Ethical Fashion on a Budget

Here I was, trying to educate people on modern-day slavery, but I was using modern-day slavery to do so. I knew that the people who made my clothes were mistreated. I knew they worked in horrible conditions with little to no pay. And I exploited these people every time I went into my favorite stores: places like H&M, Old Navy, and Forever 21. But the cheap price tags connected to my new clothes were enough for me to forget that. I could go in and purchase new clothes without putting too much of a dent in my wallet. I liked that. It was easy.

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Navigating Chaos

At age 12, my parents fought the custody battle to end all custody battles. It was long and laborious and unabashedly vicious. It went on through the school year, then into summer, and ended with an abrupt car ride to the airport. Just before school was about to start, without warning, a car pulled up to my grandmother’s house, my aunt got out, and broke the news that my mom had lost.

I was immediately sent to Texas, and 24 hours later I started seventh grade – no goodbyes.

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Plus is Equal

"A lot of my life has consisted of me trying to figure out how to be 'like the other girls.' I had no idea how much damage I was doing to my self-worth and how I was setting myself up for a lifetime of comparison and not feeling like I was enough. I have been in many conversations with plenty of close male friends defining their 'dream girl.' She never looked like me. That has been so painful, not being anyone's dream and never being the 'ideal' because of the way I look."

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If They Want Me

I quickly learned I couldn’t make someone love me, but I could make them want me. I discovered later getting people to want me wasn’t limited to sexual intrigue. I could also garner interest with intelligence or hard physical labor. The main point was having something to trade for attention.

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Men Don't Cry

"I was not expecting her question. And strangely, I couldn’t shrug it away this time, realizing I had avoided the real answer all along. I couldn’t hold back what I was feeling any longer and tears began to well up, and water began filling my eyes. One by one, tear drops rolled down my cheeks and I couldn’t wipe them away fast enough to hide."

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Great Things

I felt for years that I was failing. I’d always wanted to become a person of influence so that I could help the people that had become victims of trafficking, poverty, or abuse. I would cry all the time, frustrated, because I felt like I had failed them - I didn't have the resources and I couldn't really help anybody. Simple visits to Skid Row, or short mission trips felt like insignificant attempts at changing anything, let alone the world.

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Industry vs. Donut

When I looked at him with utter shock, that’s when he explained himself: 

“Basically after this conversation, you need to either eat a cheeseburger or go to the gym. But you need to pick one and stick with it because your body type is in-between and there is no place for you in this industry” 

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