The Odyssey Gave Me A Voice And I Am Forever Thankful

The Odyssey Gave Me A Voice And I Will Forever Be Thankful

Some run or listen to music as their outlet but for me; it was writing.

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When I was young I have always loved writing. I loved using my imagination but the older I got the more I started to journal. Of course my parents would read my journals so I stopped writing altogether because I did not want them to read what I was feeling. I wanted everything I wrote to be kept to myself and so I tried to find a different outlet to express myself. I tried sports, I tried learning the piano, I even tried being out of the house a lot. Little did I know; none of that helped me a lot. It wasn't until I went through a lot this past summer that I got back to journaling.

I won't go into a lot of detail about what happened but let's just say it was a pretty life changing experience. I lost friends that I thought were my "ride or die" and at one point I lost who I truly was. I felt like no one was listening to me and nothing I did was right. I felt so helpless and discouraged in my own house that there have been nights where I sat on my bathroom floor and thought about taking my own life; that's how helpless I was. I kept on journaling, I kept on expressing my emotions, and I kept talking to my best friend whenever I was down. There was one day to where I was talking to my best friend and I had asked her for different outlets to express myself whenever I was upset and when she had suggested I sign up for The Odyssey; my life had changed.

i had signed up, received a welcome email and phone call from the president, and immediately got started on my first article. I remember reading articles from The Odyssey and how simple articles made me feel like I wasn't alone in the world, how there were other people that knew exactly how I felt and what I was going through, all of those feelings I had experienced when I read the articles; that's how I wanted my readers to feel. My first article was probably one of my hardest articles I have ever typed up to this day It was raw, honest, and made me cry after I had pressed submit. After I finished crying not only was there this huge weight lifted off my shoulder but I was nervous about how many people would read my article but how many people will my article touch.

As I kept on submitting my articles I kept on realizing how many views they were getting. I did not realize how much they were getting read and it felt so weird realizing that it was my voice was being heard through these articles. I never thought that my articles were well written simply because I usually just type all of this up on the spot, but it touched my heart that people were reading my articles and some people were even sharing them on their Facebook.

The Odyssey not only gave me an opportunity to let my voice be heard but it also saved my life. Being a content creator allowed me to express how I am feeling, my inner thoughts, but also it gave me a healthy outlet to share my emotions instead of bottling up all of these emotions inside and beyond a supportive community. My articles may not be well written but it is who I am and I will forever be thankful for The Odyssey, my president and EIC, my community, but most importantly; my readers for allowing me to share my voice.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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