Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Death of Personal Beauty

I'm just going to take a second and let you grasp what this post is going to be about: death. No one likes to write about issues like this. That's what the obituaries are for: reporting people that have died. A girl who is only a sophomore in college has no right or experience to speak about death and the toll it has on a person's life. Oh I'm sorry, I didn't know that age was a factor. Sorry to burst your bubble buddy, but until you have walked in my shoes for a day, then just quiet down for a hot second.

Death. Death means many things; it could mean the death of a person, an idea, a trend, or a soul. It could mean that someone has brutally attacked another person that caused the victim to re-evaluate everything in their life. It could also mean that someone was physically attacked with a gun, knife, cancer, or disease that took them away from this planet.

In today's society, it seems like the latter is happening to people at younger and younger ages. Just recently in Chicago, a 14 year old shot and killed another classmate. Take that in for a moment. A 14 year old used a gun to kill another classmate. What was the motive? It's unknown at this point in the investigation.

That's just in a neighborhood. I'm going to let you into my walled up life to see what death of a human being can do to someone. In my short span of almost 20 years on this great Earth of ours, I have lost 15 people in my life, ranging from family members to best friends. To sum it up: I'll just give you a list real quick:
 - I saw my best friend's body(he was 18) hanging from a rafter at the age of 14
 - My grandfather, two uncles, and cousin died of cancer
 - Six close friends of mine died from drug overdosees (All were 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, and 22)
 - A classmate of mine drowned (He was 17)
 - An infant of a family friend of mine died of downs syndrome (She was 3)
 - Another best friend of mine was shot and killed by a gang member (He was 24)
 - Another close friend of mine died of alcohol poisoning on her 21st birthday

All of these happened in span from 2009-2014. In a span of 5 years, I have lost 15 people close to me in my life. Do you notice something that is consistent? Excluding the family members, all these deaths are happening to youth, young adults, even infants.

In today's society, there are MILLIONS of pressures put on youth that so many people do not even realize stress out these children. Parental pressure to get the best grades, sibling comparison to why you aren't as athletic or intelligent, peer pressure to do drugs or drink early on, media pressures to look a certain way, and personal pressures to be successful.

Some people cannot handle these stressors in a healthy way. All of my friends that committed suicide or died of drug overdose were ridiculously stressed out. The reason my friends did drugs was to escape reality and the stress of the real world. They didn't have a healthy outlet to relieve their stress; they decided to shoot up, snort, or smoke instead. It put them in a different realm where the real world didn't matter for a few moments. That realm needs to exist outside of a drug high.

Here's a message to all these people: STOP PUTTING PRESSURE ON THESE CHILDREN.

Parents, stop comparing your children to their siblings. John Doe will never be the same as Mary Doe and vice versa. Even if Mary is the star child, athlete, or whatever, don't compare John to her. He has a different skill set than her; he has different talents than her. No two people are ever the exact same; stop trying to make it that way.

Peers and friends: don't pressure people to do things they don't want to do. If someone does not want to drink, don't call them a loser, dork, wuss, etc. Just accept it and live your life. Stop trying to control their actions. They are their own person and will do what they want to do. Let them make their own decisions and live through their mistakes or successes. It's not your place to mold them to be your perfect friend.

The media, oh boy. I am a part of the media; I am a journalist. I know the pressures the media is putting on society, and I am a part of it. Honestly, these media personnel, especially Hollywood, stop defining beauty. As cliche as this may sound, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." What one person finds attractive in one person, someone else may not find attractive.

For example, I know many girls that find very buff, ripped men very attractive. Personally, those people scare me; they look like they have bowling balls in their body. I find a man in a suit 1,000 times more attractive than a guy in a bro tank and salmon-colored shorts.

There are differences among people; stop trying to create this "perfection" image. It's not about what the people look like, well slightly. It's about the personality that's attached to it. I know MANY men that are ridiculously attractive but treat me like I'm a piece of meat. I am not your slave; I am an independent woman that will tell you to get off your own two feet and get yourself a sandwhich. I am not here to serve you; I am here because we both are attracted to each other, physically and emotionally.

Ladies, embrace yourself. Give yourself confidence and work your flaws. These stressors that society, parents, peers, and siblings are using against you? Push them aside and just work through it. Be strong and confident about yourself, both physically and emotionally. Not everyone can fit the 5'6" skinny, blonde, tan, athletic housewife stereotype that society is making us buy. I know I sure don't. I'm 6'1" and believe me when I say that men are intimidated by my height alone. It's quite frustrating.

Men, the same goes for you. You don't have to look like Ryan Gosling or David Beckham. That's what we have them for, to look at. What we want from you? A caring, chivalrous, supportive, humorous partner in life. We're not looking for a father or a slave master; we're looking for someone to be our partner and support us emotionally; someone that loves us for how big our personality is, not how big our rack is.

These stressors are causing these youthful deaths. Stop pushing these pressures on the youth. Another cliche, but this generation is the future. Stop pressuring us to be something we are not. We are who we want to be. You're going to have to accept it and deal with.