I Joined Odyssey A Year Ago And I Have Grown More Than Just A Writer

I Joined Odyssey A Year Ago And I Have Grown More Than Just A Writer

It's been a great experience.

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It's been almost a year since I joined Odyssey and I have grown in so many ways. As a college student, as an advocate for my own health and mental illness and the stigma around it, and as a writer. I joined Odyssey because I have always loved writing, but it quickly grew into something more for me.

College and your twenties are all about growing as a person and learning who you really are. I haven't been someone who keeps their mouth shut when they have a strong opinion; it normally gets me into trouble. If it was a joke that I didn't think was funny because of my ethics, or around stigma on a mental illness.

I have been someone who has always had something to say. Something that has stayed with me since I've started writing is: If you haven't made anyone mad or cause a reaction am I really a writer? It's something I say to myself, to my mom and sometimes my boyfriend when I tell them what the next scandal I'm going to talk about.

Ever since I was a kid I filled notebooks with poems, songs, and short stories, or honestly sometimes stories that took up multiple notebooks. Writing has always been a passion, a love, and something I don't find difficult. Most people find me making lists of ideas, writing or editing now a days. I know people say "you don't have to make your passion your job," but why hate your life when you could be doing something you love?

This past year I have learned a lot about myself, about my family, about our government, and about our country as a whole. I have learned what makes me mad, what makes good views, and what I think is important to share. Some people are probably thinking, "You didn't have to share your rape story" or, "You didn't have to share your anxiety struggle" but it has helped people. I am put on this planet to help people, I know that.

Since I have joined I have written fifty-eight articles and some days I sit back and think of how many people I helped, how many people I have given a voice for, and how many people I have helped with my advice and my own journey as a twenty-one-year-old, to a twenty-two-year-old. From death to love, to anxiety to chronic pain. It has been a journey and there has been nothing but support from my friends, family, and other editors near and far.

Sure, Odyssey is good for a resume and I have that in my back pocket for when I want a job in the writing field when I graduate; but it is so much more for me.

It's this giant cliff of support and telling me to take a chance, take a leap (as a cliche that is) and it was worth every fear.

The fear of what people were going to say, what people were going to think of me, if I would lose friends to say the truth, or if my family would be upset with something I posted that I haven't talked to them about. I am so thankful for this journey, and can't wait what year two brings me.

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10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

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Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

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The Art Of Loving What We Can’t Have

We really do love to break our own hearts, don't we?

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I'll never forget the first time I looked in the mirror with fire in my lungs begging myself to stop the insanity that is loving things that don't love me. When I choose to love, I do so selflessly. I have never loved to be loved in return. I'm sure you can see where this becomes problematic…

Most of us are selfish. We don't just love selfishly, but our entire beings are riddled with selfishness. It's like a plague. Humanity by nature is so self-minded that they can't even begin to imagine the pain they are capable of causing. If we can't have something, we chose not to love it. We choose to turn our backs and be cold. We do so for selfish reasons. The fear of unrequited love, the fear of pain, the fear of transparency; they are crippling.

Did you ever think that maybe simply not being able to have something, doesn't mean it didn't love you back? Did your mother ever tell you that you can't always have everything you want? Did she lead you to believe this meant she loved you less?

I broke my own heart in two the night I had to let the caterpillar-turned-butterfly leave and be free. I watched it grow, I provided it with what it needed, but yet it still left. Five years old and I could not breathe because the pain from loving this small creature had closed off my throat in flames of knowledge I would come to discover in the future. I didn't stop loving it so I would hurt less, I loved it through the pain because everything on this earth deserves to be loved. Can you imagine what a human could do to me?

I broke my heart again when the man I loved couldn't stay. Not because he didn't want to, but because he had to, as life goes. There was no malice, there was no falling out, there was only grief. Grief for what I loved, and would still love, even when it was gone.

Loving is meant to be selfless, but loving one who does not love you back may be the most selfless thing on this earth. I went back to the mirror, fire in my lungs—this time I let the tears roll, quietly and softly down my face, onto my neck, feeling the fire just beneath the skin. I let myself feel my heartbreak. I did not scream, I did not sob, I simply felt what I felt.

I broke my own heart, but I took the pain because I would rather love what does not love me than never know love at all. What if they do love you back? My answer is simple; if you have loved, who loves you back matters little. You will always be loved in return—everyone is loved by someone. Everyone deserves this.

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