Making Mondays Sunny

My Quote for the Week

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” -Dante Alighieri

I’m not sure whether you guys have read The Inferno by Dante. It’s definitely an interesting read, to say the least. The levels of hell Dante creates range from humorous to just plain disturbing and I will say it was very different from anything I’ve read before. I especially like this quote. We all have internal moral compasses. We try to keep them pointing north but sometimes we veer off the path. In some situations you try to just turn a blind eye or ignore whats really going, but avoid neutrality if you know someone is doing something wrong. It takes courage to follow your conscience! Do it people!

Things I’m Grateful for This Week

  • getting my ear pierced! I love it so much. I’m really glad I did it.
  • getting to hang out with my lil’ bros! My littlest brother has been ADAMANT about me hanging out with him. Anytime I try to weasel my way out of it he’s all like “You’re going to college in three weeks. Don’t do this to me.” And then I end up having loads and loads of fun.

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(How cute are they? seriously.)

  • my Little Black Book of Brain Games—puzzles aren’t just for kids guys…Oh, wait. I still act like a kid. Seriously though, this book is awesome! It totally works my brain! I pull it out whenever I’m sitting somewhere and waiting, like at the doctors office or the dentist.
  • this SUPER cool philosophy book I just got. (crap, I just realized the last two things I’ve been thankful for are books. I am such a big nerd it’s almost ridiculous.) But it’s SUCH a good book. I’ve just been reading like one chapter or so a day. Whatever strikes my fancy really. Here are some of the chapter names: How to outwit Aristotle, How not to be nasty, brutish, and short, and how to love what not does not exist. It’s pretty mind-blowing.

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  • Skype! Modern technology is so freaking awesome y’all. It’s like, hi, you’re in NY and I’m in TX and look at us seeing each others faces and talking like we’re right in front of each other. It’s gonna be so awesome in the future when we have holograms and stuff. Or when we can just like, teleport to go see our friends and families.

What I Want to Do to Make This Week Sunnier

  • eat a lot of vegetables so my hair can get all shiny
  • take my vitamin D pills. Why do I always forget to take my pills?
  • talk to E more! E! I miss you! I feel like we didn’t speak at all this week!
  • work on the blog some more—setting up links and doing more posts (:
  • spend as much waking time possible with my best friend C. She is leaving in literally 9 days and it’s safe to say we are both panicking a little bit.

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What are you gonna do to make your week a little bit sunnier?

Kisses and Sunshine,

P

My Quote[s] for the Week

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I’ve been reading “Atonement” by Ian McEwan and it definitely merits some quotes:

“The cost of daydreaming was always this moment of return, the realignment with what had been before and now seemed a little worse.”

“Also stacked would be books by the thousand, for there would be a study, vast and gloomy, richly crammed with the trophies of a lifetime’s travel and thought- rare rain-forest herbs, poisoned arrows, failed electrical inventions, soapstone figurines, shrunken skulls, aboriginal art.”

“Above all, she wanted to look as though she had not given the matter a moment’s thought, and that would take time.”

“Every now and then, quite unintentionally, someone taught you something about yourself.”

I could wrap myself up in and drown in this book.

Things I’m Grateful for This Week

  • The container of Dark Chocolate Mint M&Ms that is currently sitting above my bed

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  • I’m grateful I didn’t have to get a rabies shot this week! I did, however, have to witness one Saturday
  • I am grateful for my brilliant, beautiful and interesting new friends!

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  • I am grateful for Blues on the Green, an awesome free summer concert series at Zilker Park
  • My family. I love them so much. If I had gotten to pick my family, I would have picked this one.

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What I Want to Do to Make This Week Sunnier

  • Not let my friends get bitten by any more crazy dogs
  • Continue to re-listen to Gala Darling’s “Love and Sequins”, which I highly recommend
  • Color in my new “Watercolor Poetry Book”

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  • As tempting as they are, try to avoid Disney blogs, except on special occasions (like when I have finished my Chemistry homework- so never)

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  • Work on DuoLingo, a website which teaches you a language for free in a very similar way to Rosetta Stone. Spain, here I come!

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Take your Vitamin D, P! It makes life so much happier!

Hugs and Kisses,

E

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On Beauty Ideals

A few weeks ago I found this incredible video about the female body being degraded through advertising, and of course, because of how awesome E and I are we spent the next forty minutes walking around the park and watching this video and the next few hours discussing the implications of advertising and the image of the “perfect body”:

P’s Response:

The first time I remember wondering whether I was fat was in the seventh grade. I came home from basketball practice and I was looking in the mirror. I pulled up my shirt and proceeded to puff my stomach out and then suck it in. After 15 minutes of introspective deliberation I decided I wasn’t fat. At this point in my life I was running over 50 suicides a day for basketball practice and I played outside with my brothers on a daily basis. There was practically no fat on my body.

But as high school approached, puberty hit me hard, fast food became easily accessible, and soft drinks and unhealthy foods were no longer off limits. I packed the pounds onto my 5′ 11″ frame and it began to show. Even though I play volleyball and lead an extremely active life, the weight has slowly snuck onto my body. My sophomore year I became truly uncomfortable with my body. E and I have completely different body types, she is naturally thin and straight, and I am curvy and more on the heavier side. No one would ever call me fat, but I am continually called curvy and my weight is justified because I am “so tall.” There are many things I am uncomfortable with about my body: I have fat in places I wish I didn’t, I have big thighs, and I’m extremely tall, which means I can never wear heels unless I want to be a monster. In addition, I am Bengali, and although I am sort of racially ambiguous, I have a darker skin tone than most. All of these things together create the picture of something undesirable or completely different from the “ideal body type” and for a long time this has bothered and plagued me. I absolutely love all things fashion and I subscribe to like 10 fashion magazines (on top of Time and and Scientific American the Economist and National Geographic…yes we get like 15 magazines a month), but this had led to me subconsciously wishing for a better body or a lighter skin tone or different facial features.

But over the past four years I have come to realize a lot more about myself. It’s not like I had some crazy revelation because I had a near death experience or I had a moment of clarity where ludicrous music played in my head, it’s just something that has happened over time. I’ve realized that I’m worth a lot more than just what I look like. Women are beautiful, strong, accomplished, passionate, and extraordinary beings. We should not be degraded by magazines, advertisement, or even men. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting all dolled up, but not because I want to look like Miranda Kerr or Angelina Jolie, because I want to look like the best and most confident version of myself. And yes, I do want to lose weight, but only because I want to be healthy and strong. I want to be fit enough to run a marathon, I want to be able to hit a volleyball so hard I could give someone a bloody nose and I want to be able to keep up with my friends when I’m playing cops and robbers. And I would never try to lose weight in an unhealthy way. Losing weight is a slow and tedious process, one filled with many twists and turns. I am now trying to just eat a lot healthier and work out whenever I’m feeling it, and it definitely feels really great. I still have days when I hate how I look, but I guess that’s just part of the process, and I know I’m not alone.

Here’s the thing: the ads are crazy. They make us insecure and set up these standards that NO one can reach, not even the models and actresses themselves. We have to remember that we are human, and allow for the mistakes and faults we will make along our journey as well as the imperfections that constitute ourselves. Women’s bodies are not just things, nor should they be treated as such. Our bodies are so capable! With them we can dance and climb mountains and give birth and swim in the ocean and make love and give embraces and create warmth and intimacy. We have a voice and we have the power to change the world! I don’t want my daughters or cousins or sisters or friends growing up thinking they are just things, and worrying about their weight or their looks. These are miniscule things on a very grand scale and there are other things we should be preoccupied with, like what to eat for dinner or where to go for summer vacation. I have always believed that I am destined for greatness and that somehow I am going to change this world for the better. My parents have raised me to be a woman confident in my abilities and I can only hope that from here I will gain even more confidence, a healthier lifestyle mentally and physically, and an awareness of the hidden messages in media and the unconscious things being fed to my brain.

All I’m trying to say here is please, stop the body shaming and lets start a revolution where we see with our hearts instead of only our eyes.

E’s Response:

It really opened up my eyes to the reality of the objectification of women. Like, literally, objectification. Women’s bodies turning into things:

I was like wait. Seriously?

Women should be sexy. I believe it is important for women to feel attractive and well-liked by the opposite sex. But girls, we are human beings, and we are so much more than that. We are the glue that holds together humanity. We are strong, capable, smart and half the population. This blog is about creating a new culture, and the picture above shows just how much we have to change.

We must accept our bodies for what they are. I’m not saying we should be content with being unhealthy, and we should feed our bodies, exercise them, and love them, while trying very hard not to criticize.

I know this is easy for me to say. As P says, I have America’s “ideal” body type. I am young, white, and thin with long legs and small boobs. Also, I tend to live in my head a lot. I don’t watch much TV, I don’t look in the mirror that often, and we live in a small town without billboards or the ads in telephone booth. The only magazines I read are Smithsonian, National Geographic and Scientific American Mind. My parents and grandparents praised my for my intelligence, kindness, and most of all, work ethic, but never really talked about my looks. As a consequence, I have grown up slowly and without many body issues.

I am afraid my daughters may not be able to grow up this way.

P has opened my eyes to a whole world of scary, degrading media that make women seem infantile or overly vulnerable in order to sell products (see above). They make women that look perfect but act strangely. These conflicting ideas are confusing and upsetting.

It has been scientifically proven that first impressions are important. However, it has also been scientifically proven that a great personality makes people see you as more attractive.

My theory is that we can all achieve a basic level of good looks. We can do this by keeping ourselves clean, healthy and well-groomed. The rest of what makes us beautiful (90%) is made up by an enormous smile, confidence, a kind heart and a capable mind.

Example 1: Frida Kahlo. She made the unibrow cool with her confidence and artistic ability. She also had a leg weakened by polio, so that it was significantly smaller than the other. It didn’t cramp her style one bit.

She must have been attractive because, apparently, she had loads of extramarital affairs during her marriage to the talented Mexican painter Diego Rivera. Not that I’m supporting affairs, but it just goes to show you that you can rock anything if you wear it with enough confidence.

Example 2: Keira Knightley. I know what you’re thinking. She’s beautiful and has got nothing to feel self-conscious about.

What I appreciate about Keira Knightley is that, yes, she has the “ideal” American body type, but she does not conceal the fact that she has a proportionally limited bust (like me).

While she is thin, she does not wear pads or have surgery to enhance her breasts. She also does not have perfect teeth, but rocks this so it only adds to her charm.

Of course, we don’t notice these things because Keira Knightley is an talented, confident actress who rocks the body God gave her.

So it does’t matter if you look like this:

(Model featured in Italian Vogue)

Or this:

(Models featured in American Vogue)

Or this

(us in our bathing suits)

We will judge you by the ability of your intellect and the kindness of your heart. And we will never to cease to strive for equality and acceptance.

Hugs and Kisses,

E&P

Why I Absolutely Loathe the Words “Douche Bag”, “Slut” and “Bitch”

Dear P,

I hear these words every single day. Every single day, the world is wracked with these degrading, meaningless nouns which are used to describe nothing less than a live, vibrant, thinking, feeling human being.

These words are meaningless because people have all different definitions of what constitutes these insults. A “Douche Bag” could be a guy who lacks courtesy, drives a truck or wears polo shirts. A “Bitch” could be a woman who insults people, speaks her mind or dates your ex-boyfriend. What unifies these words is the inference that the person described can be hitherto disregarded.

These words are terrifying because they spread the belief that some people are worth less than others. If someone describes a man as a “Douche Bag,” I automatically think less of him, whether I have met him or not, even if the speaker just means that he wears khaki shorts.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against well-deserved, specific insults. I hate these specific words because they and vague and demeaning.

This blog is about creating a new culture, and I think in this new culture these words shall cease to exist.

If you are going to insult someone, make it interesting, at least.

Or better yet, just focus on the positive aspects of people. As my dad always says, every person comes in a package. Every “Douche Bag”, “Slut”, and “Bitch” have redeeming qualities. I have yet to meet a person who proved this untrue.

If you focus on the negative aspects of a person, you can easily fit every single person into these categories and be unhappy ever after. If you are especially unlucky, Taylor Swift will write a song about you.

If you focus on the nice things about people, you can banish these words from your vocabulary forever.

Loads of love,

E

I Think I’m a Badass

I got my ear pierced!

It was pretty spontaneous.

My friend C and I were walking around in the mall.

I was like, “Hey! I should get my ear pierced.”

C was like, “Let’s go in there and see how much it costs.”

So we walk in and the lady is like,”It’s thirty dollars in cash.”

I was like, “I have thirty dollars in cash!”

And then I got my ear pierced.

It didn’t hurt.

That’s just cause I’m a badass though.

We’ll see how my mom feels about this….

Much spontaneity and badassery,

P

Never Ending Laundry Woes

Dear E,

Laundry sucks. It’s not even really the act of doing laundry. It’s how long it takes. And how it’s NEVER ENDING. I’m pretty sure I’ve done literally 15 loads of laundry, just this week. Granted, we are washing all of our stuff from vacation and all my brothers stuff from camp and washing all of our sheets and stuff. But, still! Laundry is the bane of my existence. The WORST part of laundry is folding clothes. I hate folding clothes.

When C and I were chatting with your mom and Leen, Leen was talking about how she hates to fold clothes too. She said, “I hate folding! I will hang everything if I can! I would hang my underwear if it was possible!” That made me feel better. Now I know I’m in excellent company.

So while I’m folding loads of laundry I’m thinking, OHMYGOD. I’m going to start a laundry folding business. People will drop their clothes off and when they get them back they will be perfectly folded. Because people hate folding! It would be relatively inexpensive and a lot less time-consuming! After I make millions of dollars off my laundry-folding business I’ll use the money to invent a laundry folder. The clothes will go straight from the washer to the dryer (without us having to switch them) and then straight into the folder. When they come out they will be in nice neat piles, clean and ready-to-wear. And we’ll all live happily ever after, never having to fold laundry again.

Hope you’re having fun in Austin! Things are pretty boring over here. Miss you and love you!

Hugs and Kisses,

P

Why “Green Thumb” is an Entirely Inaccurate Term

Dear P, 

In case you were wondering, I believe these are almonds. 

I found a bunch of these nuts in an unfamiliar tree at Barton Springs, a refreshing natural spring we went to two weeks ago. 

The tree had leaves like an pecan’s, but the nuts were too round to be pecans. 

So, this being me, I found a nut firmly encased in a green casing. I tried to peel it off, but all I managed to do was get a brown liquid all over my hands and some strange looks. I gave up my research and decided I would try the internet later.

Usually, when I think I will look something up, I will forget and my question will never be resolved. However, this situation is different, because I only managed to wash most of the brown stuff off. Consequently, a good proportion of my thumbnail is stained brown, making me look like I need to wash my hands all the time. I would send you a picture, but it’s mildly repulsive. 

On further reflection of my dilemma, I realized that every time I dealt with plants, I get my hands dirty. As in, dirt brown. 

Thus I conclude-

Love and flowers, 

E

Making Mondays Sunny

My Quote[s] for the Week:

Because I feel like adding a little Darren Criss to this blog (don’t hate me, P),

“That which makes you different is what makes you strong. Whether you’re gay, straight, purple, orange dinosaur; I don’t care.”

“Be nice people, because nobody like an asshole.”

“I’m on cloud nine, cloud ten actually. Cloud nine was old news.”

“I want people to know there is nothing more badass than being yourself”

And my personal favorite:

Things I’m Grateful for the Week

I’ll keep this short and sweet because the quotes section is really big now.

  • I am grateful for my loving, fun family. My mom just sent me this wonderful care package of clothes and journals and vitamins. I miss her so much.
  • I am grateful I love writing. I finding out it’s what makes me badass, like Darren says, especially among all these more science-inclined students.
  • I am grateful for Pandora. Free, quality music should not be underestimated.
  • I am grateful that the cafeteria has Frosted Mini-Wheats and Grizzly Ice Cream Bars.
  • I am grateful for my brilliant, beautiful, and all-around spectacular best friend named P. P I love you and miss you so much!

What I Want To Do to Make this Week Sunnier

  • Read more
  • Talk to more people.
  • Do more exercises to do other than running.
  • Write a post-card to my grandparents.
  • Meditate for five minutes before I go to bed.
Lots of love and kisses!

-E

My Quote for the Week

“But if you knew you might not be able to see it again tomorrow, everything would suddenly become special and precious, wouldn’t it?” -Haruki Murakami

Things I’m Grateful For This Week

  • That I got to go see the midnight showing of the Dark Knight with my friend R. And that we wore Batman masks there. It was epic.
  • A stack of about ten journals my mom bought for me. There’s nothing better than the lure of blank pages.
  • Hanging out with my best friend C. It’s so nice being with someone who knows you better than anyone else. We read funny books at Barnes & Noble all day.
  • My new cherry red iPhone case and my multicolored oxfords. HEHEHEHEHE. I love shoes.
  • Having electricity. And fresh water. My tiny little town has been going through a crisis! Random power outages so all the restaurants and stores have been closing down and none of the stoplights work or anything! And something is wrong with our boiler so everyone has to boil their water before drinking it! It’s like the apocalypse or something.

What I Want to do to Make This Week Sunnier

  • Seriously limit my internet time. I did not take it seriously last week. It’s killing me.
  • Go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.
  • Make a handwritten post (if I can figure out how to do this).
  • Use lip balm.
  • Organize all of my jewelry.
  • CLEAN MY CAR. (This sounds mundane, but seriously my favorite place in the world to listen and sing to music is in my car and when their are water bottles and umbrellas flying at my face it’s a bit difficult to keep a tune.)

How to Be a Professional Food Moocher in College

Dear P, 

S and I have only been here for two weeks and we have already learned how to max out on free food on campus. Well, S has it mastered and I have become her less-ballsy apprentice. 

Here are the rules of free food*:

1. Don’t be picky. You know the saying: beggars can’t be choosers.

2. Be shameless. S took a whole leftover pizza from one of our pre-med get-togethers yesterday. How? She asked the supervisor. 

3. Refuse to pay for food. Hunger will add motivation to your quest.
4. Just order drinks from restaurants with giant servings. Chances are, your friends will not finish their food and offer you some. 
5. Never turn down food. Often, people will offer their friends food and after the first person turns it down the rest of the group will turn it down because they don’t want to seem like the weird one. If you are in this position, just take the food.

*Always food-mooch responsibly to avoid the potential side effects of obesity, endangered relationships, and starvation.

Love, 

E

Chop it All Off!

Dear P, 

Cut off all of your hair! It is so much fun!

Cutting your hair is so liberating, especially in this gross mid-July heat. It’s an simple way to make yourself feel cooler and lighter. 

I was a bit apprehensive at first because I am living in a new place and so I’m not familiar with the local hair-cutting venues. Locks of Love was the little bit of push I needed! Locks of Love is an organization that donates hair to children that have various conditions that makes them unable to grow hair. I figured that the kids would appreciate my mane more than I did. And I was right, because I feel so stupendous without my hair weighing me down! It makes me glad that maybe my hair will actually be of use to someone.

Here’s the website to Locks of Love in case you feel like investigating:

http://www.locksoflove.org/

Loads of love, 

E

Crying from happiness?

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Dear E,

Today I realized that I have never cried from happiness. You know me, I’m not really much of a crier in the first place. The few occasional times that I do cry it’s usually out of anger or immense pain. So then I got to thinking, why do we even cry? Most people cry when they are sad. But how does sadness make you cry? It’s weird because emotions seem so intangible, but the act of crying is a very physical thing. Sadness is an unquantifiable thing. You don’t say, “My sadness level is at a 9.2,” you just say,” I am very sad.” This also got me thinking about heartbreak. Say someone breaks up with you or someone in your immediate family dies. You feel extremely, extremely sad. You’re heartbroken. But your heart hasn’t actually broken. Why do we feel all of our emotions in our hearts? Why not in our toes? Or our ears? When you become really sad, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your heart. So why do you feel it in your chest? So back to my original point: crying from happiness is even rarer than crying from sadness. I think people cry from happiness when they are overwhelmed by everything around them. It’s all the good and the bad and the happy and the sad. I guess crying is just some sort of survival mechanism. I’m going to go google this shit and ponder the act of crying and heartbreak for a while. If you want to read a really good article about why people cry then check this link out. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/why-we-cry-the-truth-about-tearing-up

I love you and miss you so much!

-P

Response from E:

Hey! Interesting post and article!

I cried from happiness when I found out I was a Gryffindor on Pottermore. And I frequently cry because life is just so beautiful and overwhelming, like you said. I cry as a reaction to various emotions at least once a week. I actually think this may trace back to the introvert/extrovert difference (for all new readers, P’s MBTI is ENFP and mine is INFJ). Remember how I was telling you that I read in Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet” (which I highly recommend, especially if you identify as an introvert), that introverts usually have more sensitive physiological systems? For example, when the taste of lemon is placed on a subject’s tongue, the subject is likely to secrete more saliva if she is an introvert. I think the same is probably true for tears. So that’s probably why you don’t cry as much as I do. Or, it could be that I am just a giant sissy, which is definitely a possibility.

As for the expression “heartbreak”, sadness is not just psychological. Sadness can bring physical symptoms, hence “heartbreak.” The brain stops releasing the endorphins that decrease pain and ramps up the anterior cingulate cortex, which regulates physical pain distress, according to this article: http://www.science20.com/variety_tap/science_behind_heartbreak_progress

Brains make sure sadness hurts just like they make sure getting burned hurts. That way, we will not repeat the offending action. I couldn’t find info on why you feel sadness in the chest area.

Loads of love! I miss you more!

E