Entrapment: The Physical Evolution of Young Women

“When I was in high school, the girls looked like boys.” Although this adage of my father’s is surely an over-exaggeration, it holds validity concerning the Pandora’s Box that is the physical evolution of young women today.

In the last decade, rapper R. Kelly was the focus of a media frenzy based on his alleged statutory rape of a 13 or 14 year old girl in 1998. A video surfaced of

Miley Cyrus

Kelly’s accused activity with the young girl, and forever tarnished his image even though the he was acquitted in 2008. A huge trend started in the hip hop culture, exhibiting a more careful attitude when it came to sex where lyrics included jests about checking identification and paying attention to statutory law. Lil’ Wayne and Drake’s song Every Girl, including the lyrics, “In a few years, holla at me Miley Cyrus,” show the trend in paying closer attention to the age of the women they sleep with.

And interesting point is that these rappers don’t actually care about the psychological ramifications of sleeping with an underage girl, but rather the repercussions of partaking.

Kelly was acquired of the charges for statutory rape because he and the girl in question (23 at the age of trial) swore they were not the one’s that starred in the video. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that it is true, since the majority of us believe it, that he slept with the girl. Sure he was thinking with the head of his penis rather than the head necessary, but what if he’s not completely to blame in this act of poor judgement?

R Kelly

In the past 20 years, girls have been growing into woman at an alarming rate. Most woman start their menstrual cycle between the ages of 10 and 16. Although I don’t know the exact numbers of those that start toward the lower end of that spectrum, I know that the women of my family hit puberty at the end of elementary school. A huge amount of children in junior high are becoming sexually active long before emotionally ready to experience such a high.  Shows like 16 and pregnant have responsible women shaking their heads or pulling out their hair at the stupidity and the implications for our future.

The crux of my writing today is to question if the men of our society are in trouble. As girls begin to look like women well before the statutory guidelines, and as the world becomes increasingly promiscuous, how are men to know whether their one night stand will become weeks of deliberation on whether that man is a pedophile. Check IDs?

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ADD: Burden or Blessing

How many ADD kids does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Can we go ride bikes?

I can joke about this because I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when I was really young. In an attempt to avoid the subject, I dove hungrily into school work to prove the diagnosis wrong. I felt like this diagnosis meant I was somehow behind my peers intellectually.

Here I am, 20 years later, and I have a slue of accomplishments to negate that ADD is a negative diagnosis. Not only from my own personal experiences, but from the research of others, I have found that ADD does not have to be treated with a medication.

The book “The Myth of the ADD Child,” by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., explains that throughout time, the progression of research has presented ADD as a negative diagnosis– as if these patients are lacking something. The initial names of this group of symptoms pointed to brain dysfunction, i.e. minimal brain damage. As information has been gathered over the last 80 years, the amount of diagnoses has grown exponentially.

The three main components of ADD could give most children a positive diagnosis. Hyperactivity, distraction, and impulsivity are the main symptoms of ADD. How many children do you know that aren’t hyperactive or impulsive? No wonder there has been an increase in diagnoses.

Regardless of the age-old debate on whether ADD is real or a myth, those who have struggled know better than anyone that these nagging symptoms are hard to overcome.

According to therapist Peg Snyder, Ph.D., the majority of those diagnosed with ADD are very intelligent. From my own experiences, I know this to be true. I got through school with high marks and managed to sail through two degrees without medicating my symptoms. In fact, I developed my own obsessive compulsive personality traits to offset my distractibility. I practiced reading and writing to the point of becoming more skilled than most of my peers.

The most influential aspect of my journey with ADD was the social aspect. With a mind that moved faster than my mouth, I was slow to counter the quips of my sassy peers. I stuttered and thus felt more unintelligent. I finally resorted to violence in order to create my revenge. Of course, this only added to the ADD theories behind my behavioral problems. I was overly sensitive, which is also a symptom of ADD. At this point in my life, I am still more sensitive than most my age, but I’m also a little farther along in many aspects. This isn’t an opportunity for me to stroke my ego so much as it is a testament for all those suffering with ADD that we are capable of just as much if not more than our “normal” peers.

Unfortunately, the way I dealt with my social issues created a lasting impact in a negative way. Sure, I was ahead when it came to academics, but this only intimidated my peers. On top of the intimidation, my sensitivity helped further dig the hole of social anxiety I ended up plunging into. I’ve always had great charisma with other, as I come from a long line of story-tellers and class clowns, but my social phobias gradually increased the gap. I was good at making friends, just not comfortable with it. A loner of sorts. I used to think this was some type of flaw too, until I realized that there is nothing wrong with enjoying quality vs. quantity on the friend front.

I’m sure I have only tapped the tip of personal growth concerning my past and future experiences with ADD, but I find solace in knowing I don’t have brain damage. I’m not stupid. I’m not somehow behind my peers in development. I’m just different. Unique. My thinking just takes a different route than most, but the way I see it is that I’m sure a lot of the great minds in America’s past were ADD.

Are you the next Einstein?

Calling You on Your Sh*t!

It’s time to “call you on your sh*t!” This past weekend, I went to visit my aunt and uncle in St. Louis, my hometown. What I initially was sure would be a light and fun weekend filled with sight-seeing and laugh-induced soreness in the ab region, quickly and beautifully morphed into a mini retreat.

My aunt and uncle are the family members who, no matter how far away they live or how long it is in between chats, will always be dear. Whenever we get together, it’s as if we are picking up right where we left off. In the past few years, during one of those long “between chats” segments of our relationship, my aunt and uncle went under a turbulent time in their lives. They found they weren’t as happy as they could be in this short life. Their relationship, although seemingly typical to themselves and the outside world, was nowhere near its potential.

My new-age, yet trendy aunt started spending time with a life coach, and my uncle went through some counseling of his own. My aunt explained to me that she spent the larger part of her first session pointing out all the things that my uncle did that drove her bananas. Her therapist asked her if she was done, to which my aunt responded through clenched teeth, “Yes.” The therapist then asked my aunt to start listing the ways in which my uncle loved her. She found a long list that had been overshadowed with the frustration of focusing on the ways in which he annoyed her. As in every relationship, life is going to have those times when it will be easier to focus on the negative and to whine about how one has been shortchanged by the world and its inhabitants. The real challenge, and one well worth the discipline, is finding those ways the world tells you it loves you on a daily basis.

So often, we experience the “binocular effect” where we look through the wrong end of the binoculars, and everything seems so far away, so unreachable. We then turn inward and focus on a sort of self-preservation that actually destroys the most important joy of being on earth: our relationships with people, places, and things. I had fallen out of love with the world. I had amassed a towering heap of resentment for my own existence. Why did I have to be in this awful world where nuclear meltdowns threaten huge, thriving populations? Why did I have to be part of a world where children can’t be children anymore? Why do I have to be part of this world where my favorite comfort, my drug of choice- food- is also what seems to keep me from a Beyoncé body?

I went on vacation thinking I would get away with avoiding the way I was feeling. We get away to get away from ourselves in a lot of ways. It wasn’t going to happen on this trip to “The Lou.” There was no emotional privacy, but I mean that in the most constructive way. The theme of the trip was summed up as “Calling you on your sh*t.” My aunt and uncle have learned a way to know a person in a short amount of time, to label them, to know what plagues them. Somehow, as sneaky spies, they manage to do this in a supportive and beautifully blunt way. It hurt. When someone tells you the truth, it usually does.

Don’t misunderstand. These people are wonderful, interesting, funny, giving, and driven, but… they won’t hesitate to call you on your sh*t. My aunt found yet another way to pair her generosity with honesty when she handed me the book, “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth. She said, “I bought this book for myself; then, I started reading it, and I realized it’s not for me. I think it’s for you.” Sure enough, I started to read the book, and it pegged me perfectly.

I’ve always had issues with weight loss. Meaning… I’ve always wanted to lose weight, but it’s only happened once in my life. I was in college, living on my own, and enjoying the camaraderie of my fellow advertising majors. One day, I looked down at my plate and realized that I never really thought about what I was eating. My father, who used to be a chef, taught me tons about cooking. I had learned a great deal about nutrition on my own, but I never managed to put my skills and knowledge into action. The day I realized that there will always be more food available and that I don’t have to clean my plate, was the start of something beyond my understanding until now.

Roth’s book explains that it’s never really about the food. I thought I had some kind of issue because I had always been a little pudgy, and I grew up in a family of eaters. Was I destined to be a little “fluffy” forever? Once I read this book, I realized that the weight I lost in college- about thirty pounds- was so easy to lose because I didn’t try. I just listened to my body. I was also the happiest I had ever been.

Since college, I’ve gained a great deal of weight. Then again, I have been through a lot: a marriage, my father’s stroke, a divorce, a string of boyfriends who were nowhere near a good fit, and moving back in with my mother. Oh- and let us not forget the ever-popular recession. I graduated college into a job market that didn’t want me. All of these forces against me took me far from my body in a sense. I stopped thinking about what I was eating. Sure, I could spout of how to fix your problems with nutrition, but I never really looked at myself. I was scared. It was easier just to self-medicate with savory pasta dishes, gooey chocolate cupcakes, and deliciously fizzy sodas. All the time, the pounds crept up to keep me company.

Here begins my experiment. I’m going to try to recreate the college weight loss phenomenon I had created at beautiful Ball State University. This is going to be a long process. I think my boyfriend might have more trouble with it than me. He’s going to be waiting for me to jump on the fitness train with him, but I’ve already explained to him that it’s not about dieting. Diets always fail. It’s about listening to my body, giving myself the love I deserve, and gradually losing the weight without trying because I’m finally giving myself the attention I deserve. It’s time to savor that cupcake. It’s time for me to love my food and love myself. I challenge you to try this. Taste your food and ask your tummy if it’s satisfied yet. Spend a day avoiding getting full. You’ll notice that you feel lighter and brighter. You deserve it.

Be good to yourself.

-Rachael

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