When Paths Diverge

BY RACHEL WONG

Routine makes life so easy. We become so set in our ways that sometimes it’s hard to let go, especially when we decide to go one direction and life pulls us the opposite way.

When it comes to friendships and growing up, it took me a long time to really understandparting-ways the obvious – that we all grow, and when we grow, we change. We are exposed to the world everyday and we learn so many new things. We meet new people and engage in new opportunities. All of these experiences shape who we are, and ultimately, we find like-minded people to spend time with along the way. Spending time with those who are similar to you can put you at ease – it feels natural to open up to people that you can relate to. But when friends inevitably change and paths no longer align, it can take a while to realize that it might just be time to part ways.

. . .

Alicia* and I were inseparable. It’s hazy in my mind now how we even got to being friends, but we have known each other since we were 6 and we have stayed friends ever since. Like most friendships do, ours had its ups and our downs, and we were there for each other during times of both triumph and sadness. We were the kind of friends that talked all the time about the future and what our lives would look like together: we’d be each other’s maid of honor at our weddings, we’d get matching SUVs and we’d alternate hosting play dates for our children during the day.

It was a very idealistic way of thinking, but despite reality eventually hitting us, we made it – sort of.

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To Make Up, or Not To Make Up

BY RACHEL WONG

Based on my experience, girls in general tend to be a little more concerned with their appearance and self-presentation. From their hair red-carpet-makeup.jpgto their clothes, make up to accessories, everything is meticulously planned and coordinated with the intention of showing off the best version of themselves.

I am no stranger to spending great lengths of time with my makeup, trying and re-trying outfits and making sure that everything looks just right. But when it comes to my motivation for trying to looking great, it is always for myself. I wear certain clothes and do my makeup a certain way for me, and not for anyone else.

I bring this up because I was confronted with this the other day. As I fixed my eyeliner in the school washroom, a girl that I would call an acquaintance asked me who I was trying to impress. She knew fully well that I am currently single, and in a very serious voice, she asked me if I was going out on a date, or if I was trying to pick someone up.

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Big Girls Cry

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

I make scrapbooks for every year of my life, and though I took a break for a few years, my 2015 was so eventful that I was motivated to pick the hobby up again.

While doing a page of events that occurred around this time last year, I revisited some blog entries I wrote at the same time. One of them features lyrics from the song “Big Girls Cry” by Sia. That song hit me hard at the time because it described exactly what I feared I was becoming – someone who is living a mundane life, bored out of her mind, just surviving and not really living. I’ve been that girl before. But there were extenuating circumstances that made me that way. I don’t want to be that girl again.

post-64.jpgAnd for a while it looked like I was escaping that reality. Sure, there were some days like that, but I had a pretty fun year.

But it’s been more than 3 full months into 2016 now and I think I can safely say that I have become exactly what I feared. Most of my days have been like that, and even more now that I live alone. “I come  home, on my own, check my phone, nothing though, act busy, order in, pay TV, it’s agony.” Replace “order in” with “eat Doritos” and “pay TV” with “Netflix” and that is my life in a nutshell. Continue reading

The Road to Resilience

BY AYESHA KHALID

I recently had a chance to view part of a documentary in one of my psychology classes entitled “This Emotional Life,” which originally aired on PBS. The film is a 3 part series that looks at how we can cope with emotional stressors and become more positive and resilient people. The documentary explores the stories of many people who have overcome great challenges in their life, and demonstrates how resilient we are capable of being.

For example, there was the story of Bob who became a prisoner of war after being resilience-cartoonkidnapped and held captive for 8 years in Vietnam. He was put into solitary confinement and faced brutal physical torture. During this time, he would spend hours each day envisioning the house he wanted to live in with his family, designing every last detail in his imagination. He also used a tap code to communicate with other prisoners through walls. Once he was rescued, he reunited with his family and built the house that he had spend all of those hours picturing in his head. He remained optimistic and believed he would prevail, which helped him cope with the isolation and physical pain.

Then there was Mike, who grew up with an alcoholic stepfather. He became involved with dealing and using drugs. After being arrested by police, he later got a job installing furniture, and was working in a doctor’s house when the doctor began to ask Mike about his life. They became friends and the doctor became a mentor to him. Mike is now a thoracic surgeon, and credits mentors in his life for guiding him through the tough times.

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My Struggle with the Freshman 15

BY RACHEL WONG

This semester, I exposed myself – quite literally – in one of the most personal pieces that I have ever written for my student paper. The paper is circulated widely throughout each of Simon Fraser University’s three campuses, and has a massive online presence as well. In the article, I came clean about my unhealthy struggles trying to avoid putting on weight in my first year of college. As post-secondary students, we always joke around about the infamous freshman 15 – pigging out to no end and having a terrible time managing our weight due to stress eating and a lack of time to cook or do adequate exercise. Though the term is often used lightly, in my case, the freshman 15 was ultimately what pushed me to developing an eating disorder. 400300p2999ednmain1840avoid-the-freshman-15.jpg

I was never really happy with my body at any point in my life. Looking at old photo albums would make me cringe at terrible fashion choices, chubby cheeks and a core section that I didn’t hide very well. Puberty was good to me I guess, as I had stretched out (and have since stopped at the ginormous height of 5’2″), gained some pretty reasonable sized breasts, and developed somewhat nice hips.

But I lamented day and night that I wasn’t skinny enough. This was my struggle all throughout high school – I wanted to be skinny, but I didn’t want to give up my eating habits or my relationship with the couch and the TV. My only real activity was gym class and running late to class.

Then senior year rolled around, and I reminded myself that at the end of it all, I had to be in front of all my peers in some sexy dress that made me look like a princess. So at the beginning of my senior year, I made it my goal to slim down by any means – even if it meant cutting back on some junk food, eating more healthy meals and actually taking physical activity seriously.

Throughout high school I had fluctuated between 110 and 120 pounds. By the night of my graduation, I was 105 pounds. 18 years old, 5’2″, and 105 pounds.

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