History Historical Badasses

Gertrude Stein, the queer feminist at the centre of the art movement

I first encountered Gertrude Stein through her avant-garde poetry in Tender Buttons, an evocative series of short poems that forced writing to its breaking point with sentences like: “Dirty is yellow. A sign of more is not mentioned.” I met her blindly, only through her words, yet I already fell for her eccentricity. I knew there was something wonderful behind the mind that put down on paper the bold tongue-in-cheek yet unbelievably serious statement, “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”. I just had to explore her art further. So I began scouring old journals and artist profiles to learn more about her. 

Little did I know that the radical art Stein created could almost be rivaled by the art that she nurtured in the artists around her. I found multiple sources that called her the ‘mother’ of modernism, but after getting to know more about her, I am sure that she would scoff at such a title. After all, she left the United States in 1903 to flee the pressures of gender norms. She was also bored with medical school and seeking an outlet to express her eccentric point of view, she settled down in Paris, where she intended to pursue a life free from heteronormativity. She opened a salon in her home for the world’s creative mind, including some of the world-renowned names such as Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. She was the voice of this ‘Lost Generation, the group of American expatriates flocking to Paris– and even coined the term.

The way I see it, she brought together these esteemed artists and in many ways, elevated them through her no-nonsense critique of their work. I had always internalized that a woman inspiring other artists (typically male artists) was a muse. That term is loaded, as there were often sexualized or romanticized elements typically tied to a muse. Instead, what I admired about Stein was that she was a mentor to the ‘greats’. I see her as a woman that had an undeniable presence in her time, respected by those around her. 

Nothing about her was conventional and she embraced her own strangeness, something that drew me to her further. Stein deserves the title of a trailblazer of the modernist period and of queer identity at the time. Stein’s essay Miss Furr and Miss Skeene were among the first story to be published about homosexual revelation, containing the first noted use of the word “gay” in published works to refer to same-sex relationships. She also hosted one of the first avant-garde exhibitions in the United States, funding it with the money she collected from her art dealerships. I have no doubt that every piece of art in the period has her fingerprint.

And she didn’t hesitate to acknowledge her accomplishments either. Stein didn’t believe that women must be modest, proudly proclaiming “I have been the creative literary mind of the century.” She never sold herself short, a habit I found myself doing as I presented my own poetry or other writing. I was still working with my own feelings of inferiority, belittling my stories as ‘just’ relevant to female-identifying communities. While she wrote about women and her partner, she didn’t restrict herself to writing women’s stories. I found it so refreshing to see her unabashed pride, as it reminded me to take hold of my own achievements and to be confident. No matter how unconventionally and ‘weirdly’ I experimented with my creativity, I learned that I could (and should) still demand to be taken seriously. 

Regardless of all this, I don’t think she should be idolized. I often like to give powerful women in difficult situations the benefit of the doubt, as do most of the historians and writers that grapple with creating a retrospective of Stein’s life. I witnessed a trend in the way that they wrote about her, that she was ensuring her safety as a Jew in Nazi-occupied France by making these questionable alliances with Nazi figures. As much as I respect her as a feminist and as the backbone of the Lost Generation of artists, I cannot excuse her political affiliations and ironic, confusing pro-Nazi expressions. 

At the end of it all, Stein didn’t strive to be accepted or allow herself to be molded by the society around her. She carved her own place into history and I believe it is important to commemorate it, lest she is lost in the shadows of her male counterparts. As a woman in the art world, looking at Stein as an example liberates me and allows me to embrace subversive expressions of creativity. 

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Mental Health Life Stories Life

This is why I write letters to myself in my journal 

“Pablow, do you know what it’s like to be unimportant, invisible to the world. A dried-up leaf that people walk over and crush under their feet?
It’s my birthday tomorrow. But everyone has made it a point to not make me feel even slightly better. Everyone’s mean to me. Because it’s just another day in their life.
But in my life—it’s the day I turn 21.”
27th April, 2020.

Pablow, a beautiful pink mermaid, that keeps all my secrets and listens closely to everything I tell her. My confidante. My best friend. My journal.

I keep a journal. I write in it every day. 

It teaches you. It inspires you. It gives your life meaning.

I recently heard someone remark, “Who even writes in journals anymore?” I rolled my eyes at their ludicrous statement. Over the years, I learned how important journaling is, and I won’t entertain the idea that it is a purposeless act. 

Some people, at hearing the word “journal”, are swept by thoughts of teenage crushes, entries that start with “Dear Diary”, or something that they did in the past. In today’s increasingly digital, paperless world, journaling isn’t commonplace anymore. 

Some people also assume that journaling is exclusively for children or young adults. However, I don’t think that there’s a specific age for journalling. You can be a grown-up and still keep a journal. I’m an adult, and I maintain a journal. 

Journalling has helped me find myself, and I don’t think I’ll ever give it up.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that writing in a journal helped me find my voice. I learned the concept of expression and freedom in writing. My wordlessness surprises some in real life. I’m quiet. I don’t talk much. But my journal carries all my words, enfolded in abrupt effusions of my mind.  I write everything in my journal. 

I can say things that I want to say. I can document what I do and where I go. I can write my true feelings about my family, friends, even people I don’t know closely. I don’t think too much before spilling my thoughts on my journal. Words flow out of me, and I stamp them on to the paper. They are raw, real, and meaningful. Sometimes, it almost feels as if I’m writing letters to myself. 

Keeping a daily journal allowed me introspection—even if just a little—to dwell on who I was on a particular day.

Over the years, I’ve become attached to my journal. I treat it like a person. I have even given it a name—Pablow—and I call it my best friend. (Brownie points for you if you guessed Pablow is inspired by a Miley Cyrus song.)

Pablow is always there for me. She hears me out. She listens to me closely. She always has time for me. I tell her everything. She doesn’t judge me or double-cross me behind my back with the things that I say to her. She doesn’t say hurtful or judgmental things—she says nothing at all. I write to her about my life, family, friends, dreams, aspirations, heartbreaks, happiness, food, people I meet, college, sky, night, summer, stories, interactions, decisions—everything. I divulge every little detail of my life to her, and she listens.  

I’ve written about the time when my mom didn’t buy me my favorite body shop perfume. And when my friends threw me a birthday surprise and I nearly canceled on them. And when I scored low marks on a test. And when I felt like I hated my best friend for saying something mean to me. And so much more. I’ve told her everything.

Journalling helped me in exploring my thoughts. When I recorded all details of a particular day, no matter how irrelevant, I felt inspired. I felt like I was learning about myself. Keeping a daily journal allowed me introspection—even if just a little—to dwell on who I was on a particular day. That made me a more compassionate and empathetic person.

My journal made me see things more clearly. When I felt like I hated someone or something, I wrote about it. When something made me ecstatic—over the moon kind of happy—I wrote about it. Whatever I felt—anger, sadness, happiness, anxiety, depression, shock—I wrote about it. 

Journalling is important because of so many reasons. It teaches you. It inspires you. It gives your life meaning. It helps you clear your head. I learned from it about myself, my life, my family, my friends. Everything made so much more sense when it came down on paper as words. Once you start keeping a journal, you’ll understand that it can become a big part of your life. 

For me, maintaining a journal has almost become a habit. I share a human affiliation with it. I feel attached to it. Pablow is my best friend. And I’ve held on to my pink, mermaid journal for so long that I don’t think I’ll ever let go. 

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Shopping Skin Care Gift Guides Fashion Beauty Advice Lookbook Wellness

10 calming products that will help you take care of your mental health

Often times, self-care products seem to be written off as creations for people who need an escape from the world. However, people suffering from mental illness who are reading the lists may find the suggestions themselves exhausting to accomplish.

So we’ve created this list to help you when your cutlery drawer is empty, and you have no more spoons to give.

1. This essential oils set will get you started with exactly what you need to calm your breathing.

[Image description: Photo of essential oils] via Amazon
The world of essential oils can get overwhelming for someone just starting out.  You can use a diffuser to fill a room with scent or waft the open bottle under your nose to start relaxing immediately.

One of my favorite ways to relax is to put a few drops of lavender oil at the bottom of your shower as you step in, and let the warm steam help ease your stress.

Get it on Amazon for $29.95.

2. cute planter, because having a little green friend nearby can help elevate your mood.

[Image Description: photo of dog planters.] via Amazon
It is a cute little planter. But it is small!

It fits in the palm of my hand and I’m average sized. So don’t expect it to hold more than one plant – although it’s adorable to bring a pop of joy into the day.

Get it from Amazon for $8.45+ (available in 43 styles).

3. This gratitude journal will give you a moment to reset your perspective.

[Image description: Photo of a gratitude journal titled “Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration” ] via Amazon
Taking a few minutes to think about what you’re grateful for can give you the opportunity to take a breath and try to center yourself. This gratitude journal is great because its prompts allow you to approach your world with intention.

Take time to reflect on what you have room for in your life – think about what your goals are for today or the future. 

Get it from Amazon for $14.40.

4. mini journal that will be there for you when you just can’t go to sleep.

[Image Description: Photo of a mini-journal titled “I can’t sleep”.]  via Amazon
If I wake up in the middle of the night I write down whatever popped in my head that woke me up and how there’s nothing I can do about it at 3:37 am, so might as well go back to sleep. It’s weird, but it helps.

Get it from Amazon for $11.00.

5. If your anxiety is taking over, these cards can be just what you need to redirect your attention.

[Image Description: Stress relief cards titled ” Stress Less cards”.] via Amazon
People with anxiety know what it’s like to feel the cascades – when you’re uncomfortable, then aware of the discomfort. There are days when all you need is to be distracted from that cascade.

These are small, so you can keep them in your purse or backpack so they’re always accessible.

Get it from Amazon for $12.99.

6. A beautiful necklace to remind you to take care of yourself, and to save your spoons for what matters to you.

[Image Description: Photo of grey necklace with spoons of various sizes in the center along with a sign that says “save your spoons”.] via Amazon
For those who are unfamiliar with Spoon Theory, this necklace might not make sense. 

The meaning behind this necklace is simple: Save your efforts for what matters to you. Your spoons, and whatever energy you’re able to put into the world, is priceless.

Get it from Amazon for $17.99.

7. fidget keychain to help you snap(pea) out of your stress fog.

[Image Description: Fidget keychain in the form of snap green peas.] via Amazon
The faces on the beans are so cute that it’s just like a little anxiety friend popping up to say hi. That’ll keep you distracted and slowly bring you back to the present.

Sometimes, it’s going above and beyond for yourself or simply committing to what eases your every day, so you can save your spoons for when you can be spectacular.

Get a pack of three from Amazon for $7.99.

8. This beautiful spinning ring is here for you to fidget with whenever you need to keep your hands busy.

[Image Description: Photo of pink flowers with a pair of hands wearing a chrome-colored spinner ring beside it.] via Amazon
Spinner rings (also called worry rings) are frequently used as a stress relief tool and are beloved by people with ADD/ADHD everywhere. They have also been used to reduce nail-biting and other bad habits by keeping your hands busy.

Get it from Amazon for $7.99+ (available in sizes 4–12 and six colors).

9. A pack of assorted bath bombs so you can enjoy a good soak without feeling guilty about spending $100 at Lush.

[Image: An array of tropical-colored (blue, green, purple, and pink) bath bombs.] via Amazon
There are 200 possible scents and you get 10 with each package, so you can keep ordering and finding new favorites.

Get a pack of 10 from Amazon for $18.97.

10. And a macabre patch that’ll come in handy when people are wondering what’s wrong with you.

[Image Description: A green Macabre Patch of  Medusa crying.] via Amazon
Because nothing is. You’re dealing with the cards dealt, and we all have to take care of the spoons we’ve been given. Self-care is different for everyone, and no one’s method of self-care is wrong.

Just because your method of self-care does not include trips to the spa doesn’t mean your method is invalid. Period.

Get it from Amazon for $7.99.

Life Hacks Tech Now + Beyond

7 tips and tricks for your iPhone Notes app you should know about

Sidekicks make the world go ’round.

Shrek has Donkey, Lizzie McGuire has tiny cartoon Lizzie, and I have the Notes app. It’s where I keep half of my brain, most of my feelings and all of my ideas.

I’ve loved Notes for a long time, but in recent years it’s improved exponentially. In case you’ve missed it, in Notes you can create folders, export as a PDF, make tables, bullets and checklists,  draw, take a photo, scan a document, and so much more.

I don’t know what I’d do without it, so to honor that fact, here are a few things I find it helpful for.

1. Save interesting things you’ve read all in one place.

Busy GIF
[Image description: a file drawer slowly extends to show thousands of files]
One of the folders in my Notes is completely dedicated to interesting things I find on the internet. This mostly consists of links to and excerpts from articles that are so revelatory or resonant I know I’ll want to go back to them. If you’re reading on your phone, you can highlight text and then share it to a new or existing note without ever leaving the article or losing your spot.

2. Prepare for the bad times without overloading your phone.

Go Away Cat GIF by jessthechen
GIF by @jessethechen [Image description: cartoon cat hiding under hat]
If I could marry the Notes App I would, because it’s already been there for me in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer.

I keep an entire folder full of things that make me feel better, like voicemails and texts from my friends and loved ones, uplifting articles, and lyrics to my favorite songs. It’s like a first aid kit for the soul: there if your friends are busy or if your next therapy appointment is far away.

The content makes me feel good, compounded by the fact that I’m helping myself.

3. Jot down ideas any and every time of day.

Taking Notes GIF
[image description: a woman writing down a note. caption: “Okay, alright.”]
Every good (and bad) idea I’ve ever had has first been written in the Notes app. I have folders dedicated to different ongoing projects and one that’s just a catchall for any idea, whether it’s for a birthday that’s 7 months away or something that would either be the best or worst tweet I’ve ever written and I have to sleep on it.

I don’t know how I ever held on to an idea for more than three seconds before Notes came into my life.

4. Make to-do lists/done lists and track your productivity.

Lazy To Do List GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants
[image description: “nothing” being crossed off to-do list]
There is a feature in the Notes app specifically for making checklists, with little bubbles next to each item that you can check off as you go. However, sometimes a long list of empty bubbles staring at you with a withering gaze can make the tasks feel a little daunting.

Maybe that’s just me, but if you feel it too, I recommend making done lists. List everything you’ve already done, no task being too small (ate breakfast: boom done). Notes can be home to any type of list your heart desires!

5. Journal, journal, journal!

Renee Zellweger Diary GIF by Bridget Jones
[image description: Bridget Jones writing “Dear Diary”]
I really want to be a person who keeps a journal, but whenever I start one I lose track of what notebook I started it in or I forget about it entirely. 

Maybe someday I’ll follow David Sedaris and publish a book of my Notes, but for now, it’s the best strategy I’ve come across for keeping a journal.  

6. Draft those risky texts or figure out that perfect Instagram caption.

Mad Work GIF
[image description: man tossing up papers]
Accidentally hitting send/post is the stuff of modern nightmares, but you could be living the dream if you just draft your missives in the Notes app.

Plus, you can write out multiple options and compare them side by side.

7. Illustrate a story mid-conversation!

Demi Lovato Television GIF
[Image description; Jimmy Fallon dancing and playing Pictionary]
Some stories are just better when you have a visual. Now that you can draw directly in notes, I frequently illustrate my stories while I’m telling them. They’re usually hideous and don’t make any sense out of context, but that’s beside the point.

No matter your needs, if you give it a chance, the Notes app can be your new best friend. (Sorry human friends.)

Shopping Skin Care Gift Guides Love Wellness

13 perfectly chill gifts to give yourself when you’re feeling down

Let’s get this out of the way: I am a stay-at-home mom of a toddler. I NEED ME SOME SELF-CARE, PRONTO.

Self-care isn’t just about making sure you are hydrated, it is about making sure your mind, body, and spirit are ready to cope with whatever the world throws at you. These days, where you are constantly being pulled in different directions, you NEED to be able to refill your cup.

And re-filling your cup should not have to be a burden on your pocket.

 1. Get the ultimate guide to freeing up your mind space and decluttering your life.

Get it from Amazon for $9.69.

2. box of bath bombs that’s basically a DIY relaxation kit.

Get it from Amazon for $10.50.

3. Achieve peace and productivity with this structured, positive journal.

Get it from Amazon for $8.95.

4. How about a cream-scented kitty squishy in case you just need to give stress that strong squeeze of defiance?

Get it from Amazon for $9.95 (available in 2 varieties).

5. massaging pillow for your neck, your back.

Get it from Amazon for $39.95.

6. Destress from those long days (or weeks!) when you just can’t seem to get a break.

Get it from Amazon for $9.18.

7. Make sure you stay hydrated without boring your taste buds.

Get it from Amazon for $8.99.

8. These adorable air purifiers bring freshness to your home – without using a single chemical.

Get it from Amazon for $7.59.

9. This geometric coloring book to give your brain the chance to unwind.

Get it from Amazon for $2.28.

10. pampering face mask that’ll force you to rest on the couch while winding down after a long day.

Get it from Amazon for $14.90.

11. Keep your hands busy with glow-in-the-dark putty that will help your mind stop racing.

Get it from Amazon for $14.74.

12. Don’t forget a cute dino tea strainer that’ll fit in a mug or pitcher – and is adorable AF!

Get it from Amazon for $9.97.

13. Sarcasm will get us through with this snarky coloring book.

Get it from Amazon for $6.49.

Love Wellness

8 things you can do to maximize your next mental health day

If you have a cold, the flu or some other physical ailment, what do you do? You stay home, curl up in bed, and maybe go see a doctor. Sadly, when it comes to mental ailments, taking a day to take care of your mental health isn’t seen the same way; even though mental health contributes to your overall health.

How do you know you should take a mental health day? For me, it’s when I begin to feel overwhelmed or when I feel my own mental illness start to get out of hand. It’s important for everyone to treat their mental health with the same seriousness as they do their physical health, and mental health days should be treated the same as sick days.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of your mental health day, when you finally decide to take one.

1) Let your boss/professor know

preofessor teaching
[Image Description: A professor, wearing a white blouse and a yellow bow, teaching and point at something off the camera.]
If your mental health day falls on a day where you would usually be in class or at work, let your boss or professor know that you’ll be out that day. I don’t advise lying or making up a far-fetched excuse, but if you don’t feel comfortable telling them that you’re actually taking a mental health day, just say that you’re feeling under the weather and that it would be in your best interests to miss class or take the day off.

2) Catch some Z’s/Take a nap

woman and dog sleeping
[Image Description: A woman with brown hair peacefully sleeping while a pug lies next to her.]
There’s an endless list of benefits to sleep. Personally, I take a nap almost every day just because I’m on the go from the moment I wake up to the moment I get back home, and it can be pretty exhausting. Not only does It help you maintain a healthy heart, but it keeps off unwanted weight, strengthens your immune system, helps your focus, and best of all helps your mood.

For naps, twenty to thirty minutes is recommended to help with alertness and not interfere with nighttime sleep. Wherever you decide to rest make sure you’re in a comfortable, quiet place with minimal light.

3) Eat a good breakfast

[Image Description: A breakfast platter with sunny side up eggs, berries, orange slices, a pancake, and coffee.]
What better way is there to start your mental health day than with food? But not just any food. It’s the most important meal of the day.  Sugary breakfast foods will only bog you down further, so try some healthier alternatives: anything with whole grains, a sugar-free cereal and milk combination, breakfast smoothie or, my personal favorite, a bowl of fruit, which in my opinion, is the least appreciated of all breakfast foods.

4) Turn off your phone ( at least for a little while)

blank phone
[Image Description: An individual using their phone. The screen in blank in the captured image.]
As hard as it may seem, it will be so worth it in the end. Excessive use of social media networks has actually been linked to depression and anxiety. Turning my phone, or at least my notifications off, for me, is like turning the rest of the world off. I’m helping myself out by removing unwanted distractions so no outside influences penetrate my self-care bubble.

5) Get comfy

black pjs
[Image Description: A woman with light brown/ auburn hair wearing black pajamas and holding up a bowl, consequently covering her face.]
People talk about wishing that they could spend all day in their pajamas, and and a mental health day gives you that option! Pull out your warmest pair of pajama pants, your softest t-shirt, and your coziest sweatshirt or cardigan and just revel in the comfort.

When I’m dressed comfortably I automatically start to feel better because in my mind, since I’m not in the clothes that I wear to class, I’m removing myself from that stressor and don’t have to deal with it.

6) Write down what you’re feeling

[Image Description: An open journal with blank ages and a pen resting in between the pages (the spine).
I cannot emphasize the importance and benefits of journaling. There’s just something about putting your thoughts to paper that eases overwhelming feelings. You don’t even have to have an actual journal; just get some paper, a pen, and just write out your current stream of consciousness.

When I do this and look back on the things I’m thinking and feeling in that moment, I’m able to pick it apart and find the root of my problem or where things began to get out of control. It helps you see the small factors within the bigger picture.

7) Call someone you love

woman on her phone
[Image Description: A woman with dark hair and nails painted orange on her phone. The image in taken nose down.]
We all have that one person that we can depend on, no matter what, to pick up the phone when you call. For me, it’s my grandmother. Any time of the day or night, she picks up the phone on the first ring.

Sometimes all it takes to make things better is talking to someone that loves and cares about you. They can offer up some valuable advice, but sometimes just listening is enough.

8) Pamper yourself

woman in tub
[Image Description: A woman with dark hair in the bathtub with the water running. Her foot rests above the faucet.]
One of my favorite songs has a line that goes “Get in the shower if it all goes wrong,” and it’s so true. Have you ever noticed how when you’re in the shower or a bath, you forget where you are and just relax into the water?

As cliche as it sounds, get a bath bomb and let the stress, sadness, or anxiety wash away and down the drain. Do a face mask, paint your nails a fun color, maybe take some time to shampoo and condition your hair while you’re at it; just do something for yourself.

All it takes is slowing down and paying a little extra attention to yourself for a little while for you to get back on the right track, and a mental health day is the perfect way to do this. There are other ways to practice self-care and even self-love. Once we start to manage all aspects of our health, mental and physical, we can live life to the fullest.

Love Life Stories

When I finally decided to show the world my real self, I was terrified nobody would like me

I’ve always been a pretty bubbly, positive, happy-go-lucky sort of gal – to the outside world. However, up until around a year ago, I felt like I was living in conflict with myself. I would be smiling and joking around with friends and family, but when I was alone with myself, I would become my own worst enemy.

It pretty much started when I graduated from college and moved back home. The transition was difficult for me. I missed my roommates and didn’t realize how much my happiness had depended on being surrounded by friends.

Around that time I developed this fear that if I showed my authentic self to others, I would not be accepted or loved.

I thought that if I showed my “negative” emotions, people would want to stay away from me. I created a double standard for myself; if someone opened up to me I thought they were brave, and yet if I opened up to someone else it was an act of weakness.

These irrational beliefs felt like the truth to me. I realize now that it’s actually the opposite; showing vulnerabilities is what brings me closer to my loved ones.

I began to have such high expectations of myself. In order to be the best daughter, cousin, niece, friend, employee, etc. I had to hide my true self. While my intentions were good, they were causing a lot of damage in the self-esteem department. In order to avoid displeasing the people in my life, I ended up disliking who I was.

I had some trustworthy loved ones who I felt like I could be a hot mess in front of, but at the end of the day, the person I was stuck with 24/7 was myself.

I don’t remember the exact moment, but a point came when I finally decided I would break this cycle of self-loathing- even if it meant facing the darkest and scariest emotions. I realized that you could be surrounded by all the loving family and friends in the world, but if you don’t love yourself, then nothing will feel good enough.

I began going to therapy. I reconnected with my faith and begged God to help me learn how to help myself. I journaled about my feelings and began to look at them with compassion rather than criticism.

I created a box of letters, notes, and anything positive that loved ones had given me over the years. Whenever I felt low, I would turn to the box and go through it, reminding myself that I made a difference in these people’s lives.

I went on retreats. I got involved in my community. I basically forced myself to do the things that I knew would make me feel fulfilled.

And that’s when little miracles began to take place in my life. I was nominated by a lovely author, Tami Shaikh, to be a part of a South Asian Women Leadership Retreat, where I met incredibly successful women who got deep and personal. Through this, I was able to break free from the illusion that I was alone. I also began to find life-changing books, YouTube videos, quotes, and mentors who believed in me.

It’s not considered cool to talk about your self-doubts and insecurities, but I believe that when we avoid these types of conversations, we miss out on valuable opportunities to truly connect with others.

One powerful exercise for me was something my therapist, Linda taught me. “Find a few photographs of yourself when you were a little girl,” she said.  “Then put them in some nice frames around your living space along with the wallpaper of your phone. When you’re being hard on yourself, just look at the photos and see if you still feel the same way.”

I was amazed at how this one small act led me to actually start liking myself. Every time I saw the photos, I couldn’t help but feel love and compassion towards myself, because deep down in my 24-year-old body, was an innocent little girl who simply needed to feel safe and protected.

One of the photos I used for the experiment

Now, whenever I mess up, I think of the photo of the sweet, little girl and ask myself how I would speak to her if she made the same mistake. It would be cruel to yell at a child for not being perfect, so why is it okay to beat myself up just because I’m a so-called adult? As my therapist taught me, adults are just children in grown up bodies.

Through this bump in the road, I learned that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

Disliking yourself is natural at times, as long as you aren’t stuck in that rut. And self love is not just some cheesy phrase, it’s a key ingredient for contentment and inner peace. Now, I am more than happy to show up and be seen for who I am, and I hope that nobody has to feel like their true self is not worthy enough to be seen.

By choosing authenticity, we begin to attract the right people and situations into our lives.

It may not happen overnight, but it’s definitely worth the struggle.