A “Fire” Sonnet I Wrote Over FaceTime With You

If I could gaze at stars from me to you,

The ones in your eyes would still shine brightest.

You quench my throbbing heart like none can do;

My tempests do not affect you in the slightest.

If I could rub two stones together like

A child, turning friction to combustion,

I would burn a hole through my screen and strike

Love’s raging fun’ral pyre; eruption.

Yet all is deep-seeded within my soul,

For masks and screens smother my expressions.

Twenty-six miles between us took its toll,

And I’m scrambling to make right impressions.

All I can do is press lip-to-cold screen,

Hoping that someday, my efforts will be seen.

All About Love Languages

How do you show love? Are you more physical and direct, or do you appreciate indirect love like random acts of kindness here and there? What do you need or think you will need from a partner? These ideas can be categorized through love languages, which are different ways of expressing and receiving love. Even if you do not have a significant other, it can also be applied to the way you interact with your friends and family members. The five main categories include words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Many of us will be able to relate to multiple love languages, but studies have shown that every person has one out of the five types of love language that they resonate with the most.

1. Words of affirmation: People who deeply value verbal acknowledgments, such as compliments, encouragement, I love you’s, and uplifting comments. These can be written out, like through text, or said out loud. They are deeply moved by long paragraphs and letters that show how much the other person cares. In these relationships, a lot of encouragement should be given and the other person might want to send an unexpected card or text once in a while.

2. Quality time: These people enjoy spending time with their partner and feel loved when they want to constantly hang out and actively make an effort to involve themselves with eye contact and active listening. This love language is primarily about face-to-face interaction rather than through the phone. One-on-one time is critical, with focused and uninterrupted conversations.

3. Acts of service: If this is your love language, you value the kind of things your partner does, whether it be big or small. This could be something like bringing your groceries in when you are busy, surprising you with pizza when you had a bad day, or even driving you to your doctor’s appointment. This language is generally for people who value actions more than words and they want to be shown that they are appreciated rather than just being told, “I love you.” People with this love language should use action phrases such as “I will help you,” and consider doing things like chores together.

4. Gifts: People who enjoy getting gifts tend to appreciate it less for the physical gift itself, but rather for the meaning behind the gift. They care for the symbolic thought process that goes along with choosing one ––maybe it represents the first time you met, your favorite color, your favorite song, the list goes on! They enjoy the personalization that can go along with gift-giving and they may even appreciate something that is hand-made and more meaningful rather than something extremely expensive but less personal. People with this love language also tend to be great gift-givers and use the value and importance of gifts as a representation of the relationship.

5. Physical touch: These people feel extremely loved and cherished with physical signs of affection, such as holding hands, hugging, cuddling, and kisses. Physical intimacy is served as a powerful emotional connector for people with this love language. These people mainly value the feeling of warmth, comfort, and sense of safety that comes along with physical touch which makes them feel cherished. People should use body language and touch to express love.

After getting an idea of the different types of love languages there are, what do you think YOU resonate with the most? If you are still unsure, you can take a quiz I have linked below:


(Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/the-5-love-languages-explained)

Self-Love? Let’s talk about it!

Everything started from these apps that help create new habits. It was formed as a challenge that you could do daily to develop a good mentality. It was fun and easy to use, so I decided to take up multiple challenges!

One day, with Confident as the theme, I click on them. I simply wanted to know what I should do for the day. I was stunned for a whole minute. Looking at my screen in shock, my phone blared the task for that day: “List 10 Things You Love About Yourself”. As if I were talking to myself, I was startled and confused. Looking at my phone once again, my mind wandered with thoughts of what I was going to write. I came to the simple conclusion, then and there, that it was much easier to write about the things that I hated about myself. I stopped right there.

I pondered the thought –– questioned why I hated myself instead of loving myself..

Curious about this, I went around and asked some people these questions (try and answer them yourself too!)

1. Tell me three things you love about yourself

2. Did you find the question hard or easy for you to answer?

  • If you find it difficult, can you tell me what makes you think so? (if the answer is too personal, you can skip this)
  • If you find it easy, have you always been someone who loves themselves?

3. What’s the turning point that made you slowly love yourself?

4. What should you do to help yourself develop the habit of self-love?

There are many answers, however, each one is personal to each individual. I will only provide the results for each answer instead.

TW: Mention of bullying and abuse

  1. For this question, I noticed that not many people mentioned or talked about their physical appearance (which is not a bad thing! This is just something that I can’t help but notice, as I did this too). They focus on the quality inside them, their personality, the way they approach problems, etc. Some also took their time to answer but some also answered quickly.
  2. I’d say their answers varied from “not that hard” to “quite hard”. The reason will be explained more in the next point.

Difficult to answer because:

  • This topic is way too deep for a casual conversation that it might never be brought with the possibility of making things awkward.
  • They find it difficult because it is rare for them to talk about themselves in general. To boast about the quality that they have might seem strange and arrogant.
  • How people look at them affect how they look at themselves. For example, being bullied because of how different you look, because of what you wear, your family, even maybe for your success. The continuous negative words are deeply rooted in their head that it is hard to remove them.
  • Related to the previous point, verbal abuse from those who are dear to them. The never ended cycle of abuse is harmful for our mental health.
  • How media portrayed what so called ‘perfection’. Its almost felt like no matter where your eyes land, you won’t feel good about yourself.
  • Some also mentioned that the culture or stigma around gender can cut the value of self-love in anyone.

Quite easy to answer because:

  • They have this exact goal about their life. Please keep in mind, this person never once told me about their dream job or what kind of life they wanted to be. They simply state, “I wanna thrive as a great person”
  • The other said that: “I know some might not be confident about this, so I want to be the first person to do it”
  • “I learn that I am actually beautiful, no matter what they say”
  • “I believe that I need to express myself more and be proud of it”
  • “I dwell in a place where no one sees me as something precious, now I know my value, it’s easier to love myself”

3. For this question the answers are like this:

  • “When I realized that I’ve been surrounded by toxic people and I need to get out”
  • “When I finally find people that love me as who I am”
  • “When I finally learn to let go of the past that hurt me, well, it’s not like I completely forgot but I am learning”
  • “When I realize that I need to trust people around me and most importantly, myself”

4. Last one! Here are some tips from them:

  • Do not compare yourself to others.
  • Learn to accept yourself, every good and every flaw.
  • Be confident in what you are doing, maybe your hobby, how unique you see the world and etc.
  • Do not be afraid to live. Challenge yourself. The more you go out and experience, the more you find something about yourself.
  • Tune it down. Those words that aren’t necessary for you to remember, tune them down.
  • Surround yourself with people that will help you grow.

From these talks, I learned that self-love is something that you need to learn by yourself. It is not easy, however, the journey to loving yourself is worth the hurdles. You are not alone in this; let’s learn together! Let’s grow together! We got this alright? And in case no one has told you, I believe in you, I love you, and I’m proud of you.

“Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve.”

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

in Self-Love and What It Means (2020)

Paula T. Nd


Alright, alright, before I start the poem, I know you’re expecting a love poem for Valentine’s Day, which has just passed. But this is not your typical love poem, not in the traditional sense. You’ll see what I mean.


I dreamed of a wedding I called my own—

I got married

Not to anyone else, but to myself, really

Dragged my gown across the aisle by myself

Just me

And I wonder if everyone’s disappointed

Expecting more than an asymmetrical skirt

I called a gown

Waiting for the coat and tie

Waiting for someone there

But you see

I’m always too much or not enough

To everyone else

But myself?

She’s just learning to love me for me

As cheesy as it may sound, this Valentine’s Day, and this year, in general, I hope you can all join me in learning to love ourselves first. At the end of the day, that’s the person who will be there for you. So go ahead, love and love boldly. You deserve it.

How To Positively Reframe Your Mind

New Year’s Resolutions can sometimes be corny, but they can also be a great way for a fresh start. Changing your mindset about life will not happen in an instant, but you have to start somewhere! You can positively reframe your mind this year in a few simple ways.

1. Write a personal vision statement and find someone who will hold you accountable for it. This way, they can serve as a guide if you are slacking off. Also, don’t forget to plan out your year in a way that you have things to look forward to instead of always creating long, unachievable to-do lists that make you want to cry just by looking at it. When you make a vision board or write down goals for yourself, set realistic expectations and try not to be vague. Have a set game-plan with detailed steps.

2. Repeat an affirmation to yourself every morning. It can be something as simple as “I am enough” or “I am going to make sure that today is a good day.” Even doing something minimal like talking to yourself in the mirror can switch your mindset in an instant.

3. Spend more time with the people you love, whether it be family or friends. If you can’t see them, stay in touch through the internet—host a Virtual Game Night, Netflix Party, or something of that sort. We are lacking human connection right now so it is vital that we don’t drift from the people we cherish in our lives. Ultimately, the moments we remember most in our future are the connections we make with people!

4. On the other end of the spectrum: cut out all the negativity from your life. If you had ever noticed that there were constant sources of unhappiness coming your way, always remember that YOU hold the power to get rid of it. It is so important to communicate! If you feel like someone has done you wrong, then don’t be afraid to speak about your emotions instead of holding it in and having messy arguments later.

5. Exercise more—Go outside in the fresh air, it really boosts your mood. Biking, hiking, running, yoga, and so many more endless possibilities! Personally, I find that taking walks is extremely therapeutic. It gives you a chance to get away from the “real world” and connect with nature. Try listening to music or a podcast when you’re out if you get bored easily.

6. Document your memories so you have something to look back on, whether it be writing about it, recording videos, or making photo collages. Your life is what you make of it 🙂 I recommend using apps like “1 Second Every Day,” where you can record a 1-second snippet every day of the year and in the end, you have a cute little video of all your favorite moments to look back at! Sometimes we don’t even realize how good life was until we look back and reminisce on the past.

So, there you go! These are just a few simple ways that you can motivate yourself to be a better person and change your negative train of thought. Just remember to stop waiting around for the future and start living in the moment. I know this is easier said than done, but this means to not take the small things for granted because deep down, you know you are going to miss the moment after it is gone. Especially in these unpredictable times, we really have to learn to value every little thing in life. Make this year YOURS!

Beauty is Terror

When I was five years old, I believed that America was a beautiful place. Freedom and belief permeated the outdoors while the sun always shined, seemingly to bless us with its very presence. When I was younger, I had believed that America, with its very righteous and democratic thoughts, was the living definition of beauty.

As I slowly grew up, America showed that, while it could still be beautiful, it could also be frightening. While I may have once been shielded away from the dark side, I was now thrust right in the midst of it, tearing youthful images of the once-brilliant masterpiece that was in my mind:

Discrimination against Asian-Americans is spiking up due to COVID-19.

Black Man Shot and Killed While Jogging.

66-year Old Asian Wounded While on Subway.

An Ugly Tornado of Islamophobia Has Reared its Ugly Head.

They kept coming. These ugly parts of America were exposing themselves little by little, breaking down the once beautiful images I had of the country. Those parts became demons—hungry for the hate, hungry for the negativity, hungry for the violence, hungry for the brutality.

The demons waged a war against us. We fought hard, but they fought back harder. The sun shone above, while a beautiful blue sky reared its alluring head as if it wanted to drive those demons—those hungers—out of the country. But to no avail. The demons continued to pollute the country, pollute our minds, pollute our thoughts; until finally, we weren’t even able to remember the foundations on which this country was built.

A little girl once dreamed that America was beautiful. Yet when she grew up, she quickly realized that the beautiful parts of America were overshadowed by the ugly parts.

The ideas that we fought for; were beautiful.

The freedoms that we won; were beautiful.

But the ugly demons that reared their ugly heads overshadowed them.

The racist comments.

The screams for violence.

The constant need to remind people that minorities do not have the same privileges as others, because of their beliefs, their skin.

Though her dream has crumbled piece by piece every day, she still carries the same hope inside of her:

That one day, America will be beautiful.

That one day, minorities will not be oppressed, will not be discriminated against, will not be brutalized, will not be waged against, will not be shot for no reason, and will be accepted.

And though this hope is still there, and though she has come to terms with the truth of the situation, she hopes everyone will see the truth too:

America is beautiful. But the beauty is terrifying.

Lessons from 2020

1. Don’t compromise yourself for other people.

Not even your friends. In fact, if you have to force yourself to like something to make them like you, then they’re probably not your friend to start with. I remember, in middle school, I had a K-pop phase. But did I really like K-pop? Hard to say. I did it mostly because I wanted to stay friends with that cool popular girl I went to elementary school with. It’s fine to samp

le things other people like, but if you listen to alternative and indie, don’t forsake your Halsey and Maggie Rogers for some mainstream rap you know you won’t like just to make conversation with him. It’s not worth rewriting yourself for someone else. Remember, you write your narrative on your own terms. Always.

2. Rely on yourself.

If I learned anything this past year, it’s that, in the end, you can only rely on yourself. As cynical as this may sound, no one is obligated to help you. There’s always some interest at play, be it money, power, love, what have you. When I was alone in quarantine in a country where I don’t belong, who did I have? Me, myself, and I. So don’t expect people to come to your aid, even if you asked. Friends and family help you because they love and care about you, not because they have to. With that said, be grateful when they do, but don’t assume that they always would.

3. Trust your instincts.

Even when reason tells you otherwise. Sometimes your gut/heart knows better than you think you do and, of course, over-rationalizing and over-analyzing can do more harm than good. I’m not saying completely forgo reason, but you gut/heart sees signs your mind doesn’t necessarily recognize or remember and that’s when your subconscious is on your side. So if someone’s vibe is just slightly off, or if you haven’t wanted to go to a certain club’s meetings in a while, maybe they’re just not for you. And vice versa. If, for reasons you can’t explain, you feel a certain connection with someone, or a school, a field, a hobby, maybe you should just go for it. It’s how I made some of my closest friends; it’s how I’m got to study in this high school I do not want to ever leave; it’s how I found writing. Sometimes just a feeling is enough, especially in terms of people.

4. Read read read.

The proverbs are right—there are hidden treasures in books. And if years of (serious) writing have taught me anything, it’s that you have to read to get better at writing. Read and read broadly. Read classics. Read New York Times Bestsellers. Read magazines you pick up for free at salons and read the self-published short stories and blogs. Just pick up a book and keep reading. It’s how you collect inspiration for your own stories. It’s how you grow as a writer, scholar, and person.

5. Self-care is not selfish.

I’m not saying that this past year is when I finally learned to love myself, but I will say 2020 has taught me, or rather, forced me, to take care of myself; with everything going on, I had to do something to keep myself together, or at the very least feel a semblance of togetherness. There were some trial and error, for sure—I experimented with a range of activities from watercolor, making smoothies, making rosewater and flower dye, to reading in the back yard, hula-hooping to Norwegian indie music, journaling, and following eye-makeup tutorials. I found a few things that work and I’m glad I tried the others that don’t quite help me. At least now I know. And while it took me some time to realize, I know now that, as much as I feel like I don’t deserve the luxury of self-care, especially when others have it much worse than me, I actually do. We deserve to take care of our mental health. We owe that much to ourselves. Sometimes, it might just be 5 minutes in the sun or a short walk, but that could be enough to boost your mood for a day. It’s a start.

6. True friends are there.

Remember how when all the flights got canceled, your best friend opened her home to you. How when everything seemed uncertain, your friend texted if you had a place to stay. How every week your roommate spammed the group chat to remind everyone of your Zoom function; instead of pizza parties, movies, and poker, now you play Cards Against Humanity and Pictionary, laughing still. How you Facetimed your friends for hours, sometimes past midnight, played games with them over Discord, ran to them when you first got back to campus, six feet apart still. Remember how they cheered for you when you walked up to the outdoor stage on the Garth to finally perform a spoken word poem in person, cheered so loudly you could barely hear yourself for a second before you could grab the mic and laugh behind your mask and thank them. While you must learn to rely on yourself, know that true friends are there, always.

7. Be kind.

To yourself and others. If you could be anything in this world, then be kind. We’ve all gone through enough this past year, and we deserve some kindness, from ourselves and from others. So to make that happen, we have to lead with example. Start with small acts of kindness. Give yourself a pep talk in the mirror in the morning. Write people notes and texts to remind them they’re loved. Even strangers. Call up a friend, your family, classmates, co-workers… Spend some extra time with your pet. This world can be a lovely place if we all try to love each other. You just have to start showing your love, somewhere.

Positive Things That Happened in 2020

I think we can all agree that 2020 was undoubtedly a chaotic year, and we all just want to forget about it. This is especially because we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes it difficult to think of anything good that happened last year. However, though it may not seem like it, 2020 was worth remembering. Here is a short list of reasons why:

1. The Black Lives Matter Movement

Though we like to pretend that racism is in the past, it really isn’t. According to Nature, “Black men are 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police during their lifetime.” When it comes to police brutality, there has been a pattern: the number of non-white people killed by police is always equal to or higher than the number of white people killed by police,according to data collected from the years of 2013 to 2019. Moreover, these police officers are rarely convicted and sent to jail.

In May 2020, the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer spurred worldwide protests against police brutality and racism—protests that are continuing to this day. And though they may not eliminate racism once and for all, they are bringing us one step closer to achieving equality.

2. The Environment

While the lockdown may seem like a curse, some good news came out of it for Mother Earth. Our planet has had to deal with one consequence after another: steadily increasing carbon emission rates, rising ocean temperatures, global warming… the list just goes on and on. At least with the lockdown, fewer people have to commute to work. For however long that lasts, it’s a blessing.

3. More Dogs Being Adopted

Alessia Cara (my favorite singer) got a dog named Cleo in July. Then, in late October, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello got a dog named Tarzan. Celebrities getting dogs seems to have been a trend in 2020 (and I sure hope that trend continues!).

But as it turns out, it wasn’t just celebrities: Thousands of families brought home furry friends to get them through what was a tough year. According to USA Today, “for the 24 weeks ending Aug. 15,” sales of dog diapers went “up 202% from the same period [in 2019].” It’s no surprise that dog adoption rates soared; who better than man’s best friend to accompany you when you’re stuck at home during a global pandemic?

4. Baking, Baking, Baking.

The baking craze was probably the sweetest thing that happened last year (haha, get it?). I remember baking pumpkin pies, chocolate chip muffins, and macadamia nut cookies—and, of course, taking pictures of them so I could show all my friends. The sugar definitely helped us get through the Zoom fatigues, headaches, and loneliness that 2020 brought us.

5. Some YNA Statistics

It’s incredible how YNA started out as just a personal blog, but by March last year, we had opened our organization to teens all around the world so their voices could be heard. Now, we have members all over the USA as well as in 3 other countries. Additionally, we’ve gained over 400 followers on Instagram, 700 followers on TikTok, and in March, we reached a thousand views on our website every day for an entire week!

Thank you to all our followers because it is your time that has brought YNA to where it is today!







50 New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2021

  1. Keep a Mental Health Journal.
  2. Volunteer.
  3. Start eating breakfast.
  4. Shut off your screen 30 mins before you sleep and read a book.
  5. Set a regular exercise routine.
  6. Keep your workspace tidy.
  7. Maintain a healthy diet.
  8. Find a new hobby.
  9. Promise yourself an incentive to finish work so you won’t procrastinate.
  10. Combat your stress with quick de-stressing methods.
  11. Shut off your phone or hide it in a closet when you’re working.
  12. Get 8 hours of sleep every night.
  13. STOP degrading yourself-
  14. -Engage in positive self-talk instead.
  15. Learn a new hobby every week.
  16. Carry a water bottle wherever you go and have a sip of water every 30 minutes.
  17. Try something you’ve always wanted to try but never had the guts to. that interests you.
  18. Take at least a 15-minute walk every day.
  19. Do those chores you’ve been avoiding.
  20. Declutter…
  21. …and donate the clutter.
  22. Make a work schedule.
  23. Make a to-do list.
  24. Cook one meal every week.
  25. Keep in touch with friends and family.
  26. Do one thing on your bucket list each week.
  27. Recognize your feelings.
  28. Talk about your feelings.
  29. Compost.
  30. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
  31. Start a garden.
  32. Cultivate your passion.
  33. Do one kind thing a day.
  34. Wake up at the right time—not at noon.
  35. Spend time with your family.
  36. Follow the news.
  37. Meditate for 15 minutes every day.
  38. Do at least 10 minutes of yoga every day.
  39. Have a “me” day every once in a while.
  40. Make your bed every morning.
  41. Start a blog.
  42. Restrict the amount of time you use social media every day.
  43. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.
  44. Quit labeling yourself and others.
  45. Improve your grades.
  46. Every so often, have a technology-free day.
  47. Conquer a fear.
  48. Slow down… Avoid hustle culture.
  49. Strive to be the person you want to be.
  50. Join YNA!