Category Archives: Relationships

10 Stories of 2017

Hey guys!

Yes, contrary to popular belief, I am still alive and well aware of the fact that I have not written a blog post in literally forever.

As always, it was not my intention to go MIA, and the only excuse I have is that my time management skills are not a thing that got better during 2017, but I will make sure that I work on that next year.

smh gif 2.0

…wait a minute…

 

*frantic whisper* next year is tomorrow!!!

Just kidding, I TOTALLY realized that.

This year, I made more of an effort to follow through on my resolutions, and I have a story regarding each one.

So, here are my 10 Stories of 2017.

1. Be More Positive

Maintaining a positive attitude is something I’ve always struggled with and I really wanted to be better at it throughout 2017 because during 2016, I’d noticed that when I had a positive outlook on something rather than a negative one, it would have a better outcome and even if it didn’t, I still felt good about it overall. And so, I dove headfirst into 2017 with a positive mindset and a determination like no other. And it payed off.

nothing changes until you change

At every audition this year, I walked into that room telling myself I was going to do great and I walked out promising myself I did great. And regardless of how good or bad I did, whether or not I got the role, and how prepared or unprepared I was for the audition, I felt pretty darn awesome about it. I performed in our spring play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and was even cast in two other shows this year (our One Act, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, which received straight superiors at districts and will be moving on to state level competition, and our upcoming spring musical, The Addams Family) and I was able to enroll in the competitive acting class.the addams family

My positive attitude wasn’t just confined to the wonderful world of theatre, it branched on into my grades and exams back in April and May, and I’m proud to say that I passed my AP World History exam!

2017 taught me that walking into an exam or an audition or even just a regular day with a positive attitude and willingness to make it a good experience will always have a good result.

2. Take Care of Myself (Physically and Mentally)

Funny story… I totally ignored this resolution (at least, the physical care) at the beginning of the year. Then, over spring break, I wound up in the hospital for this really weird pain I was having. It wasn’t anything important, but thinking about what it could’ve been prompted me to try and take better care of myself (aka, actually taking my vitamins and such), and I did for a couple of weeks, but once the pain had gone, I started to lack on the simple everyday preventative care measures I should’ve been taking.

I didn’t think about how my everyday diet could be affecting me and I went back to my normal schedule which consisted of no breakfast, little to no lunch some days, snacking when I got home from school, and dinner.

fall in love with taking care of yourself

Then, of course, the pain returned in August just after school had started back up. I visited the hospital yet again to find out that it was, yet again, nothing important, but that not eating enough and not consistently taking my supplements may be affecting me.

I’m thankful to have had my mother force me to start thinking about my health (and also force me to start exercising regularly) when I was too blind to start doing something about it myself. It sucks to say that I didn’t take the bull by the horns and tackle this resolution without help, but I’m glad to say that for the past few months I’ve been on top of things and I’ve never felt better!

3. Practice what I Preach

This is something that’s a lot easier said than done and I’ve been working at it for a while now. I think that over time, I’ve learned to not give advice that I am unable to take myself. My biggest word of advice this year has been to always keep it real and to be authentic, which are two things I definitely consider myself to be. I’ve had no trouble practicing what I preach in that regard, however, I have in other areas.sometiems the advice you tell other people is the advice you need to follow

Something I’ve been saying all throughout 2017 is that I need to be present. What I mean by that is taking the time to look at today and not worry about what happened yesterday or what’s going to happen tomorrow and just focusing on the moment. Yeah, NOPE, lol! Being in high school consists of a lot of stress and stress sometimes means dwelling on the midterm you took the other day or anticipating the test you have tomorrow and so on and so forth.

And of course, I always say that it’s good to take a break from technology and not be immersed in the land of the cellular for too many hours a day, but let’s be real, I’m pretty darn obsessed with my device and social networks.

Practicing what I preach is something that I have the full potential to do, I just need to follow through on it.

time is what we want most but what we use worst4. Have Better Time Management

Ha. Haha. HA.

As I mentioned earlier, time management was not a thing that got better in 2017. If anything, it got worse. I developed a very lazy mindset this year, and I’m not too certain why that is, but I found myself waiting until the last minute to do things rather than completing them early as I’d done last year. I was lazy when it came to school and extremely lazy when it came to keeping up with this blog. While that is also due to lack of inspiration and motivation, I didn’t even make an effort to try, and that is completely inexcusable.

Towards the end of the year (November into December), I started to get better at being on track with my homework, but managing my time to make sure I can get everything I need to get done and still keep up with the blog as well as take time for myself is something that needs tremendous work.

5. Be a Better Friendtrue friendship

Throughout 2017, I’ve gained as well as lost many friends. Some I lost because the friendship just wasn’t working, and some because I made the decision to not have them be a part of my life. I made these types of decisions so that I could be a better friend to the friends I consider close.

Over time, I’ve learned that it is extremely difficult and quite near impossible to be a good friend when you are holding on to those that aren’t adding to your life. This year, I’ve been a better friend to my good friends by choosing to only have the friends that accept me for me, add to my life, and are good friends in return. And whether or not those friends are in the same state, or even the same country, doesn’t matter. They’re still the best friends I could ask for.

The friends I have are such amazing people and I strive to be a better friend to them every day. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect bunch. ❤

6. Be Self Confident Always

love yo selfSelf confidence is something that has been such a roller coaster this year. I’ve learned that being confident doesn’t just mean liking the way you look, but also loving your flaws and personality (even the embarrassing parts) with all your heart. I also learned that if you don’t love yourself, it’s hard to love someone else. And surprisingly, learning that lesson really helped me to be fully happy with myself. Here’s my experience.

Earlier this year, there was this guy that I really liked. Let’s call him Jeremy. Jeremy and I were already pretty good friends, and it didn’t take long for our friendship to take a different turn. We talked for a few months and I was certain that my feelings for him were strong and that he felt the same way I did. Eventually, he asked me to go on a date with him. Now, I’m not allowed to date, and so I had to ask (or beg) my mom for permission to go on this date. While she was open to the idea, she also tried really hard to bring something to my attention. I wasn’t 100% happy with myself and who I was. I was really confident in how I looked at that particular time, but I was still struggling with loving certain things about myself.

I, of course, as teenagers typically do, chose to ignore what my mom was saying. I thought I was happy with myself. I thought I was ready to go on this date. My mom thought not. And so, I didn’t get permission to go on this date for maybe a month. By that time, Jeremy had realized that he didn’t want to go on a date with me and that maybe he didn’t have feelings for me after all. Which, of course, hurt. worry about loving yourself

Here’s the thing: Jeremy was one of the reasons I felt confident with myself. I mean, someone liked me! I had to be pretty, didn’t I? I had to have a good personality, didn’t I? But no. I had it all wrong. I was pretty. I am pretty. I do have a good personality. I’ve got plenty of flaws too, but heck, those are pretty great as well! And it shouldn’t have mattered what Jeremy or anyone else thought. And it’s not at all Jeremy’s fault that I was so hurt. I know he didn’t mean to hurt me as much as I ended up being hurt, and I’m glad he decided to walk away as soon as he realized how he really felt. I should’ve loved myself before trying to allow someone into my life. Now, today, I can honestly and completely say that I am 100% happy with myself the way I am, flaws and all.

7. Have Better Focus

i don't have a short attention span, I just...Focusing is something that definitely needs work. I have a horrible habit for zoning out… a lot. For example, it’s taken my maybe 4 hours to write this blog post (which, really, was an hour long task) and I’ve taken maybe 50 breaks.

I have such a short attention span, and that’s a HUGE issue, especially for someone with so much going on. And while it’s gotten better, it still has a long way to go before I can say that I have decent focus. And so, the journey with focus continues on into the new year.

8. Communicate My Feelings

Feelings are so complicated, but I’ve learned that they’re more complicated if no one knows what you’re feeling. Humans aren’t mind readers, and it isn’t anyone’s job to pay super close attention to you and decode your mood for the day.

I think that, for the most part, I’ve done a good job with communicating whether or not I’m in a good mood throughout 2017. I can always get better at it, and I definitely still have days where I’m petty and don’t give my family or close friends a warning. Granted, they may not always care, but speaking from experience, they’d rather receive a head’s up than an unnecessary outburst because they said something that triggered my already bad mood.

9. Finish my Book

Ah, yes. The book. While I (yet again) did not complete the book I’ve been trying to write forever, I did write a play. I had a lot of fun writing the play and I’m really glad that I took the time to do it. I plan to add on to it and edit sometime soon. Going back to my 2016 reflection, writing the book this year was just not meant to be. I have faith that when it is time for the book to be written, I will have the inspiration and motivation to do so. Maybe that time will be in 2018, who knows?

10. Motivate Myself to Do My Best

I have to say that I’ve landed at 50/50 on this one. There have been plenty of days that I’ve felt motivated and I’ve done my best, and there have been tons of days that I haven’t. I think the blog is a huge example of not being motivated to do my best. Just like focus, this is one I’m gonna have to take into 2018 with me.2018

Reflecting on 2017 as a whole, it was an amazing year. I think I fell into tune with myself this year and that has helped me accomplish so much. I do, however, have a bunch to accomplish in 2018. My resolutions and goals for the new year are as follows…

  1. Manage my time (get done what needs to get done and still have time for myself)
  2. Focus (a blog post shouldn’t take 4 hours and an essay shouldn’t take 3 days)
  3. Be present (really think about the moment I’m in and thrive in it)
  4. Maintain my self confidence (I built it up, now it needs to stay up there)
  5. Set goals and follow through (this goes with practicing what I preach)

What are your goals for the new year? Are they the same as your goals for 2017? Are they different? Let’s talk about them in the comments below!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Until next time,

~ Rina Raj

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An Open Letter to Haley

hello-decemberHi guys, happy December! Get ready for excessive Christmas carols, tons of hot cocoa and random mistletoe! 🙂

If you’re wondering why I’ve been MIA again, let me just share that I’ve been working behind the scenes on my first ever musical with school, performing in Disney’s Candlelight Processional, becoming very familiar with two of Shakespeare’s plays and doing lots and lots and lots of – you guessed it! Homework!

Perhaps I’ll share more on that in another post. In the meantime…candlelight

This post is something I’ve been wanting to write for quite some time. This past May, my best friend (we’ll call her Haley) decided to end our friendship.

Haley and I had been best friends since 6th grade and she easily became a part of my family. Middle school was a rocky road and though we had many disagreements, we always managed to come back stronger and become even more inseparable during our friendship.

high-school-is-the-time-to-find-yourselfLast school year, she and I both underwent many changes. Both of our personalities, views and morals changed significantly and we found ourselves disagreeing on many things in life. We each “found ourselves” and while I didn’t see the change in myself during those times, I did see that Haley was a completely different person.

She was more positive, uplifting and spiritual. She knew how to recover from hard times quickly and she didn’t let negative things drag her down for more than a day, something that I am only learning how to do now.

During the last several months of our friendship, we began to grow apart. And while I understood that we were becoming different people, I didn’t understand what was happening when Haley stopped talking to me.

sos my fave person disappeared.pngThere was no warning. One day we were fine talking about everything under the sun and the next day she wouldn’t speak to me nor look at me.

As the days continued just like that, I was confused. And so, I tried calling her a number of times. After not receiving any responses, I settled on sending her an email explaining to her how confused I was and how much this was affecting me emotionally.

She finally replied, but her response didn’t help to ease my pain at all. She put everything on me, and basically said I had been a bad friend to her. According to her, I complained too much and she didn’t need my negative energy in her life.

Ever since I received her response, I’ve pondered over what I could’ve possibly done wrong and I’ve become paranoid about venting to much of my current friends in fear of “complaining too much”.

letting-go-does-not-mean-giving-upAll in all, I’ve let this affect me way longer than just one day. I told myself that it was okay to cry over this and that it was okay to feel sad because I’d lost someone that had been a huge part of my life for three and a half years. After watching myself grow sad on a daily basis this past month and losing motivation to do anything productive, I decided that letting go of Haley is past due.

The time has come. And the time is now.

And so, I’ve decided that today will be the last time I’ll vent about Haley and feel sad about the situation. From now on, everything involving Haley will be viewed as a happy memory, because I have allowed myself to be consumed by this and it’s time that I go back to being the strong girl I’ve known myself to be.

My open letter to Haley.

Hey Haley, 

I hope life is going well and that sophomore year has been good to you so far. I’ve been alright, but I haven’t been the same since we stopped talking. I didn’t have the closure that I needed to get through losing such an important person in my life. 

Sometimes, I still feel like everything was my fault even though I know it really isn’t, because it takes two to create a friendship, maintain a friendship and even break a friendship.

I’ve thought about it, whether or not I was a good friend to you. I listened to you. I kept your secrets. I let you vent to me whenever you needed to. I helped build you up and reminded you to be confident. Not once have I ever tried to tear you down. I let you become a part of my family. I allowed you to cry on my shoulder. I was a column of support to you.

None of that screams “bad friend” in my opinion. 

If what I offered to you as a friend was not enough for you, then that’s okay. I’m sorry that you felt our friendship needed to end, and I apologize for the constant complaints throughout some difficult times of my life, but you were my best friend, the closest person to me, and I thought that friends were there so you could vent to them, have them to help you feel better, and not make you feel guilty for being sad from day to day.

take-chances-make-mistakesWe both have flaws, Haley. Neither one of us are perfect. Both of us had bad days.

We both complained.

We both vented.

We both made mistakes.

But that’s all a part of growing up. We make mistakes so we can grow from them, learn from them and move forward.

If I knew the reasons as to why you chose to stop talking to me, perhaps I could’ve learned something and grown from those reasons too. 

You walked out of my life so quickly and with no warning, like it was nothing. It didn’t seem to affect you in the slightest. It felt like I didn’t even matter to you.

But you mattered to me a lot. I’ve spent 7 months missing your friendship. 7 months wondering. 7 months afraid to get close to any other friends because I’m scared that they too will disappear with no warning. 

Even though I don’t know what my mistakes were, I’m so frightened that I’ll make the same ones.

7 months is 7 months too many, and I’ve decided that regardless of having no closure and not knowing what went wrong, I have to let you go. 

And so, I want to thank you.

Thank you for building me up when I needed you and being my support system even late at night. You were such a blessing to have in my life and I will always cherish the memories and the inside jokes that no one else will ever understand.

And even though it hurts so much to say this, thank you for showing me who my real friends are.

I hope you find what you’re looking for in life and that the people you surround yourself with are as positive as you wanted me to be.

positive-vibesI’m finding my positivity ever so slowly, and it all starts with letting you go.

I know it will all be okay.

Blessed be,

~ Rina Raj

Is Sex REALLY Worth it? *music starts* BABY I’M WORTH IT UH HUH I’M WORTH IT

bollywoodHey guys, it’s definitely been a while! I’ve done so much over the past month and a half, it’s hard to keep track.

In February, I turned 15 years old (though my mom still says I’m 14 *rolls eyes*) and I (successfully!!!) performed a Bollywood dance at a fundraising event with my sister and dance instructor. It was an awesome experience!

In the beginning of March, my school’s chorus program traveled to MPA (music performance assessment) and all 4 choirs received superior ratings (the best you can get, which means we all get to go to state MPA now!!!).

One of the most important things I’ve noticed – especially throughout February and March – is how lightly our generation takes sex.  Yup, you read that right.  Sex is the hottest topic of discussion in school as early as elementary school these days.

In my opinion, sex is an important topic, something that needs to be discussed and that’s worth bringing to light in order to better understand. We can’t pretend it isn’t happening. It is, and with consequences in many situations.

After conversing with a girl my age who was having unprotected sex with multiple partners, and was having a pregnancy scare and planning to abort her baby (which she promptly did), I couldn’t fight the urge of wanting to gather statistics and write a post about this.

2013 US

I decided to gather opinions from 30 females (friends, and friends of friends) who are currently in high school regarding their thoughts on sex. Here’s what some of these female students had to say.

“Do what you want, it’s your body. But it’s better to love and trust the person first.”

“Wait until after high school.”

“We’re all still babies!”

“You should not do it unless you wanna be 16 and pregnant and on TV.”

“If you don’t wanna do it, then you’re just f***ing weird.”

“It should be embraced. You’re in high school, you should have fun.”

“Don’t do it.”dont have sex because you will get pregnant and die

“I don’t think you should have sex in high school.”

“You shouldn’t have sex in high school.”

“If it’s with someone you truly love, then okay if you want to.”

“I don’t think you should in high school, you have your whole life ahead of you.”

“I think it’s stupid to have sex in high school, unless it’s rape and you don’t have a choice.

“I think you should wait.”

“I think you should wait because you don’t know if that person is just using you for your body. In high school, sex is just something for people to brag about.”

“It depends on who it is.”

“Definitely not in high school. Wait until marriage. Sex should be special because it’s for your life long partner and so you shouldn’t, like, waste it on other people.”

“As long as your intimacy is in private and you don’t publicly flaunt it, it’s okay. It is your body and you do what you want. If you believe in abstinence then go ahead and abstain. If you feel confident and you are willing, then go right ahead. Personally, I’m not sure if I would have sex in high school. I’m a freshman and I’m naïve. You make mistakes. You learn from them. If I absolutely love the person I’m with and know that this is the person I want to be with forever, I probably would.”

with sex comes great responsibility“No amount of protection can save you.”

“As long as you have protection, go for it.”

“Sex is awesome, and anybody who doesn’t agree with that has issues.”

“Sex equals babies, and babies aren’t always fun.”

We also asked these students if they, personally, would have sex in high school. 13 out of 30 females said yes, and 17 out of 30 females said no.

I was so surprised that almost half of these students said yes to that question. I’ve always been told that sex is something special, and something that should be saved for someone you know you’re going to be with forever.

Which brings me to the final question these girls were also asked: Do you think sex should be special or not?

22 out of 30 said yes. 8 out of 30 said no.

This one had me thinking… why wouldn’t sex be considered special?

I thought about it a lot, and I realized that most girls give up their virginity because they think that -to put it bluntly- having sex with a guy will make him like her.

It’s sad how young girls think that the only way to have a guy truly like them is to offer their body, and assume that afterwards the guy will stick around.

Though many girls in high school facing this situation are blinded from the option of saying no, it’s still there and it’s still a choice.

It’s your body. It’s your choice.dont be afraid of being different

If you’re a female in high school and you don’t want to say no, then that’s your choice. Just make sure you love yourself and your body before expecting someone else to. Make sure you’re not doing it out of insecurities, or to make a guy like you or stay with you.

Always remember that It’s OK  to say no! It’s okay to choose to wait. And more importantly, it’s okay to be a virgin.

I feel like my generation has totally thrown the importance and beauty of sex out the window and focuses on sex purely being a tool for pleasure, and pleasure only. I’m not sure when being a virgin became a bad thing and sleeping around became a trend. But this is pretty much the way it is portrayed in my high school. One is looked upon negatively if they choose to abstain from sex.

We all have different beliefs on the meaning and basis of sex, and there really isn’t a solid or definite right or wrong opinion. It’s a personal choice. It’s common these days, but we need not shame those who choose to wait.

Several students at school have already asked me what my personal take is in regards to this topic, so I’d like to share my thoughts with you.

No, I would not give myself to someone in high school. I’m too busy trying to find myself, and I have quite a vision for my future.

Yes, I do think sex should be special. You can’t force a special guy and special moment to happen, and expect it to be real. I do believe when I’m older and wiser, love will be the reason BUT at a much later time in my life, when I’m ready to settle down.

Please, let’s not shame those who choose to wait. And if you choose not to wait, please do it responsibly. Remember, there are risks and consequences if you’re not careful.

please dont do itUntil next time…

~Rina Raj

P.S. TO THE MALE STUDENTS: What are YOUR thoughts on sex in high school? Would you do it? Should it be special? Do you plan to wait? We’d love to hear your opinions. Comment below and let’s share in this discussion!