safety gun storage laws and background checks from law enforcement.

    On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, the House of Representatives passed significant gun control regulations, that requires background checks on all firearm sales in the United States. Another term for this that you might be familiar with is Universal Background Checks. That’s right, it finally happened. The vote still has to move to the Senate where it is unlikely to pass, but it is a huge step in the right direction.  

    One year ago, there was a lot of uncertainty about whether the March For Our Lives movement would amount to anything. And one year later, I think I can say that it has made a very good impact. There is still a long way to go on the road of gun control in the United States, but this movement has made its case, and won’t be leaving until their demands are met.

  • Photography

    The Best Way to Make (and Keep) Your 2019 Resolutions

    We’re a few weeks into 2019, or as I like to call it, the Land of Forgotten Resolutions.


    By this point in the year, most people have forgotten, given up on, or haven’t even started their New Year’s Resolutions, but that doesn’t have to be you. Regardless of how much effort you put into your goals, your motivation will begin to waver if you’re not specific, realistic and optimistic.


    Be healthier. Be more organized. Get better grades. Save more money. We’ve all seen resolutions similar to these, and they’re good goals to have. But are they attainable? How do you plan to succeed?


    Be specific.


    The truth is, with broad goals such as the ones above, it’s easy to lose your way, and eventually lose your resolution. It’s difficult to accomplish your goals when you haven’t planned out the steps on how to get there.


    Okay, so you want to become healthier. Great! Do you want to drink more water? Eat more vegetables? Exercise more? While setting your resolutions, decide what route you want to take, and turn it into a finite goal. Drink three liters of water a day. Make sure you have a vegetable integrated into each meal. Do an hour of physical activity a day, whether it’s going for a walk or going to the gym.


    Transform your general resolution into specific steps on how to achieve them. If you’re able to cross something off of your to-do list (one of the most amazing feelings), you’ll be more likely to hold yourself accountable and create a more defined path to success.


    Be realistic.


    Another reason why people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions is because they’ve come to the realization that their goal is unattainable. Old habits are hard to kick, and you might slip up every once and awhile. It’s okay. Realize that you’re only human, and keep that in mind while creating your goals.


    Keep in mind that results don’t happen overnight, as much as we’d like them to. It’s going to take time to jump into that healthy lifestyle. You have to put forth some effort into studying and completing assignments before you’ll see a positive change in your grade. You’re going to have to change your habits if you want to save money.


    It may not seem easy at first, but it’ll be worth it– all it takes is a little progress every day, and recognition that instant gratification isn’t an option.


    Be optimistic.


    It is the harsh and utter truth that we’re our own enemies. Everyone makes mistakes, and the misconception of perfection is what leads to the downfall of many resolutions.


    Mistakes are inevitable, but contrary to popular belief, it is possible to recover from them. The first day of the new year is typically perceived as the only day to change mindsets and lifestyles, but that’s just not true. Every day is a fresh start. So what if you reverted to an old habit? It was a habit. It’s only natural. Be aware of it, and move on with the confidence that you can do better.  


    Always be proud of the achievements you have made up to this point– don’t let one moment of confusion be an excuse to give up. Don’t be too critical of yourself, believe that you can overcome any obstacle that comes before you, even if it’s yourself. With a positive mindset and straightforward, sensible goals, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in the new year.


    Happy 2019!


  • Photography

    Top 10 Rapid Stress Relief Activities for Girls

    Stress Relief

    Top 10 Rapid Stress Relief Activities for Girls

    Girls undergo some emotional breakdowns which may be related to relationship issues, low self-esteem, problems at work, tight curfews by parents, trying to impress their friends, and even worrying about getting married when their biological clocks are ticking! The female gender loves attention, and failure to receive it can derail them emotionally. Therefore, they need to find a constant source of happiness and satisfaction to help them cope with the challenges in their day-to-day lives.

    Here are some of the top 10 rapid stress relief that girls can try out:


    • Going for a ride


    Research has proven that connecting with nature and pumping up some adrenaline in the system can be an excellent way of relieving stress. Thus, the best way to go about it is hopping into a car with a friend and hitting the road. The vehicle should be at high speed on an isolated road to avoid being irritated by traffic jam which may increase the stress levels. Besides, they can always hire a car if they do not have one. It is a must do for every girl who is stressing out because of the various reasons mentioned above.


    • Taking a walk


    Walks should be taken in the evening when there is less commotion in the area. Girls can do this within their neighborhood or wherever they please. Walking helps in elevating the moods of the females which eases their levels of depression. Another reason that makes walking a mandatory stress-reliever to try is that it aids in releasing endorphins making the person involved in the exercise happy. However, the pace should be fast to increase heart rate which also helps with hormonal balance.


    • Girls’ night out


    Girls can choose to have dinner together, go clubbing, hang out anywhere in the city, or decide to go to the movies. With this, they get to spend quality time with their loved ones as they participate in the activities they cherish together. Also, having the people they love around them dilutes tough situations that they are experiencing hence making them enjoy life the more.


    • Snuggling with a pet


    Another essential tip is adopting an animal either a dog, cat or any other that they may prefer. It is an activity that has proven to release hormones that introduce a gentle spirit for the girl.


    • Consider a spa night


    Spa dates can be expensive, but they can still do it at home to minimize on expenses. The easiest way is it to buy scrubs and prepare homemade face masks, use the best diffuser to diffuse essential oils to create that well scented and relaxing atmosphere, and take some wine or any drink of choice. These will make her feel relaxed and free from the pressures of life. But she can also spice it up by taking a bath in a tub with candles around. The beauty and ambiance that these bring are enough to make life less stressful.


    • Get to the kitchen and cook something


    Cooking is a creative exercise that makes people explore their abilities. But for it to be interesting, they have to prepare meals that take less time to make and which require minimum skills for the activity to be enjoyable. Some of the foods to consider cooking include sandwiches, burgers, salad, cakes, blending juice or smoothie and even coffee. All these will keep their minds off the stress. Therefore, girls should try this stress-relieving hack.


    • Go shopping in a mall


    Malls are beautiful places packed with all kinds of commodities. Seeing beautiful stuff that most girls have always wanted will automatically make them feel good about themselves. Also, they can merely window shop as a way of planning on what to buy next.


    • Read a good book


    Reading books helps with engaging the mind which is a way of killing idleness. But the plots of these stories must be intriguing to prevent the reader from getting bored. It will automatically ease stress especially when the victims connect well with the characters in the stories.


    • Put some loud music and dance to it


    They say music is a drug that almost everyone gets high on and girls are not an exception. Therefore, it is a rapid stress-relieving tip that they must try out. But it is more fun if they do it with a friend or a sibling for them not to feel lonely. With this, their moods will be elevated especially when they sing along and scream to the top of their lungs.


    • Take a nap


    Rest is as good as a change, and sleeping is the best way to relieve stress. It helps the whole body to relax including the brain hence rejuvenating to better body functioning.


  • Photography

    Why You Should Watch “The Heathers”

    “The Heathers” is a movie that has become one of my favorite movies.

    The story follows Veronica, a new member of the popular group in school the Heathers. She is intrigued by a new guy J.D., and her life turns in an oath of suicides and extremes. However, on the surface, the movie seems like another teenage drama, but it has many underlying themes. One of the big themes is suicide. The story is a satire. So, although some of the views portrayed in the movie appear harsh, it is only to emphasize the opposite. For instance, multiple teenagers commit suicide in the movie (not a big spoiler), and the adults in the movie turn the suicides into a political statement on society and glorify the suicides because the ones committing suicide are doing it for political reasons.

    By using satire, the film indicates that suicide is not the best choice and that teens should get help.

    The handling of the suicides emphasizes the struggle teenagers have with not being recognized and not talked down to. Throughout the film, the adults are naive and condescending, always treating the kids like children. Even the teachers use the suicides, a statement by the teens, to make points about their own beliefs, disregarding the messages of the students. Even suicide cannot bring the adults to listen. (Again, this is all satirical, and the movie does not condone suicide or extremist acts).

    With all of the underlying themes and the characters, “The Heathers” is an incredibly clever film that I believe everyone should watch.

    It shows the awfulness of bullying and the relevance of teenagers in the world. However, if all of the intellectual aspects do not interest you, it is an enthralling film with an amazing plot and ending. It is shocking and different from any other movie I have watched. You will not be disappointed.

    Learn more on IMDB,

  • Photography

    I Got my Wisdom Teeth Pulled and This Happened

    I got my wisdom teeth pulled

    I Got my Wisdom Teeth Pulled and This Happened

    by Sophia Porrill

    Everyone fears the day you have to get your wisdom teeth out, and if your luck is as good as mine you had all four wisdom teeth. 

    I found out that I had to get my wisdom teeth out a week before Thanksgiving. Not a day went by that I didn’t worry about having to get my wisdom teeth out. Eventually, it came to the day of, it was the Friday before Thanksgiving.

    You can’t eat from midnight until the time of your procedure usually. This wasn’t a problem for me because my procedure was at 7:30 in the morning. 

    The doctors, nurses, and staff where I got my procedure done were so nice. I could not have asked for a nicer staff. They reassured me that I would be fine, there would be little to no pain and mostly soreness. They called me to a little meeting room where they discussed with me the after surgery care. It’s, honestly, not that bad. The next step was to numb in my arm where they would put in the IV. Then they took me to the room where they would operate on me.  

    The nurses around me just talked, they talked about anything and everything to distract me from everything that was going on around me. This is because there are a lot of sounds and movement going on around you. 

    At some point, the doctor will walk into the room and then they put you under anesthesia. The procedure usually lasts about 35-45 minutes in total from getting to the room to completion. Usually, when you wake up, you don’t talk very much and you’re mostly confused as to what’s going on, but if you are anything like me than you wake up and you don’t stop talking at all.  

    All in all your wisdom teeth procedure is not that bad. The only thing that could possibly hurt at all is if you get a dry socket. 

    In the case that you do get a dry socket don’t wait to go to call the doctor back or to go back to the doctor because they can help you ease that pain. Your wisdom teeth procedure and recovery is much easier than you think, so don’t be afraid there is no need to worry months in advance.

  • Artwork, Photography

    Super Cool Art Video

    Super Cool Art Video

    Olivia Porrill is a member of the Springboarders Teen Leadership program, and a senior at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. This was part of a collaborative studio project for her school. Tell us what you think in the comments!