No Means No.

Being what/who you think everyone wants you to be isn’t cool, nor is following what everyone else is doing. What’s cool is saying no, sticking to your guns, and being okay with yourself about it afterwards.

I know this totally probably sounds like a cliche, mom type of post, but I have a ton of little cousins that are kids right now, some that are in Junior High School, and some that are just starting High School and College where things like peer pressure happen all the time as if it were the norm. So I guess this post is more for them and people in that age range than anything. I know they all may have parents and/or older siblings of their own to help them with things like this, but it’s just something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

Peer pressure is real, and it can be a scary thing for those who aren’t as strong-willed or know how to handle things like that. Sometimes the people you least expect to pressure you into doing certain things, are the ones who not only do it the most, but do it in the most inconspicuous way that you’ll never realize it until it’s too late.

I feel like it’s a ridiculously common misconception for people to believe that peer pressure solely revolves around drinking, smoking, and/or drugs in general, but that couldn’t be more false. Peer pressure can literally be anything. Anything that YOU don’t want to or feel comfortable doing that other people (friends, or otherwise) try getting you to do, can and, most times, is definitely considered peer pressure. Whether it’s something as “simple” as these people convincing you not to check in with your parents after school like you normally would do or cutting class with them, to something as serious as someone (or people) trying to convince or force you to try hardcore drugs or have sex with someone, it’s all one in the same, and it’s all peer pressure to some degree.

I can’t tell you how many times people, old roommates, friends of my old roommates, etc., would constantly try to push me to try smoking or getting shitfaced with them every weekend. Like don’t get me wrong, I drink occasionally, have gotten drunk, smoked hookah, etc., but it’s because I’ve wanted to do it, not because I ever let anyone force me or talk me into it.

Anyone who really knows me, knows that if I say no, it’s going to be no and nothing the person/people say or do is going to change that. If anything, the more they ask and/or try to get me to do it, the more I’ll get uncomfortable, pissed off, and just straight up want nothing to do with you.

For instance, I just have no type of interest in doing/trying any kind of drugs, from the hardcore shit to the “simplest” stuff like weed. It would do nothing for me other than probably make my paranoid ass more paranoid than what I already am. Plus I’ve seen family members of mine, friends, and just people in general that I know get really fucked up mentally from THEM doing these things that they previously got pressured/talked into doing somehow or another many many moons ago, so why am I going to let other people attempt to talk me into doing those exact same things? For that? To end up like them? Yeah, no thanks.

And don’t get me wrong, some of my closest friends that were roommates, old co-workers, etc. do these things and one thing I’ve always told them, I don’t care if you smoke, drink or whatever, just don’t involve me in it if I tell you I’m not interested. It’s that simple. You do it? Cool, that’s fine, I respect and have no issue with it, so respect how I feel and just don’t bring it to me.

There’s nothing wrong with experimenting and trying some of these things (although yes, some of them are considered “bad”, but that’s besides the point). The point is, there’s a difference between doing these things because you want to and doing it because others want or are trying to get you to do it.

The word ‘No’ is a powerful word that not many people hear or take seriously anymore, especially in the day and age that we live in. And it’s a shame because it’s really gotten to a point where there are people in and around the world that if they see or hear that you tell them no about something, they will not take no for an answer and will go as far as drugging and/or raping them, if not worse (not that those things are worse, but I’m just saying).

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No means no, that’s it!!!! Don’t give in because you feel forced or want to feel like you fit in among your friends or whoever. And if you do end up doing any of these things at all, at least make sure you’re doing it because you actually want to and know what you’re getting yourself into.

Don’t let it bother you if people make fun of or tease you because you don’t want to do something. And I know that may sound cliche, and easier said than done, but it’s the truth. That’s just their way of being obnoxious to attempt to pressure you into whatever it is at the time; sadly though, many times this is what actually causes people to give in to the pressure just for the sake of shutting these people up and saying they tried it.

People will use some of the most annoying, ridiculous phrases and excuses in the book just to attempt to convince you. “What are you scared of?” “I dare you,” “What’s the big deal?” “I thought you loved me, prove it,” “Don’t be a chickenshit,” etc. etc. etc. And a lot of these I’m sure reading them will remind people of something you would hear in a movie or tv show, like who really says stuff like that? Who would actually give in to people saying those things? But it really is true. People do say dumb shit like this, and other people sadly fall into it and end up giving in.

Who cares what other people have to say? Who cares if they won’t be your friends anymore after you saying no? Who cares if your boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with you afterwards for you not being ready? WHO CARES? People are going to talk regardless. You’ll make new friends. And you’ll find a new boyfriend/girlfriend who loves you for who you are and respects you for your decisions and/or how you feel about things.

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It is your god-given birth right as a human being to be able to have your opinion about something and say no if you don’t agree or feel comfortable with it. Doesn’t matter how big or small, or how serious or not it may seem. If you’re not comfortable with doing something, say no, it’s okay. Don’t feel like you have to give in just for the sake of fitting in and having friends, or being considered “cool.” You shouldn’t have to prove anything to anyone (in that aspect or any really) in order for them to be your friend or accepted in general. If they’re your REAL friend and REALLY love/care about you, they’re going to be your friend and respect you more because you said no and stuck to your decision.

Self-love and self-respect will always be more important than the acceptance of others, always remember that; because at the end of each and every day, YOU’RE the one who’s going to have to go to bed and live with the decisions/consequences that you created, not them.

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-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

 

9/11

Hi guys,

This is pretty much just an impromptu post that I felt like I should write about because it’s weighing heavy on my mind this morning, actually when I really stop to think about it, it weighs hard on my mind every year on this very day.

As I sit here in my desk at work writing this post, I can’t help but get teary-eyed recalling the events of that day.

I was about 6, in the first grade, and my brother was 10 in the 5th grade. I remember that day being extremely gloomy. It was cloudy out, almost as if Mother Nature knew and was trying to give us some sort of sign about what was going to happen that day. My mom was off from work, and took my brother and I to school like normal, at around 7:15-7:30. Within the hour, I think everyone (students-wise) started to realize something was going on and very wrong, because parents started coming to pick up their kids every few minutes. I remember at about 9 a.m., my parents came. I still didn’t know what was going on, but hey my parents were picking me up super early from school, so what did I care? “No classes or homework for me today!,” I thought.

I remember coming out of the school and I saw my dad standing a few feet away at the corner looking at something in the distance. I ran to him to say hi, he hugged me and I looked where he was looking at. He showed me in the distance what he was looking at, but to me all I saw was a bunch of really dark smoke in the air. He didn’t say much to me about it, I guess because 1. He didn’t want to scare me, and 2. He probably thought I was too young to understand what was going on anyway.

Nonetheless, I was ready to go home and for some reason we were still waiting in front of the school for something, so I asked him “where did mom go?”, “She went to get Lynae and Justin,” he said. Now I KNEW something was off because they never picked up other peoples’ kids, but we were all friends, so hey cool, no school and we were having friends over!!

The rest of the day was kind of a blur, I just remember us going back to my house afterwards, and watching the news of everything that was going on in Manhattan.

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With every year that goes by, I think about it more and more and begin to think/realize how lucky and grateful I am that my mom wasn’t working that day. I don’t even remember why she had off or taken off that day, on a Tuesday of all days, but if she didn’t, lord knows what could’ve happened….

As grateful as I am of that, I can’t help but also feel an immense amount of sadness, because many people were not as lucky as I was. So many people, kids, babies, etc., lost mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, and/or all of the above, it’s insane and heartbreaking to think about.

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How can people just wake up one morning and decide they’re going to terrorize an entire city, kill thousands upon thousands of innocent people in the process and not think twice about it?

It’s been 16 years since this happened, and it still feels like just yesterday to most people, including myself. I think the older I get now, the more intense it is to think about and the deeper the sadness is to feel, because you understand everything about it so much more. And the memories of it all becomes much more vivid. I find this day seems to affect me more with each year that passes, which I guess is odd since it didn’t actually directly hurt me or my family in any way, but I guess just thinking about how horrific that day was for all of New York, and how much it still affects people to this very day is what gets me.

I also think it puts everything else into perspective for people, including myself again; to not only think about all of the innocent lives lost through this tragedy, but those people who SACRIFICED their lives to attempt to help this dire situation in any possible way they could; the firemen, policemen, EMTs, etc., the list could truly go on and on. As cliche as it may be/sound, we need to learn to be grateful for every single person in our lives because you really don’t know when it’ll be the last time you’ll see them; there’s no….I don’t want to say better, because what happened is in no way, shape, or form good, but for lack of a better word, I’ll say greater….there is no greater example of that then what happened on September 11, 2001. These poor people were just going about their everyday lives and routines, going to work, etc., and this happened, ignorant, selfish people took it upon themselves to take their beautiful lives away over spite for something these people had absolutely no control over.

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It almost feels wrong and selfish to attempt to go through this day and be happy, while so many people around the world are still suffering from this day, and I think that’s why I always feel down about it. It’s almost as if I have no right to be so happy and cheerful, and that’s why my depression gets the best of me on this particular day. I never want or care for going out, going to work, school, etc., doing anything in general really that could make me happy whenever this day comes, because it doesn’t do anything to help what happened.

People say we have to keep fighting everyday to show the rest of the world that that one tragedy did not get the best of us, that in fact it actually brought us closer together and made us stronger; it’s a nice thought, but I just wish I could be doing more to help with it all and make a more positive impact.

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I really had to take a breather from writing this post, because all this morning I was writing, and a lot of my sadness started turning into anger. I really started letting it affect me, in a way that I should not have. It wasn’t until I left for my break, and took a walk for that hour that I realized, not only do I have to appreciate all of the people in my life right now, but I also have to be appreciative of my life, and how beautiful life in general can really be. It’s a beautiful day outside, the sun came up again, I’m living to see another day, I have a home to go to at the end of the day, I have an amazing job, amazing family, amazing boyfriend, and an amazing life (in spite of how I may feel about it sometimes). Many people in the world today are nowhere near as lucky as I am, and I don’t in any way mean that in a conceited way, but it’s just the fact of the matter, a lot of people aren’t as fortunate, unfortunately. So as horrible, as this day may be or feel because of something that happened so long ago, we have to somehow look at the positives in our life today, and really push through one way or another, especially since it would probably be what everyone who lost their lives that day would want from their families and friends.

To all the men and women that sacrificed their lives on this day, 16 years ago, thank you so much. No amount of gratitude I think will ever be enough to be able to compensate for all of your lives that were lost on that day, but at least somehow knowing that each and every one of you were/are appreciated I hope will somehow be a start. And to all the people that so sadly lost their lives to such evil people, I’m so sorry, not one of you deserved that. But I hope and pray that each and every one of your families are somehow managing to do well, and push through with you in their minds with each day that passes.

Gone but NEVER forgotten ❤ 

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-Xoxo Leo Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Isn’t For Everyone, And That’s Okay.

Hi Guys!

Good morning, or good afternoon wherever you are in the world!

Today’s post is going to be something that some people might find slightly controversial to some degree. It’s the topic of a college education and my complete thoughts on it.

Something I want to make clear before moving forward with this post, a minor PSA, is that for this one, and any other  topics I may cover that may seem heavy and/or controversial for any reason(s), I want to always be able to be totally and completely honest with my thoughts and opinions.  Even if you do not agree with the things that I have to say, please keep in mind as I just mentioned, they are MY thoughts and opinions and experiences, that I tend to feel very strongly about for a variety of reasons which, like I will do in this post, will go in depth as to why I feel the way I do, or see things the way I do. As I mentioned in my introduction, I welcome any and all feedback that you as my readers have to offer, but please keep in mind that all I ask is for positive, constructive criticism, not any negativity or bashing.

Moving forward with the post, I had someone request for me to write about the topic of schooling and everything I feel about it. Now, when I say schooling I am referring to college, not high school or anything earlier than that. My true and honest belief on this topic is that college really isn’t for everyone. There are some people in the world that I feel just love school and are destined to be doctors, lawyers, etc., which require years and years of schooling, but that’s okay because they love school and they’re good at it (as weird as that may sound). And then, there are people like me, who I feel are/were not meant for going to or finishing school, which is okay in its own way.

For those of you who may be reading this and are family of mine, friends of mine, or even friends of my family/parents, this may come as a shock to you, especially if you know my parents and how they are. But, yes it’s true, for a while throughout my college career I never felt like I was meant to be in college, hell there were several times when I even contemplated dropping out because of how much I disliked it; I never had any motivation to go to class, never had motivation to do assignments, study for tests/quizzes, etc., it was bad. There are several reasons that I think come into play with why I felt this way, all of which I will attempt to explain now.

Now, something I want/need to make clear before moving forward is that I LOVE to learn, as hard as it may be please do not mistake any of what I’m saying for pure laziness and failure, because I truly did and still do love to learn. I love being able to learn new topics, languages, cultures, etc. I love reading, and I love writing. However, not in a classroom setting in this day and age where “learning” has just come down to headaches, stress, staying up all night every other day to just get stuff done for the sake of getting a passing grade.

I could be very wrong and my memory could be seriously messed up, but I remember being younger and learning things in school used to actually be fun; it would be fun and the teachers would actually take the time to help you understand things, not just pass you for the sake of not having to deal with a person for a second or third time later on. People actually cared about having the students understand the topics, instead of only caring about passing or failing them.

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Personally, I found that learning things on my own by actually reading up on topics, researching them, or just experiencing certain things at my own pace was 100 times more beneficial for me, as opposed to sitting in a classroom for 2 hours listening to professor Jackoff explain how x + b = z, find A, but also calculate how many times little Sally can get around the block with C. First of all, who ever thought it was actually okay to add letters into math problems, and secondly, I’m a writing major for a reason, why will I ever need to know calculus?

I felt like I was wasting my time and my parents money sitting in several classes like this that A. I had no type of interest in, but was forced to take for the sake of credits, and B. Had no type of relation towards my major. I understand that during a person’s first year of college they are expected to take their “core requirement” classes, which is pretty much the basics; English, math, science, etc., but after that first year, there should be no reason why I’m spending all this money in order to “better myself”, but am forced to take unnecessary classes in order for me to be able to graduate.

If I am spending hundreds/thousands of dollars on supplies, books, classes, and tuition, I should be entitled to take the classes that I personally want to and interest me, and still have them ALL counted as credits towards me being able to graduate.

Part of me feeling the way I do about college also sprouts from the fact that I didn’t exactly have the best experiences while in school. I went to two different schools throughout my college career. My very first year of college I went to the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, and for the rest of my three years I attended SUNY Purchase. Let’s discuss the process of me transferring schools…

It was probably one of the most difficult, repetitive, and ridiculous processes I have ever had to deal with. It was pretty much like I was reapplying for college all over again. The application process itself wasn’t necessarily the issue, the primary issue was the stuff within and after the application process. Such as: application fees, paying to have transcripts sent from one school to another, paying other special fees that they may have for one reason or another, etc. Some of these payments are understandable in the general reasoning for it, however the prices itself are outrageous. THEN once those fees were paid, having schools either misplacing or simply never receiving some of these important documents needed to complete the process, and them not really caring whether you did it the first time or not, you gotta do it again; and pay for it all……AGAIN.

Following the entire application and actually being admitted into the school obviously comes the actual school part…yay! *she says sarcastically*. Now, it wasn’t until like my third year of school that I realized how badly both schools screwed up my credits from my first year (and let me just say now that shit followed me for the rest of my time in school; every year I would try to catch up credit wise, and every year I got screwed over in a new way).

Every semester when it came to creating your schedule for the following semester, the way they did it at Purchase (I’m not sure if this is just them or other schools do it this way too, but either way I think it’s stupid), is that you were able to add your classes based on the number of credits you already had (not including the ones you were taking that current semester). For example Monday would be for students with 90+ credits, Tuesday would be for students who had 60+ credits, etc. And you had to wait for your specific day in order to register. So because of how they messed up my credits, I was always somehow behind and always got the shitty end of the stick when it came to choosing classes; all the classes I wanted would be booked up, ALWAYS. In an effort to catch up credit wise every semester, whether in the winter time when we had break, or during the summer, I was always taking extra online classes (extra classes + extra books = EXTRA MONEY).

So as I previously mentioned, this followed me for the remainder of my time in college, but it really freaked me out come my senior year. I mean realistically, who wants to be worrying about missing credits on top of Senior Projects, midterms/finals, graduation, and what you’re going to be doing with your life after college right? Just my luck, this is when stuff started to get really scary.

My last semester at Purchase, I attempted to overload myself on courses and credits in order to be able to make the graduation deadline and walk with the rest of my class…THAT was an epic fail lol. I tried it for like a week or two, and ended up really not liking it, so I ended up dropping like 2-3 of those classes, being left with only 4 now. The only positive thing about all that was that I ended up doing really well in the four classes I stuck with. However, I ended up finding out I was still about 14 credits short from graduating. So I had to be able to think quick, and figure something out because I was not trying to have to come back for ONE more semester in the fall and then have to wait until the following May to be able to graduate.

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It ended up being told to me that I would be able to walk so long as I ended up completing the remainder of my credits over the summer with more online classes. OF COURSE there was a catch though…. Purchase only allows you to take 12 credits worth of classes during the summer session, and doing an override was pretty much nonexistent. Now, imagine my frustration, I’m trying to do literally every last possible thing to get this done once and for all and be able to graduate, but Purchase was too busy playing with my emotions like SIKEEEEEE you THOUGHT you was gonna graduate on time. My only solution was on top of taking the 12 credits worth of classes I needed from Purchase, to also find ANOTHER school/class that would be able to help me fulfill those last 2 credits needed for me to walk. I ended up choosing BMCC in Manhattan, being that it’s something close and I thought it would be quick to do. The process for applying to and getting the class from BMCC was a completely different type of headache; but the bottom line with that was I ended up finding the one class I needed, enrolling in it and being fine.

So now here we are in May 2017, I was actually going to be able to walk at my graduation and ON TIME. I must admit that even through all of the headaches and issues I went through to get to that final point, it was a huge deal to finally say I was going to graduate college; granted I still had to finish those last few summer classes to make it official and get my diploma, but none the less it was still a big deal for me.

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The rush and sense of accomplishment you get from walking across that stage really is incredible, I will admit that, especially when you finally overcome all of the obstacles that were holding you back the entire time.

However, personally, I feel as though colleges make it seem and feel way too difficult for some people to better themselves and receive “higher education.” They play a lot of games it feels like when it comes to classes or financials situations that come up. And I’m not really sure if I find all of the issues entirely worth it in the end. And for what? A piece of paper? Yes, many jobs nowadays do require you to have a degree, but that’s it’s own separate issue. I feel like if a job is going to hire you, it should be because of YOU, your personality, how you carry yourself, and what you can bring to the table at the company you’d want to work at. Not base whether or not they’re going to hire you on if you got straights A’s and/or a 4.0 gpa. That’s not realistic, and things shouldn’t be that way. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of friends or classmates of mine going through similar situations if not worse, and as a result, are forced to take a leave of absence from school because mentally and financially it takes a major toll on them. And so what does that mean for them? They’re losers? They’re not going to make it in life? Why, because they simply can’t afford to go to/finish college? No joke, the financial and mental scarring that college can leave on a person is SERIOUS. Pretty much killing yourself to be able to make ends meet to afford school and get at the very least just a passing grade, for that piece of paper. A piece of paper that in the day and age we live in, won’t/can’t even guarantee that you will be getting a job in the field that you busted your ass for the past 4 years or so to study. It really is incredible when you think about it. Most people don’t even end up being able to work in the particular field they studied so long and hard to be apart of, because they have to be realistic and settle for a job that’s going to pay the bills at the moment until you can figure something else out.

The bottom line for me, is that anyone who chooses to go to college for any particular reason(s) I totally and completely understand and respect you for; but personally I don’t know how worth it truly is. I know I already did it and finished, which was great, but I like my sanity, and wouldn’t do it again. I’d prefer to just pretty much home-school myself, and read books, do research on topics that interest me and ones that even don’t. After all, once school is done and out of the way, adults, doesn’t relationships, having a family, and life itself in general become one big home-school for ourselves? Figuring things out by googling it to find your answers?

Finally, I just want to end this off by saying that I would never encourage people not to go to school, I have little cousins that are babies right now, some that are approaching high school right now, and some that are about to start their first year in college, but if down the line they were to realize that college ain’t for them, I truly would not blame them in the slightest.

And to my future kids, again I will never encourage you guys NOT to go to school, but I will hear you out and understand you if you didn’t want to go one day or realize that it is not for you, so long as it is legitimate, realistic, and logical. AND if you can somehow compensate not going to school with something positive and constructive like working for the meantime until you figure things out.

*(To those fellow parents who may be reading this post thinking: “She’s young, she doesn’t have kids, her mentality is going to completely change when she finally does have kids,” you know what you’re probably right, it just might change, things just might be different when I finally do, but as of now, this is how I feel, and this is how I believe things will be.)*

This post was not meant in any way to judge those of you who may be in college right now or about to start your journey through college, it’s simply basing all of this off of my personal experiences, thoughts and opinions. To those of you who are starting your first year of college, or those who are nearly done, I wish you nothing but the best, and that you guys have a prosperous year.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Til next time!

-Xoxo Leo Girl ❤ 🙂