For this week's article, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to write about, and I almost gave in and produced another article about cliche autumn things. I decided to do something different. Fitting in was never my thing, so why start now?

When I think of Autumn, many things come to mind: leaves changing, scarves, boots, bonfires, Halloween, candy, smores, hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice, Friday Night Lights, cinnamon apples, candy apples, the state fair, and my birthday.

I can't lie, or fake and say that I don't get a tad bit excited when my birthday comes. I do, and I about get a whole month of celebration because I can't see my family on my actual birthday away at school. When my birthday comes each year, I can't help but think about past birthdays, and all the years leading up to the current one. I consider October the month of origins. My parents were married in October, which started our family. Seven years later, I was born in that same month.

It is the origin of me.

During my senior year of high school, I had to write a book about myself for my final project. It consisted of me interviewing family members about my early days. I learned so much about many things that I did or that happened to me.

"Real isn't how you are made, it's a thing that happens to you." -Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

So, this time of the year is when I reflect on what all has happened to me. I think all that has led up until this point in my life. It can be very depressing, but also inspiring. For each terrible, impossible thing that has occurred, I can think of a good one.

I'm proposing a challenge. You can either get a piece of paper and do it, or you can make the list in your head. Whatever suits you best.

1. Write down one bad thing that has happened to you this year.

2. Write down a good outcome that has happened to you this year.

3. Write down something you are dreading.

4. Write down something you are excited about that is to come.

Now, keep your list in that exact order. For every bad outcome (they might be in succession), there is a good one to come eventually. For every futuristic situation, you dread, there is something exciting to happen around the corner.

Things happen. Some really suck and you feel like you will never get out of bed, and others will give you the moment of happiness and peace you wish for every second of the day. All of them make you, you!

So, here is another challenge. Think of five moments in your life. They can be as recent you want, or as far apart in years as you desire. Write these down, or just think of them, but they all have to be good memories. Ones that make you smile. (There is a point behind all of this, I promise.) It can be as simple as when you pulled your first tooth (my dad had to pull mine), or it can be graduation, or your first kiss. It can be anything that makes you smile now.

Those five memories are proof that you are still standing. When things are impossible, and I really don't think I can stay in school, I remember walking across the stage at my high school graduation and how great that felt to accomplish something. When I think about how I no longer have any great grandparents in this world, I think back on nineteen years worth of memories with them. When I wake up in tears after dreaming about my friend who passed away this summer, and I am too upset to get out of bed and go to class, I remember how excited he was for me when I got my acceptance letter to High Point University. When I miss my best friend, I remember every time she listened to me when I was upset, and that she would pick up the phone in a heart beat if I called.

When I feel all alone in this world at night, I remember to pray. Because I am still standing and there is always more to come. For every painful memory, there is a good one, and it's the reason why I am still standing. I can celebrate autumn and October, and be reminded that there is a whole new year of life ahead.