Being Silly Means Being Happy

Being Silly Means Being Happy

Be unapologetically yourself.
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Hi, my name is Maren and whenever I go to Panera Bread, I almost always order a PB&J sandwich from the kids' menu. Last night, I went to dinner with an old friend and she laughed when I ordered my usual. She thought I couldn't be serious -- ordering from the kids' menu when I'm 20-years-old. She later told me, "Maren, you're so silly, but that means you'll always be happy."

And that struck a chord with me.

Maybe it is because I hold onto my inner youth so tightly and refuse to let it go, but I think being silly also has something to do with being vulnerable. Being able to laugh at yourself is equal to unapologetically being yourself. We live in a world where we simultaneously desire to be our own person and fear the judgement of others based on being an individual. But in reality, people do not really care that you wore the same outfit two days in a row, that you fell up the stairs or whatever else you did that you thought was so embarrassing.

Until my junior year of high school, I was always so concerned about what other people thought of me or what I did. When I stopped seeking validation from people who were not my friends and who truly did not care what I did, then I started being unapologetically myself. I joined the cheer team, made new friends and floated between the theater kids and the athletic kids. That year, I started to embrace my weird, quiet and somewhat athletic demeanor -- I was unapologetically myself.

I do not really know what happened junior year of high school except that I allowed myself to be vulnerable.

Being soft, gentle and warm is a different kind of radical. The ability to allow yourself to be vulnerable is very powerful.

Today, scream-singing the opening song of "Star Wars" in my dorm or laughing at myself after doing something embarrassing seems like second nature.

Freshmen year, my very first friends and I used to do this toe touch thing where you reach your hand down to your foot and say "toe touch." It is so weird and I have no idea where it came from, but it is something that bonded us together. One time, I managed to fall over trying to do this toe touch. My friends broke out in laughter and once I brushed myself off, I couldn't help but laugh with them.

Feel free to be unapologetically yourself and remember that you can be silly! Whether you are ordering a PB&J sandwich from the kid's menu at Panera Bread, scream-singing "Star Wars" or making numerous "Spongebob" references, you will be silly and you will be happy.

Cover Image Credit: Zoe's photo

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?

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Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

Fifteen now, and a pile of papers rested on her desk. The teachers all smiled when she walked down the aisle and gave them her presentation. She was content then but oh so stressed, but her parents happy she had an A as a grade, not red on her chest.

Eighteen now and a trail of tears followed her to the door. Partying, and doing some wild things, she just didn't know who she was. She's crying now, doesn't know anymore, slamming her fists into walls, pricking her fingers on roses' thorns.

Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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