April 21, 2015

The Perfect Body

Hello, friends! I don't know if all of you are fitness junkies, but I follow a Pilates instructor, Cassey Ho, on her channel on YouTube called Blogilates. She posts fun workouts that target specific body areas that anyone can follow, so it's an easy way to get a bit of exercise when everything else is crazy busy. Anyway, Cassey posted a new video called The Perfect Body. I think it is a really good video because it targets all the problems that our society has created surrounding body image.

I was shocked when Cassey read comments that she received about being unqualified to be a fitness instructor due to her appearances. Well, I guess I wouldn't say I was shocked because I know how society functions. But I would say that the way society functions is truly saddening.

Society teaches us that what's on the outside is all that matters. Women are portrayed as body parts on the media to sell objects, and this has led to a lot of misconception about how bodies really are. There is a message that women need to have skinny torsos, a thigh gap, a shapely booty, toned arms, white teeth, bright eyes, and light skin. If you're a female who lifts weights and has bulky arms, thighs, and chest, you're looked at like a mutant. If you're a female who has a flat chest and butt, you're compared to a rail. Society looks for primarily one body type for women: skinny with curves in the right places. It is extremely rare for a woman to look like this without extensive physical training, diet, plastic surgery, and/or Photoshop.

Men also face some unrealistic expectations. We see all of these men with huge biceps and pecs, a chiseled jaw, and confident gaze. Well, not all guys are like this either. Men who are more sensitive and considerate are often mocked and are often called "gay." (But now we are opening a new can of worms that should be saved for another post.)

Some try to balance this problem of society out by promoting the "average" body type to be the new standard for beauty. Remember that "average" Barbie doll?

The way I see it, instead of telling people that everyone looks beautiful, why don't we realize that physical appearances don't matter?

Who ever said that a person needs to have a specific body type in order to succeed and excel in a certain career? Is there an optimal body that you must have in order to be a great friend, a father, a mother, a student?

There is so much more to you than what you look like. It's time to stop focusing on the surface and learn to find what is truly worth admiring in this life.

Smile on,

April 12, 2015

LIFE UPDATE: My 2015 Spring Semester

Happy Friday!! Today I was going through some of the lovely comments from past posts that you guys left for me and realized how much I've been neglecting this blog. I was nominated for a lot of wonderful blog awards and would like to do them sometime in the future, but there are so many other things that I want to share with you. I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to the kind readers who recognized Smiles No Matter. I am really grateful for the nominations and will get around to writing those posts when time allows.
Anyhow, today I'll just be sharing a bit about what I've been up to lately, just so we can catch up and then get rolling with a lot of fresh, inspiration as the school year comes to a close and summer begins!

So to be honest, this semester was really intense. I had a lot of things to juggle because my jobs suddenly dumped a lot of hours on me. For those of you that don't know, I am working two jobs this semester: I'm a tutor for writing, psychology, and general chemistry, and also work at the front desk of a residence hall. I absolutely love tutoring. I love connecting with my "tutees," watching how they mature and learn, and having the feeling that I have helped someone with something. It's not the perfect job, but it is really nice to do during college.

My desk job, on the other hand, is actually more stressful than what it's worth. I work some crazy night shifts and it was difficult near the middle of the semester because my boss had assigned me many of these shifts on the days I had 8am classes, despite my having discussed my schedule with him/her before this semester. The lack of sleep has just been really draining on me, and I am pretty underpaid and under-appreciated at my job, as are most people who work night jobs.

But, a lot of positives have also come out from having these jobs. Without the work, I wouldn't have met some of the people I know, and sadly I can't deny that making money is becoming more important to me, because it opens up doors for me to do things that I am passionate about. I started sponsoring a child in India through World Vision. I can treat my friends to dinner. I don't really have to worry about not being able to do the things I want to do due to financial issues. Not to mention that taekwondo is an expensive sport when it comes to traveling and entering tournaments.

Speaking of tournaments, taekwondo this semester was geared a lot toward preparing for a major tournament: Collegiate Nationals. I'd have to say that taekwondo has become that part of my life that would cripple me if I were to lose it. This year's competition went amazingly for our team this year! We brought home six medals!! Although I didn't medal in my division, I feel like I have improved so much since I began fighting. I am just so grateful to be more involved with taekwondo, and look forward to training even harder during the upcoming year.

For those of you interested in how the tournament went for me, here is a link to a video that shows my fights and form.

Volunteering has also been going well. I am a part of Alpha Phi Omega, which is a non-Greek, co-ed fraternity that is dedicated to community service. I am currently the Service Co-Chair on the executive board, and have just been getting people excited about doing community service. I started volunteering with the Counseling and Psychological Services as well. I basically promote healthy living and try to destigmatize mental health issues. I have learned so much being a part of it!

Other than that, I would have to say that this semester has been the most challenging academically so far. I am currently taking 16 credit hours; Organic Chemistry II has been kicking my butt, and I've had to really buckle down to study for the last exam before the final. College is not easy! But it is rewarding. I particularly enjoy my English class, which has tons of daily readings (we are reading eight books, plus journal articles and short stories, in four months); the discussions that stem from these readings are so fascinating.

All of the things going on in my life have just consumed a lot of energy. Which is not necessarily a bad thing--I want to live my life to the fullest, and I want to give my all. But it hasn't left a lot of time and inspiration for this blog, and I am very sorry about that. Recently, I've been getting inspired and excited about everything again, so I am looking forward to writing to you more and posting more vlogs!

Thank you for reading all of my updates and thoughts! Sorry if this was a little boring to you; there is just a lot in my life that I want to share with you. How do you think your semester has been? Let me know in the comments!

Smile on,
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