Friday, August 31, 2012
The answer which I will offer in the event which I am next asked "Lily what is it that you wish to be when you grow up?" without a quiver in my voice I will say with extreme confidence, "I don't know."
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
We all must take adventures. We all must push ourselves to the farthest of limits. We all must step out of our well defined comfort zones. Change is necessary, experience is needed in order to learn. And so.. I bid you all farewell, as I am taking a journey of my own up to camp!
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Invitation after invitation. They kept on coming like water flowing from a fountain. The intimidating words looking me back in the eyes, struck fear deep within. Summer Pool Party. I could not see past the intimidation I felt towards "fun in the sun." Parading around in practically nothing, hardly allowed for an exciting time ahead. Never had I ever felt such insecurity about how I was going to "look" at a function with people surrounding me. Teenage uncertainty regarding external beauty had never felt so strong. It had such power over me. It was the rope strangling my summer of festivities. My summer of confidence! My insecurity had gotten the best of me. My self-doubt was stronger than I, and slowly I was losing myself due to the attempt of finding myself. Acting as a social butterfly I attended these parties sporting jeans, converse, and tied t-shirts. The estranged looks I received were endless. It nearly became a joke between myself and friends alike. I had become the non-swimming vampire who could not be exposed to the sun! They understood my uncertainty. I just could not bring myself to understand their certainty! They all seemed to possess the power and strength to have fun and disregard the voice in the back of their minds. No roadblock was going to stifle a time of pure fun. It was difficult when I would return home to find my Facebook clogged with underwater photographs of these affairs. Picture after picture sans Lily.. It was as if my presence at these parties was invisible. Gone without notice! It took nearly 5 pool parties, a few declines, and the struggle to swap my jeans for a bikini, that I forced myself to overcome this lack of confidence! I sat by the swimming girls, with my feet dangling over the cold stone, when my dearest of friends came up to me and simply said "Lil, it is time you come swimming." I looked back at her with a smirk and wide eyes and replied, "Do we not know each other? I am Lily and really don't DO these swim parties." We laughed for a bit, and danced around the real reason why I refused to take part in such activity. When she came forward to ask the dreaded why, I explained. I admitted my fear. I confided my insecurity. She looked back at me with such strength and said, "You are only going to live one Summer 2012. Don't just dip your toes into it. Put your whole self in!" Never had I ever witnessed such support. Never had I ever been offered such motivational advice. It was that sure-fullness in her voice that made me run into the bathroom rip the tags off my never-worn suit and hopped in that pool. The fear didn't evaporate as the water touched my skin, however it was the power I had, to push it aside that distracted me from it. As I splashed around in the pool with my friends on either side, I realized the fun which my self-conscious behavior had blocked me from all along! It is when you bring yourself to understand that we all have insecurities. It is when you bring yourself to realize that we must overcome them. Live your summer out through confidence. Don't allow your fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game! Learn to push that little voice within, out! Find your determined and strong motivator, and run with it. This is YOUR time to love yourself. This is your time to feel passionate. This is your summer to be confident. Now put on that bikini. Put down the converse. Run outside. Do something. Make this your summer 2012!
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
LUV's first guest blogger is Crystal Maldonado a girl facing the roughest of obstacles, alike the rest of us. Beauty is in the acceptance. Maturity is in the understanding. Just 2 of the many lessons Crystal teaches us as our June LUVgirl!
“Can I play with it?” It was a question I got a lot. As a brown girl – 1/2 Puerto Rican, 1/4 Polish, 1/8 Italian, 1/8 French (Canadian, if that matters) – living in a predominantly middle-class, white town, my hair was always a topic of discussion. To me, it was hardly special. Not really curly, sort of wavy, definitely not straight. And brown – not chestnut, not cinnamon not oak – just brown.
My classmates loved it; I did not. In fact, when my kindergarten teacher asked the class to draw a self-portrait at the start of the year, I drew myself as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl.
“That’s not what you look like,” my mom said added. “But that’s pretty!” I’d protest, convinced that my brown hair and dark eyes somehow were not.
I failed to understand why my classmates enjoyed my hair so much when I couldn’t stand it. They wanted to stroke it, braid it, fluff it, pamper it. They wanted to tie it back and twirl it around a finger. They wanted to close their palms around the thickness of my ponytail and compare it to their own!
I suspect this had much to do with the fact that I was the brownest person they’d ever known. I was exotic, but not threatening. My hair – and by extension, me – was on display for my peers to examine, though they were always very kind.
“I love your hair curly,” they’d gush, wrapping a ringlet around their finger. “I wish my hair was ever so curly.”
I was dumbfounded. As much as I relished in the attention (I yearned for anything to make me feel accepted), how could they not want their flowing, golden locks?
How could they want something that I – a chubby, brown girl with glasses – had?
Couldn’t they see how much I longed to be just like them? To look anything like them? Couldn’t they understand that, in kindergarten, I’d forced my mom every single day to untangle my hair and tie it back or braid it so I could pretend my hair was as silky and lovely as DJ Tanner’s on “Full House”? Or how, in third grade, I’d gotten so fed up with the mop on my head that I’d stopped combing through the tangles and let it turn into such an unruly mess, that it actually snapped a hair tie in half while I was giving a presentation in front of the classroom?
Even straightening my hair didn’t make me love it. It either wasn’t straight enough or didn’t fall on my shoulders perfectly. The texture appearing too rough. It wasn’t the beautiful mane I’d wished for as a kid.
I spent an ungodly amount of time wishing my hair – and the rest of me, too – looked more like the celebrities on television or the girls in the classroom (who were usually white, while I was only half, but did not look it).
I started to lose hope. And when I realized I wouldn’t magically wake up one morning with perfect hair on my head, I stubbornly decided it was time to make the most of it. I started to look into how I could ‘tame’ my ‘wild’ locks. I discovered how to use hair products. Learned the purpose of a diffuser. Realized that combing my hair made it frizzy and that letting it air dry and develop into curled ringlets worked a lot more efficiently than washing my hair before bed and waking up looking like a cat had exploded on my head.
It was a struggle. But I managed. And in time, I started to become okay with my brown, wavy mane! It was slow. Very, very, slow. But now? Well, now, I let it hang in all of its curly glory. And I like it. Love it, even. Some days I still wish it was as smooth, straight and perfect as Jennifer Aniston’s, but mostly, I realize now that no matter how badly I hoped I’d someday wake up and look exactly like that yellow-haired, blue-eyed drawing I first made in kindergarten, it was the second picture I’d drawn – of the pudgy, round-bodied, squiggly-haired, brown girl – I should have embraced all along.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
This is just a short quote LUV found this afternoon, coming from the mouth of such an iconic figure. Take the words to heart, remember that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder! Choose to define "beautiful" the right way. The real way. The true way.
"For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people". -Audrey Hepburn
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
"How are you doing?" A question we are asked more than a handfull of times each day. The generic answer of "good" often does not properly reflect back on our true state of being. Contemplation of whether or not the questioner is truthfully curious to know how we are doing is something I personally struggle with always. Now is the time to deeply consider your answer. Give yourself the opportunity to change the reaction from the collective good, to a descriptive great. Many of the following are those of which we know but habitually forget; key aspects in becoming a happier, more accepting person! Consider what your answer may be at the upcoming occurrence when you are inquisitively asked "HOW are YOU doing?"
1. Don't take anything at face-value: Never question looking deeper
2. If greatness makes an appearance in your life, share the joy and tell someone! Allow others to recognize your achievements and be proud.
3. Take pride in every endeavor you involve yourself in. Never go in the opposite direction of your heart.
4. Allow negative situations to act as learning experiences, realize your mistake, pick yourself up, and move on.
5. Second Chances are key in moving forward: grudges function as heavy weights which we carry on our shoulders. A burden which is unnecessary. Eliminate those harsh feelings by forgiving and understanding
6. You are not alone! The struggles which you feel you battle solo are those which are conflicting most of the people encompassing your life! Never feel ashamed regarding struggles you face, allow sanction for those bottled up emotions to escape.
7. Love is not the key to happiness! You hold the key to your own destiny, so choose to be strong for YOU. Not in result of someone else's effect on you!
8. Be the person you are for the right reasons. Pave a path for yourself, do not follow in the shadow of those before you.
9. Beauty is not a reflection in mirror but rather the choices we make, the people we decide to be, the strength we persevere with. Realize all the beauty you possess, and accept those flaws with determination.
10. Hiding from the problem, does not make it disappear. Attack your missteps head first, whole heartedly!
11. Do not fear from change, face it with an open mind and a strong heart! With courage. With pride. Realize you are ready and optimistically face the time ahead.
12. Admit your faults and acquire the mature skill to say, "You are right, I am wrong." Be willing to learn from the people in the community around you!
We now ask again.. How are you?
Friday, May 11, 2012
Quit criticizing others. This unkind tool of self motivation is one which has proven to be an essential aspect in creating a united and healthy society, which all feel comfortable finding their spot in. I have found in these past few weeks, that in accepting the peers around you, acceptance for yourself becomes simpler. It becomes your main goal, and slowly transfers into becoming an ambition to attain! However the elimination of denouncing others is something which we each do, more times than that of what can be counted on one hand. Terminating this release of inner anger on the counterparts surrounding us is the epitome of "easier said than done." The flaws we point out in those around us, the fingers we choose to point, often reflect back on the things in which we loathe about ourselves.. The insecurities we wish could evaporate into thin air! One whom criticizes those around him regarding weight, are many a time insecure about their physical appearance. Where as, a person who is able to look into somebody's soul and realize how supportive they are, the friend they constantly prove to be, or the respect which they choose to emit, is able to look at themselves in a similar fashion. This negativity which you pour out concerning somebody else's flaws will be alike a boomerang, and soon come back to paralyze your own happiness. Become comfortable with the person YOU are and learn to gain toleration for the people your friends are becoming. Understand that being agitated with your fellow peers flaw's will become less and less of a worry in your life, the moment you allow it to. However, creating this self-assured atmosphere for yourself will take it's time. We must give time the respect it deserves, and allow nature to take its course. Open yourself up to a world of understanding and gratification for those who encompass your life. A lifted burden will be taken off of your shoulders the second you do. Appreciate that our friend's are just as much of people as we are. They make error. They hurt. They feel. They judge. They learn. However, despite the time it may take to reach the place you wish to be, constantly remind yourself that any step (no matter how small) is farther away from the place from which you started...