If You Feel Like Giving Up

If You Feel Like Giving Up

Close your eyes, breathe, and create.

My social media news feeds are filled with videos, articles, and posts about the tragedy that occurred in Orlando. I see endless rants about gun laws, ISIS, transgender rights, and Syrian refugees. I see it all and I am tired.

I’m tired of reading and hearing from people who believe that their lives matter more than others’. I’m tired of seeing the pain and the suffering. I’m tired of feeling like no matter how hard I try and how hard we fight, things won’t change.

A few days ago, I was able to see Charlie Puth in concert. We all know the song “See You Again” with Wiz Khalifa, but few know the original version of the song. Charlie closed the show with the piano demo version of “See You Again” as a tribute to the victims of the shooting in Orlando. This was one of the most heartbreaking and inspiring moments in my life.

I couldn’t help but associate the lyric "we've come a long way from where we began" to the strides our society has made with accepting the LGBTQ+ community. We really have moved mountains and made huge leaps and bounds with acceptance, but we still have a lot of work to do.

Possibly one of the most powerful moments of the song is when Charlie sings "carry on/give me all the strength I need" for the last time before the bridge. It’s a cry for help, but it’s also a call to keep going and keep fighting. If I’ve learned anything within the past few years, it’s how powerful music can be. In this crowd of thousands of people, I felt like we were all connected. For those three and a half minutes, we all felt the same energy. Music, art, dance, writing and other forms of creativity all have the power to bring people together. The arts have the power to unite people for a common purpose: peace.

So, when tragedy strikes, I let myself feel sad and I often feel like giving up. But then I move to create something. A simple song on the ukulele, a small sketch, a photograph, a piece on Odyssey. Take your pain and your grief and turn it into something creative. It will help you cope with how you’re feeling and it will inspire positive change throughout the world.

Life is hard. Horrible and unspeakable things happen, but don’t lose hope. Amidst all of these posts of tragedies, there are posts of love. There is talk of Father’s Day and service trips and love. There is so much love inside of everyone, it’s just hard for people to realize it. When you feel like giving up, turn to love. Turn to hope. You have the power to help others unlock their potential. You can be the person to change another’s life and help them realize all of the love and beauty they have inside of them. We all have love. We all have the ability to change the world if we help people unlock their full potential to love one another. With love, acceptance and understanding, we will have peace.

Cover Image Credit: Unity of Walnut Creek

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.


Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.

Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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