I'm on an airplane on my way back to New York right now. It's 3 a.m. I love overnight flights because they always seem to go by faster, but in retrospect, flying back always feels faster than flying to. I wonder why. 

I needed to fly back for a holiday photoshoot with my company. And although I'm really excited, I can't help but feel all sorts of anxiety. In this moment, I want to vomit. I hear people tell me, "Lisa, I admire your confidence so much! I wish I could be that confident." I always smile and thank them, but what they don't know is what goes on behind the scenes. It can take me hours to post a photo of myself, I put on ten different outfits before choosing the right one, and I exude confidence the most on the days where I feel like nothing. I think it's important to have those days because it allows you to really fall in love with yourself all over again, time after time. There's always something new to fall in love with. Being in front of the camera is very nerve-wrecking for me - it always has been. It's a constant battle every day between what my body and mind tells me. 

One thing I've learned is that when it comes to my fears, I need to face them head on. It's the only way I'll be able to experience life and be happy. Every time I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and did something that I was too scared to do, it only gave a good result. Except for that one time I auditioned for the school talent show in 10th grade - now that was a big mistake but it's a funny story to tell now. I began facing my fears and doing instead of thinking in high school, when I ran for vice president of the associated student body. I then took the leap to move away and attend a university that was 5 hours away from home. Thereafter, I eventually took the leap to move to New York. This year is the year that I have faced most of my fears. And I could not be more grateful. When you take a chance and do something that you know you're not comfortable with but you choose to do it anyway because you know deep down inside you really want it despite what society says, you are the strongest person you could ever possibly know. My parents took a chance and moved to a country where they did not speak the general and every decision they made was a risk with an unknown outcome. Go into every situation with this mentality.

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I always have headphones in because I daydream. A lot. This is a habit that began in elementary school with cd players. I will not talk to anyone because I'm often too busy daydreaming of an alternate universe. Today, I am still a dreamer. In a conversation with friends, I often digress from the original subject. Where does my mind go? I have no idea. Probably in higher spheres. Sometimes I really don't know. I am somehow mysterious, that's it. Even my family don't know sometimes, how my mind works. Perhaps it's because I'm introverted, but introverted is the wrong term. I am actually nice and open because it's my nature, but I often seclude myself. Not because I want to, but because I need it. Other people are afraid of being alone but I like it. At least from time to time.

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My ultimate goal is to help better society’s unrealistic standards of beauty. To make it more diverse, more unique, and more authentic. I want young teens who read fashion magazines to feel beautiful because they see a reflection of themselves in the models that they see. I want them to feel good about themselves as they flip that very last page of a magazine... to feel like they can be exactly who they want to be and they are in control of their own happiness. Beauty is everywhere and it is in everything. It completely surrounds us. To see models in their rawest form — bruises, freckles, birthmarks. No editing done to alter their bodies or faces. That's how it should be.

"Who defines us? Who tells us if we are perfect or not? I say: Nobody! Nobody knows how you feel... They might assume, but they don't know! Nobody knows what perfect is, because there is no perfection in this world. If they say there is, they don't tell the truth!" ― Yuliya Suleymanova

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i can't stress this enough — a degree, no matter in what or from where, is not by any means an all encompassing measure of intelligence. yes, i have a college degree and yes, higher education is a beautiful thing. i encourage everyone to pursue it. however, it is not a measurement of how smart or intelligent you are or can be. an abundance of intelligent people have never gone to college whether it be they never got the chance or chose not to. while a bachelor's, master's, or phd is respectable in different ways, it does not add more value to you as a human being.

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The Paradoxical Commandments: If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

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We all have a purpose, whether we know it or not. Some of us will cross paths while others will die never knowing the other existed. But we have the power and ability to touch hearts of those that we have never met and will never meet. The importance of our existence tends to be overlooked and this needs to stop. You are important - whoever you are. It doesn't matter what you believe your purpose is, do you think your purpose in life is to be in love, to be a mom? That's great - love is the most powerful force in the world and God gave you the power to bring another life into this world for a reason. Or maybe you end up with a job with no prestige - possibly a janitor at a high school. The students may not notice that you're there, but I promise you this, they would notice if you weren't there. The clean tables, the immaculate classrooms, the shiny floors; they don't magically happen. Mediocre jobs are not done by mediocre people. But these people are what we call "the forgotten." If only they knew their purpose. Do not let anyone patronize you. Whatever it is that you choose.. it will be great. It will be great because it is you.

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I think the bullshit that the media feeds you about beauty is ridiculous and makes us work for a standard of perfection that’s unreal and isn’t what you should be focusing on at all. As cliche as it is, what’s on the inside is what counts. For the media, beauty is about improving yourself physically, whether it’s about plastic surgery or this new line of mascara or changing your face and putting on more bronzer… but what’s important is cultivating your mind and your heart, and that’s what makes you beautiful forever. I’m attached to my hair! I think I’ll cut it when I’m older because I might get bored of it and try something new, but when I do an internal transformation, I manifest it physically. I recently tried to get bangs by rocking faux ones and everyone went ballistic! I received good and bad reactions, I appreciated both on the spectrum. For now... they will remain detached from my head.

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​I've now opened this blog to anyone to read. It's a little scary, but then I thought, why? This platform allows me to write my thoughts that wouldn't fit in an Instagram caption or a Facebook post. Or they just wouldn't make sense. I highly doubt anyone will be reading this, anyhow, mostly because I refuse to believe people actually care about what's going on in my life. I wouldn't be using this to talk about those things anyway, my life isn't what I want to document. I want to document my mind. I have many notes written on my phone that have never been published because I had nowhere to publish them. My thoughts are sacred to me, my words are valuable. And when I'm gone, it's all I would have left behind. What do you want to leave behind when you're gone?

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​There are so many problems in this world, but the one that hurts the most are those that affect children. After more than five years of conflict, Syrians are facing the largest humanitarian crisis in the world with grave protection and human rights violations occurring daily. Nearly 5 million Syrians have been registered as refugees. The Syrian children cannot become a ‘lost generation’. 1 in 4 schools in Syria are not functioning and schools were attacked over 4,000 times since the beginning of the crisis in Syria. Over 2 million children remain out of school and another 400,000 are at risk of dropping out. Two million children are currently out of school in Yemen, due in large part to the ongoing conflict in the country. A new analysis from the World Bank Group finds that children are more than twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty. The deprivations these children suffer affect the development of their bodies and their minds. Now, nearly 900 people are known to have been killed and half a million children live in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. 

These children are the future, we have to do everything in our power to protect them.

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I haven't blogged in awhile. Life got in the way and so much has happened, but honestly, I wish I had documented it all because I just finished reading my older posts from earlier this year and... I'm so embarrassed. It's crazy how, in the moment, you write down your most raw and authentic feelings just as they're happening only to have them turn into something entirely different. That boy and I? A lot happened between us but it was never as serious as I made it out to be. I'm not sure if we dated, I'm not sure if we were anything to begin with. We traveled out of the country together, we were affectionate, but what were we? I still don't know but here is something I do know: I don't care. Not the I-hate-you-because-I-have-feelings-for-you-I-don't-care, but the genuine feeling of not caring about someone anymore. I'm not sure if I cared about him to begin with. He was protective of me and I had a great run with him, but ultimately... we're better off as friends. Between then and now, I've met new people and per usual, I didn't allow them in emotionally - only physically. I've been closed off and isolated my entire life that it's so difficult to let people in. I've never opened my heart because when I tried to, I was constantly questioning my value. I wonder when this will change, or who will change it. I wonder who my first heart break will be. I wonder how it will happen and if it will be worth it. I wonder all sorts of things. 

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