Saturday, August 1, 2015

By Julia H.

You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you…. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul ~ Lupita Nyong’o.

This is what 2015 Georgia Teen: America's US Miss, Imani Johnson, lives by everyday.
Miss Georgia Teen is a pageant based on teens’ beauty on the inside and out.  Imani Johnson, age 16, says that she has been positively affected by being Miss Georgia Teen because she has been given the opportunity to change the lives of so many children and she has gotten to travel the world.  However, being Miss Georgia Teen requires a lot of work and responsibility. “I have to travel across the country and meet [with various people],” says Miss Johnson.  She must do 200 service hours, which is 10 times more than Girl Scouts must spend on their Girl Scout Bronze Awards, four times more than they must spend on their Girl Scout Silver Awards, and more than twice the time they must spend on their Girl Scout Gold Awards.  Miss Johnson is currently halfway to her requirement.
According to Miss Johnson, “Miss Georgia is someone who is equipped with compassion and humbleness, and a servant to her community. She is creative, today’s girl, a role model, someone who is outspoken, and one who is not afraid to stand out from the crowd.”
As Miss Georgia Teen 2015, Imani Johnson works to promote positive body image for teen girls. Miss Johnson says, “I think it is very important to support a healthy body image ... Being healthy enables you to be more comfortable and confident in your own skin, and allows you to appreciate your body, self, and mind more.” She believes that even though girls are affected by unrealistic standards of beauty in advertising, movies, social media, and much more and we are constantly in competition with ourselves, beauty is what comes from the inside and shines on the outside.
Positive body image affects life in many different ways. Miss Johnson quotes, “In order to succeed in life, you must be confident.” She believes that confidence is needed in all aspects of life including in a classroom, at a job interview, and more. All in all, Imani Johnson works to show girls what beauty really is – it is inside you.

By: Avery B.

            There is a saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul. But did you know they also give hints about your personality? Depending on your eye color, people can interpret you as kind or fiery, trustworthy or observant. Take a look at the traits below and comment what you think!
            Let’s start with the most common eye color, and no, it’s not blue! Brown-eyed people are perceived as independent and self-confident, as well as determined, caring, and practical. Another main characteristic linked with brown eyes is trustworthiness, and those with this toffee eye color are known to help those they love who are in need. Additionally, brown eyes can create a feeling of security and simplicity.
            While brown eyes can be captivating, hazel eyes add another dimension to the color by layering green and other colors together. People with hazel eyes are spontaneous and won’t back down easily. They are adventurous and adapt easily to any situation, while also getting bored quickly. This makes them love to try new things and enjoy diversity! Interestingly, if you have hazel eyes with more green, you could be more mischievous, while if you have more brown in your hazel mix, you are thought of as more approachable.
            Jade, forest, emerald are specific names for green eyes. People who have them are thought of as curious and passionate, as well as creative and intelligent. Also, they are assumed to get jealous easily, but have a great ability to love. Because green eyes are one of the most uncommon eye colors, they are considered mysterious.
As long as we are on the topic of rare eye colors, we have to mention black! True black eyes are really unique because most who claim to have black eyes are just dark brown. People with black eyes are thought of as secretive and more introverted until you get to know them, and they are passionate, loyal, and responsible. Plus, people with eyes the color of the night are said to know how to show their worth to others.
 Who can resist amber eyes, the color of warm cider? People with amber eyes can appear to be reserved, but most often they are extroverts and comfortable in social settings. They are charming and warm, and are thought to be very creative.
The traits of wisdom, gentleness, and sensitivity are generally linked with one certain eye color…If you said grey eyes, you are correct! People with smoky eyes are thought to be natural leaders who are passionate and flexible. They have great inner strength as well as an ability to think analytically.
Finally we have arrived at one of the favorite eye colors: blue! Blue eyes are generally associated with youth, knowledge, and a calm and peaceful attitude. People who possess this eye color have a desire to make others happy and are energetic. Also, they are known to be committed, honest, and observant.

            How accurate were the traits for your eye color? Are you as spunky as your green eyes predict? Do your blue eyes portray you as calm when you’re all over the place? Let me know below if the supposed traits are on point or far from exact!

Dear GiGi,

My best friend is moving to another state in a few weeks. We’ve been friends since I was seven, and I’m really, really going to miss her. Is this going to be the end of our friendship? How do I keep in touch? What do I do?

The End?

Dear The End,

Having a friend move away is tough. And sometimes, when a friend moves away, you do lose touch and the friendship just sort of ends. But, while it takes a fair bit of work, sometimes, you can still stay friends no matter how far away your bestie moves.

One of the hardest things about having your best friend move away is the fact that you’re not going to see each other as much. But that’s where keeping in touch comes in, and in the age of technology, you have a lot of options. You can write her a letter, or send her a postcard. You can call her or text her. You can email her. You can send her a message on Facebook or Twitter.

Another hard part is the fact that you’re kind of feeling both happy and sad at the same time. Because on one hand, you’re happy for her, she’s starting a new chapter in her life. But on the other hand, it’s a chapter that doesn’t have you in it.

Make yourself a scrapbook of things you guys do or did together. Put in pictures, ticket stubs and little mementos of your friendship. Anything to remind you of the good times you shared.

If you can, set up a date to come and visit her in her new house. She’ll be glad to see you!


Dear Gigi,
I’m having a serious friendship crisis! I have two very close friends, but they don’t like each other very much. I used to only hang out with one friend at a time, but recently we’ve all been spending time together. I really thought that my friends would like each other, but instead, they hate each other! Now, one friend only talks about how mad she is at the other friend. Every time they argue they want me to take sides, and decide which person I like most. I hate being stuck in the middle. I don’t want to choose who I like more because I like them both equally! I really want my friends back, but with my birthday coming up soon, and I’m worried they will all start another argument! What should I do?
Possible Peacemaker
Dear Possible Peacemaker,
This is a very tricky situation! Your friends obviously care about you, but their anger seems to be getting in the way of your friendship. Your friends may need to know how much the arguing bothers you. Tell them how you feel, and how much you value them both as friends. They don’t need to be best friends, but ask them to try to get along.
As for being stuck in the middle of arguments, tell them that you care about them both equally, and that you do not want to choose. If they are truly your friends they should understand how much it hurts you to see them fight.
When you are with both friends at the same time, try to act as a buffer between the two. Try not to let one or the other feel left out, and do things you all enjoy. Friendships can be tricky, but being honest about tension between your two friends may help them get along.
Good luck,

Dear GiGi,
Over the past year or so, my friends and teachers have been saying that I’m an introvert, or that I express introvert-like qualities. I’m starting to get the feeling that being an extrovert is better. Is being an introvert ever a good thing?
Extrovert Wannabe

Dear Extrovert Wannabe,
Being an introvert does not mean that you’re necessarily shy, cowardly, or nerdy. In fact, it doesn’t have to mean any of those things at all! Introverts have many positive qualities, like the fact that they’re self-reflective, independent, creative, flexible, and a whole lot more. It might be a relief to know that you’re not alone, with nearly half of the U.S population falling under the introvert spectrum.
But you don’t have to be an introvert if you don’t want to. You can be, and act, and do whatever feels comfortable to you. If what you want to do seems more like what an introvert would do, embrace it! No matter what you are, you are special. And don’t let anyone tell you differently!
            Thinking before you act and being able to create lasting relationships are two of the many great things about being an introvert. Two good things about being an extrovert are that they are socially active and can easily entertain themselves and others. But maybe you’re wondering what happens when you fall in between. This is perfectly acceptable. A lot of people fall in this category, the middle of the spectrum called ambiverts. These people tend to go back and forth between the two sides of the spectrum, so maybe when your friends and teachers see you and how you act, you might be more like an introvert, but in other situations, you act more like an extrovert. Therefore, you could be an ambivert!
            Just remember, “introvert” is neither a label, nor should it be a stereotype. It is just one side to a large spectrum of different personality traits. If you’d like to find out a little more about who you are, click Here or Here for two different quizzes that might help you find where you are on the spectrum and whichever side you land up on, you’re always going to be amazing!

By: Emma B.
“That’s weird.”
“Anyone who reviews kid shows on the Internet at 24 is mental.”
“They’re just people who don’t have a social life.”
A lot of times online when I am browsing through the Internet, I read things like, “Why are people into that? It’s weird!” I think to myself, why? Is it weird because 34 year olds like a cartoon made for nine year olds? If it’s a good show then why not? It got me to think, with so many people abandoning their interests because they are being insulted or teased, how do we embrace our weird interests? How do we find things in common with others who like what we do if they are hiding behind the social customs of society considers “normal”?

Embracing the Things We Love
     I’ll admit it. I love some pretty weird stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, I do like the traditional “kid stuff” but it’s not the only thing I am interested in. I am what someone would call a “Pegasister” also known as a female “Brony.” You may be scratching your head, wondering, what the heck is that? So, I’ll tell you, a Brony is a male, usually ranging from tween-age to 25 who enjoys watching the show My Little Pony and a Pegasister is the female counterpart to a Brony. We enjoy watching the show, writing about the show and drawing characters from the show. We love it because it deals with, at times, some pretty intense themes, which I think makes the show much, more appealing than other cartoons around today. A lot of adults feel it is very weird for a grown man to be called a “Brony” and enjoy watching a show that is supposedly meant for little girls. However, the fandom is so big, that they even have several conventions all across the globe and there is even a documentary on the Brony culture on Netflix. It took several years of brave people, enjoying something they like for the sake of it and ignoring social opinion. Therefore, they embraced their somewhat “weird” interest and told the rest of the world they didn’t care for their opinion.
      So for those of us who might be into something else that is what one may call “weird” how do we embrace our interests and be true to who we are? It’s a tough question and it’s something that a lot of people shy away from. I hope my thoughts on the subject will help you change your mind.
Advice for Embracing the “Weird”
         First, remember what your parents always taught you, it doesn’t matter what other people say. I do realize how incredibly cheesy that sounds but it is definitely true. Many people will find certain things strange or weird that you find fascinating. This can possibly result in others hurting your feelings by saying things that are mean or sometimes, just down right awful. You have to remember that we are all human. Sometimes people make fun of things because they may be scared to admit that they like it too! If a person says something to you or criticizes something you enjoy then honestly, ignore it. You never know, if you keep showing them that it’s okay to talk about, they may start to enjoy it too!
     Secondly, speak out! Your fandom won’t grow and you won’t meet more people if you don’t speak out about your interests. By telling people what you like, you meet people who enjoy your same hobbies. For example, when I was in fourth grade I was probably the only female gamer in my whole class. Everyone else was into makeup and dresses. I was so bored of it. Many boys and girls in my school thought I was weird. Eventually I began to believe that everyone thought I was weird. Then one day I spoke to a girl in my class and it turned out she was a gamer too. We quickly bonded and I found a brand new best friend. After that I was introduced to a group of female gamers and after that, gaming suddenly became more popular amongst females in our school. This was because my group of friends spoke about a thing we loved. We weren’t afraid to express our love of video games and it turned into something really cool! So talk about it! 
    Finally, enjoy it! When I was very young, I never thought much of video games or movies or anything like that. I just enjoyed the popcorn and the experience. However, in the second grade, I watched my dad play the game Super Mario Galaxy and I instantly fell in love! I would ask him to play more and more and then a year or two later, I was a gamer girl who loved writing and enjoys lots of books and anime. I love My Little Pony and I enjoy the guilty pleasure on occasion of watching silly 90’s movies about video games. It’s become a part of me that’s not going to change and I like it. I write my own fan fiction and this experience has led me to where I am today. I am a kind person who knows how to stay true to herself and enjoy the things I love. I’ve even met some really awesome friends and hey, now look; I’m even a writer!
It Is Not Always Butterflies and Cupcakes …  
     It’s a fact, many people will find certain things strange or weird that you find fascinating. In fact, unfortunately, many times, people are bullied because they are into something that others may call weird or strange. If you give them that power they’re only making your love for that fandom weaker. So in response to this, I say try and fight it. If a person bullies you or hurts you over something you enjoy then honestly (unless damage is major) ignore it.
     However if these people keep constantly teasing you then tell a friend or an adult. I know it’s scary but you have to remember, there are those of us out there who have been where you are and we all know what it feels like. Chances are, the person making fun of you, had someone make fun of them, who had someone make fun of them. It’s a vicious cycle and it won’t stop unless someone says Stop!
In Conclusion…

     In conclusion, our interests are our interests. I heard a story once about a boy who hurt himself on purpose because he was into My Little Pony. I wish I had known him because I would have told him to ignore it. I would have been his friend. Chances are if you like to collect bird houses or even if you just like staring at live action versions of video games on a screen, there is someone, somewhere, out there, not too far away, that likes doing it too. Embrace it! We are allowed to like anything we want, that’s just part of being human. So if we embrace the things we like instead of shoving them underneath our beds then we are being ourselves. It’s not a crime and it is okay to like things you like. So go out there and be the person that you are.