Yay! I’m so happy you love yourself and I hope you love your new hair! There’s something super liberating about a new haircut.
All I hear is a bunch of self-deprecation. You’re never going to get over feeling ugly/fat/whatever feelings until you fix it yourself. I can guarantee that other people don’t think that, but it doesn’t really matter becauseyoufeel that way. You have to tell yourself what makes you beautiful every single day, even if you don’t believe it at first. Get over your hair, your body, your face, and compliment what’s inside you. Are you kind? Compassionate? Super zen about things? Figure it out. Love it. Accept it. If you want to buzz your hair off then, go for it, but don’t do it because you hate your hair. I just chopped all my hair off, but not because I hate it, because I needed a change.
You don’t have to see a doctor ever for anything if you don’t want to. It’s always your choice. As for mental afflictions, it all depends on the specific case. If you’re feeling depressed every now and then or it’s a temporary depression due to certain events or it’s very mild, it can be dealt with alone, but it’s always, always, always your choice whether or not to see a professional. You can never be too young to have depression. Depression is a non-discriminatory disease.
Make a relaxing space. Clear out an area of your room that no junk can encroach upon, and use it as a meditation zone. Close your door. Shut out the world. Sit in your space and breathe, relax, stop thinking so much. Thank the world for all you have, friends, family, a healthy, working body, the ability to attend school, a roof over your head, food to eat. Breathe. Meditate. And get out every day. Take a walk, not even for exercise. Just wander. Stroll. Take a break in a park and lay on a bench. Meditation and peace are not about a quiet, peaceful environment, they’re about a peaceful, quiet mind that transports you to your own place.
I ‘see’ my aunt who died in 2001 all the time even though we only stayed over her house sporadically as kids. My mom (her sister) says that it’s common for me to turn around quickly, and for a few seconds, she thinks it’s my aunt. It’s really common and it’s okay. When I ‘see’ her, I just smile and hope that woman has a happy, full life. My mother always told me it’s my aunt’s way of saying hello, I miss you. But if you want a more scientific answer, it’s probably just your memories surfacing and confusing your sight for a moment. But I like to take it as a little greeting, and I like to think she misses us too.
It’s okay to be nervous. Some people are probably feel weird saying, ‘I’m straight.’ Asserting your sexuality blankly is kind of awkward. Practice saying it to the mirror. Say it in your car. Whisper it in a crowded room. Yell it when you’re driving down the highway with the windows down. The most important person you can say it to is yourself, then one day, your future partner.
This week, I made Pake. Yeah, like piecaken, but with a cooler name because it doesn’t make me think of turducken. After watching Drop Dead Diva (hey, it’s a guilty pleasure) in which Stacy accidentally bakes a pie and cake in one, I was all, ‘I must make that!’ I was also all, ‘why is Kim Kardashian on this show?’
After going to the gym, I felt like it would be totally rational to now bake a pie inside of a cake and eat it all alone. Sadly, I quickly realized two things. One: I suck at making pie. Two: I suck at making cake. I am, however, kickass at making cupcakes. So I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe ever, bought a cherry pie, and attacked it with an ice cream scoop. Essentially, I make cupcakes with a ball of pie (crust and all) on the inside. I had a feeling this might be horrendous because the piecaken gets many negative reviews, but sometimes, you’ve just got to live life. A carby, sugary, pie-in-cake kind of life.
And guess what? It was awesome. Of course, I dropped one immediately after pulling it out of the oven and yelled many versions of, ‘damn you piecaken gods!’ and ‘Stacy makes it look easy!’ and, ‘Kim Kardashian is ruining everything!’
I had to go after it with what we call here, ‘The Old Lady Arm.’ It’s one of those claw things that old ladies use, and was originally called The Old Lady Grabber Thing For The Sadly Disabled, but The Old Lady Arm was easier and people freak out when they hear me say it, as if I secretly have an old lady’s arm stashed away that I use to conviently grab things.
Anyway, I found The Old Lady Arm and grabbed the cupcake from where it had slid beneath the counter. Luckily, It landed wrapper side down and the top didn’t hit the counter, but it kind of collapsed in on itself, smooshing the inside. This naturally meant that it was to be devoured immediately, in case I decided to give this platter to someone else.
The cherry filling spilled out all warm into the dark chocolate cake, making it a bit like a black forest cupcake, only, you know, with pie crust and stuff inside. It was shockingly awesome. I brought them to work and pawned them off on others to see if maybe my tastebuds were wonky. The way the plate was cleared says no, but when I told people there was a scoop of pie inside, they were suddenly wary, despite the fact that they’re just mowed three down in a row.
My advice? Stop being so scared just because something sounds weird! It’s cake and pie, not cow’s tongue. How bad could it get?
There is no set recipe. Just pick your favorite cupcake recipe (or boxed cake recipe while I silently judge you), buy or make a pie (while I am silently awed by you) and get to work. Cover he bottom of the cupcake wrapper with cake mix, then a scoop of pie, then cover it up with cake batter (not too much or it’ll overflow when it rises). Bake for 18-20 minutes, testing with a toothpick on the side (not into the perpetually wet pie). Enjoy without fear!
…There’s a grade 13? Is this a real thing? Anyway, point being, 16 year old’s never really know what they’re doing (if they say they’ve got it all figure out, they’re lying). But guess what? Neither do college grads, or 50 year olds, or 80 year olds. We’re all just floating around in life, getting by day-by-day. Have an idea of what you want to do, college? Writing internships? Maybe major in English someday? Teach? A vague idea is nice, but it will probably change a million times over. I switched majors twice and now I probably won’t ever use my psych degree. Whatever, no biggie. When someone asks, you say, “I’m going to be a writer.” And if they have a problem with that, it’s too damn bad.
I hear about this all the time! I used to be really shy about sex. Then, at some point, I turned a corner. I was once referred to by a childhood friend as, ‘Liz, the funny girl who talks about vaginas.’ To be fair, I met this friend in sex ed class and she was from a strict Indian family and felt the need to tell them everything. It just got to the point that I realized, this is my body and I can share it or keep it and it’s my choice. You also choose whether to share sex stories or sex gossip. I can pretty much garuentee though, as you get older, you will one night (or multiple nights) find yourself and your girlfriends crowded around a bottle of wine (or 3) screaming, ‘Oh my god his penis was so big!’ Or, ‘He was like a cuddly octopus!’ Or, ‘I think I peed a little at one point but pretended I didn’t.’ I know this because one, these are all true stories from myself and my friends, and two, women just do this (men do too).
For now though, get comfortable with yourself and your body and sex. Stare at yourself naked. Don’t flinch away! Check yourself out. Be like, wow I have nice boobies and a soft tummy that is super cute and my butt is kind of flat but whatever it’s still a butt and men like to see naked butts and I like my naked butt. Become overwhelmingly, ridiculously comfortable with your naked self. Touch yourself. Love yourself. Dance naked. Don’t be scared. It will be hard at first and endlessly embarrassing, but eventually, you’ll feel okay with yourself and sex. Introducing someone else is then your choice.
There’s this weird notion that like, you’re an adult now so you have to start having sex, just like you have to sign up to vote and fight wars if the draft were to be reinstated. This isn’t true (you have to sign up to vote though, that’s true. Please do that). You chose when to involve someone in your sex life.
Never feel like you aren’t good enough! I don’t care how old you are or how many people you’ve had sex with, we’re still all fumbling around. Every single person is different. Your body won’t react exactly the way his ex girlfriend’s did. You’re both on a level playing field. To overshare, I had a multiple-night-stand with this one guy, only to find out way later that he’d had sex with like three times the amount of people I had. I didn’t know it at the time so I was just doing my thing, trying to figure out what he liked, and him trying to figure out what I liked. You could have sex with 1 million times 1 billion times, then meet a new girl/boy and nothing you did previously worked for them.
It is always new, my dear. If you have passionate feelings, it will come through during sex. It might be scary/awkward/weird/painful at first, but over time, it mellows into an intimate conversation, not just fumbling hands and mouths.
Who cares if you’re last? Stop comparing yourself to other people. They’re not right and you’re not wrong, or vice versa. Everyone is different. You’ll be miserable forever if you keep comparing yourself. You need to change your mindset, not race to keep up with your friends. You have no idea how they feel about kissing, dating, or virginity. There’s no deadline on those things. You’ll only regret rushing them. First kissing, first boyfriends, and the first time having sex are probably going to suck if you do it with someone ‘just because everyone else is.’
This happens all the time. 75% of college grads don’t go into the field they majored in. I’d way rather run a bakery than be a therapist. The most important thing you’ll learn in life is to do what you love, not what you think you’re supposed to do. You’re still young. Tons of people start a career, then realize they don’t like it, start a new one, and do that for the rest of their lives. You just can’t worry about ‘wasted time.’ Do what you want every day.
There’s No Reason Not to Be a Vegetarian - from my personal blog
If you’ve been on the fence about becoming a vegetarian and need the extra shove, here it is.
Vegetarianism is better for you (soy products have few calories, less fat, and less cholesterol than meat), the environment (90% of soy, 80% of corn, and 50% of our water goes to animals which will be turned into food), and the animals (cause, you know, they don’t get slaughtered which is nice).
“But vegetarianism is about sacrifice! It’s hard! I love bacon!” It’s not as difficult as you think. With vegetarianism becoming increasingly popular, there are thousands of substitute products out there for every meat.
“But the protein-!” If you say vegetarians don’t get enough protein, Shaun T will beat you over the head with a bag of quinoa.
Now that my fast-stats and charm have won you over, here are some basic, filling vegetarian recipes:
- 1 whole egg and 3 egg whites
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 1/4 cup tomatoes chopped
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1 handful spinach rinsed, torn, and chopped
- 1 cup Morningstar Farm Crumbles
- 2 T olive oil
- Coat a nonstick pan with the olive oil
- Cook Crumbles over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Chop all your ingredients except for the eggs and add them into the pan. Cook over a medium heat until onions start to brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In the meantime, whisk your egg/egg whites until fluffy. Add a splash of milk and continue to beat. Salt and pepper.
- With the veggies and Crumbles still in the pan, turn the heat to medium-low and pour your eggs in. Do not leave your pan! With a rubber spatula, continuously stir the eggs to avoid sticking to the bottom. If the eggs get brown, they’ve burned.
- When everything is sufficiently incorporated and the eggs solidify, plate and eat up!
Quinoa Lunch Salad (adapted from Annie’s Eats)
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup chopped watermelon
- Sprinkle of feta cheese
- Handful of crushed basil
- Rinse quinoa first to remove the bitter coating.
- Boil salted water and quinoa, then lower heat and cook for additional 12-15 minutes or until quinoa absorbs all the water.
- While the quinoa cooks, chop watermelon.
- Put the cooled quinoa in a bowl and toss with watermelon. Top with feta. Sprinkle basil on top.
Quinoa Patties - Makes 12 (Adapted from Epicurious)
- 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
- 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup Parmesan or goat cheese
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic.
- Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.
- Form 12 1-inch thick patties
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, add patties
- Cook until brown on one side and golden on the other