Feminism

When people find out that I am a feminist, a lot of times I get responses of judgement, laughter or rude jokes. This then causes me to either stumble over all my words or get a little too defensive. That is why I wanted to write this post so badly, so that I could give you the most authentic answer I have to any questions about the subject and to just talk about the thing that a lot of people don't really like to talk about. So after 6 months of a whole lot of drafts, I finally finished. Yay!! This may not be christian enough to you, religious enough, or feminist enough, but I hope you will continue to read this and see my heart in it all.

Around this time last year, I began to hear the word feminist thrown around a lot. I normally heard  the word feminist used in a negative context or as an insult. There was this whole negative connotation surrounding the word, but I wasn't sure why. I had friends and family members that were feminists, yet I knew nothing about it. All I knew is what people around me were saying. I heard comments like, "Feminism is stupid," or, "Women already get paid equally, so why are they still protesting?" The list goes on. While I did not know much about feminism, these comments really angered me, but I had no idea why. Soon after I started hearing feminism in a negative context, I was given the opportunity to write about feminism for one of my college essays. I immediately jumped on the opportunity because I wanted to understand feminism more and what it really was. I just could not believe that women were angry or protesting for no reason. That made no sense to me. So, I researched. I watched videos, read articles, read books. I did everything I could to try to understand this whole 'feminism' thing a bit better before I gave any opinion on it. Quickly after all of this research, my thoughts on the subject were completely turned. I understood why women might be angry and I understood why feminism is so important. And let me just tell you, FEMINISM IS SO IMPORTANT AND NEEDED!!!

Now if you disagree with feminism, but actually know nothing about it, please stay and read this article. If you disagree with feminism and know EVERYTHING about it, I'm glad you did your research, but I definitely hope you stick around to read this article too! And if you do agree with feminism, read along as I give you my thoughts on the matter! 

This is just my personal opinion and it is completely okay if you don't agree with everything I write. That's the beauty of individuality. None of us are going to have the same opinions on every single thing, but that is where love and understanding come in. When we choose to understand one another and why we believe the things we do, that is when real intentional love begins. It doesn't matter if I don't agree with you, or you don't agree with me. I'm not always right and you're not always right. Understanding is loving, no matter what one's stance on a matter is. It is remaining true to yourself and your values, while also intentionally trying to understand another person and choosing to love in the process.

So Feminism... What the heck even is that? I used to think it was just a bunch of crazy women who hated men. I'm sure some of you reading might think the same thing. When I started researching what feminism was at the core, the first thing that I did was watch a video that my cousin sent to me. It is a Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called "We Should All Be Feminists". When I first sat down to watch it, all I could think was, "Ugh... this video is 30 minutes. That is way to long and I really don't want to sit here and listen to a talk about feminism for that long. BORINGGGG!" I sat down to watch it anyways and pushed through it. Now, imagine my reaction after I watched it: Jaw. Dropping. And. So. Good. It really began to spark my interest in this whole feminism thing and all I wanted to do was research. If you haven't watched it before, I highly encourage you to stop reading for a second and go watch it. It sums up perfectly what feminism is at the core. It is the whole reason why I am now a feminist. So go watch it!! Click here! Now! And then come back and finish reading.

Okay so here we go… feminism actually isn't being man-haters and hating bras. I know! Mind-blowing right?! It is actually a really great thing!! It is about every woman out there who has been silenced. It is for every person out there who has been told that they can have dreams and aspirations, but not if they are too big. It is for every woman who has felt worthless. It is for the women who are told they are too big, too small, not funny enough, too loud, too intimidating, and everything in between. It is for the women who have been violated and have felt too scared to speak up. It is for the women who have been sexually assaulted and chose to speak up but were then told, "Well you were probably wearing something inappropriate so that's your own fault." It is for every woman out there who is being silenced. Feminism is an outlet. It gives a voice for women that might not feel like they can use theirs or those that physically can’t speak out. It is for those women who are still being trafficked. It is giving a voice to all of these people. It is so so important because it is the voice to tell women, “Hey, you are loved. Hey, you are worthy and you are worth it. You are so much more than what people say about you. You are everything. Be too loud, be smart, have huge dreams. Be who you are. Because you. are. enough.” People wonder why there are a bunch of women marching each year and speaking out. It is because they have been silenced for so long and there is so much injustice in the world. The fact that individuals continue to make jokes about rape and race and think it's funny continues to worsen huge issues in the world. Feminism is not simply a bunch of women walking around for no reason. There are so many beautiful and amazing reasons for their cause!! And the reasons are HUGE. Just because something might not affect you personally does not mean that it is not an issue for so many people in this country and around the world. Feminism is simply saying, “I see you and I support you. I see your hurt that you've been through. I see that there are so many people who have been silenced. I see that sexual assault and sex trafficking is so real. I see that you are strong and that you are so much more than your body and how you look. I see that feminism is people of every gender and every race coming together and being able to use their voices for those that can’t. I see that feminism is giving others the voice to speak their own truth.”

There are so many people around the world whose voices are not being heard, which is why it is so important for us to speak up for those who can’t. Take Malala Yousafzai for example. She stands up for so many women, that don’t have a voice, and she has changed lives because of it. “I raise up my voice not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” - Malala Yousafzai

Feminism is believing in the equality of all people. It is “believing in the power of women just as much as believing in the power of anyone else.” - Zendaya. It is loving yourself for all that you are. It is the empowerment of all women and all people. It is just as much for women as it is for men.

Either way, we should all empower each other, with or without putting a name on it. 

That is just the tip of the iceberg as to why I consider myself a feminist. Sure, there are things about feminism that I don’t agree with. But at the core of what feminism truly is, the empowerment of all people and all women and giving people a voice - that is what I agree with wholeheartedly. 

With all of that being said, let's choose not to judge each other. Because choosing to judge someone for their beliefs and values can hurt a whole lot. You never know what a person is going through and you might not know why someone believes what they do, which is why it is so important to choose to listen and not judge, and choose to love and be kind. We are all worthy of love, and no one deserves to be seen as less than they are because of what they believe. 

And, if you haven’t watched it yet, I encourage you to go watch Chimamanda’s Ted talk. I promise it's actually really good and it is not just a bunch of boring facts. It will give you a whole new perspective and understanding for people dealing with these issues.

On that note, thanks so so much for reading and listening to my thoughts! That makes me heart HAPPYYY!! Happy Friday!!

"Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong." - Emma Stone

"We all move forward when we recognize how resilient and striking the women around us are" - Rupi Kaur

Adichie's Ted Talk: We Should All Be Feminists

 

 

 Quote by Rupi Kaur, image from google

Quote by Rupi Kaur, image from google

Running

     "I'm facing myself for the first time in a long time, and I'm beginning to see myself for what I am: right and wrong, strong and fragile. All the things, all in one."

     - Shauna Niequist

     I think there is something so beautiful about being so real and so vulnerable. We live in a world that is telling us we have to be tough. We have to have it together. Crying is for the weak. Vulnerability is for the fragile. And it is so easy to believe that. It is so easy to close off our heart from people, to act like everything is okay. When really, our whole life is falling to pieces. It becomes habit to be tough, to 'bulk up'. But this makes it easy to loose sight of ourselves. All those things the world is telling you? That's crap. Being tough and not showing emotion doesn't make you strong. It doesn't make you brave. It makes you put walls up. It makes you run. It makes you avoid yourself. It makes you run towards things so you don't have to sit in silence and face yourself and all of your problems. It molds you into someone you barely recognize.

     Being brave and bold and strong is choosing to face yourself and deal with your problems. It is choosing to let down your guard and talk to someone.  Being strong is not keeping it together and hiding your emotions to feel nothing. In fact, it is the opposite. It is not running. It is closing your eyes and staring at what is hurting you the most. No running. No hiding. Letting go. Feeling everything. Learning that being vulnerable and fragile is brave and bold. Vulnerability is not weak. It is so strong. It is what teaches us to face our problems. It is what teaches us that this world has been lying to us. "I am strong and fragile. All the things, all in one." (Niequist) When you let down your guard and learn to be vulnerable, that is when true healing will begin. And you will learn that it is okay to not have it all together. You don't have to carry that burden alone anymore. You weren't made to carry the burdens of this world on your shoulders. Death, broken relationships, sickness, hurt. We weren't designed to carry all of that weight on our shoulders and hold it together for everyone around us and still be okay. It will break you and mold you and hurt you. 

     Let go. Don't run. Face. Cry. Feel. Begin to heal.

Let's be real...

I've been reading a book called Present Over Perfect. It is so good and so needed in this season of life I am in.  The chapter I am on right now talks about the importance of being honest and expressing your needs or your concerns without feeling guilt or attaching your emotions to someone else's response. There is so much freedom in that. It might be hard at first, because it is so much easier to bury your feelings away and not express to people what might be bothering you or expressing what you need. That can be rooted out of fear of how the other person might respond, fear of it feeling awkward, and so on. But as you begin to express your feelings, it gets easier and a lot less awkward. You start to feel so much freedom because it is no longer about feeling like you need to make everyone around you feel comfortable and you no longer have to attach your emotions to a persons response. Once you start this process, there is so much freedom and such a huge burden is lifted. Not only that, but people around you start to see something different and they want that. When people see that it is okay to express your feelings and that you won't be hurt or upset based on their response, they begin to feel that they can do the same thing. Those awkward conversations turn into important conversations that really aren't awkward at all. It is okay to express out loud what you are thinking, what you need, or what might be bothering you. No matter what it is, you have the freedom to express your feelings and not attach your emotions onto another persons response. You have the freedom to choose, to say yes or no, and to just have freedom through honesty. And if people don't like that you're being honest, that's fine but I'd probably not be around them too much. You want people that are going to love that you are willing to be honest and honor that about you.. That are going to be just as honest with you so that you can grow together and grow from each other.

Floats and Feelings

When I was younger, my family would take our annual beach trip down to Vero Beach, Florida. I remember ever summer driving down there and just asking my parents, "Are we there yet?" Over, and over, and over again. Those were the days when we didn't have movie players in the car so my parents had to deal with my whining the whole ride there. After a long drive (or what seemed like a long drive for a little kid), we would finally reach the bridge taking us over into Vero Beach. I would look out my window at the water, and my impatience was quickly replaced with excitement and a huge grin. We would arrive at the house with the pebble road. I'd role down my windows to hear the sound of the pebbles brushing against the tires. I would quickly become impatient again while waiting for the car to be unloaded so that we could go be reunited with old friends again and head down to the beach with a 7/11 coke slurpee and cuban in hand. I was content. The biggest worry in the world at that moment was if I had put my sunscreen on. How I long for those days of a child's joy. Only wanting friends, the beach, a sandwich and a slurpee. I'd ride the waves on my old fashioned float with the biggest smile on my face. I could go on and on about what moments like these mean to me. The world seemed like it was at the palm of my hands.

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Those annual trips quickly became more difficult to take. Everyone was growing up and we simply didn't have time to take those trips anymore. Then high school hits and the worries and questions seem unending. Who am I? What do people think of me? Why are those girls so mean? Does that guy like me? What if I fail this test? What if I don't make it onto that sports team? What if I don't get into that college? What if I don't graduate? What college do I choose? What do I do with my life? The list goes on... and on... and on. But then all of those worries soon go away as you are sitting in your cap and gown with all of your classmates. You've made it, and you're just a diploma away from starting the next stage in your life. Through all of the stress and worries and struggles you went through, you finally made it. It is one of those moments that feels a bit surreal. It is a moment where you are filled with pure joy again, like the joy of a child. You've got the world at your fingertips. Then college graduation, weddings, kids, etc. This doesn't mean that the next stage of your life gets any easier. Each new stage of life is filled with different struggles. But the worries and questions that seem so consuming quickly fade away as we finally get there.. when we finally get that diploma, that job, that wedding and marriage, that family. It is moments like these that we should cherish the most and hold on to tightly because life is quickly flying by. And if we aren't careful, we could worry away our lives instead of living fully present and content with the days that we are given. When I look back at my life so far, I like to see the things that make me feel alive and give me pure joy, like the simplicity of that trip each summer. When we meet up with old friends, we don't dwell on the bad things. We dwell on the things that make us laugh and that we cherish the most. These are the things that carry us through the hard times. Knowing that through the pain, hard times, worries, or impatience, you will reach that destination and it will be pure joy. You, too, will reach that bridge, cross it, and see the good things once again. But through all of that, it is important to be content with where you are, and see that you will get past this hard time. There is light at the end of this tunnel. When life throws unexpected curve balls our way, we can strike out or we can choose to see the bigger picture and just enjoy each moment. Let's laugh at the good moments, cry at the sad ones, and let joy run every situation. The world is your oyster , and what you do with your life in this moment is up to you.

This post was inspired as I was sitting with a coke in my hand, filled with happiness and contentment. It is the little things that matter the most, and the sweet taste of coke is a good reminder of all the sweet things life has to offer.

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Outfit: 

Top: H&M

Jeans: Madewell

Photography:  LB Snipes Photography

 "I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We all become somebody's mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I can see it. This one moment when you know you're not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you're listening to that song, and that drive with the people who love you most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite."

- Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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A Woman

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So this past month I have been extremely overwhelmed by all sorts of emotions. I've been learning how to feel everything again and not bottle up my emotions. And I absolutely love it. I am thankful for the strong, vulnerable, loving women I've been blessed with in my life to be there with me through everything and be such amazing examples of what living life to the fullest looks like. Feeling absolutely every emotion. Pursuing what the are passionate about. Being okay with wherever they are in life. Being okay with whatever issues they might have, learning and growing from them, accepting them, and overcoming them. So, when I think of what a strong woman should look like, it is these women in my family, who have been through a lot of crap but are so strong and real and loving because of it. They feel everything and have all been through so much. But they don't let their circumstances define who they are. Instead, they understand who they are, what they believe in and who they want to be. They understand that circumstances and people don't define us, but we can choose to grow from the circumstances we are placed in. So lately, because of these strong women, I've learned more about who I want to be and who I am. They have each taught me different things about what it means to be a woman. To be a woman means having strength. Powerful. Vulnerable. Real. Feeling every emotion. Not being okay all the time, which is completely okay. I want to feel everything with strength, because being emotional is having strength to feel things to the fullest. And it's the coolest thing. Because I am blessed with such amazing women in my life, I have learned the type of friends I want to be friends with. I want to choose friends that are going to love me well and be with me through everything. Most of all, I want to be around people that are completely real and speak truth into me. That know life can be crappy sometimes. So it's okay to cry, it's okay to feel things. There is strength in that.

Seek people out in your life that are going to be real and better you. Seek out the good relationships, the loving ones. Because those are the best and worth while. Feel everything fully, love deeply, and know that your circumstances don't define you.

Addiction, Fear, and Defeat

 Stressed out - Emily Fendig

Stressed out - Emily Fendig

We are all unique. We all have things that we are facing in this life. We are all facing different trials, surrounded by different circumstances. And it's hard. Some of us might be facing anxiety, depression, addiction, anger.. we all have a battle we are facing. And it's so so hard and it sucks. This life can be crap sometimes. We live in a world where people are telling us that we can't do it or that we aren't enough. But that is bull. Those are the lies. You ARE enough. And you can do it. No matter what battle you are facing in life, when it feels like you have been defeated, please remember that you are not defeated. You are enough and you can do it. You might not be able to do it by yourself, and that's okay. None of us can go through life facing battles by ourselves. If you're facing alcoholism, addiction, no matter what it is, there is always someone that understands exactly what you're going through. You're not alone. The most important thing is realizing what your problem is and accepting that you might need help. Once you accept this, you can take steps to getting help. For me, I have delt a lot with anxiety, fear, and not being able to express my feelings towards people. I feel everything, but don't like to show many emotions because I feel like I have to always have it together, which is not healthy. I've had to go to people to get help and speak truth into my life. But it takes wanting to make a change in your life and choosing to let someone in and help you. It takes choosing the hard way, the way of working on the problem that is running your life. You have a choice to let your problem run your life or you can choose to defeat it. It's not going to be easy, but nothing worth fighting for ever is. I hope you know how loved you are and that you are not alone. Get help because you are worth fighting for and the anxiety and fears and evil in this world never deserve to run your life. Seek a friend out, a mentor, or anyone that you might be able to put your trust in to speak truth into your life and walk with you through life. I hope this helped with whatever trial you're facing in life. Remember you're not alone and you are worth it!! You can do it, but you have to believe in yourself and it all comes down to making a choice. Remember that it's okay to not have it all together and it's okay to not be okay all the time. I hope this helps in some way. You are so loved.

2017

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2016. Filled with so many different emotions. Brokenness, hurt, anger, bitterness, which slowely turned to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. Heart and soul changing. Jesus renewing my strength and my soul. It is crazy how fast time flies. It feels like just a second ago I was a freshman in high school. But I'm not sad that time is flying by. I am at peace with it. I want to be fully present in every moment that I am given. So as 2017 rolls around, I will choose to continue to live in Jesus's peace, being fully present in every moment, being intentional and loving everyone I come across, not getting angry or upset or frustrated at the small things that will fade away. We can choose peace and that's what I want to do. So as you look back on 2016, take time to reflect.. Reflect on who you are and how you want to grow as a person. Look back at the memories that make you laugh and fill you with pure joy. Look back at the chaotic moments of 2016 (maybe the 2016 election was chaotic for you), and remember that you have a choice to be angry or to be at peace. No matter what happens, some things are beyond our control. But we CAN choose how we react to things. We can choose to believe that there is a bigger plan that none of us can really comprehend at the moment. It might be hard to understand now, but later we can look back and understand and grow. Take each moment you're given and live it to the fullest. Happy New Years everyone. I hope your new year is filled with so much joy, laughter and perfect love!!!

 

Bitterness turned to Love

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It's easy to get frustrated, angry, impatient, bitter all sorts of emotions. It's easy to hate, yell, hurt. It's hard to be patient, to give grace, and to love. Love is hard. Perfect love is hard. But when we choose to love and believe in truth, we learn to give grace, mercy and be at peace. This can only come from the Holy Spirit. When we choose to let go and love, we choose the hard way but the way that prunes our hearts and changes our perspective on things. When our perspective starts to change, things that annoy us and make us angry don't become so frustrating and maddening all of a sudden. Life is short. Remember that if something is annoying you or seems like the worst thing in the world at the time, reality is, that thing probably isn't going to matter a few years from now. So choose love and truth, and through that you will gain better understanding of grace, mercy and peace.

Jesus changed my heart completely and now I have a completely new perspective on things. He is constantly changing my heart and teaching me to be more like Him. And it is hard. Really hard. But it is so worth it. Because I am perfectly loved by my my Father in heaven, I can love others well and give grace and be at peace. Because I understand His Truth, I can give grace and mercy. God is good and I want to choose to live every day not getting angry at the small things, but love and embrace the things that matter.

Jesus you are good. I don't deserve your love but you love me anyways. Thankyou for your perfect love Father.

Be present.

8 days until Christmas. 8 days to eat as many Christmas cookies as I can consume and sing as many Christmas songs as I know. 8 days to watch all of the Home Alone movies, Christmas Vacation, Elf, and of course, Miracle on 34th street. There is so much to look forward to around this time of the year. You get to hang out with your family and friends, sit by the fire and drink hot coco, and look forward to all of the new things that the New Year has in store.

I took my last exam yesterday to conclude my first semester of college, and I am so excited to have a break and relax. But it really got me to thinking about how quick time goes by. And it also reminded me that I don't want to miss out on all that life has in store. As a kid, I just wanted to be a teenager. When I was a teenager, I just wanted to get my drivers license. Soon, I wanted to be in college and be independent. And that day snuck up on me. Now, all I want is for time to slow down. It really is crazy how fast time flies, and how short life is. I have learned so much this semester about myself, about who I want to strive to be, and about living each moment of my life to the fullest. This semester has taught me to be completely present in each moment, to seek adventure in everything, to be intentional with everyone around me, and to be apart of something so much bigger than myself. So I just want to encourage you, wherever you are in life right now. No matter where you are in life, be present in every moment. Do something that scares you. Seek out your passions and talents. During this holiday season, be present with your friends and family. Hang out and be intentional with them and cherish every moment. Anyways, I hope you all enjoy the holidays!! Drink lots of eggnog and eat a bunch of gingerbread cookies while watching your favorite Christmas movies!!! Merry Christmas!

You are enough.

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I want to write about fashion, but I also want to write about a lot of other things too. So, I decided to make another section in my blog called, Living in Truth. Every day, we are faced with choices. We learn something new every day, and I want to share with you all the things that I have learned and am still learning. I want to encourage you and tell you that you are amazing, and that you are beautiful, and that you are worth so much. You are worth more than the biggest diamond in the world. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. So ignore those voices that are telling you that you aren't enough. Because the truth is, you are enough. No matter what you believe in or what choices you make, you are worth it. And you deserve the best. You are precious and adored. So today, I want to share with you a revelation I had a while back. It is something I read over and over again when I need encouragement or when I feel like I am loosing my identity. So no matter what you believe in, I hope as you read this, you feel encouraged and your realize how loved, adored, and beautiful you are. Because no matter what you believe or don't believe in, you are worth so so much and you deserve perfect love. 

I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that I am given the opportunity to have a relationship with Him. A while back, I had this revelation, and Jesus completely wrecked my heart. I have never felt Jesus so present in my life before. His love and grace was overwhelming, and is overwhelming. He wrecked my heart, and I journaled. I completely believe these words I wrote in my journal were the Holy Spirit working through me. Because I believe that when we open up our whole heart to Jesus and sit in His presence and peace, he can do so much through us and for us. So I am going to share with you what I wrote, in hopes that you feel encouraged and loved just as I now do. 

A note from The Father up in Heaven to you:

We are constantly seeking approval. We want to be loved. We go to boys, alcohol, etc. We do everything we can to be approved and to be loved. We cry because we are filled with hurt and regret. We continue to do these things to try to feel loved and approved, but we never are. We get so deep in darkness and sorrow, we don't even try to get up anymore. We just sit in sorrow. But just look up! Look at me! I love you. I approve you. I want to hold you, and laugh with you, and cry with you! I want to wipe away your tears, and take your sorrow and hurt and replace that sorrow and hurt with joy and love. I just want to hold you. And tell you how beautiful and lovely and worthy you are. I want to hold you and never let go. If you just let me. I will never leave you. I will never chew you up and spit you out. I want to love you. If you will let me. I want to show you how beautiful and precious you are. You are a princess. You don't have to keep doing this. You don't have to do it alone anymore. You don't have to live on your own strength anymore. Let me do it for you. Let me take your hurt and your sins and burdens from you. It's nothing I can't handle. Stop running from me and pushing me away because you think that you don't deserve perfect love. The truth is... there is nothing you can do to hurt me or push me away. I will always love you and wait for you. I will always hold my arms open for you to run to. I will never leave you or hurt you. There is nothing you can do to make me love you less. I want to love you. You are worthy of love. You don't have to try anymore. You are already approved. And you are PERFECT just the way you are. 

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As you read that, I hope you feel encouraged. I hope you know that you are loved and that you are approved. The reason I chose Jesus is because I know that I cannot do it on my own. I know that no amount of knowledge can be more than the love of Jesus. I know that there are things I can't forgive myself for, but Jesus will forgive me for, and I need His help to forgive myself. I know that my sins are already forgiven, because I believe that Jesus died the worst and most painful, miserable, excruciating death because He loved me and all of us so so much. That is a love that is unfathomable, and that I want. That is a love that I don't deserve, but am given anyways because Jesus loves me so much. I want to love with that love, and be a part of something bigger than myself. I am telling you all of this so that you can better understand me and what I believe in, and better understand a little bit of who Jesus is. You can read all of this and disagree with me, and that is totally okay. Because we are each given the right and the CHOICE to believe in what we want to believe in. But no matter what, I hope you know that you are loved beyond measure and you are worth it. You are enough. And you have the capacity to do what your heart desires. You have the ability to pursue your dreams and believe in yourself. So never stop believing. Never stop chasing your dreams. And NEVER believe the lie that says you aren't enough, because you are enough. You are wonderful. 

Anyways, I hope you have an amazing Saturday and a great week! If you have finals this week for college, good luck!!! And if you don't, I am jealous!! Happy December everyone!