Stop searching for perfect…*Hint* It doesn’t exist.

You. Are. Beautiful.

Your height. Your eye color. Your ears. Your teeth. You wouldn’t be YOU without them. There are some things we can change/alter about our physical appearance, but for the most part we are stuck with them. Why not embrace what you have?

Today I read that Pussycat Dolls and X-Factor judge, Nicole Scherzinger, struggled with Bulimia and self-harm…for eight years. And let’s face it – that kind of struggle never truly goes away. Personal battles shape us into who we become and I’m glad so many public figures are finally choosing to come forward with their REAL life issues.

We somehow have this notion that celebrities don’t get depressed and that they are immune to sadness. Little by little we are tearing down the idea that they are these perfect entities who don’t have stretch marks and never had acne. But we have so many examples to prove that it is pretty far from the reality, so why does the misconception continue?

And often the funniest people have struggled the most with depression. Ellen. Jim Carrey. Alec Baldwin. Owen Wilson. (The list is endless…) The people who have inspired you the most have been where you’ve been.

So Nicole, Demi LovatoLady Gaga and many other women in the spotlight have told their stories. Will we allow it to make a difference? Will bullies think twice before they make their next taunt?

How long will it take for these revelations to trickle down to our youth? I think we need more men to come forward and speak on their battles (men suffer from anorexia/bulimia, too).

And don’t think that just because you’re in college that you can’t still set an example for the next generation. Pay attention to the messages you are sending when you are in public. Kids DO pick up on what twenty-somethings do and even if you don’t think you are a role model, YOU ARE.

Perfect example: I went to grab a bite to eat the other day and the there was a young girl (probably no more than eight) sitting at the table next to me. She took a sip of her drink and proceeded to ask her mother/sister…

“You know that show with Snooki?” she asked.

“Yes, I do. JWoww..she was on that show with JWoww.”

“Yes! That show. I want to be JWoww,” the little girl said without laughing.

Wow, indeed. Is this what we’re teaching our little girls? I probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelash if a high-school-aged girl had said this, but an elementary schooler? Again – PAY ATTENTION.

Oh. And more thing. You know that stank eye some girls like to give other girls when they’re out and about? The one they do when they’ve seen someone pretty, someone who is wearing something they like or wish they had. Perhaps try smiling at them instead. Or complimenting them. Lead with kindness instead.

Another example: I was in the line at Chick-Fil-a once and I saw three girls behind the register looking me up and down and talking/laughing. My mind immediately went to a negative place and I started wondering what was wrong with me. However, when I stepped forward to place my order, one of the girls proceeded to compliment me on my laptop case. See, it’s a Walt Disney World case and she LOVES Disney World. I actually ended up sharing my info with her and learned myself a lesson.

And while this blog post is getting way longer than I intended, let me end with this.

We are human. We are all struggling with something. We are all trying to find our way in this crazy game called life. Let’s try leaning on each other more. Even if it feels unnatural or makes you uncomfortable, try it. Try smiling at someone instead of scowling. Try sharing something that makes you vulnerable with a friend.

It’s amazing the amount of doors it can open up.

30 days in jail, probation for former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi

Have you been following this case? Are you feeling a little outraged at the outcome? I’m pretty shocked… and also conflicted.

For those not familiar: Back in 2010, Dharun Ravi  used his webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi. Ravi set up the webcam to capture Clementi’s sexual encounters, which happened to be with another male. Then, Ravi used Twitter to encourage other students to watch said encounters. Tyler Clementi killed himself shortly after. He jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010.

A couple months ago a jury convicted Ravi on 15 criminal counts including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, and witness and evidence tampering.

The jail sentence is set to begin May 31. Ravi was also sentenced to three years of probation, 300 hours of community service, and counseling regarding cyber bullying and alternative lifestyles. Ravi must also pay a $10,000 fine, which will go to a facility dedicated to victims of bias crimes, The Star-Ledger reports.

I took a media law class this past semester and we talked about this case. It enraged me then and it enrages me still. Bullying isn’t limited to the playground and if anything I’m glad this case has forced people to pay attention to just how severe it can be.

Do you really think 30 days of jail is justice? I’m not sure it is. I mean, Ravi did not even speak in court when given the chance. Why not say sorry to the family? Why not take the stand and show how much the experience has taught you? Why not express interest in speaking to other young people about what happened and use it as a teaching tool?

Instead his crying mother took the stand and asked the judge to give her son a chance to live a normal life. But what about Tyler and his life?

It’s hard for me to feel for Ravi when he hasn’t expressed any remorse. However, the optimist in me wants to believe that the whole thing went way beyond his comprehension.

He’s still only 20 years old and would have been an impressionable 18-year-old when he committed the crimes.

And yes, crimes. Invading someone’s privacy is just that. But the Internet has blurred the lines of privacy. Facebook and Twitter make people, especially young people, feel entitled to know the intimate details of other people’s lives. Hell, people share nitty gritty details about themselves all the time – and willingly.

However, I knew better when I was 18. But I knew better before the webcam even existed. So should age even be an excuse?

I’ve never been to jail, so I’m not sure what those 30 days will be like for Ravi. He needs to be punished and live the consequences of his actions. But it’s the counseling that I think he really needs. Or a wake up call… some time to mature.

Is this type of thing preventable?

I really think we should have a class in middle school dedicated to embracing diversity. We need a class or seminar on bullying and how to use the Internet and teach how to respect someone’s privacy.

What do YOU think? Have you been bullied on the Internet? Does the sentence match the crimes?