Being An Odyssey Creator Did More Than Just Improve My Writing

Being An Odyssey Creator Did More Than Just Improve My Writing

It challenged me to share Survivor stories, to open up about my own struggles, and gave me my voice back.

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When I joined this platform, I had one mission: to share my friend's story of surviving a severely abusive relationship and emphasize the need for discussion about domestic violence in small-town America.

Writing that series has been my greatest accomplishment because Mae Matthews and Lynn Mitchell deserved to have their stories told. I just wish they could have shared their own stories with their real names without fearing for their lives.

I don't believe Cody Smtih, the abuser at the center of "Small Towns, Big Secrets," will ever stop doing things that get him arrested. Whether it be assault, drugs, or the litany of other low life practices he engages in, I don't believe he is capable of not being a delinquent. But I'm not convinced he will ever be brought to justice. He's gotten away with too many things, too many times, for me to have any faith in that county's justice system.

I pray that I'm wrong and that he'll see a prison sentence he deserves. But I'm not holding my breath.

Sharing Mae and Lynn's stories gave me the courage to share my own Survivor story.

When that first article was published, it had been eight months since I recovered memories of being sexually abused. I wasn't ready to share my struggles, but I was ready to start speaking out and standing up for survivors of abuse.

This building passion for giving a voice to the voiceless caused three things to happen:

1. I became very unhappy in my job. I felt completely unfulfilled.

2. I created an online support group for survivors of abuse.

3. Writing became my outlet (in more ways than one).

Odyssey helped me land a job.

I had gone through the interview process for a job I really wanted, working to address child abuse in my state. It was my dream job, the perfect fit, everything I could have wanted and more. I didn't get the job, and I was absolutely crushed.

Flash forward to three months later, I'm in a job that I never thought I'd be able to have again. I'm a reporter for the radio station I interned and worked for two years ago. I'm learning things I didn't do before and I go to work every day thinking, "I get paid to do this?!"

I have no idea where the future will take me, but I know at this current moment I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Odyssey helped me find new communities.

I wrote about this last week, so I won't harp on it but this online community of true crime lovin' Survivors has been instrumental to my healing. Check out the Survivorinos Facebook group to connect with us.

Odyssey helped me improve my writing.

I received my first diary at seven years old. Although I only have a few memories from the time of my abuse, staying up late to write in my journal is a memory that always stands out. Happy, sad, mad, anxious, I wrote it all down. I periodically journaled throughout high school and journaling saved me during my third and final time in an inpatient program.

And now, I write to discuss topics like abuse and mental health (with some lighthearted pieces in the mix too, because heavy stuff can get, well, heavy). It's come full circle, and it's reenergized a coping skill I desperately need.

And then I was finally ready to share my own story. It was completely liberating.

Although coming up with an article (or two) a week can be a bit daunting at times, I've never had a more rewarding experience than creating content on Odyssey. In 25 articles I've grown more than just my writing skills, I've grown as a person.

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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Here's What Happens When All Of Your Friends Have Babies

All of my friends back home are married with children. No, really, they are.

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Over the past few months, three of my friends have shared their pregnancy news with me, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Baby news always stirs up a range of emotions for me. I'm excited and crying happy tears (no joke, I started to cry when my best friend told me and showed me her ultrasound).

Being "Auntie Meg" brings me such great joy. You see, I absolutely adore children, especially my friend's kiddos. They can easily brighten up my day with their giggles, love you, and their goodbye kisses & waves. I absolutely love getting to be "Auntie Meg"; it could potentially be my favorite role to fill.

I don't think I've ever loved human beings more than I love these babies. These are kiddos I would do almost anything for; they truly have my whole heart and I couldn't be more thankful for each and every one of them. I've loved getting to watch my friends grow into incredible parents.

I love getting to be one of the biggest cheerleaders for my friends and their kids. Listen, I can't wait for the day when they are older and are asking to come over more and spend time doing fun things with auntie Meg. I can't wait to watch them grow and I can't wait to be able to come alongside them and be a shoulder to cry on and one of the loudest voices cheering them on (Next to mom and dad, of course).

While there is just so much good about your friends growing up and having children of their own, if you are not careful, it can also fuel a person's self-doubt.

It can bring up questions like, "am I good enough?", "what is wrong with me?", "why am I not where they are at?" I would be lying if I said that I have never thought or felt these things, but here's the thing: you are good enough, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, and their path is not your path; you will get there when you get there.

Those things are so important to remember in times when you begin to doubt yourself or your worth.

Believe me, you are good enough, there is nothing wrong with you, and that is not the path you need to be on at the moment. This is a great time for you to focus on you and the things you want out of life. What are your goals? What is on your bucket list? Just because you don't have the things your friends have, doesn't make your life any less fulfilled than theirs is. Your life is just as wonderful and fulfilling as theirs is, just in different ways.

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