Be Your Own Standard

I woke up this morning and didn’t feel beautiful. I didn’t feel pretty (or anything close), I didn’t feel thin (maybe it was the midnight mac and cheese?), and I sure as hell didn’t feel good enough.

I stood in the mirror, gave myself a thorough up-down (the kind with judgement) and thought: Ughhh.

And let me tell you, this (sadly) wasn’t the first time.

I don’t know who brainwashed me or how I’ve come to this conclusion (ahemm: societal pressures and expectations) but somehow I define my beauty by the appearance of my exterior. Despite all of my unique and amazing qualities, it’s too easy for me to look in the mirror and to discount the entirety of my worth.

And as a girl who is (usually) confident and self-loving, I can only imagine how difficult it is for others to feel valuable.

As someone who exercises over 20 hours a week and still doesn’t have a six-pack, I can only imagine how discouraged others must feel when trying to make a change.

And as someone who wakes up everyday actively pursuing positivity, I can only imagine the discontentment others must have in the absence of organic happiness.

I’m an average girl who (thankfully) has a strong head on her shoulders, thick skin, countless sources of love and every reason to smile. And if I wake up 3/5 days thinking that I fall short of the standard, then I can only assume that so many others feel exactly the same way.

If we all don’t feel good enough, then let’s change the standard to which we measure ourselves; hell, let’s get rid of it all together, and let’s redefine what it means to be beautiful and happy. Because I think the two are interdependent. And not so much that being beautiful makes you happy, but that being happy makes you beautiful. Look in the mirror, take a quick gander, and smile. You’re prettier with an ear-to-ear grin, and I promise you’ll feel better, too.


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–science yields the best medicine, second to laughter–


Bottom line: You’re not perfect (t-goodness), and neither am I. And the best part? We weren’t built to be. We’re perfectly imperfect, and the sooner we embrace our imperfections, the sooner we’ll see that our value lies in our differences and the diversity that we offer to humanity. Love your body, love yourself and love your life–regardless of how flawed each might (distortedly) seem.

You’re not a Barbie. You aren’t meant to be. You’re you. So, be proud.

Love and hugs to you on your best and worst days. Keep doing you; you’re killin it.

-Megan

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Twenty-Three: My Sis and Me

Lauren and I were late bloomers. And not in the sense that we were both still wearing training bras in college (no judgement), but in the growth of our relationship. We fought often nonstop when we were younger, and we didn’t really figure out the whole ‘friends’ thing until just recently. So in keeping with the ‘late’ theme of our (mostly my) lives, this post is a day late, but:

Happy 23rd Birthday, Lauren!

Disclaimer: I really just wanted an excuse to write about my sister and how incredible she is. Because if I didn’t have an excuse, it would mean that I was voluntarily telling her how much I care about her. EEK. So I’ll play the ‘this is only an obligatory birthday post’ card.

For those of you who haven’t been blessed yet in this life to know my sister, you’re missing out. And to give you an idea of what you’re in for if she does happen to grace your presence, let me just fill you in on some of her loveliest qualities:

  • she’ll take your stuff (so lock your closet door)
  • she’ll eat your food (so guard your plate)
  • she’ll always be the star of dinner table conversation (don’t even try)
  • she’ll push you harder than you’ll ever push yourself (wanted and unwanted)
  • she’ll support you (far better than that training bra)
  • she’ll laugh at you (especially when you slam your finger in the car door…)
  • she’ll prove you wrong (about anything and everything… just because she can)
  • and she’ll show you the value and beauty of this wonderful life–just by knowing her

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You’ve heard it all: a successful relationship is a two-way street, it’s give and take, it’s celebration and sacrifice and it’s ups and downs. Well, Lauren and I weren’t a two-way street (not even a oneway street), we were a Yield sign leading to a red light. There was more taking and far too little giving. There was celebration in personal gains and in making the other the human sacrifice of dinner table dilemmas. And worst of all, we got our emotional ups from putting the other down. It was no where near a functioning relationship, let alone a friendship.

And I tell you this to give you just one little thing: hope.

There’s hope in every situation, no matter how stagnant or incurable it may seem. We’ve come a long way from childhood, but the best part is: we’re just getting started. I cherish my relationship with Lauren because she’s all I have, and I couldn’t ask for a better human to share my DNA with. And yes, we’re different. Very different. But difference is something to be embraced, not ignored. After all, without differences, we are one boring group of 7+ billion.

Happy Birthday, Lauren! Twenty-three never looked so good. Cheers to many, many more.

Keep doing you, keep loving those around you (even when it’s hard), and bottoms up.

-Megan

Island-ed a Mini Vacay

**tap out**

That’s what I’m supposed to say, right? When I’ve overdosed on the (innumerable) stresses of life and just can’t take it anymore? And just like that, the stresses, the craziness and the unbearable pressures of life will just vanish away? I wish… But instead of tapping out (I was never really a quitter, anyway), I decided to **peace out** from LA for a few (and I mean few) hours, and hit the road.

Where to? A beautiful, beachy island surrounded by the Pacific. I know what you’re thinking: Hawaii (stay tuned–August 2015, featuring: Megan and Mai Tais). But I did say that I “hit the road,” and last time I checked, my little Honda Civic doesn’t fly (even if it is a hybrid). So where did I go? The Crowned City: Coronado! It’s a sweet little escape just off the shore of Downtown San Diego, and boy was it the perfect little mini vacation that I so needed.

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My little 22 hour trip was a complete whirlwind, but oh so worth it. I ate some of the most incredible Mexican food (when in Rome on the border…), had some much needed (and life-prescribed) coffee and sweet treats in Downtown Coronado, and laid my little (stark white) booty by the resort’s pool with a drink in hand (a wannabe mai tai) and a book under my nose. I attempted to even out my unGodly unisuit tan, but that’s a much larger project than a 22 hour trip can tackle…


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And all the while, as I was surrounded by this gorgeous and peaceful place, I couldn’t help but worry. About what? More like: what didn’t/don’t I worry about? I’m currently in search of a summer internship and I continually have homework pouring out my ears; I have a room patiently waiting to be cleaned, laundry smothering my carpet floor, the toughest 2 weeks of my entire rowing season on the horizon, and just 4 short weeks until I’m a college senior. I’m sorry, what?! A senior?! And I still can’t find my classrooms on the first day of classes…. #awkward

And no matter how trivial or important these things may seem to you, the point is: I couldn’t check out. I was submersed in a paradise, and I couldn’t even fully enjoy it. I was giving myself a chance to actually relax (complete rarity), and I was wasting my time (and $$$) worrying about things I had no control over in that moment or location. But this doesn’t only happen when I escape my life for a few hours; it happens when I’m simply living my life–or trying to.

I’m so busy worrying about how I’m going to finish that project due next week (worth 50% of my grade–prayers appreciated) or where I’ll end up working this summer, that I miss the present moment–the one that matters the most. And not because it’s the only one that’s guaranteed–although, there’s much truth to that–but because it’s the one that I have control over; this moment right now is the only one that I can connect with and make my own. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week during my presentation or in the middle of New York (fingers crossed) this summer, but I do know what’s happening right now. And if I don’t raise my eyelids, lift my chin up and open my mind, I’m going to miss it.

Be present, embrace your surroundings and love this moment–the good, the bad, the ugly. And if you need a little reminder of unconditional love, take a look at your parents. They love you through the good and the bad (and the ugly: middle school), and thank goodness, right? Love you to the moon, Mom and Dad.

Keep doing you and always remember how beautiful and precious you and your life are.

Oh, and Happy Easter & Happy Passover! Yet another reason to celebrate this incredible and crazy journey of life.

-Megan

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Melon Mo(u)rning

RIP: Cantaloupe. You were a refreshing and fun part of my summer (and spring) menu, and I’m sad to see you go. However, we simply don’t get along very well, and I’m better off without you. No matter how juicy and perfect and sweet you may be, I know it’s best if we aren’t friends. It’s going to be hard, but it’s a much-needed goodbye.

Saturday morning I awoke in the gorgeous San Diego (yes, it’s racing season), grabbed a cup of coffee, a bowl of fruit and The Wall Street Journal as I hopped back into my heavenly, hotel bed (there’s something about those clean white sheets). You could call that a pretty perfect morning. Unless you don’t like coffee. Or fruit. Or The Journal. Or incredible beds. But then you wouldn’t be human…

And all was fabulous and well until my throat started to itch profusely, and then my nose, and then eventually the entirety of my face. Casual, right? It happens with pineapple (my own lip-pumping, natural Botox), but now cantaloupe?! A girl just can’t catch break.


4.1.15If I’m allergic to “cantaloupe”, then it looks like I’ll have to elope.


But have no fear, I popped some Benadryl, rigged a few boats and rowed a few (too many) thousand meters. And all the while weirdly trying to scratch my throat with my tongue while simultaneously moving my jaw. Warning: it’s actually impossible. Not to mention you look like a choking buffoon.

And now, here I am, mourning the melon.

No matter how amazing that cantaloupe looked or tasted, my throat (and face) didn’t like it. Will I someday eat another cantaloupe? Duh. (How could I not?) Yet, I know it’s unwelcome inside my (annoyingly picky) body. But how is that? How is it that we can knowingly do something dangerous–something with known risks–and completely disregard the threat that it poses to us and our lives?

Well, because it looks so sweet.

Humans are so interesting . We often want what’s bad for us and tend to turn away from things that are so rudimentary to our health and well being. We put so many sources of toxins into our lives (not just inorganic foods), and yet we’re shy to embrace the things that help us prosper and help us to be healthier and happier.

We’re quick to swear by media gossip and to go on that fad diet because we (unfortunately) accept society’s idea of beautiful–an idea that (spoiler alert) we’ll never perfectly fit into it. We know it’s bad, and we do it anyway. Yet, when do we take a minute to simply slow down, take a break, and have a minute to ourselves? My guess: never. I definitely don’t, but I need to; you need to. It’s not easy to rid your life of the bad, but in just trying to do so, you’ll make small, yet meaningful improvements.

So take a few seconds (I promise you have like 3) from your crazy life, breathe, and remember that you control who and what you surround yourself with, how you spend your time, and whether or not your mouth is curving up or sloping down.

–SMILE–

You’re in control, so make your life enjoyable. Make it a life that’s worth living, because it’s worth loving your life. Stay tuned for how I’m taking my own advice (there’s a first for everything) and eloping to add some fun and relaxation to my life this weekend. Hint: I’ll be somewhere gorgeous!

Keep doing you and keep some Benadryl on hand; those ragweeds pop up everywhere (literally).

Megan