Before JennSimpsonPens

Before JennSimpsonPens

Reflecting on my year as an Odyssey contributor...
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On June 27, 2016, I took a bold step forward and published my first article online for the world to see. As an Odyssey contributor, I made a promise to myself that I would try this whole "weekly article" business for a year, no matter what. Some weeks were easier than others. On more than one occasion, I felt like giving up, or that the stress of another weekly deadline wasn't worth it, but I pushed on. Now, here I am, one year later, looking back at a portfolio of 47 (counting this one) posts. I'm somewhat dumbstruck.

I've covered a broad range of topics over the last year, and while some received more attention than others, I'm pleased with my collection of work. Having permission to write about whatever I wanted was amazing (and sometimes, overwhelming). This is an experience I reflect back on fondly. It's been invaluable to have such freedom along with a safety net of editors and a support system of other writers (both for accountability and encouragement). Honestly, I would highly recommend this experience to any aspiring writers who are thinking about branching out.

As for me, this experience has given me the tools and experience I didn't even know I was lacking a year ago to start my own blog (JennSimpsonPens)! At the time of this post, it's still in its infancy, but with the discipline of writing a weekly article for Odyssey, I now know I can handle following a blog schedule.

It's been a great journey (dare I say an odyssey) of learning for me over the last year. Thank you, Odyssey. I couldn't have found my courage without you!

My Odyssey Articles

Disney College Program: DCP Lessons

Just Buy The Toaster

Cry Over The Ranch Dressing

Give Thanks Together

It's A Snake, Sweetheart (Part 1)

It's A Snake, Sweetheart (Part 2)



Movies and Entertainment

Dear Internet, You're Wrong About "Ghostbusters"

Here's The Scoop About "Ghostbusters"

"Book Of The Atlantic" Sets Sail This June

7 Reasons Why You Should See "The Ring" Before You Die

11 Reasons We LOVE Eleven

Blind Date With A Thriller


Food and Drink

Psycho Cupcakes: 13 To-Die-For Treats

Cider And Spice And Everything Nice

Nailed It: Stormtrooper Cupcakes

11 Ways To Dress Up Those Leftovers

What's On Your Cookie Table?

What Blue Apron Doesn't Tell You

Blue Apron Review: How's The Catfish?

Blue Apron Review: Bolognese With Bae

I Don't Want To Give Your Kid A Cheese Sandwich

Free Lunch Might Be Off The Table


Cats

12 Ways My Cat Helps Me Procrastinate

The Cat Who Plays Favorites


Virtues

Why I'm Never Rude To The Cashier

When I Found Dory

Teach Them To Be Kind

Count Your Blessings

Whatever Happened To Our CHILL?



WWE

3 Types Of WWE Fans We All Know

Tag Team Ministry


Work

Today's Goal: Stay Employed

Beware The Boss


Writing

Writing Lessons I Learned From "Hamilton"

Hilarious Homonyms

Ideas Are Like Rocks

Before JennSimpsonPens


Relationships

Long Distance Relationships Suck

Best Big Sister: The Haircut

When You Marry A Writer


Other

Buy A Home, They Said. It'll Be Fun, They Said.

Dragged To The Doctor's Office

15 Inspiring Quotes From #GLS16

How Do You Costume?

Nailed It: DIY Tree Skirt

Goldilumps And The 3 Bras

Easy Pittsburghese

Well, That's A First

Cover Image Credit: Jennifer Simpson

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I'm That Girl With A Deep Voice, But I'm Not Some Freak Of Nature

I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man.

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My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I joke that rather than getting higher, my voice got lower throughout puberty.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when my family members say "Hi Todd" when they pick up the phone when I call. Todd is my brother. I am a girl.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when I have been asked by other females if they're "in the right bathroom" when I tell them "I'm not in line" or "someone's in here" when there's a knock on the stall.

Keep in mind that in most female bathrooms, there are no urinals present and there is a sign outside the door that says "WOMEN." Quite obviously, they're in the correct bathroom, just thrown off by the octave of my voice.

For the girl who asked me if she was in the right bathroom because she was "caught off guard and thought I was a boy," I'm just wondering...

What part about my long hair, mascara, shorts not down to my knees, presence (small presence, but a presence none the less) of boobs, and just my overall demeanor was not enough validation that you are, in fact, in the correct restroom?

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man. Or, when someone calls me over to talk to their friends so they can see how "offsetting" my voice sounds to them.

My favorite story is when I was in a store, and I asked one of the women there a question about a product.

This woman had the audacity to ask me when I "went through my transformation."

She was suggesting that I was a transgender girl because of the sound of my voice. Please recognize that I respect and wholeheartedly accept the trans- population. Please also recognize that I was born a girl, still am a girl, always will be a girl, and asking someone if they are a different gender than they appear to be is not the best way to make a sale.

Frustrated, I told her that she should find a better plastic surgeon and walked out.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be.

And, to make matters worse, I am not your typical "girly-girl."

I die for the New York Rangers, have maybe two dresses in my closet but three shelves full of hand-me-down sweatshirts from my brother and Adidas pants. I do not own a "blouse" nor do I plan on owning one except maybe for business-casual occasions.

Naturally, when a deep voice is paired with a sports-oriented, athletic short-loving, sarcastic girl who couldn't tell you the difference between a stiletto and an average high-heel, I GUESS things can seem "off." However, regardless of the difference you see/hear, no one has the right to make someone feel bad about themselves.

What I always struggled with the most is how (most, moral, common-sense) people will never tell someone they don't know, who may be overweight, that "they're fat" or that they don't like the shirt that they're wearing. Yet, because my voice is not something physically seen, it has become fair game for strangers and acquaintances alike to judge and make comments about.

I used to break down into hysterics when I heard a comment about my voice, whether I was six years old or seventeen years old.

There are times that I still do because I am so fed up and just completely bamboozled by the fact that at the age of twenty, there are still people who just have a blatant disregard for others' feelings and a lack of understanding of what is okay to say and what is not okay to say.

But, just like I ask those people not to judge me, I suppose I can't judge them on their lack of common sense and respect for others.

I'd be lying if I said that the hundreds of thousands of comments I've heard and received targeted at my voice growing up did not play a role in my life. I used to want to be a sports broadcaster. I no longer want to be heard on the radio or seen on TV; snarky comments about my voice being one of the reasons why (among others, like a change of interest and just overall life experiences).

I'd be lying if I said that my struggle with public speaking didn't partially stem from negative feedback about my voice.

I'd be lying if I said that there weren't days I tried to talk as little as possible because I didn't want to be judged and that I am sometimes hesitant to introduce myself to new people because I'm scared my voice will scare them away.

I would also be lying if I said that my voice didn't make me who I am.

I joke constantly about it now, because half the shit that comes out of my mouth mixed with my actions, interests, beliefs, etc., would sound absolutely WHACK if I had a high-pitched "girly" voice.

My voice matches my personality perfectly, and the criticism I have and continue to receive for my "manly" sounding voice has helped shaped me into who I am today. I have learned to love my voice when people have relentlessly tried to make me hate it. I have learned to take the frustration I felt towards my voice and turn it into sympathy for those who have something going on in their life, and therefore feel compelled to make a comment about me, a stranger's voice, to make themselves feel better.

I've learned that to laugh at yourself is to love yourself.

And, I say this not for sympathy. Not for someone to say, "Wait, Syd, I love your voice!"

I say this because I want it to be a reminder for people to watch what they say, and use that noggin before you speak. I say this because I also want to be the voice (haha, get it, 'voice') for those who feel like they've lost theirs.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So no, I would not be a good alto in a choir because I think I'm tone deaf. And, when you call MY phone number, it is very unlikely that it is my brother or dad answering. Just say hello, because 99.9% of the time, if it's ME you're calling, it's ME that's answering.

Dr. Suess said, "A person's a person no matter how small."

Now I'm saying, "A girl is a girl no matter her octave."

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To The Teacher Who Broke My Spirit

Education should not be like this.

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No one should have to sit in a classroom and feel absolutely horrible about themselves. No one should have extreme dread going to office hours. Education should not be like this.

I have always been an A+ student my entire life. Even throughout college, I have remained a diligent and hard-working student. I've loved being involved and engaged in all of my classes. Up until you, I've enjoyed going to class and learning.

You have broken my spirit.

When I walk into your class, I feel completely incompetent. I doubt myself and intelligence every single day. I feel like no matter how much effort I put in, I get nothing out. I could study and do homework for hours on end, yet I still only get below average grades. Every time I have to email you or attend office hours, I have extreme anxiety. Anything that involves you or your class makes me cringe. I know may this sounds super dramatic, but we've all been there at one point or another—and it flat out sucks.

Although you have made my life an absolute living hell, there's one silver lining to having to endure your class. You've made me appreciate all of the incredible professors I've had in the past. You've taught me what a real teacher is, and that is not you.

A real teacher is someone who genuinely wants his/her students to succeed, in both academics and life. They are not the easiest professors in the world, but they are kind and approachable. That is all I ask. I am not looking for an "easy A" from you or your class. I am looking for a teacher that has compassion for not only the topic but for the students too. You give the teachers who genuinely do amazing work a bad rep.

At the end of the day, you have taught me a life lesson...that not all people want me to succeed. In life, there will be people and things that stand in my way of achieving my goals. You have broken my spirit, but only temporarily. If anything, you have taught me to rise above the criticism and the negativity. I am not defined by the grade you give me or the way you treat me. I refuse to sink to your level.

You may have broken my spirit for now, but you will not keep me down for long. As Winston Churchill said,

"Kites fly highest against the wind—not with it."

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