Short Stories On Odyssey: Away

Short Stories On Odyssey: Away

The gravel driveway outside announces a visitor's arrival. My heart starts to pound.

The sun sets on yet another day in the same place. My bed squeaks as I crawl under the sheets. The air that occupies the space between my bed and the window is hot and sticky. The open window gave way to nothing but dense air, so I closed it once again. I lay in my bed, throwing the sheets to the side, cursing the warmth that lay over the room like fog. I push my long hair to the side, sweat sticks to my sunburned neck, a bug bite itches furiously on my right leg. An owl calls out in the distance, the moon shines brightly in the sky and I let myself drift far away. Tonight my mind wonders off to the rolling hills of the Italian countryside. The sun on my face, my feet on the cool grass...there I could have a better life, but crossing over an ocean is hard especially when all I’ve ever known exists within a couple of miles of where I currently lay in the darkness. The owl calls out again, and I turn in my bed to watch as it spreads its wings and flies away into the night. I close my eyes wishing I could do the same, but instead of the ability to fly, sleep finds me instead.

The next morning I’m greeted by the same room, the same smells and the same surroundings. I sigh and take my time waking up. The sun peeks in through the window, hitting my face and turning the inside of my eyelids red. I turn my body to face the opposite wall hoping that if I try hard enough I’ll go back to sleep and dream of faraway places. Knowing that I’m too awake to even think about going back to sleep, I lift myself up and leave the comfort of my bed to make breakfast. The smell of morning swirls around the room, and the toaster announces the arrival of nearly burnt toast. The sun throws beams of light onto the kitchen table, butter melting slowly in their wake. A bee flies around the kitchen in search of the strawberry jam I finished yesterday morning. The toast crumbles slightly in my hand as I spread the butter over the dark brown surface. Raising the bread up to my lips I wonder if this toast would taste better if I were sitting on the porch of an Italian villa. I close my eyes, as I chew, and escape to the Tuscan hills. The bee lands on my shoulder. The kettle hisses impatiently on the stove. The gravel driveway outside announces a visitor's arrival. My heart starts to pound.

Cover Image Credit: Kuoni

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31 Reasons Why I Would NEVER Watch Season 2 Of '13 Reasons Why'

It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

When I first started watching "13 Reasons Why" I was excited. I had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for a long time and thought this show would be bringing light to those issues. Instead, it triggered my feelings that I had suppressed.

With season two coming out soon, I have made up my mind that I am NEVER watching it, and here is why:

1. This show simplifies suicide as being a result of bullying, sexual assault, etc. when the issue is extremely more complex.

2. It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

3. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention has guidelines on how to portray suicides in TV shows and movies without causing more suicides.

"13 Reasons Why" disregarded those guidelines by graphically showing Hannah slitting her wrists.

4. It is triggering to those who have tried to commit suicide in the past or that struggle with mental illness.

5. It glorifies suicide.

6. It does not offer healthy coping solutions with trauma and bullying.

The only "solution" offered is suicide, which as mentioned above, is glorified by the show.

7. This show portrays Hannah as dramatic and attention-seeking, which creates the stereotype that people with suicidal thoughts are dramatic and seeking attention.

8. Hannah makes Clay and other people feel guilty for her death, which is inconsiderate and rude and NOT something most people who commit suicide would actually do.

9. This show treats suicide as revenge.

In reality, suicide is the feeling of hopelessness and depression, and it's a personal decision.

10. Hannah blames everyone but herself for her death, but suicide is a choice made by people who commit it.

Yes, sexual assault and bullying can be a factor in suicidal thoughts, but committing suicide is completely in the hands of the individual.

11. Skye justifies self-harm by saying, "It's what you do instead of killing yourself."

12. Hannah's school counselor disregards the clear signs of her being suicidal, which is against the law and not something any professional would do.

13. The show is not realistic.

14. To be honest, I didn't even enjoy the acting.

15. The characters are underdeveloped.

16. "13 Reasons Why" alludes that Clay's love could have saved Hannah, which is also unrealistic.

17. There are unnecessary plot lines that don't even advance the main plot.

18. No one in the show deals with their problems.

They all push them off onto other people (which, by the way, is NOT HEALTHY!!!).

19. There is not at any point in the show encouragement that life after high school is better.

20. I find the show offensive to not only me, but also to everyone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts.

21. The show is gory and violent, and I don't like that kind of thing.

22. By watching the show, you basically get a step-by-step guide on how to commit suicide.

Which, again, is against guidelines set by The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

23. The show offers no resources for those who have similar issues to Hannah.

24. It is not healthy for me or anyone else to watch "13 Reasons Why."

25. Not only does the show glorify suicide, but it also glorifies self-harm as an alternative to suicide.

26. Other characters don't help Hannah when she reaches out to them, which could discourage viewers from reaching out.

27. Hannah doesn't leave a tape for her parents, and even though the tapes were mostly bad, I still think the show's writers should have included a goodbye to her parents.

28. It simplifies suicide.

29. The show is tactless, in my opinion.

30. I feel like the show writers did not do any research on the topic of suicide or mental illness, and "13 Reasons Why" suffered because of lack of research.

31. I will not be watching season two mostly because I am bitter about the tastelessness.

And I do not want there to be enough views for them to make a season three and impact even more people in a negative way.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Cover Image Credit: Netflix

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Her Royal Highness, Meghan Markle, Says Goodbye To Successful Career And Hello To Royal Life

Should women quit or change careers for a significant other?

American actress, age 36, will presently settle down with her soon-to-be husband. Never again will she travel on a coach plane unaccompanied, be forced into grocery shopping, balance a checkbook, or pay for another bottle of cheap wine to drink alone in a small apartment. The successful woman plans to launch herself into a completely new lifestyle full of glam and power, with all expenses paid. This particular retired actress, formerly known as Meghan Markle, will marry Prince Harry on May 19, 2018. Why should you care about Markle’s career?

Markle and Prince Henry of Wales KCVO’s wedding is revolutionary because it disregards many written (and unspoken) laws concerning marriage; specifically, Markle is American, was raised Catholic, and is a divorcee. Nevertheless, Markle plans to sacrifice her lifestyle and career in the name of love to maintain a royal lifestyle. We could not be happier for the newlywed royal couple; however, Meghan and Harry’s relationship addresses the question: should women abandon their careers for a partner?

Those who do not understand the concepts of sacrifice and partnership in marriage might view the situation this way: Meghan is blindly in-love and does not recognize the huge detriment being made by abandoning a career. After all her success, Meghan is willing to throw away her governance in the acting industry to become an inferior to her royally-born husband. Not only will Markle’s name formally change, but when marrying into a royal family, she will forever lose the privilege of having an on-screen presence because of talent rather than involuntary paparazzi shoots.

On the other hand, I believe Markle is making a very bold statement by marrying into a dominant, influential family. As when any woman marries into her husband’s family, she must adapt to the people and environment which surround her. Royal expert, Omid Scobie, explains, "She is this woman who is an accomplished actress and philanthropist who wasn’t afraid to use the F-word — feminism. She was already shunning traditional dating protocols... Kate was growing up and becoming her own woman within the palace walls... Meghan has already been through that process." Meghan’s confidence in culturally blending with the British family is nothing less than inspiring. By surrendering her successful career and marrying Prince Harry, Markle demonstrates that sacrifice for love is nothing to be criticized.

While Markle will no longer have the chance to appear on-screen in acting roles, she will be honored with the opportunity to become a figurehead of charity work and make a difference not only in England but the world. In a post-engagement interview with BBC, Markle discusses philanthropy and confesses that “It was really one of the first things we [Meghan and Harry] connected on, just the different things we wanted to do in the world and how passionate we were about seeing change. I think that was what got date two in the books probably."

Just because Markle's career is lost does not mean her ambition has to die, it is simply moved.

As aficionados of Meghan Markle’s acting career, especially regarding her appearance in Suits, we should not stop supporting the actress in all of her endeavors. Regardless of her involvement in the television and movie industry from this day forwards, we should respect Her Soon-to-be Royal Highness’s decision to sacrifice a career for the man she loves. Whether we agree with Markle’s decision to abandon her career for the Prince or not, we cannot help but congratulate the new couple and hope that their matrimonial lasts long and thrives.

Cover Image Credit: USA

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