Every week I willingly stare at a blank page before writing my Odyssey article. And that is what I always dread. I think what will become of it? Do I want to write about something funny or deep? Will people even read that? What the heck do I have to say to the world? And sometimes the answer is "nothing." But I committed to writing something so I can't turn in a blank page. I turn off all the music and distractions around me, and for one of the only times during the week, I sit in silence. Instead of listening to other people through podcasts, music, TV, and conversation, I listen to myself. I dig deep about how I am feeling lately and what is important to me. I've never discovered more about myself than after staring at a blank page. I've realized that no matter what, I always have something to say. There is always more of me to share. That's the infinite complexity of being human.
A year and a half after of forcing myself to stare at a blank page every week, I have realized I have so much to share and contribute to the world. In middle school, I would journal and write poems almost every day. But the demands of high school, college, and social media greatly tarnished this habit. I felt like I wasn't worth the time and energy of being vulnerable with myself, so I stopped. But now since I've been writing every week, I have so many poems, reflections, and funny articles to look back on. I have discovered so much about myself with the humbling visual silence of the blank page. It is my place to create, express, and connect my journey to others. I will never write an odyssey article that is not authentic to myself just because I think it's sensational or what everyone will want to hear. That would be an injustice to the purpose of the blank page.
When was the last time you expressed yourself on a blank page? That doesn't necessarily mean in written form. It could be being the first to share your opinion in a class; it could be being vulnerable and real on social media; it could be a prayer to God with what is weighing on your heart. But I challenge you, take out a blank page and just look at it for a bit. Tune out all of the distractions around you. Think about your story, think about what you have to share with this world. A blank page will quite literally strip you down from all the labels and expectations you come in with. Because it's not judging you, it's just there to listen to your story. No matter if you are male or female, consider yourself a "good" or "bad" writer, or hate your own handwriting. I promise you to have things to say that the world needs to hear. Don't let social media and words from other people define what you are. Discover it yourself. Let each day be your blank page. Start with nothing, dig deep, and I promise by the end, you will have something that you never saw in yourself before.