Phenomenal Women

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Written by: Michelle Davalos ~ @michelle.g.davalos

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On May 18th, 2018 I will be graduating from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management.

I'm working professional and attended courses in the evenings and some Saturdays. But this article is not about me, it's about my beautiful female student colleagues. These women are veterans, wives, mothers, single mothers, athletes, works with at risk youth, leaders in the health care industry, marathon runners, daughters, sisters, sports moms, care takers to their aging parents, aunties, future world leaders...the list goes on and on. They embody every aspect of being a woman!

These women made the ultimate sacrifice to expand their minds. Their sacrifice was something take for granted and can never retrieve, TIME. Ironically, time is something we consider valuable as we grow older. Every missed birthday party, baseball game, family function or just being home for simple family dinner weighed heavy on their minds. Yet, they beat the odds and accomplished what most seem daunting.

I've witnessed and admired them for embracing their education with agility and grace. Here’s what I’ve learned from these phenomenal women; don’t let past afflictions define your future, don’t fear opening your heart to new female friends, competition is unwarranted, and growth is encouraged. I'm truly honored to be a small particle that cycled through their large orbit.

I’m going to leave you with Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman poem. Read it again and again! Read it until you feel it in your bones. Absorb it because this poem is about YOU and all the phenomenal women that surround you!

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Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,   

The stride of my step,   

The curl of my lips.   

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,   

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,   

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.   

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.   

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,   

And the flash of my teeth,   

The swing in my waist,   

And the joy in my feet.   

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,   

They say they still can’t see.   

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,   

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 

Now you understand

 

Just why my head’s not bowed.   

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.   

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,   

The bend of my hair,   

the palm of my hand,   

The need for my care.   

’Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.


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Shameful Portions

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Written By: Kathryn Swartout

So, it’s a Friday night, your co-workers invited you out to a dinner and drink at the local restaurant. You are all talking and making jokes about what to get, and they are all talking about the carb loaded meals with sides and appetizers plus a few drinks. You know you are supposed to be watching what you eat, but you have been eating clean for weeks, and the end to your food cleanse is almost over. What do you do? Stick to your plan and finish it like a champ!

Going out in public with others can be a fun time, especially when it involves dinner and drinks. However, you shouldn’t think that just because everyone else is binging on bar food, that you should too.

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This issue can also go both ways, you shouldn’t be ashamed to order the meal you have been wanting or you have earned. Not everybody is judging you on your decisions, it’s all in your head, just tell yourself that it is okay.

Whatever the situation, you should never feel ashamed, just own it and enjoy every second of whatever you decide to do.
 


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Are Tampons hurting you?

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Written By: Lacy Bundy

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Ladies, we’ve come a long way in sexual and feminine health since the days of the sanitary belt our grandmother’s had to wear. Can you believe the first adhesive sanitary napkin wasn’t available for consumers until the 1970s? Say what?!

While we may not be rocking the feminine hygiene products of yesteryear, the typical go-to when Aunt Flo arrives is still the standard tampon or pad. These options are definitely reliable and convenient, but that comes at a cost. Along with the obvious environmental concerns linked with one-time use products (they all end up in landfills or water treatment facilities and plastic takes a long time to break down), there are also legitimate concerns about the effect on a woman’s body. Studies have shown links between the chemicals in tampons, cancer, and Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Yikes!

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But don’t fret! Nowadays, we have more options than ever to control our flow and be mindful of both the environment and our bodies.

1) Soft Menstrual Cups

Fun fact: These little wonders have been around since the 1930s, but have only recently become a wildly popular menstruation alternative. The menstrual cup works similarly to a tampon, but unlike the tampon, the silicone or latex rubber cup is inserted and collects the blood rather than absorbing. Since the cups hold about twice as much as a tampon or pad you only dump it every 10 to 12 hours (Hallelujah for fewer trips to the bathroom)! Many brands like DivaCup and Lunette are readily available and most are reusable. A total win for the environment. 

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LENA INC.

2) Period Panties

Who’s a fan of ruining their favorite pair of panties with period stains? Not today, girl! I give you, the period panty! Although the idea of not using a tampon or pad and just bleeding into your underwear seems strange, these panties are made to be washable, stain resistant, odor-controlling and all around comfortable. Not only that, but many companies have a range of panties from the everyday brief to a sexy thong, so you’ll be covered for any occasion

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3) Menstrual Sponge

When you hear the word sponge, I’m sure your vagina and period isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but you can actually use a natural sea sponge as your period protection! Probably the most natural crossover from a tampon, the sponge is inserted and absorbs your period, but without any harsh chemicals, bleach or fragrance found in cotton tampons. And since the sponges can be used for six months or longer with proper cleaning and care, you won’t be shelling out money every month on pricey pads and tampons.

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JADE and PEARL

4) Organic Pads & Tampons

The vagina is a sensitive and delicate area of a woman’s body and absorbs toxins and chemicals even more so than your skin. So, even if you aren’t ready to make the leap to a more unique alternative, try organic tampons and pads to limit any harmful exposure. Working in the exact same way as traditional tampons, many brands like Honest and Cora use 100% organic cotton that hasn’t been treated with pesticides, dyes or toxins to create their tamps. Win! Still care about the environmental waste? Try using your organic tampons with a reusable tampon applicator by DAME to limit the plastic waste.

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So the next time Shark Week rolls around, try reaching for one of these comfortable and natural period protection alternatives. Your body will thank you, period.

xoxo Lacy


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Being You.

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Written By: Kathryn Swartout

Do you ever dread going to the gym because you know there will be a bunch of workout fanatics there? And you KNOW that your body isn’t nearly as “good-looking” as theirs is. Well, you are wrong.

Here is something that might help prove that you are wrong. You are just as good looking as any other person, just in your own unique way. It may sound like a cliché, but think that way, and see how much farther you will get with yourself.

The gym, whether it be small, big, busy, or almost out of business, is for everybody. Once you enter the building, it is a safe place for you to be yourself and push yourself however far you want to go.

You might say, “Oh, but the clothes I have aren’t as nice or as put together as others” or “I am not the gym type.” I say, so what. It isn’t as scary as it might seem. I mean, it could look like the fighting scene from Mean Girls…

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However, we know that is a major exaggeration and the gym community would not be fighting over a hot guy. This could be your chance to get out of a slump, or maybe impress yourself when you see what you are capable of.

Whatever it is, find your motivation and set that in your mind to reach the goal you have set for yourself. Just be you.


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Alternative ways to treat yourself

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Written By: Gabriela Pereira ~ @gabineedscoffee

Self-care is a common word in our modern vocabulary. The 21st century experience guarantees us various ways of caring for ourselves, and most of them include a good old pampering session. Treating yourself means taking yourself out for a nice meal, buying that jacket you’ve wanted for the past six months, and maybe even getting a new hairdo.

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The whole premise revolves around allowing ourselves the liberty to acquire the things we wish for, but don’t get, because we don’t allow it. By granting us freedom to “spoil” ourselves, we are comforting our troubled minds with material things, that in the end of the day give us fleeting happiness and a sense of security.

It’s a good coping mechanism, and it can be very fun to gather your friends and take a day off at the spa, but what happens when the brief joy of getting a massage goes way? What if we return to the feeling of unease, sadness and stress that drove us to procure this momentary solution? Then self-care stops being so fun, and it starts becoming slightly harder.

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Looking into our lives and assessing what’s causing us to feel unhappy can be troubling, difficult and frankly, quite boring. Introspection is a skill that needs to be practiced everyday and harvested to its full potential.

Sometimes, self-care is calling your therapist and booking a session because you need help with your mental health. Other times, it's looking at your schedule, your relationships, your work environment, and trying to figure out what’s causing you to feel bad.

Working on a resolution to change what’s causing you grief is not going to bring you the immediate satisfaction of a peeling mask, but in the long run, it will help with the overall state of your mind. Although face masks are very enjoyable and a valid addiction to treating yourself mentally, sometimes a little bit of reasoning is necessary to the routine.


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Breaking Up Bites; Make Sure You Bite Back.

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Written By: Jill Warwick ~     @girlwiththejoplinglasses

It started out wonderful; flirty texts, first kisses and hand holding. You fell in love with this person, their quirks, that smile.

Then it got bad; yelling, tears, frustration, and an empty feeling in your chest.

Finally, there came a breaking point and you both walked away.

Cue: more tears, booze, and wallowing- it becomes a constant swing between “Good riddance” and “Gosh, I miss them”.

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You stalk them on social media and try to adjust to sleeping alone. You tell everyone you’re fine and some days you are, but let’s be honest, other days not so much.

How do you get that grey cloud above your head to go away? How do you let go of your anger and shame? How do you get them out of your head?

How in the hell do you move on?

The short answer? Distract yourself.

Start doing whatever you want. Buy yourself something. Go to an event by yourself or with friends. Was there something you wanted your ex to do with you that they never would?

Freaking go do it!

Make a vision board for new goals. Surround yourself with the loved ones in your life. Try a new hobby or get something pierced.

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The long answer? Take it one step at a time and grow.  

Have a bad day, but then get up and try to make the next one a little better. The things that make you crumble to the floor one day are going to help you stand taller on another. That relationship was meant to teach you something and to help you grow into the person you are meant to be. It would be nice if growing didn’t hurt so much, but leaving your comfort zone isn’t easy for a reason.

 

As you think about that relationship and analyze it over and over with your friends, be honest with yourself;

What were you really mad about?

What were you wishing they would do?

What could you have done differently?

What were the good things and what annoyed you?

What are your limits now? What are your deal breakers?

Whatever answers you get, accept them, and then let it go. Put your hand on your heart and forgive yourself and your ex. The safety and comfort you build with someone is hard to forget but so is all the pain you went through. Don’t let it make you bitter. Grieve this loss, accept it, and then start walking this new path of life. It will be ready when you are.

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Downtime is Necessary

Written By: Alyssa Rogers

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I will absolutely admit that I fall into a go go go mindset. I like to get things done, make to-do lists, cross them off, and then start a brand new to-do list. I go go go until my physical, mental, and emotional batteries are drained. I’m sure that I’m not alone in this.

Sometimes after a full work day, I run errands, go to the gym, do chores when I get home, shower, and fall into my bed and just start crying. I’m not crying because I’m actually sad. I’m crying because I have completely overwhelmed myself and because I have not given myself any time to process my thoughts and emotions, events of the day, or relax at all.

It’s a shame how often this happened (and still sometimes does) before I started taking time to just chill out. And as a writer, I sit in front of a monitor breathing faster than I need to with shallow breaths. However, what I (and most people) need is more deeper breathing. In the midst of our busy lives and to-do lists, our mental health and how we actually feel is more important than how quickly we can get things done.

I make a concerted effort to assess my breathing (Learn more about meditating) and if I am feeling overwhelmed. I ask myself if I am overwhelmed, if I have taken a break lately, and if I need a break regardless of how recently I’ve taken one. Regardless of our work, sometimes we need to step back from what we’re doing, take some deep breaths, and remind ourselves that we’re just floating on a small rock in the middle of space and that life is pretty remarkable.

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