SIMPLY YOU Magazine for Teens & Young Adults
"If you nurture your mind, body, and spirit, your time will expand.  You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more." --Brian Koslow
Body.  Mind.  Spirit
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Work Submitted by our Readers   THE PATH Every path is open To each and every one of us Some people will lead and some will follow Persevering people go on a unique path Their own path, a journey never made before Hearing the plants snap beneath their feet As those fine people carve their life out on the forest floor Breaking new boundaries as they trudge along in the jungle The land is filled with jaguars and snake, terrifying creatures Yet also lush trees and bright flowers And look Look at all the people Gazing longingly from a freshly mowed field By:  Iris Egham      SIMPLE vs. REAL FRIENDS A simple friend has never seen you cry. A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears. A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names. A real friend has their phone numbers in her address book. A simple friend brings a nice gift to your party. A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean. A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed. A real friend asks you why you took so long to call. A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems. A real friend seeks to help you with your problems. A simple friend wonders about your romantic history. A real friend could blackmail you with it. A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest. A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself. A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument. A real friend knows that it's not a friendship until after you've had a fight. A simple friend expects you to always be there for them. A real friend expects to always be there for you!           Prior "Question of the Month" Results   What are your plans for Prom or your best Prom stories? "I never went to the Prom when I was younger other than to watch the King & Queen get crowned. I am not sure why I never went. Perhaps I thought it was silly to spend so much on a dress, and I certainly didn't like any implied expectations for Prom night. I guess I just thought Prom was a cheesy, over-priced event for high-schoolers. Regardless, I did have Prom when I was in college. It happened when my best guy friend took me to a Christmas party for his workplace. It was held in the Crystal Ballroom of a fancy hotel. (Yes, it was actually named the Crystal Ballroom!) He was so attentive to me that night, I felt like Cinderella! It was one of the best nights of my life and my "Prom"...the only Prom I needed! I will never forget that night." "My friends and I are going to go in a group to Prom. No need for us to pair up; going in a group will be much more fun. A great way to end our high school years! We're going to have a lot of safe fun that night, and I am sure we will never forget our last Prom together." "I'm not going to Prom." "Hopefully my boyfriend and I will be crowned King & Queen of our Junior Prom this year!! I am going to wear a pale yellow dress. It is hard to explain but it is very beautiful, and I am sure no one else will have a dress quite like it!" Do you believe people can be changed for the better?  Or for the worse?  Why do you feel this way? "People can be changed for the better if they themselves want to change!" "Yes, you can do anything you want if you really try, but you cannot make a person do something. Sometimes people need to see the good side of life to see what it's about....The best I can do is be a good role model."  --Brittney Cleary, rising Pop Star   What do you think about the separation of church and state, and the lack of a religious-presence in our schools? "I live in Wisconsin. I don't know if everyone is now doing this or if it is just our state, but we now say the Pledge of Allegiance at school. I think it brings everyone together. A lot of the younger kids didn't even know the words. I might not have known them had my mom not taught me; she said they used to always say it in school. I just hope it doesn't get to be too much that it is no longer as significant as it should be. But I don't think that saying "God" in the Pledge should be a problem; if you don't want to say it, don't. We are overwhelmingly Christian in America; we should stand proud in our beliefs." "Religion should be left in the private schools. Not all of us believe the same things." "We had a debate about this at college just recently in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy in America. I guess since there is a separation of church & state in the constitution, it should stay that way. It was put there for a reason, which is to respect individual beliefs and not to force anyone's beliefs on anyone else. However, what I think is missing is a sense of nationalism and a sense of respect for others. That is what should be taught in schools. Church can be on Sundays as it always has been, and whatever parents feel is appropriate can be taught in the home. That makes sense to me." If you could live at any point in history, what year would you choose? Why? "The 1970's because it was all about Disco, afros, and bellbottoms!!!!" "Probably the early days of country, like when Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn were around, because then I could see how country really was and I could be apart of it."  --Nicki Cleary, upcoming pop star "The 70's, because I love Led Zeppelin!!!" "I would choose 2000. Because I can fly wherever I want. I can vote, I can have any job I am qualified for. I can wear pants. I don't have to worry about war?!" "I would go back to the days when my grandparents were younger so that I could get to meet them and understand the tough times they experienced."  --Alyssa   The Desperate Optimism of a Fallback Girl By:  Elisa G. I wish I could find a more descriptive way to say that I am tired of this. Once, I wrote a dramatic pathetic song that should’ve been titled "I’m a stupid teenage girl writing cliché lyrics about a really upsetting situation". I think that when I wrote it, I titled it "Fallback Girl". As unoriginal and plain as that sounds, it is what I am. I notice it more with everyone. It isn’t just love interests, anymore, though it’s much more prominent there. My favorite example of this is Marty, who I had a crush on my sophomore year of high school. I don’t know how he found out that I was interested in him, but he did and we were having a discussion about it online that went something like this. MartySN: So, yeah, I was thinking about that. MeSN: You were? MartySN: Yeah. I like this girl right now, though. But I’ll go out with you if she turns me down. MeSN: Oh. "Girl #1" said no. I didn’t, however, go out with him. It’s not that I don’t believe it’s possible he could eventually come to like me more than he ever liked "Girl #1", it’s that he was stupid enough to tell me straight out that he was waiting for a sign from someone else before he answered me. That’s more disrespectful than having a "Girl #1" in the first place, and pretty idiotic, if you ask me. Thanks, but I’ll have to, uh, take a rain check, since that seems to be what you’re taking me as. If it had been the same situation and he had been subtler, even if I’d known everything, I would’ve. That’s what makes me feel so irritatingly hopeless, and I can’t stop myself. Who doesn’t want to be accepted? With me, I always end up tagging along with someone and the person they’re attached to and getting them to want to be around me by mentioning all of the things I have ­ I guess that’s why my dad started spoiling me, after a few years, because he knew nothing else would help. And so when that one person disappears for a little while, it’s me the other one comes to, it’s me they complain about their new favorite person’s absence to, it’s me they ask for help on their writing or if they can borrow something or other. And then I can enjoy myself for a few minutes, knowing in the back of my mind why they’re there, why I’m sitting there and taking it, and hating myself for taking pleasure from it the entire time. Even my best friend probably doesn’t consider me to be his "best friend". That would be Lauren. He’s impossible to reach for days at a time and says he was doing a project. When I’ve finally reached him and we’re sitting around at my house, Lauren calls. He doesn’t bother to ask if he can call her later because he’s with me; he picks up the phone and talks to her while I’m right there. "Oh, hey! How are you?" I can hear a female voice responding on the other end of the line. "I’m all right. I’m at EJ’s house. What’s up with you?" A pause. Why wasn’t he hanging up? I sat there with an angry look on my face and he didn’t seem to realize this (maybe that’s because he wasn’t paying any attention). "That’s cool. Yeah, that was fun. The movie was kind of bad, though it was pretty awesome to be in a theatre with, like, three other people. Wednesday nights aren’t very popular nights for the movie theatre are they?" Finally I said, "What are you talking about?" "Nothing. Just a movie was saw the other day." He waved me off. "So, are you still feeling nauseous? You shouldn’t have drank so much at the party yesterday, that’s what I told you. Well, whatever. I hope you feel better. Talk to you later." I get it now. Lauren’s too sick to hang out with, so he fell back on me. I wanted so badly to ask him then, "What project?" I knew there had never been a project. If I accused him of simply avoiding me, though, he’ll turn it around on me. His defense would be, maybe, "I was done for the night and Lauren reached me first." But how’d she reach him first? I left him a message on his cell phone asking to hang out an entire week ago. I don’t think that qualifies as her reaching him first. And what about that week that he didn’t have his car? I offered to have my parents pick him up so he could come hang at my house and he said he’d be sleeping. I called his cell phone an hour later to tell him something interesting I’d found out and he’s in Lauren’s car. Sleeping? Once or twice people have genuinely liked me. But that’s because they’re in a situation where I’m the best choice. Guys start liking me when I am nice to them because most of the girls aren’t, and so they find opportunity and take it. It’s not me, it’s the concept of a girl who might possibly date them. It’s like that with friends, too. And because I have to be so nice to everyone since my mom taught me so, I’m stuck with those people attached to me and myself attached to people who could care less about me except when they need something or are incredibly bored. I’m not ignorant. And I swear I don’t just let it happen. Well, at least I try not to. It’s so hard not to shove my way into people’s favor by the privileges I have and can share with them, like my computer with its DVD burner and printer and everything, or my mini-fridge. It’s so hard not to become a third wheel and be happy about it when I realize everyone else is starting to make friends, so I’d better hurry up. It’s so hard not to want any sort of friendship or relationship, no matter if it’s only one and a half-sided. It’s so hard to sit there during "dance lessons" and be the one girl without a partner repeatedly. I don’t know where this is going or why I’m writing this. I wish I could say that this was going to turn into some wonderful non-fiction piece. I don’t see it doing anything except maybe getting me a few laughs and some pity. So this is useless, seeing as I can get the laughs and pity without a piece of writing. I have to ponder how annoying people must think I really am. I have to wonder what I’m doing wrong. I have to wonder why I can’t be the "Girl #1", the Lauren. Why? Because I don’t want to be "Girl #1" and sit in my room and put on makeup for two hours every morning. I don’t want to be Lauren and act like a heartless wench and a harlot, then brag about it and sound more mature. Is that what makes me so unlikable? I hate myself because I’m always the backup and people don’t seem to like me for the right reasons. But there are times when I know it’s just for now, for the less mature or unlearned years, and that makeup will stop hiding the ugliness and guys will start finding the easiness of a woman disgusting. I’ve never seen an adult or even a college student act the way the people around me do. Those are times when I know I’m better, and when I can respect myself for not becoming those people, those top of the list people. I know that there has to come a time when admiration will be given to people with more dignity then that, and then I like myself. Of course, as always, there will be the occasional person who prefers "Girl #1" or Lauren type of people to me, but I see that very little when I read books or watch TV. I guess I’ll take being the fallback girl until Lauren, "Girl #1" and the "favorites" have lost their allure altogether and a clean, respectable innocently silly but well aware of the world girl is the sort of girl that people want to hang out with. I’ll be the fallback girl. I know my time will come. It’s just a difficult wait. Insightful Quotes "Acceptance of what happened is the first step to overcoming the consequence of any misfortune."  --William James "Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out."  --Anonymous "Doubt indulged soon becomes doubt realized."  --Francis R. Havergal "Everybody knows that if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something."  --Gertrude Stein "Don't let other people tell you what you want."  --Pat Riley "We are what we believe we are."  --Benjamin N. Cardozo "Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work."  --Mark Twain "It is never right to compromise with dishonesty."  --Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.  "We shall never have friends if we expect to find them without fault."  --Thomas Fuller  "I am responsible for my own well-being, my own happiness.  The choices and decisions I make regarding my life directly influences the quality of my days."  --Kathleen Andrus  "No one is more likely to make a mistake than the man who acts only on reflection."  --Luc de Clapiers, Marquis Vauvenargues Don't Take That Tone! What Does Your Voice Say About You? Odds are, your identity is important to you.  Wanting to influence the way others perceive you, you may spend hours fixing your hair, applying make- up, choosing the perfect outfit, or an array of other activities.  However, working on your exterior is not enough.  Your interior is part of the package as well; it comes through to those around you.  One of your interior attributes happens to be your voice and how you use its many inflections. When you project different inflections in your voice, you are exhibiting different emotions, such as happiness, anger, jealousy, confusion, contentedness, etc.  Sometimes your vocal variations may be planned or happen unconsciously, but regardless of that fact, how you say something has a lot to say about you. Articulation Has anyone ever told you to enunciate better?  If they have, they were referring to your articulation.  If you tend to slur words and thoughts together, you may be viewed as having vague ideas or an uninterested or intolerant attitude to the one you are conversing with.  So that others realize you care about their thoughts and opinions, and that you have a clear mind, practice speaking more clearly.  If you don't know how to say a word accurately, look it up in the dictionary, and discover how to pronounce it properly.  Usually clear speech gets much more attention, because others view you as being more serious and able to put together clear thoughts. Volume The loudness or softness of your voice can make you appear confident or timid.  When giving a speech to a large audience, you will have to up your decibel level so even those in the back of the room will be able to hear you.  If you are in a one-on-one or small group conversation, your voice should not be quite as loud.  You do not want to appear like you are hollering or scolding those you are talking to, but you do want to appear confident in what you have to say.  A soft-spoken voice often leads others to believe you are shy, often vulnerable, and perhaps unknowledgeable about your topic of discussion, whether that is true or not. Resonance Having a rich voice means you have a lot of resonance.  If you lack this quality, your voice may come off as nasal and whiny.  Others often view this type of voice as someone who is a complainer or that does not have direction in life. Inflection If you don't have inflection in your voice, you do not have vocal variation.  Your voice sounds monotone, which is comparable to listening to a boring professor give a speech.  Usually downward inflection allows others to perceive that you are making a serious statement, but too much downward inflection can lead to a boring monotone conversation.  Obviously you don't want to bore the person you are talking to, so spice up your speech with a little inflection. Generally, your voice will have an upward inflection at the end of a sentence that is posed as a question.  In this case, upward inflection is good; it shows curiosity.  But if you use upward inflection with all your thoughts, soon you will sound as if you do not hold much certainty in your own statements.  You will constantly appear to be asking for approval, even if that is not how you mean to sound, so be cautious at what points in your speech you make your voice go upward or downward. Pitch Pitch is the hardest aspect of voice to control, but it can be done.  Usually, anyone of us can cover between one and two octaves, but we often do not use the length of this variation capability.  However, if you have a very shrill, high voice, you may want to consider practicing to tone it down a little.  Often high voices are hard on our ears due to their design.  High voices often reflect someone who is very tense, nervous, and dramatic.  If you prefer to sound more soothing and mature, a lower voice is the direction you should be headed. Voice Improvement Techniques If you no longer want the tone of voice you were born with, it's time for a change.  Improving your posture will allow your voice to project farther and more clearly in a more resonantly-pleasing way.  If you relax, you will not sound as nervous and tense.  Relaxing will also allow you to slow down your pattern of speech.  Slowing down allows your speech to sound more clear.  Pausing allows you to be able to collect your thoughts, as well, and therefore you will sound more knowledgeable.  Finally, breathing can be a determining factor in how your voice sounds.  If you breathe and you can feel your chest moving as you inhale and exhale, you are breathing thoracically.  If you are breathing from your stomach region, you are breathing diaphragmatically.  Changing your breathing pattern can change your tone of voice, so try both methods. Your tone of voice certainly affects how others view you.  It also affects how you view yourself.  If you are pleased with your voice, then you will have a higher confidence level.  That's why it is an important skill to polish up.  If you are unable to change your voice, however, don't sweat it!  Make it work for you.  After all, you are a unique and special individual, and your different style of speaking makes you more interesting as a person.  It is important to try to improve yourself, but never get upset about who you are, as long as you are not hurting anyone else and especially if you cannot change it. Colorfully Yours How color affects your mood. Your mood is greatly influenced by many factors, one of which is color.  Whether it is the colors that you see when you wake up in the morning, the ones that surround you during your daily routine, or the colors you choose to wear, they have a profound affect on your mood.  The colors you choose to be surrounded by can also have an effect on others and how they perceive you.  The following nine colors, and how they are perceived by yourself and others, may help to evaluate and change your mood. Black  is a disciplined color that shows power and authority.  It is a color that can stand alone and make a profound statement.  Showing strength and promoting independence, it is a very secure color portraying security and longevity. Having a purifying influence, white if often thought to be an angelic color.  In combination with other colors, it brings a sense of life and vitality.  Large amounts of energy are produced due to this color.  Often, it possesses an ability to unify people in differing situations. Yellow is cheerful like the sunshine.  It also increases energy levels.  The brighter the shade of yellow, the more optimistic thoughts become.  It is an expansive color that promotes happiness.  Yellow is often used in offices to promote creative, optimistic patterns of thinking. Pink soothes oneself.  Promoting affection, pink has the ability to stimulate conversation as it allows others to feel a need to comply with one another and come to a successful resolution. Drawing out one's intuition, purple holds a sense of spirituality for many.  While it possesses a large amount of mystery, this color also has the power to comfort. Blue is a relaxing, refreshing, and cooling color.  Peaceful moods filled with tranquil feelings are often a result of this color.  Therefore, blue is commonly used to decorate bathrooms and bedrooms.  Some feel that blue is the color of sleep, and being surrounded by this color helps to put them at ease and fall asleep more easily. Green encourages emotional growth by balancing, normalizing, and refreshing one's spirit.  Being the color of money, it can also create a feeling of wealth and security.  As a natural, earthy color, it may produce a feeling of hunger, which is why it is often used as an accent color in kitchens and restaurants. Empowering and enlivening, red symbolizes passion.  It stimulates emotions and dramatizes situations.  Competition if often found where red is.  Red is definitely an attention-getter. Orange cheers, promoting conversation and charity.  It also stimulates appetites, which is why it is commonly used as an accent color in kitchens and at restaurants.  It is also known as a very commanding color. Best Friends For eternity. "I have been best friends with Tamera since she and her parents moved next door to me when we were both four years old.  We once had a silly kid fight, and I decided to run over to her house afterward and apologize.  We vowed to never fight again.  We have kept that promise for the past twenty years and will continue to do so.  We have been there for each other through everything from dating, puberty, and school work to marrying, having babies, and jobs.  She is special to me on a different level than my husband is.  She is my sister-like soul mate who really understands me.  We should have been twins, but it is probably best we weren't, because siblings sometimes fight, but we never do.  I am blessed to have her."  --Meeka, 24, Wyoming Simply Complicated:  Understanding the opposite sex Flirting:  How to Read His & Her Signals Top 5 things men (naturally) do when they flirt: Arch the back and puff the chest, usually by leaning back in a chair and putting their arms behind their head to signal interest in sex without touching. Stretch their pectoral (chest) muscles, a sign of their ability to protect offspring. Sway the pelvis (almost Elvis-like). Swagger to draw attention to themselves. Laugh loudly, announcing their masculine vitality while also demonstrating a tamer side appropriate for fatherhood.   Top 5 things women (naturally) do when they flirt: Smile at a man to announce availability and interest. Arch their eyebrows so as to gaze wide-eyed, a sign of youth. Quickly lower their eyelids, tucking the chin down and to the side and averting the gaze, a sign of coyness, signaling unwillingness to give sex to just anyone. Giggle, usually by placing their hand over or near the mouth, a sign of youth and submissiveness. Shrug the shoulders, a sign of helplessness. Continue to next section....    
Work Submitted by our Readers   THE PATH Every path is open To each and every one of us Some people will lead and some will follow Persevering people go on a unique path Their own path, a journey never made before Hearing the plants snap beneath their feet As those fine people carve their life out on the forest floor Breaking new boundaries as they trudge along in the jungle The land is filled with jaguars and snake, terrifying creatures Yet also lush trees and bright flowers And look Look at all the people Gazing longingly from a freshly mowed field By:  Iris Egham      SIMPLE vs. REAL FRIENDS A simple friend has never seen you cry. A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears. A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names. A real friend has their phone numbers in her address book. A simple friend brings a nice gift to your party. A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean. A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed. A real friend asks you why you took so long to call. A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems. A real friend seeks to help you with your problems. A simple friend wonders about your romantic history. A real friend could blackmail you with it. A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest. A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself. A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument. A real friend knows that it's not a friendship until after you've had a fight. A simple friend expects you to always be there for them. A real friend expects to always be there for you!           Prior "Question of the Month" Results   What are your plans for Prom or your best Prom stories? "I never went to the Prom when I was younger other than to watch the King & Queen get crowned. I am not sure why I never went. Perhaps I thought it was silly to spend so much on a dress, and I certainly didn't like any implied expectations for Prom night. I guess I just thought Prom was a cheesy, over-priced event for high-schoolers. Regardless, I did have Prom when I was in college. It happened when my best guy friend took me to a Christmas party for his workplace. It was held in the Crystal Ballroom of a fancy hotel. (Yes, it was actually named the Crystal Ballroom!) He was so attentive to me that night, I felt like Cinderella! It was one of the best nights of my life and my "Prom"...the only Prom I needed! I will never forget that night." "My friends and I are going to go in a group to Prom. No need for us to pair up; going in a group will be much more fun. A great way to end our high school years! We're going to have a lot of safe fun that night, and I am sure we will never forget our last Prom together." "I'm not going to Prom." "Hopefully my boyfriend and I will be crowned King & Queen of our Junior Prom this year!! I am going to wear a pale yellow dress. It is hard to explain but it is very beautiful, and I am sure no one else will have a dress quite like it!" Do you believe people can be changed for the better?  Or for the worse?  Why do you feel this way? "People can be changed for the better if they themselves want to change!" "Yes, you can do anything you want if you really try, but you cannot make a person do something. Sometimes people need to see the good side of life to see what it's about....The best I can do is be a good role model."  --Brittney Cleary, rising Pop Star   What do you think about the separation of church and state, and the lack of a religious-presence in our schools? "I live in Wisconsin. I don't know if everyone is now doing this or if it is just our state, but we now say the Pledge of Allegiance at school. I think it brings everyone together. A lot of the younger kids didn't even know the words. I might not have known them had my mom not taught me; she said they used to always say it in school. I just hope it doesn't get to be too much that it is no longer as significant as it should be. But I don't think that saying "God" in the Pledge should be a problem; if you don't want to say it, don't. We are overwhelmingly Christian in America; we should stand proud in our beliefs." "Religion should be left in the private schools. Not all of us believe the same things." "We had a debate about this at college just recently in the wake of the 9- 11 tragedy in America. I guess since there is a separation of church & state in the constitution, it should stay that way. It was put there for a reason, which is to respect individual beliefs and not to force anyone's beliefs on anyone else. However, what I think is missing is a sense of nationalism and a sense of respect for others. That is what should be taught in schools. Church can be on Sundays as it always has been, and whatever parents feel is appropriate can be taught in the home. That makes sense to me." If you could live at any point in history, what year would you choose? Why? "The 1970's because it was all about Disco, afros, and bellbottoms!!!!" "Probably the early days of country, like when Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn were around, because then I could see how country really was and I could be apart of it."  --Nicki Cleary, upcoming pop star "The 70's, because I love Led Zeppelin!!!" "I would choose 2000. Because I can fly wherever I want. I can vote, I can have any job I am qualified for. I can wear pants. I don't have to worry about war?!" "I would go back to the days when my grandparents were younger so that I could get to meet them and understand the tough times they experienced."  --Alyssa   The Desperate Optimism of a Fallback Girl By:  Elisa G. I wish I could find a more descriptive way to say that I am tired of this. Once, I wrote a dramatic pathetic song that should’ve been titled "I’m a stupid teenage girl writing cliché lyrics about a really upsetting situation". I think that when I wrote it, I titled it "Fallback Girl". As unoriginal and plain as that sounds, it is what I am. I notice it more with everyone. It isn’t just love interests, anymore, though it’s much more prominent there. My favorite example of this is Marty, who I had a crush on my sophomore year of high school. I don’t know how he found out that I was interested in him, but he did and we were having a discussion about it online that went something like this. MartySN: So, yeah, I was thinking about that. MeSN: You were? MartySN: Yeah. I like this girl right now, though. But I’ll go out with you if she turns me down. MeSN: Oh. "Girl #1" said no. I didn’t, however, go out with him. It’s not that I don’t believe it’s possible he could eventually come to like me more than he ever liked "Girl #1", it’s that he was stupid enough to tell me straight out that he was waiting for a sign from someone else before he answered me. That’s more disrespectful than having a "Girl #1" in the first place, and pretty idiotic, if you ask me. Thanks, but I’ll have to, uh, take a rain check, since that seems to be what you’re taking me as. If it had been the same situation and he had been subtler, even if I’d known everything, I would’ve. That’s what makes me feel so irritatingly hopeless, and I can’t stop myself. Who doesn’t want to be accepted? With me, I always end up tagging along with someone and the person they’re attached to and getting them to want to be around me by mentioning all of the things I have ­ I guess that’s why my dad started spoiling me, after a few years, because he knew nothing else would help. And so when that one person disappears for a little while, it’s me the other one comes to, it’s me they complain about their new favorite person’s absence to, it’s me they ask for help on their writing or if they can borrow something or other. And then I can enjoy myself for a few minutes, knowing in the back of my mind why they’re there, why I’m sitting there and taking it, and hating myself for taking pleasure from it the entire time. Even my best friend probably doesn’t consider me to be his "best friend". That would be Lauren. He’s impossible to reach for days at a time and says he was doing a project. When I’ve finally reached him and we’re sitting around at my house, Lauren calls. He doesn’t bother to ask if he can call her later because he’s with me; he picks up the phone and talks to her while I’m right there. "Oh, hey! How are you?" I can hear a female voice responding on the other end of the line. "I’m all right. I’m at EJ’s house. What’s up with you?" A pause. Why wasn’t he hanging up? I sat there with an angry look on my face and he didn’t seem to realize this (maybe that’s because he wasn’t paying any attention). "That’s cool. Yeah, that was fun. The movie was kind of bad, though it was pretty awesome to be in a theatre with, like, three other people. Wednesday nights aren’t very popular nights for the movie theatre are they?" Finally I said, "What are you talking about?" "Nothing. Just a movie was saw the other day." He waved me off. "So, are you still feeling nauseous? You shouldn’t have drank so much at the party yesterday, that’s what I told you. Well, whatever. I hope you feel better. Talk to you later." I get it now. Lauren’s too sick to hang out with, so he fell back on me. I wanted so badly to ask him then, "What project?" I knew there had never been a project. If I accused him of simply avoiding me, though, he’ll turn it around on me. His defense would be, maybe, "I was done for the night and Lauren reached me first." But how’d she reach him first? I left him a message on his cell phone asking to hang out an entire week ago. I don’t think that qualifies as her reaching him first. And what about that week that he didn’t have his car? I offered to have my parents pick him up so he could come hang at my house and he said he’d be sleeping. I called his cell phone an hour later to tell him something interesting I’d found out and he’s in Lauren’s car. Sleeping? Once or twice people have genuinely liked me. But that’s because they’re in a situation where I’m the best choice. Guys start liking me when I am nice to them because most of the girls aren’t, and so they find opportunity and take it. It’s not me, it’s the concept of a girl who might possibly date them. It’s like that with friends, too. And because I have to be so nice to everyone since my mom taught me so, I’m stuck with those people attached to me and myself attached to people who could care less about me except when they need something or are incredibly bored. I’m not ignorant. And I swear I don’t just let it happen. Well, at least I try not to. It’s so hard not to shove my way into people’s favor by the privileges I have and can share with them, like my computer with its DVD burner and printer and everything, or my mini-fridge. It’s so hard not to become a third wheel and be happy about it when I realize everyone else is starting to make friends, so I’d better hurry up. It’s so hard not to want any sort of friendship or relationship, no matter if it’s only one and a half-sided. It’s so hard to sit there during "dance lessons" and be the one girl without a partner repeatedly. I don’t know where this is going or why I’m writing this. I wish I could say that this was going to turn into some wonderful non-fiction piece. I don’t see it doing anything except maybe getting me a few laughs and some pity. So this is useless, seeing as I can get the laughs and pity without a piece of writing. I have to ponder how annoying people must think I really am. I have to wonder what I’m doing wrong. I have to wonder why I can’t be the "Girl #1", the Lauren. Why? Because I don’t want to be "Girl #1" and sit in my room and put on makeup for two hours every morning. I don’t want to be Lauren and act like a heartless wench and a harlot, then brag about it and sound more mature. Is that what makes me so unlikable? I hate myself because I’m always the backup and people don’t seem to like me for the right reasons. But there are times when I know it’s just for now, for the less mature or unlearned years, and that makeup will stop hiding the ugliness and guys will start finding the easiness of a woman disgusting. I’ve never seen an adult or even a college student act the way the people around me do. Those are times when I know I’m better, and when I can respect myself for not becoming those people, those top of the list people. I know that there has to come a time when admiration will be given to people with more dignity then that, and then I like myself. Of course, as always, there will be the occasional person who prefers "Girl #1" or Lauren type of people to me, but I see that very little when I read books or watch TV. I guess I’ll take being the fallback girl until Lauren, "Girl #1" and the "favorites" have lost their allure altogether and a clean, respectable innocently silly but well aware of the world girl is the sort of girl that people want to hang out with. I’ll be the fallback girl. I know my time will come. It’s just a difficult wait. Insightful Quotes "Acceptance of what happened is the first step to overcoming the consequence of any misfortune."  --William James "Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out."  --Anonymous "Doubt indulged soon becomes doubt realized."  --Francis R. Havergal "Everybody knows that if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something."  --Gertrude Stein "Don't let other people tell you what you want."  --Pat Riley "We are what we believe we are."  --Benjamin N. Cardozo "Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work."  --Mark Twain "It is never right to compromise with dishonesty."  --Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.  "We shall never have friends if we expect to find them without fault."  --Thomas Fuller  "I am responsible for my own well-being, my own happiness.  The choices and decisions I make regarding my life directly influences the quality of my days."  --Kathleen Andrus  "No one is more likely to make a mistake than the man who acts only on reflection."  --Luc de Clapiers, Marquis Vauvenargues Don't Take That Tone! What Does Your Voice Say About You? Odds are, your identity is important to you.  Wanting to influence the way others perceive you, you may spend hours fixing your hair, applying make-up, choosing the perfect outfit, or an array of other activities.  However, working on your exterior is not enough.  Your interior is part of the package as well; it comes through to those around you.  One of your interior attributes happens to be your voice and how you use its many inflections. When you project different inflections in your voice, you are exhibiting different emotions, such as happiness, anger, jealousy, confusion, contentedness, etc.  Sometimes your vocal variations may be planned or happen unconsciously, but regardless of that fact, how you say something has a lot to say about you. Articulation Has anyone ever told you to enunciate better?  If they have, they were referring to your articulation.  If you tend to slur words and thoughts together, you may be viewed as having vague ideas or an uninterested or intolerant attitude to the one you are conversing with.  So that others realize you care about their thoughts and opinions, and that you have a clear mind, practice speaking more clearly.  If you don't know how to say a word accurately, look it up in the dictionary, and discover how to pronounce it properly.  Usually clear speech gets much more attention, because others view you as being more serious and able to put together clear thoughts. Volume The loudness or softness of your voice can make you appear confident or timid.  When giving a speech to a large audience, you will have to up your decibel level so even those in the back of the room will be able to hear you.  If you are in a one-on-one or small group conversation, your voice should not be quite as loud.  You do not want to appear like you are hollering or scolding those you are talking to, but you do want to appear confident in what you have to say.  A soft-spoken voice often leads others to believe you are shy, often vulnerable, and perhaps unknowledgeable about your topic of discussion, whether that is true or not. Resonance Having a rich voice means you have a lot of resonance.  If you lack this quality, your voice may come off as nasal and whiny.  Others often view this type of voice as someone who is a complainer or that does not have direction in life. Inflection If you don't have inflection in your voice, you do not have vocal variation.  Your voice sounds monotone, which is comparable to listening to a boring professor give a speech.  Usually downward inflection allows others to perceive that you are making a serious statement, but too much downward inflection can lead to a boring monotone conversation.  Obviously you don't want to bore the person you are talking to, so spice up your speech with a little inflection. Generally, your voice will have an upward inflection at the end of a sentence that is posed as a question.  In this case, upward inflection is good; it shows curiosity.  But if you use upward inflection with all your thoughts, soon you will sound as if you do not hold much certainty in your own statements.  You will constantly appear to be asking for approval, even if that is not how you mean to sound, so be cautious at what points in your speech you make your voice go upward or downward. Pitch Pitch is the hardest aspect of voice to control, but it can be done.  Usually, anyone of us can cover between one and two octaves, but we often do not use the length of this variation capability.  However, if you have a very shrill, high voice, you may want to consider practicing to tone it down a little.  Often high voices are hard on our ears due to their design.  High voices often reflect someone who is very tense, nervous, and dramatic.  If you prefer to sound more soothing and mature, a lower voice is the direction you should be headed. Voice Improvement Techniques If you no longer want the tone of voice you were born with, it's time for a change.  Improving your posture will allow your voice to project farther and more clearly in a more resonantly-pleasing way.  If you relax, you will not sound as nervous and tense.  Relaxing will also allow you to slow down your pattern of speech.  Slowing down allows your speech to sound more clear.  Pausing allows you to be able to collect your thoughts, as well, and therefore you will sound more knowledgeable.  Finally, breathing can be a determining factor in how your voice sounds.  If you breathe and you can feel your chest moving as you inhale and exhale, you are breathing thoracically.  If you are breathing from your stomach region, you are breathing diaphragmatically.  Changing your breathing pattern can change your tone of voice, so try both methods. Your tone of voice certainly affects how others view you.  It also affects how you view yourself.  If you are pleased with your voice, then you will have a higher confidence level.  That's why it is an important skill to polish up.  If you are unable to change your voice, however, don't sweat it!  Make it work for you.  After all, you are a unique and special individual, and your different style of speaking makes you more interesting as a person.  It is important to try to improve yourself, but never get upset about who you are, as long as you are not hurting anyone else and especially if you cannot change it. Colorfully Yours How color affects your mood. Your mood is greatly influenced by many factors, one of which is color.  Whether it is the colors that you see when you wake up in the morning, the ones that surround you during your daily routine, or the colors you choose to wear, they have a profound affect on your mood.  The colors you choose to be surrounded by can also have an effect on others and how they perceive you.  The following nine colors, and how they are perceived by yourself and others, may help to evaluate and change your mood. Black  is a disciplined color that shows power and authority.  It is a color that can stand alone and make a profound statement.  Showing strength and promoting independence, it is a very secure color portraying security and longevity. Having a purifying influence, white if often thought to be an angelic color.  In combination with other colors, it brings a sense of life and vitality.  Large amounts of energy are produced due to this color.  Often, it possesses an ability to unify people in differing situations. Yellow is cheerful like the sunshine.  It also increases energy levels.  The brighter the shade of yellow, the more optimistic thoughts become.  It is an expansive color that promotes happiness.  Yellow is often used in offices to promote creative, optimistic patterns of thinking. Pink soothes oneself.  Promoting affection, pink has the ability to stimulate conversation as it allows others to feel a need to comply with one another and come to a successful resolution. Drawing out one's intuition, purple holds a sense of spirituality for many.  While it possesses a large amount of mystery, this color also has the power to comfort. Blue is a relaxing, refreshing, and cooling color.  Peaceful moods filled with tranquil feelings are often a result of this color.  Therefore, blue is commonly used to decorate bathrooms and bedrooms.  Some feel that blue is the color of sleep, and being surrounded by this color helps to put them at ease and fall asleep more easily. Green encourages emotional growth by balancing, normalizing, and refreshing one's spirit.  Being the color of money, it can also create a feeling of wealth and security.  As a natural, earthy color, it may produce a feeling of hunger, which is why it is often used as an accent color in kitchens and restaurants. Empowering and enlivening, red symbolizes passion.  It stimulates emotions and dramatizes situations.  Competition if often found where red is.  Red is definitely an attention-getter. Orange cheers, promoting conversation and charity.  It also stimulates appetites, which is why it is commonly used as an accent color in kitchens and at restaurants.  It is also known as a very commanding color. Best Friends For eternity. "I have been best friends with Tamera since she and her parents moved next door to me when we were both four years old.  We once had a silly kid fight, and I decided to run over to her house afterward and apologize.  We vowed to never fight again.  We have kept that promise for the past twenty years and will continue to do so.  We have been there for each other through everything from dating, puberty, and school work to marrying, having babies, and jobs.  She is special to me on a different level than my husband is.  She is my sister-like soul mate who really understands me.  We should have been twins, but it is probably best we weren't, because siblings sometimes fight, but we never do.  I am blessed to have her."  --Meeka, 24, Wyoming Simply Complicated:  Understanding the opposite sex Flirting:  How to Read His & Her Signals Top 5 things men (naturally) do when they flirt: Arch the back and puff the chest, usually by leaning back in a chair and putting their arms behind their head to signal interest in sex without touching. Stretch their pectoral (chest) muscles, a sign of their ability to protect offspring. Sway the pelvis (almost Elvis-like). Swagger to draw attention to themselves. Laugh loudly, announcing their masculine vitality while also demonstrating a tamer side appropriate for fatherhood.   Top 5 things women (naturally) do when they flirt: Smile at a man to announce availability and interest. Arch their eyebrows so as to gaze wide-eyed, a sign of youth. Quickly lower their eyelids, tucking the chin down and to the side and averting the gaze, a sign of coyness, signaling unwillingness to give sex to just anyone. Giggle, usually by placing their hand over or near the mouth, a sign of youth and submissiveness. Shrug the shoulders, a sign of helplessness. Continue to next section....    
SIMPLY YOU Magazine for Teens & Young Adults
"If you nurture your mind, body, and spirit, your time will expand.  You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more." --Brian Koslow
Body.  Mind.  Spirit
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