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  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Lifestyle, School, Social

    How to Find Your People

    three friends laughing together

    Its the end of summer… and we all know what that means. Goodbye summer nights and tan-lines, hello homework and teachers! The start of a new school year can be overwhelming. There’s the slight excitement of seeing all the people you didn’t see over the summer, buying new shiny school supplies, but there’s always some bit of anxiety about the unknown. A lot can happen in the summer, and returning back to school can come with a little stress. 

    The excitement and nervousness that comes with the school year can bring new people into your life. While this can be scary, accept it! School is always easier when you have the people that make you comfortable by your side. It’s not always easy to find your people, and that’s okay. Some of the best friendships in will come later in life, but for now, its time to make the most of the year! Follow these simple tips to keep an eye out for your people.

    1. Don’t be afraid of the small talk.

    It can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. Get all the quick facts out of the way, in order to talk about things that will give you a good indication if you are similar or not! Don’t let the anxiety of small talk prevent you from putting yourself out there.

    2. Find common interests.

    Find out what they like to do after school, how do they spend their free time? You never know who might be super into the same things as you! Exchange sports, hobbies, activities, and see what they like to do. Who knows, you might get recruited for an awesome new sports team or club!

    3. “Is that seat taken?”

    Take advantage of an empty seat! If you see someone sitting alone or with an empty seat next to them, push yourself outside that comfort zone and take a seat. This can be a great way to show someone you notice them and are interested in striking up a conversation! It’s also a great ice breaker to get the dialogue flowing.

    4. Be open-minded.

    Just because someone might not wear the same colors or styles as you, don’t write that person off as someone you wouldn’t like. As I said, you never know who you’re gonna meet. It can be refreshing to find a friend in an uncommon place!

    5. Meet someone new in town.

    There are always families moving in and out of town. If you notice someone you haven’t seen around town, or in school in years past, say hi! Ask them where they’re from and how they like it here. The simple gesture can go a long way for both of you!

  • GirlSpring.com, Poem, Poems, Relationships, Social

    Walking Down The Street

    walking down the street

    Walking down the street

    Just trying to get to the coffee shop,

    Passing by a group of men who start whistling,

    Walking a little faster

    Trying to get away from their rude comments,

    Seeking comfort from a phone call to a friend,

    “Should I have worn something different?”

    Walking through the parking lot

    Just going to buy groceries,

    Boys hanging out windows yelling suggestive remarks,

    Walking into the store

    Texting a friend about the crude boys,

    Asking how to make the situation better,

    “I shouldn’t have worn my shorts,”

    Standing at a party

    Just trying to have a good time,

    A boy whispering vulgar things in your ear,

    Walking away from the intrusive teenager

    Trying to escape from his grasp,

    Looking for a friend to talk to and offer their comfort,

    “I should have worn a longer shirt.”

    Unfortunately, most girls will get catcalled in their lives, but we don’t have to let it drag us down! If you get catcalled or have ever gotten catcalled, here is some advice on how to react.

  • Articles, Bullying, Confidence, Environment, GirlSpring.com, Interview, Lifestyle, Local, Mental Health, Relationships, School, Sexual Health, Social, Stress, Tough Questions, Writing

    Deciding To Come Out

    coming out

    ( Author’s Note: This website is for women empowerment. Men and Women can be feminist, therefore there are some males in this article.
    bri xx )

    Coming Out

    Coming out and discovering your sexuality is a really touchy subject and not everyone is comfortable with talking about their experiences. Although, it is a sensitive subject I know people (especially those who aren’t out yet) like to hear other LGBTQ+ coming out stories. Everyone’s story, of course, will be different! Some were accepted while others maybe weren’t. I had an okay experience which made me very curious about what other LGBTQ+ peoples’ experiences were. This led me to interview a few people with different cultural backgrounds to see how their experience went. I asked them all the same four questions.

    Here are their responses:

    Hayden Robinson
    Current Age: N/A
    Age You Came Out: 15
    Gender: Male
    Sexuality: Gay

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    During middle school, it felt kind of awkward walking through the underwear aisles. He started to realize when he had a crush on rapper Flo Rida.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    It all was a bit of a process, the first person he told was already a part of the LGBTQ+ community. He told them over Instagram demos, but then told them to delete their conversation. Then in November, he told his sister. The next month, he told his mom, and the month after that, his father. Soon, he told his stepmother on Valentine’s Day. Eventually, he told his close friends, but he still wasn’t out to everyone which affected his mental health. So, one Friday afternoon, he made a Snapchat story saying he was gay.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Most of them knew already. Sister thought it was awesome that they could talk about boys together. Mom took it hard and was scared. Dad was kind of quiet and didn’t ask many questions besides how long did he know he was a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Stepmom didn’t think it was a big deal.
    Friends were excited and pretty much already knew it.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    He is very happy about it! He would not be where he is today if he hadn’t come out. His family and friends are also still very supportive.

    Linus
    Current Age: 16
    Age You Came Out: 14
    Gender: Female
    Sexuality: Queer / Doesn’t really like labels though.

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    Younger, people would say a lot of homophobic things and she would take up for the LGBTQ+ community, not really realizing she was just standing up for herself.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    It wasn’t really formal, she just kind of talked about a crush who was apart of the LGBTQ+ community.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Overall, friends acted normally while one “friend” tried to fully push her out of the closet which resulted in her cutting them off.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    She’s only out to friends, but is happy about making that decision. She plans on coming out to family when ready.

    Carter

    Current Age: 15 turning 16
    Age You Came Out At: 12
    Gender: Transgender Male
    Sexuality: Bisexual

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    The first time was when he was in a hospital and met people a part of that community. During that time, he was given a chest binder and a packer and decided to try it.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    He came out as bisexual when he was twelve around thanksgiving time. He came out as transgender at fourteen.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Friends weren’t accepting at all and didn’t really understand it.
    Mom was giving him the talk when he came out as bisexual and was okay with it. Dad didn’t really care, but questioned if he was really sure he was bisexual. When coming out as transgender, his mom was confused and not accepting. She thought he was too young to make that decision. Four years later, Mom has accepted it but doesn’t want him to make rash decisions.
    Parents told teachers to call him a different name but didn’t tell them that he is transgender.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    Yes and No, he’s still battling with a couple of different things. Wishes he hadn’t told friends, but glad he came out to his family otherwise he would still be confused about things.

    Jamiah
    Current Age: 16
    Age You Came Out At: 15
    Gender: Female
    Sexuality: Lesbian

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community

    In seventh grade. The first year at a new school and decided that she wasn’t attracted to guys anymore.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    Made the decision to come out because she didn’t want to hide anymore and just wanted to be honest with herself.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Mom and Brothers already knew and did not care nor treat her differently. Dad doesn’t know and is not gonna tell him because she feels he just won’t understand. Friends were really happy and weren’t really shocked.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    Yes, Very Happy. She was just tired of hiding it and finally happy she can be open about her relationships.

    Talking with these individuals opened my eyes a lot.

    You always hear stories about people’s coming out experiences. Some are like a happy fairy tale ending. Some are not so happy and end with people taking their own lives. Not everyone is gonna be accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, but every individual has a right to express themselves and not be treated differently or less than anyone else in this world. Coming out is not the easiest to do so wait until you’re ready and are comfortable with sharing it to friends, family or anyone. Don’t let anyone force you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you are not comfortable with coming out, it’s perfectly fine, no pressure, but know that, even if it doesn’t feel like it, there are many people out there who love and support you.

    If you do come out and you start to experience verbal, physical, emotional abuse or any form of bullying, tell someone. Don’t let other people’s stupidity make you feel bad about being yourself. Hopefully, reading other people’s stories helped or educated you a little bit on how different everyone’s reactions and how it changed or didn’t change their lives.

    much love,
    bri xx

    Everyone deserves to feel comfortable being themself, gay, straight, bi, trans, whatever! Check out some tips on being comfortable in your own skin.

    If you are thinking about coming out but don’t know how to, or have more questions than you can count, look at the Human Right’s Campaign’s Coming Out Resource Guide.

  • Environment, Lifestyle, Local, Misc, Social, Tips

    Pride Month Safety

    Pride Month

    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

  • Articles, Fashion, Social, This and That

    Cosplay: Teenagers Dress Up

    Cosplay: Teenagers Dress Up

    by Lily Jacks

    Be it for Halloween, costume parties, or just for fun, many people have taken great joy in childhood dress up. I can remember in my early youth thinking that when I dressed up, I could somehow magically become that character. I would get so into my character that sometimes I would even forget that I was not, in fact, Cinderella or Hermione Granger. Sometimes, I even wore my costumes to school. (For my kindergarten school picture I wore a tiger costume!) This hobby is one that most people grow out of as time moves forward.

    However, I did not want to grow out of dress-up. In sixth grade I heard about cosplay through the internet. Of course I had little to no idea at the time what cosplay was, but I knew that it connected to my childhood hobby. I did a little research and discovered that cosplay is a rather popular activity among teens and young adults. What makes it different from dressing up as a child is the quality and time put into the costumes and the interaction of cosplayers within their community online and at the conventions.

    By seventh grade my sister made a friend who was an active member of the cosplay community. We formed our own cosplay group focusing on Japanese anime characters. Through this group, we became more experienced and finally learned how to improve our cosplays. We went that year to Kami-Con, a local anime and cosplay convention. My sister and I had previously been to one cosplay convention, albeit we didn’t take it as seriously. That year, the amount of time and effort we spent preparing and perfecting our cosplay paled in comparison to the year before. The convention itself was very warm and open. We got to meet a lot of people who shared our common interests and got to dig deeper into this new community. We watched a cosplay contest, in which I learned that a lot of the best cosplayers make their own costumes.

    Last year was my third year to attend Kami-Con. I cosplayed Flying Mint Bunny, a character from an anime called Hetalia. I had already bought a dress and wig that I could wear for the costume, but I did not have some of the essential accessories (bunny ears and wings). I had never made any of my own cosplay before, but decided that I would make these accessories. The ears were felt and stuffing sewn onto a headband, and I made the wings from cardboard and felt. It is still one of my favorite cosplays, in part because of my involvement in the creation of it!

    I enjoy being an active member of the cosplay community with my sister. I am currently taking sewing lessons and finding new ways to become more involved with the making and perfection of my costumes. I love interacting with the cosplay community online and look forward to the conventions! These fantastical experiences both bring me back to the simple pleasures of childhood as well as spring me forward into a community of imaginative and creative young adults.

  • Social

    First Dates: A Tutorial

    First Dates: A Tutorial

    What does a first date mean to you? To me, going on a first date is the first real chance you have at getting to know someone. The actual date may not be as common as going to the movies and getting dinner, there are other ways to romantically get to know someone. I remember my very first “first date”. It was near the end of my freshman year of high school, and this boy I had met through a mutual friend invited me out to dinner. With permission from my parents, I agreed to go out with him.

    I was so nervous. I did not know what to wear, how to do my makeup—if I should wear makeup—where we would go, or if I was going to be expected to kiss him at the end of the night. I wasn’t sure if I would be ready to kiss him. I had even considered cancelling the date and just asking if he wanted to hang out with a group of friends sometime rather than being alone. But I didn’t.

    I flipped through every single article of clothing I had in my closet and ended up trying a few on. Nothing seemed to fit the mood right. Blue jean shorts felt too casual, my homecoming dress was too formal, a tank dress fell a little too close to casual, and my black blazer would make it feel like an interview. So, when all else failed, I went to my sister. Today you could just use Pinterest for outfit options.

    My sister said to just wear something cute and comfortable. Do you know how vague that is? Very.

    I eventually settled on a black camisole, a white cardigan, and a blue jean skirt. It may sound unfashionable now, but it seemed alright back then. It ended up being both cute and comfortable like my sister suggested. I didn’t have to change my personal style to fit for the date’s mood, which is important when someone is trying to get to know you, and vice versa.

    The next item on my list was the makeup issue. I didn’t wear a lot of makeup in high school, mostly because on weekends my Show Choir group would wear tons of it for a single performance. But during the school days I wore a little bit of eye liner and some mascara. Pretty much nothing has changed, aside from what makeup I wear to professional events. I believe a natural face can be just as beautiful as wearing makeup. Whatever feels comfortable to you, is what you should do.

    The guy I was going to be seeing knew what my face looked like on an average day, so I decided to dress it up a little bit. I watched a short tutorial on Youtube for how to do makeup, and then began applying those techniques to my face.

    With my outfit down and my face embellished, I was ready to see where the night would take us. He had planned for the two of us to eat at local Mexican restaurant. Just dinner, nothing else. I was completely okay with this. First dates are not supposed to be how extreme the other person can be when planning, but to have some time to talk in a comfortable environment. That is not to say that you can’t do fun and exciting things for a date, just try to give time to talk on the first one.

    As the night was coming to an end, we talked about what things we favored, what we are passionate about, where we see ourselves in years to come, and we even gave each other personal compliments. It felt like a huge success, and I was already planning on seeing him again.

    When it came time for him to drop me off at my home, he walked me to my door and let me know how much fun he had that night. He leaned in slightly, so I knew he was inviting me to meet him the rest of the way if I wanted. Instead, I was not yet comfortable enough to kiss him back, so I said goodnight and that I would like to see him again.

    There was nothing weird about the situation. He backed away at a comfortable pace and smiled with understanding. There is no rule that states you must kiss your date on the first one or on any of them. It is something that is nice and will come naturally with time.  We did end up going on a couple of more dates after that night, and I eventually met him halfway.

    If you are ever in need of some first date/dating advice check out these tips:

    • Only say yes if you absolutely want to go out with them. You are not obligated to “give someone a chance”.
    • Pick an outfit that feels like you but give it a little bit of an extra touch so that the other person knows you’re just as excited about the date as they are.
    • If any part of the date makes you uncomfortable, do not be afraid to say something.
    • Always come prepared to pay. Even if the person you are going out with invited you, you should be ready just in case anything happens. This brings me to my next tip,
    • The responsibility of paying typically goes to the person who invites the other person on whatever date is planned, unless you have both agreed to split the tab, or some other arrangement is made.
    • Don’t be afraid to be the one doing the “asking out”. It does not matter what gender you identify with, if you want to go on a date with someone, then just ask them.
    • Healthy Dating Tips: https://www.girlshealth.gov/relationships/dating/index.html