Have you ever wondered whether a baked potato, a bagel, or a slice of pizza can put you to sleep? Well, it might sound weird, but it’s true. Accord- ing to scientists, your diet not only affects the physical part of your body but also your psychological mood. Dating back to Medieval times, food was used as a recipe to alter your feelings. Too many sweets can make you hyper. Too little sugar can leave you sluggish. Eating carbohydrate-rich food such as pasta can elevate your frame of mind. Drinking too much soda can bring you down after an initial high. It’s all very complex. That’s why medical people recommend a well-balanced diet to keep both your body and psyche fit.
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“At least I didn’t get kept back”

I thought I was the smartest kid, and that was my flaw. Any- one below my level of intellect was a weak link. I saw myself as superior to those who were amateur in something I excelled in. I was in the fourth grade and my sister got the brunt of it. Camille was a great sister, my twin sister. She was two inches shorter than me and pretty funny. It was the summer between third and fourth grade when things shifted. “You didn’t pass the third grade?” I heard our older sister say to Camille. I gasped. Camille had most likely responded, but with a shameful set- back like that, I didn’t expect an audible response. She had been kept back and I could tell she felt bad. I felt bad...we all did. The subject died later that day. It wasn’t the end of the world. All she had to do was redo the grade and soldier on. Everything went back to normal as the months passed. But, of course, that made me superior in more ways. I was taller, bigger, and smarter. What I hadn’t noticed was a habit I was developing. A year later, each time we would argue, I’d always bring up the fact that she was kept back in the third grade. I thought it didn’t matter. I remember getting into trouble with my parents one day. Camille was rubbing her freedom in my face as she watched me in my room, grounded. It was an innocent tease since the punishment was minor. All I remember was saying, “At least I didn’t get kept back.” I recall seeing her smile disappear. For the rest of the school year, I taunted her and made her feel at her absolute lowest. I wouldn’t wish that type of degradation on anyone, but I was nine and oblivious and mean. Recently, I’ve gotten to talk to my sister about the issue. Yes, we laughed. There were lots of “oh yeahs” and “I remembers.” I also apologized several times during our conversation. I asked her how she felt even though I knew. “I felt bad. I felt kind of stupid.” I always hated when people emphasized my weaknesses. There was no reason for me to do that to my own blood. She told me she understood, that we were kids then and I didn’t really know what I was doing. “But how you felt was real,” I said. “It happened. And it was my fault.” I didn’t want the conversation to get too deep but I had to learn something. Something along the lines of confronting my mistakes and giving rest to past troubles. The last thing she said to me was, “But hey, it’s over. Now my grades are way better than yours.” I guess I did deserve that.
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“Strawberry shortcake, blueberry pie, who will be your lu…”
 
Suzy and Bianca both ditched the jump rope. Jaws dropped but something else did, too -- my pants. A cool, chilly breeze blew my shaky legs as I immediately picked my pants back up. I felt a flush of red across my face and a sudden horrifying twist in my stomach as I prayed that my crush Marquis wasn’t looking in this direction. A really long pause followed until one of the girls broke out in laughter and chuckles from the rest of the group echoed. A stiffness started from my toes and reached my mind, making it numb. The loud, thunderous ring of the school bell came to my rescue. I never truly appreciated it until that day as it saved me from any possible further pain. Lowering my head among the rest of the students, I was well aware the news would trickle itself across the school. This feeling was nothing new. During swim class, my bottom piece dropped after I took a dive. Luckily, before I reached the surface, both pieces were back in place. I was relieved. I promised myself to never wear a two-piece swimsuit and to never risk a jump again. As if these embarrassing situations weren’t bad enough, I was always reminded who I was by other people. Nicknames were just a start. Toothpick. Anorexic. Twig. Chicken-legged. Skeleton. If you can think of anything awfully gross or substantially thin, I’ve already been called that. These little things began to shape me. I have cried myself to sleep hoping that I would someday wake up in another body. I hated my body. Baggy clothes didn’t disguise my small body and neither did the multiple layers I packed inside. “Disgusting and sickly” — that’s what they called it — and it didn’t take long for me to start believing it, either. Remarks about my body were everywhere, from my relatives to my friends. If you’re big, that’s OK because you’ve got everyone’s sym- pathy. But critics can’t say the same thing for the rest of us. Why? Because it’s our fault that our bodies are the way they are? “You’re not a real woman.” “You chose to be that way." "Go eat a hamburger." "You are a disgrace.” “Do your parents not love you?” “Nothing but skin and bones.” This is the norm for someone like me and I am baffled why so many people assume that cruel words are a motivator when instead they have hurt me far more. These sayings have sunk into my mind and have been stamped onto other girls. It started as a hole that kept me believing I was never going to be like the others and this hole continued to grow every day, building from all the features I lacked, just like the 20 pounds of meat my body lacked. It is the hypocrites who make loud claims that everyone is beautiful but shame down on those they view as different. As I am growing, I have become more confident with my body and who I am, not with therapy or reminders, but with being able to simply allow myself to take the criticism in, let it go, and be OK about it. But even now I am still not fully whole, because I have a small folder in my head collecting all the childhood nightmares, including the jump rope incident.
 
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Dear Miley Cyrus,
  In your transformation over the last few years, did you realize what effect you would have on the young children who admired you? Many children, including myself, idolized you when you were the character of Hannah Montana. You were the “perfect” image. Your music was appropriate, as were your clothes, and parents approved of you. Everyone loved Miley Cyrus. So, why did you change? Did you feel pressured to be perfect all the time -- and break? If you had this respect, why would you want to throw it away to be like stars who did not get as much respect? Did someone convince you that living this way was better, or were you just imitating what you saw others do?
You must have imagined that those who looked up to you might repeat your actions and transform themselves the way that you did. I wonder about your objectives. If you had a quiet, well-led life, why did you change? We, your fans, feel sad -- like we have lost someone we admired. We want the Miley we loved back. We don’t love this foreign Miley, the one who sends completely different messages to her fans. We also feel that you are put- ting a negative name out there for our generation by being so inappropriate.
 
Sincerely, Diana
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“People only see you as what’s on their screen”

 
Dear Rachel McAdams,
 
I noticed after your big-hit movies like “Mean Girls” and “The Notebook” that your popularity had grown dramatically. You have this incredible talent to capture a variety of people’s interest within the movie industry, presented in teen, romance, comedy, family, and thriller movies. However, people only see you as what’s on their screen and they aren’t aware that you had to work hard to get where you are today. They wouldn’t have known that you worked hours -- in fact three years! -- at McDonald’s behind an orange juice machine. But once your name grew big, things began to flip. And as your success grew along with your fans, so did jeal- ousy and hatred. How did you react to Eva Mendez’s uneasiness toward you when she was dating your ex, Ryan Gosling? Or how about when those surgeons made confident claims that you under-went plastic surgery? Despite all the chaos and these trouble- makers, you continue to amaze me with your strength and your talent in addition to your charities and your environmental work. But does it hurt you when others try to bring you down? Or have you just become used to it? Do you feel pressured when millions of young females, including myself, aspire to grow up just like you? Or has it become natural? You have had a huge impact on my life. You are heroic in the sense that your progress and growth have created footsteps for girls like me to follow and look up to. You are my role model because you play that role so perfectly.
 
Sincerely, Janice
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