The Pain & Beauty Of Vulnerability

The Pain & Beauty Of Vulnerability

Why being vulnerable is so scary.

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Being vulnerable is something that has never come easily to me. Being able to openly discuss what's on my mind has been a constant struggle throughout the many relationships and friendships I have had. "Why are you mad?" was once the most frightening questions someone could have asked me.

Vulnerability is a scary concept that I think about nearly every day in many social interactions.

But why do I feel this overwhelming difficulty of telling people how I truly feel? Is it because of how I was raised? Is it because of a life experience Is it just because I hate confrontation?

If we are being real, it's probably a combination of multiple things, but here I am attempting to let myself and the stories I have been brought to attention.

It's no fault to my parents, but more so to society, that I wasn't comfortable talking about what was going on inside my mind. In a world where women were, and still are, consistently silenced, being speaking my mind never seemed like the smart thing to do.

I used to, and honestly sometimes still do, think it's tacky to put exactly how you are feeling out into the world for everyone to see, read, comment and ask questions about. I used to delete "friends" (those people you add on Facebook but aren't really your friends in real life) off of the social network who opened up too much on their statuses or Tweets because they annoyed me and made me think too much about my own life.

I would rather no one know the personal details of my life. I would rather idealize my life to everyone around me and deal with my issues on my own time. But that's not the way the world functions and being vulnerable is a crucial point to living a less stressful life.

My hopes with my new endeavor of being a writer for Odyssey is that this platform allows me to work on my vulnerabilities and allow people to get to know the real me, and I challenge everyone who reads this article to do the same.

Have a conversation with yourself and those closest around you about something you haven't previously been open about. Journal about it. Write a song. Blog about it. Yell it out your freaking window. Feel the freedom and beauty that comes along with being that vulnerable.

This adventure will squeeze my brain until the vulnerability is oozing out and I'm annoying everyone with my feelings. My life's encounters may not interest everybody, but I feel as though it has value and life lessons within it that could help at least one person, even if that person is just me.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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The Faces And Future Of Sustainability In The Fashion Industry

The science is unanimous: climate change is real, and it's only getting worse.

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While the conversation surrounding climate change is often plagued by alarmist statements and perilous precautions, there is a practical and hopeful narrative that can be found in its solutions. As much finger pointing as society likes to do, the causes of climate change would take all ten fingers and more to point out the root issues. One of the culprits that hit closest to home is the fashion industry. As an aspiring design major, I've been directly faced with the reality of the industry's harmful habits. Quick turnaround, high demand, and evolving expectations make the production environment very complex to navigate at the least.

Although the fashion industry caters to just about 7 billion people, it doesn't excuse companies, brands, and labels from producing at the expense of our world. Despite the long-held attitude of indifference towards its side-effects; as of late, climate science has left no choice for the industry but to change course. The science has made it evident that we've run out of time to be apathetic; action must be taken, and it must be taken now.

Enter the side of the climate change conversation that's introduced a variety of initiatives to promote change. Whether it's recycling ocean plastic into tennis shoes like Adidas, using up waste fabrics from larger companies like Zero Waste Daniel, or Kate Hudson's Happy x Nature, which has been developed from sustainable materials, the fashion industry is venturing into a greener future.

Adidas first announced its plans to create a sneaker from recycled ocean plastic in 2015, "Parley for the Oceans." Since the release of their first tennis shoe four years ago, they sold 5 million pairs in 2018, and they're aiming to turn out 11 million pairs in 2019. Ocean plastic is a huge threat to marine life, and it's not enough to just stockpile it in a landfill. Adidas's product development team cleverly provided a solution for at least some of that plastic. What's great about the shoe, too, is that it retails right around the price point of most of their other styles at around $130.

Alongside Adidas's recycling, Zero Waste Daniel, a designer based in Brooklyn, NY, has made it his mission to use excess fabric scraps from the industry in his own designs. Using a number of techniques, Daniel combines these remnants into new fabrics, fashions them into appliqués or mosaics, or creates whole garments. Alarmingly enough, it's reported that about 21 billion pounds of waste textiles are going to the dump from the US alone. By gathering up the leftovers from other companies, his products are helping to prevent the wastes from continuing to end up in landfills.

Although not made from reused fabrics, Kate Hudson's latest fashion venture, Happy x Nature, is produced solely from sustainable materials. The fibers of the fabrics are made from recyclables like plastic bottles, and the packaging is stated to be biodegradable. Not only is the new line eco-friendly, but it's also relatively affordable with prices ranging from $45 to $150. Let me tell you, Hudson really knocked it out of the park with this concept. I've browsed through the pieces and have fallen in love with the majority. The pieces are seriously adorable and so trendy, but the biggest seller is that I can feel good about purchasing them.

While recycling ocean plastic and sourcing waste fabrics are important strides in the right direction, consumers play an enormous role in this issue. For any of these initiatives to work, there must be consumer demand at the other end of the product. Companies and brands need to see potential consumers for greener products in order to place such products on the market. As such, as consumers, we should reevaluate our own shopping habits in regards to the apparel industry. We must take accountability for how much we purchase, how often we purchase, and how we manage the clothes after we've bought them. Our demands as customers must also align with the push for greener production and shopping patterns.

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