Raising My Glass To 2018

Raising My Glass To 2018

Here's to a much needed, much appreciated change.

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This year has been one for the books. I can sit and think about it all, but, while writing this, I can't quite find the words to say. The past 12 months have been months of change and growth in ways I couldn't have thought possible. Of course, this year was big for everyone my age: we turned 18, graduated high school, and some of us went off of college. But, let me share with you some of the details of why I am toasting to 2018.

This year did not start out in my favor. For the first couple months I found myself surrounded by a toxic period of time in which I was stuck going through the motions of my life, but I didn't feel truly there. A blessing in disguise was thrown my way, however, when times changed and people left. I didn't see it at the time, but, as it often happens, when it seemed that things I cared about were falling apart, I was actually allowed space to change everything for the better.

Shortly after, Easter followed, and I turned 18. I've always thought that it was a fun fact that I was born on April Fool's Day. This year it was nice that a more considerably important day fell on Easter. A neater fun fact, I suppose.

The day after my birthday, I spent in Disney World's Animal Kingdom, and my 18-year-old butt put on a Simba tank top and wore my hair in pigtails. Between my outfit, the pigtails, and my brace-filled, ear-to-ear smile, I probably looked like a 12-year-old; but, I will tell you I was the happiest 12-year-old there. My favorite Disney movie has always been "The Lion King", and I got to see their Festival of the Lion King. I adored every minute of it.

I know peers that went to the beach and had a crazy spring break that you really only hear stories about, but I couldn't be happier spending mine with my family in Orlando because I got to reconnect with myself. For the first time in a long time I didn't care what I looked like or what people could be thinking of me, I was remembering how much I loved being childish.

At the end of April I went to my senior prom. I went dateless, with friends, in a dress that I felt amazing in. We all went to a steak dinner in town, danced at prom, and then spent time at your friendly neighborhood Waffle House. We ended the night with a midnight showing of "Infinity War." No one could tear us down or ruin that night.

May 29th, we graduated. There isn't much else to say other than that. Four years of our life came to a conclusion in two hours and it was unbelievable, indescribable.

Over the summer, I worked two jobs. That was a lot of my summer, aside from a week I spent with my four closest friends at our senior trip in Myrtle Beach. We drove down, stayed in a house, cooked our own food when we weren't going out, went to the beach, and adventured around the city. A week well spent with all of us before we all went away to school. I think this week was my favorite in this entire year.

Then it came time to move into a school that I was never certain I wanted to go to. It was a hard transition for me, I'll admit that. I didn't really know what I wanted to do so I didn't understand why I was coming to WVU, yet, it isn't far from my hometown and they have some of the best programs in the country. But, I came, moved in, and, to my pleasant surprise, I found a place. I found old friends and new friends, I've gone on adventures, and I've found new inspiration on possible paths for my future. I found a new home.

In this past year I have struggled with letting go of people I thought would be in my life much longer. I have struggled with feeling like I was watching parts of my world fall apart. But, I am saying cheers for this year because for the first time in a very long time, this year is not ending with me wondering when something is going to change. This may have been a year of pain but it was also a year of growth. I am rid of toxic influences, I reconnected with parts of myself that I never realized had been lost, and I have grown into a happy, confident young adult.

Cheers to 2018! And, thank you for not being another year of involuntary motions.

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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Dance Marathon Helped Me Understand What It Is That I Stand For

What do you stand for?

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The weekend of March 1, 2019, I stood for over 20 hours for the kids. Yep, I am not lying.

Dance Marathon at FSU is a 40-hour event split into two shifts of 20 hours. My freshman year, I earned sit times throughout the marathon, which I was incredibly thankful for, but this year was something totally different. I was on the internal team this year, which means, I worked behind the scenes of Dance Marathon since September. Since I was on the internal team, I did not get the opportunity to get the set times that I did the year prior. I was worried about this because I was not sure if I would be able to do it.

Spoiler Alert! I did it.

There were many times during the marathon where I thought that I could not stand much longer, but then some thoughts came into my mind. Who was I standing for? I was standing for the kids who had to get their leg amputated because they had osteosarcoma and could no longer stand on both legs. I was standing for the kids who are bound to their hospital beds right at this very moment because they are not strong enough to walk on their own. I was standing for the children who needed me to help them win their fight.

This is what kept me standing. This motivated me so much that I did not complain once because I knew who I was doing it for, and I was not going to let them down.

There were multiple people who kept complaining. Every word out of their mouth was about how their feet hurt, or how they were so tired. A large part of me wanted to turn to them and tell them, "Do you know how tired Grayson was when he had to have his many rounds of chemotherapy when he was just one-year-old?" I did not say that to them because I realized something. I knew what and who I was standing for, but maybe they didn't. My goal this year is to help all of those people understand WHY they are doing it.

20 hours on your feet may seem like a long time, but to watch $2,210,165.21 go up at the end, nothing compares.

Like the musical group Fun. once sang, "What do I stand? What do I stand for?" To that, I say, "I stand for the kids."


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