For The Parents Of An Independent Daughter

For The Parents Of An Independent Daughter

Because of you, we are fearless in ourselves.

You taught us how to be bold, and how to be organized, and you taught us to be independent. We grew up with strong role models and because of that, we have grown up to be strong individuals. We watched you love others unconditionally and in the midst of your selflessness we watched you love yourself; we were mesmerized and inspired.

We left for school at age 18. Or maybe we left before that. We have been ready to take on the world since we were young; we are an old soul in a little body. We have dreams so big that we get lost in them. We want to do everything, and we want to do it all on our own. We take on big tasks and rarely ask for help. We pride ourselves in our ability to get things done on our own, and we don’t stop until we have done it perfectly. When it comes to our pride it is easily damaged. Sometimes in our march through life, we lose track of those who have helped us to get where we are. We have planned everything out, and sometimes we forget about the people who have helped us along the way: You.

But, we aren’t oblivious to the fact that you want to be involved. We know you want to help. We know you try your best to care for us and take care of us, and we know that sometimes we make it that difficult. Sometimes we pull away or get angry when you offer advice or help. We know that we aren’t always easy to talk to, or easy to care about because we are more than capable of doing it ourselves. We are aware that we are sometimes hasty and harsh, but that is just because we want to do things on our own, but we know we can’t. And that might just be the most frustrating thing of all. We know we don’t always show affection and we are always focused on the future. And we’re sorry. We mean well.

So next time you feel like we don’t need you, just remember: we will always be daddy’s little girl and our mother will always be our hero. Thank you for raising an independent woman. Everything we are we owe it to you, even if we don’t act like it. We did not get this way of life from ourselves, we go it from you. Because of you, we are fearless in ourselves. You raised us to be capable, and hard-working, and assertive. You told us to never settle for less than we deserve. YOU instilled in us a sense of self-worth that cannot be shaken. You equipped us with the ability to take the world by storm. And that is the best thing you could have ever given us.

P.S. We often get homesick and cry because we miss you.

Cover Image Credit: Morgan Kemp

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10 Times My Parents Were Undeniably Right, And They'll Never Let Me Forget it.

Sometimes, you just need to hear from the people that love you most, and actually listen.

Parents. You love them, but you despise when they're right. Your whole life is filled with "I told you" and "because I said so." When you're young, you don't think they could always be right. Well, these are ten times my parents actually were right.

1. When they said someone wasn't really my friend.

I've had so many friendships come and go throughout my life. I remember distinctly the one time I realized my parents were right. In middle school I had plenty of friends, if that's what you could call them. One Friday night at our local skating rink, my dad overheard some of my "friends" call me fat, wondering why I even bothered to show up. As soon as I got out of the bathroom, my dad made me leave. He said, "Karly, those girls aren't your friends." I didn't understand yet what he meant, but I sure would later.

2. When they told me working hard was the most important thing I could do.

I may not be the smartest, but I work hard. Hard work is what has gotten me to where I am today. My parents supported me, and taught me the value of hard work. Throughout the years, this has molded me into the student, employee, and person I am today. There is nothing that can stop me, as long as I don't stop working.

3. When they told me I couldn't depend on anyone.

My mother taught me from a young age that I couldn't depend on anyone. My mom told me, "If anything happened to your father, I could support you and me, and that's all that matters." Regardless of what anyone says, I don't need anybody. I am the only person that I can depend on, and I need to do everything I can to protect myself.

4. When they told me I was beautiful.

For years, I really didn't believe this was true. My famous response was "You have to say that because I'm your daughter." The truth is, I am beautiful. Every single one of us is beautiful. You are beautiful inside, and out, and my parents just happened to be the only people that saw it all the time. They taught me that no matter what anyone says, you are beautiful.

5. They made me make my bed every day.

My parents made me make my bed every morning, because once you feel as if you've accomplished something, your attitude for the day changes. Now, I make my bed every morning, which puts me in the mindset to get my day started. Once I've accomplished one thing, I'm ready to tackle the day. Plus, I have a nice bed to hop into at the end of a hard day.

6. When they told me that I was loved.

As a college student, it's so easy to get overwhelmed to the point to shutting down. It's easy to feel alone, to think that no one cares. However, my parents always told me that I was loved. When I cry for half an hour straight over FaceTime, I know my parents still love me. When nothing feels like it's going right, I know that I am loved and that someone, somewhere is supporting me.

7. They said I was going to be their baby forever.

Yes, I am 20. Yes, I am an adult. But, I will be my mother's baby until the day I die. Whenever I'm sick, I want my mom to take care of me. When my entire world is falling apart, I want my mom to put it back together. No matter what happens, I seek my mother for guidance on how to handle any situation, and how to be okay afterwords.

8. When they said they had my best interest in heart.

Every time your parents try and tell you something you don't want to hear, they have to remind you that they have your best interest in heart. Every time they've told me that something wasn't right or that I was doing something wrong, it was because they wanted me to be a better version of myself. Parents care, even when it doesn't seem like it.

9. When they told me I could do anything I set my mind to.

Being a poor, young woman, there are plenty of people around to tell you that you can't or won't accomplish something. My parents were right in teaching me that it's okay for me to be bold, and to go after whatever I want. Once I set my mind to something, it has taught me to do anything I can to get what I want.

10. I deserve the world.

It took years to understand what this meant. After a few bad boyfriends and mediocre friendships, I finally heard my parents words. I deserve the world. I deserve to have the opportunity to fight for what I want. I deserve to be treated right. I deserve to be loved. I deserve to be admired. I deserve to have the chance to change the world.

I don't know what I will accomplish, and I don't know how I will accomplish it. All I know is that sometimes, parents are right. Sometimes, you just need to hear from the people that love you most, and actually listen.

Cover Image Credit: Karly Taylor

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Why Didn't She Leave?

All voices need to be heard.

One of our writers recently reached out to me and asked that I post this article on their behalf. While powerfully written and relevant, the piece is also incredibly personal and potentially painful to those the author loves. This is what makes sharing the article all the more important; all voices need to be heard. Just as this author has bravely given a voice to the silent, I am proud to share this piece for them.

It is articles like this that remind me of why I decided to write for Odyssey, and why I continue my work for the Emory Community. I hope this article resonates with you all just as it has with me.

I grew up watching my dad beat my mom. There is no question that angers me more and digs more deep than “why didn’t she just leave?” when discussing survivors of domestic violence. It’s understandable that people ask. I used to and felt some resentment about it. But the question “why didn’t she just leave” is something that has given me a lot to think about.

Women in situations of domestic violence can never “just leave.” It’s not that simple. A woman is more at risk of being murdered by when she leaves an abusive relationship than at any other time, and it’s not like some women don’t try.

In my case, I used to wish my mom just left and that my parents would have just separated. I wished that the one time we called the police, he would just go to jail and that would be that. I live my life now trying to be everything he wasn’t, trying to avoid the same modes of aggression and violence that he once was responsible for. I make mistakes. I know that. I just never, ever want to make his mistakes.

But then I realized life doesn’t work that way, and that my mom could have been killed if she left. A survivor of domestic violence is 70 times more likely to be murdered after leaving a relationship. If she took me and my siblings and left, I know my dad would have been angry beyond bounds, and just imagining what he would have done hurts. And I think she knew that. I never was thankful for the fact that although my mom was beaten, bruised, and abused verbally and emotionally, I at least had her around and she was alive. An imperfect and brutal situation was better than none at all.

We moved houses 10 times when I was a kid. The last thing she wanted was for us to move again, because she saw how hurt we were every time we had to clean the slate, move to a new school and make new friends. I see that now, and eventually I see how she handled the tough situation she was in with an incredible amount of grace. She worked the night shift at work so they wouldn’t be together. She slept in a different room, sometimes ours, when things were especially bad.

It hurts when I see happy families eat dinner together, every night of the week. On one level, I wish I had that. On another, I’m glad we didn’t, because I don’t know what would have happened.

She didn’t leave after all those years because she was tough, strong, and fierce. She didn’t leave because despite his cruelty, she still loved him and always gave him the benefit of the doubt, no matter what he did. Despite the monster he was, he was still our father, and a decent one at that, who, despite his flaws, kept food on the table and a roof above our heads. And because she was so fierce, she would never say she was abused, and never use that word to describe the situation, and above all, never admit that sometimes, she was powerless. It’s on me to respect that wish, because that was the way she coped with and handled things.

I just wish she knew that my siblings and I weren’t as fierce, that what happened in that house would mess us up for life. I wish she knew that everything happened had an effect. But I make sure, every time I see her, that she knows that because of her guiding force, now I’m fierce. She doesn’t want me to talk about it to other people, but I can’t just keep a band-aid over it. The healing path of Jesus Christ demands that I make my peace over it.

I wish she knew that the one time we called the police, we thought he was going to kill her, or else we wouldn’t have called 911. But she didn’t leave for us. At the end of the day, it was always for us. We are thoughtful beyond bounds because of her example. We learned what it truly was to persevere through adversity, and as a part of that, I want to put her story, and our story out there.

‘I was able to end my own crazy love story by breaking the silence. I'm still breaking the silence today,” Leslie Morgan Steiner, a survivor of domestic violence said. “It's my way of helping other victims, and it's my final request of you. Talk about what you heard here. Abuse thrives only in silence.’

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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