Being that I am only 19, I have never been given much leeway to have my own voice. Sure, I have been able to give speeches and state my opinions in close family or friend settings, or at school assemblies, but many people do not know me, nor do they understand me.
When I started writing for Odyssey two months ago, I was not seeking to be heard. I did not have much to say, nor did what I have to say matter to anyone else beside myself. However, after submitting my article and receiving multiple shares and views I started to realize that there was something more behind the words that I was putting on a page; there was a voice.
While I have been a leader on many life occasions; a presenter, a speaker, an advice giver; I have never been what I now consider a voice to be heard. I was a very quiet child, having my sister Gabbie speak for me until I was four years old, but as I grew older I definitely had a lot to say. I have never been afraid to have opinions or to be confident in my words and my resolutions. My voice was something I expressed when necessary, but only then and there, and fitting to the moment.
When I began writing, however, the timeliness of my voice and what I had to say went out the window. Suddenly, I was permitted to say what I felt and to tell the story of my life, no questions asked. It was a revelation that I was able to freely express who I was and what I believed in without having an occasion to do so. My words carried my life, what I have been through, what I have overcome, what I am still battling today. It allowed for every word to encompass the very worst, and also the very best of what goes through my head. Suddenly, I have a reason to share what I believe, and I have a purpose in telling people my perspective; because, suddenly, people want to listen.
Early on this year, I started seeing a therapist for a long-standing personal struggle. I realized that, when I placed in front of a stranger, I was terrified to open up and to let myself be heard. As the weeks went on, however, I realized that who I was and what I had to say was not be unheard. Odyssey suddenly became that outlet, the place that my words could be more than just letters thrown together.
My Odyssey journey has given me a voice I never knew I could have. This is not because I did not have a voice before, but because I am empowered and able in my writing stories and whimsical articles. My words have become structures of encouragement, struggle, and relation. Odyssey changed the way I see my voice, because now there is visible proof that what I have to say is so much more than anything I could have imagined. In writing, I am freed, and in freeing my voice, I have found peace.