Hear Her Harvard!

I’ve been a member of the fraternity Kappa Alpha Theta since 2012, my junior year in college. Since I joined, I have had a support system of women who empower me, and help me to be the best version of myself that I can be. I’ve had an organization that I represent, and through it, I’ve met many other empowered women, and been awarded different opportunities because of it. So when I heard that Harvard is punishing women for belonging to organizations like this, including their chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, I couldn’t just let that go.

What the decision-makers at Harvard don’t realize is how much they are hurting women, and men, by instilling these sanctions. Recently they have decided that banning single-sex organizations is the proper way to move forward. What they don’t realize is, they have now set us back to before sororities existed, back to the times that my fraternity’s founders, because yes, Kappa Alpha Theta was started before sorority was even a word, had to fight to have an organization for women to support other women, on a college campus, nearly 150 years ago. For those women who have decided to fight back, and not follow these sanctions, they are facing punishment that could negatively affect them in the future. Why? Because they want an all-woman group to support them. By refusing to leave Kappa Alpha Theta, or rebrand, into a gender-neutral group, they are no longer able to captain sports teams or have leadership roles in campus positions or have school endorsements for academic fellowships. Does that sound right to you? Because to me, it sounds like forcing women to choose, between multiple extra-curriculars that benefit them.

When I joined Theta, I was welcomed into a group that encouraged academics, that encouraged following your dreams, and that was willing to support you when you needed it. I was on the payment plan, because I could not afford the sorority dues outright, and I had women supporting me and helping me work out how I could be a part of this organization, without going broke in the process. I had sisters who would lift me up when I was feeling down, whether it was having a bad group for a presentation or being dumped by a guy I liked. I had a whole network of sisters who could have tutored me if I needed it, and I was available to fellow sisters to help them with homework if necessary too. I always had a sister to call up, and spend time with if I was feeling lonely or needed to get out of my apartment. I also had sisters to study with. Even if we were all in different classes, we were still able to get together, and have library study sessions. So, Harvard, how dare you try to take that away from women? How dare you take away an organization that encourages women to help others, that encourages community service, and a philanthropy? That encourages physical activity? Instead, you are restraining women who are a part of this organization and could lead their volleyball team to victory as captain, or lead another academic club, but instead they will not be allowed to hold officer positions.

I can tell you that in college, in addition to being in Theta, I was also in various clubs and activities, including an officer position in an honor society. According to the new sanctions, if I wanted to do that at Harvard, I wouldn’t be able to. They would stop me from bettering myself, and learning responsibilities that one can only get as an officer of a club, because I was an officer and member of a sorority. Sounds like the opposite of encouraging education and diversity. Sounds like you are penalizing women who are go-getters, who want to better themselves and their community.

So for that, I have to say, shame on you Harvard. The Theta that I was a part of in college, and am still a part of now, is inclusive, welcoming, and encouraging. It supports women from all walks of life, and encourages life-long friends. It encourages getting to know other groups, other people, and working together with them in a variety of different forms. But thanks to these sanctions, women will be punished for belonging to a group like this. In a way that could expand far past her college career. So I’m lending my voice to those fighting. You go girls! You keep fighting the good fight the way our founders did, you have women all over the country supporting you and cheering you on. TLAM Always. #HearHerHarvard.


Don’t Skinny Shame Me or Anyone Else

Hey y’all. So for anyone that knows me, you know that I am a little sensitive about my weight. For my whole life, I’ve had people comment about how thin I am, had doctors worry, and have pretty much fended off comments about eating disorders since before I even knew what an eating disorder was. And you know what, it’s starting to get old.

I have always been super thin, my dad is very thin, so is my mom, so I have no doubt that it runs in my family. I’ve always been an active kid, and you add that in with a fast metabolism, and bam, it means I didn’t gain much weight. Not that I didn’t eat. I was a picky eater as a kid, but man, I sure did (still do) love pasta. So while I may not have liked lettuce at the time, I definitely ate my weight in pasta. But despite all of that, I always was tiny. I’m just a tiny person, it’s who I am, but that doesn’t give people a right to comment.

Lately, there has been a big movement about weight, and how strong is the new skinny, and to love yourself, etc. And don’t get me wrong, that is fantastic. Except when you are putting my body type down. You absolutely should love yourself and your body, it’s definitely not an easy thing to do, and I don’t know any woman, no matter her size, who has not struggled with something that she doesn’t like about her body. So yes, love yourself, treat yourself right, treat your body right. But don’t put me and my size down in the process. Let me give you an example. While I am all for the movement of being strong, in the same movement, you’re saying there is something wrong with being thin. That it’s a bad thing to be skinny, that skinny isn’t a desirable body type, so you should be larger. There is nothing wrong with being skinny, and I can be both strong and skinny at the same time.

Just because you’re thin, doesn’t mean you have an eating disorder. That’s my absolute favorite misconception and something that I have heard people say I have since I was literally about 7 years old. You know what, at 7, I didn’t even know what anorexia was. What 7 years olds do? Yet, I can distinctly remembering people telling my parents that they needed to watch me and make sure I was eating. Spoiler alert: I ate, I snacked, and I would beg for ice cream for dinner (don’t worry, I never got that). I remember in high school, eating dinner with some classmates, one flat out asked me if I was anorexic because I was “so skinny.” Literally, while I was eating pasta (do you see a theme here, I am a pasta fiend). I heard it in college, the little comments, “eat a cheeseburger,” “maybe you should skip the gym today, it can’t hurt you,” etc. Even now, people feel the need to tell me to eat more junk food, or have a cookie. And what they don’t realize is how hurtful and harmful that is.

First of all, just because my metabolism is impressive right now, doesn’t mean that I can just eat cheeseburgers all the time. I still have to work to eat right, just like everyone else. Which means that while I do love my burgers and fries, it can’t become a staple in my life because down the road, that diet could lead me to health problems. And while I may not have to worry about my weight, I do still want to make sure I’m leading a healthy, fit lifestyle. Second of all, stop telling me that how I look isn’t “good” or “right.” My body is right for me. I’m doing my best to take care of it, and you telling me that I need to fatten up because I’m “skin and bones” or to go eat a cheeseburger, that doesn’t help me. It hurts. Because, just like in other cases, I’m not meeting your expectations of beauty. So, because I am not living up to your standards, I need to change myself. Well, guess what? That’s really messed up. You don’t know my insecurities, you don’t know how hard I’ve tried to gain weight, and you don’t know how exhausting it is to constantly tell people that I do not have an eating disorder, which by the way, is a serious issue that is not solved by “eating a burger.”

The main point I’m trying to make here, stop skinny shaming me. Stop commenting on other women’s bodies. You don’t like it when people comment about you, so give them the same courtesy you would like. You can think whatever it is you want to about me, but that doesn’t mean you need to share those thoughts with me or with others around you. The problem with little comments like that is you don’t know what damage you’re doing. We all have insecurities, but we all are also different. Different body types, different personalities. Be cognizant that just because your problems appear different, does not mean that someone is free of insecurities, or free of self-confidence issues. We are all perfect the way we were made, and need to support each other, as women, as human beings.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year. The time when you will see all of the New Year, New Me posts going up on social media. But on a less sarcastic note, the New Year is one of my favorite times. One of those reasons being the weather. It’s snowing in Florida today. IN FLORIDA! That’s exciting! But the main reason being that it’s a fresh start. Sure, you can have a fresh start at any point in time, and you can start a new chapter by starting a new job or creating a resolution in the middle of the year. But at the beginning of the year, it’s official. You’re starting twelve new months that are full of hope and possibility. You never know what the future is going to hold, but it certainly never hurts to make some goals to help you achieve the future that you want.

I love resolutions. It’s part of the OCD planner in me, but I love making my resolutions list and goals, and figuring out what I can check off. It makes me happy that I now have new goals for the new year, and that I get to share in that with others who are also starting new goals. Each new year brings new opportunities, if we just look hard enough. Of course, some resolutions will be year long ones, but I also like to do some short-term ones, that way I have a specific end date in mind and can hold myself more accountable for following through on them. So, in an effort to keep myself accountable and ensure that I don’t fail on any of my resolutions, I am putting my list in here, so y’all can help keep me honest.

  1. Hit the gym on a regular basis. This is one that I will go so long doing great with, and then I have one bad week that completely throws me off. So I’m getting a gym membership that has Zumba classes, yoga classes, as well as all the weights and whatnot. I’m not a fan of wasting money, so with this membership, here’s hoping it will help me focus more on my health.
  2. Take more chances. Obviously, this one is a little harder for others to judge, but it’s something I definitely want to work on. I am a big over-thinker. I over-think things to the point of making myself worried over nothing, or determining how a conversation will turn out without me ever even having it. So, because of that, I’d like to take more risks. Have that conversation, speak my mind, make last minute plans, try something new. Maybe, it’ll help me with my next resolution.
  3. Live more in the moment. Again, this one is a little more difficult for anyone else to judge, but I’ve found myself always looking forward to the next thing. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for every moment I get, the problem is, I enjoy it briefly, then look past it and what’s coming next. I’d like to improve upon that, and maybe not always be looking ahead, but instead just enjoy what I’ve got right now. Happiness is fleeting, so it’s important to really relish and enjoy those brief moments of what you have.
  4. Save more money. While I’m only 25, I need to start seriously thinking about and planning my finances. That means, less Starbucks, more 401K. But in all seriousness, I do want to find a way to put more money away into my IRA, as well as build up my savings and rainy-day funds. Luckily, I know there are ways to do that, without having to sacrifice my peppermint mochas (at least while they’re still offered). I’ve been looking into different options to help decrease interest on certain things (I’m looking at you student loans), and I’ve also learned that if you set up auto payment for certain bills, they will lower the rate or give you bonuses. Not too shabby. And you know how I mentioned some of those short-term goals, ones with hard due dates? Well, this is a great one to incorporate that into. Make a plan to pay off a bill by a certain date or put a set amount of money into savings in two months. No matter your personal goal, put it down and give it a hard stop. That way, you’ll be more likely to get it done.
  5. Find a better work/play balance. Sure, we all have to work, gotta pay those bills. But at the end of a work day, I want to be able to go have some fun, whether that is taking a long walk on the beach or working on my novel. No matter which it is, I need to make more time to pursue it and ensure that I am able to have a good balance of work and play. So no matter how tired a long day at work makes me, I’ll be working on learning something new or testing out my new camera lenses. Either way, while work is important, so is enjoying life.
  6. Be grateful. I guess this one is similar to the living in the moment part, but I want to improve upon my gratitude. There are so many different things that go on in life that we can be grateful for, but so many times we focus on what we don’t have or things we are missing out on. I want to change my thinking and whenever I start to think of something I’m missing or feel that I want but don’t have, to instead list all the things I do have. It can give a real appreciation for what you do have in life, once you start counting those blessings. I’m also giving myself a smaller task of writing down one thing a week that I am grateful for. I plan on putting that into a jar, and then at the end of the year, on NYE, hopefully I will have lots to read.
  7. Grow closer with God. I have been slacking on attending church services and that’s gotta change. God is a huge part of my life, and it’s important that I make time for Him. And honestly, an hour of your day is not a huge chunk of time.

I’ve got a few more things on my list, but this is a good start to it. Now, I know plenty of resolutions fail, but I certainly hope that I will be able to make mine successful, and a part of that is holding myself accountable. And ensuring that I push myself. Some of the items on this list may push me out of my comfort zone, but that’s where growth lies. Staying in your comfort zone is great, except you don’t get new experiences that way.

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