How To Let Go And Say Goodbye

How To Let Go And Say Goodbye

How writing can impact those around you but only after you help yourself first.
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I decided to start writing for the Odyssey during one of the most turbulent times in my life. At 19, I was being forced to reevaluate myself as both an individual and as a member of the community around me. Needless to say, things were not great.

I work as a Writing Tutor here at ASU, and the only place in which I felt utter calm and unemotional was at work. Assisting other students with their papers, diving from my world into theirs, was such a fantastic escape that I wondered how to carry that escape home with me. I hadn’t written anything for myself since middle school and, when I first sat down to write, I felt burdened with the enumerated amount of things I wanted to say.

I truly got my voice back. I traversed through the various topics and avenues that writing can take on, and I pushed myself to write unlimitedly; not bogged down by research backed arguments, but rather stories I knew – the things that only I knew how to say.

After my hospitalization I was faced with two options; I could tell everyone about it all or I could keep it to myself. While I didn’t want to run and scream from the mountains shouting what had happened, I wanted to be able to control the narrative. The truth always comes out, and I figured if I addressed the situation immediately people would understand my perspective and maybe I could assist others in similar states of mind.

Writing for the Odyssey has been a freeing experience, but the way that my voice has adapted itself is no longer fitting with the personal narrative voice. The way that I am best able to express emotions (something I am very bad at) is through poetry, which is ironic because I absolutely detest poetry.

So, while I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at the Odyssey, I do believe it’s my time to say farewell. I think I need to spend more time pursuing what will further my mental health and, while writing about it has been beneficial, I think some of this journey must occur behind the scenes.

I hadn’t truly realized how public my writing would be and that I’d be subjected to the views and opinions of people I’d never met before. I was, of course, aware that others would be reading my writing, I just hadn’t grasped the true scope of people that my words were reaching.

I truly hope that my writing has positively impacted you. I love finding new avenues with which to express myself, and I hope that writing honestly about the things that are impacting me or the globe in general has had some benefit to your life. I want to continue to help those who are going through their mental health journey. I want to be the voice of reason and an advocate for mental health reform, but I cannot truly do so right now as I am still working on finding balance in my own recovery.

I wish you all the best, thank you for reading what I have to say. As always, I hope to remain a person that people can go to if they are struggling mentally or at least someone who can send you in the right direction. Until we meet again.

-Isabel

Cover Image Credit: Marii Krueger / Instagram

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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You Might Love Being A CNA, But That Compassion Won't Show Up In Your Paycheck

A big heart means nothing if you're struggling to make ends meet.

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To the ones who love their job and doing what they do but is on the fence about leaving their job, I was in your shoes, too.

I knew when I started my job as a CNA (certified nurse's assistant), it would be a hard one. If you know anything about the job duties of a CNA, you'll quickly understand that for all of the work that we do, we're ridiculously underpaid and overworked.

I'll start by saying I loved my job.

Though the days were long and I was on my feet more than I sat down during the day, I loved being able to help people. I loved being able to make people smile and hear a simple "Thank you" and sometimes, that's all I needed for my day to do a full 360. I could be having the worst day in the world and covered in random bodily fluids, but walking out of a resident's room and hearing them quietly tell you that they appreciate what you've done for them, that's truly the one thing that can change my entire day, knowing that my hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

But compassion doesn't pay mine or anyone else's bills.

Someone could love their job and be happy to be there every single shift, but when you're overworked but so underpaid, your compassion may not leave, but your bills begin to pile up and you're stuck with not knowing what to do. If you're anything like me, you'll be so conflicted about leaving your job to find something better financially, but you know that you're leaving a job you enjoy doing and you may not find that enjoyment elsewhere.

At the end of the day, you have to realize what would be best for you. You can be the most compassionate about your job, but that compassion means nothing if you're struggling to make ends meet. I know from experience that if you're in a field like mine, it's hard to leave because you know people will need you, but you have to do what's best for you and only you.

Compassion doesn't pay the bills.

You may have to leave a job that you love, but there are so many opportunities out there and, who knows, you might find one you enjoy just as equally.

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