A List Of Thank Yous To Those Who Broke Me But Made Me Stronger

A List Of Thank Yous To Those Who Broke Me But Made Me Stronger

Thanks for making me a fighter
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By your twenties, you usually have a handful of people who broke you but ended up making you stronger. Here are some of my 'thank yous' to those you made me a fighter.

1. My First Love

We were so young and got serious so fast. You showed me what love was and I don't think anyone else but you could have done that. But you know what else you did? You made me insecure. You made me feel like I wasn't good enough. You forced me to ignore those who were important to me. You took me away from my friends. You made me put all of my happiness in you and then you broke my heart. But thank you. Thank you for forcing me to love myself. Thank you for helping me realize that I am enough. Thank you for reminding me how precious friendships are. Thank you for teaching me that being toxic and controlling is not love. Thank you for showing me how to find happiness in everyday things.

2. The selfish friend

You were by my side for years. I could have sworn that we would grow old together and remain friends until the grave. But as the years passed, I started realizing that our friendship meant much more to me than it ever did to you. I started realizing that I was always the one who made plans, put you first, invited you to things, and put in all the effort. I realized that you used the term "best friend" very loosely. And I realized that I was never going to get what I was giving. So thank you for teaching me how friends are supposed to be treated. Thank you for showing me that I deserve better.

3. My first real boss

After having jobs in high school, I figured I knew pretty much everything about being an employee. But after getting my first serious job in college, I found out I had a lot to learn. You were my friend first. You were funny and witty, caring and selfless, and smart. You always remained professional but never stopped being who you were. You were hard on me but only because you knew I could do better. Your kindness coupled with your high expectations almost killed me, but you helped me grow. You didn't settle. You made sure I always gave 110% and if I didn't, I knew I was going to have to re-do the job. You challenged me in ways that I never knew I needed to be challenged. Thank you for showing me that new ideas should always be welcomed. Thank you for teaching me that nothing should ever stand in the way of your success. Thank you for being the perfect mentor, role model, and friend.

4. The boy who thought he could change me

~Backstory~ For about two months before I came out as gay, I was talking to a boy (Along with a couple of girls-oops!). He was very nice and funny. Once I was out to my friends and family, I knew I had to break the news and tell him I had been faking it only because I hadn't completely come to terms with who I was. Once I told him, he seemed very accepting and said that he wanted to still be friends. Since we had shared some laughs and good conversation, I wasn't going to turn down a new friend. ~Backstory over~

You took advantage of me. I told you things I had never told anyone. I confided in you. I trusted you. You told me you cared about me and that you wanted the best for me. But you didn't. You wanted the best for you. You told me that you accepted me for who I was but then you spent all your time trying to change me. You convinced me I was crazy for liking girls and only girls. You told me that by putting a label on myself I would be limited. But you were wrong. So thank you. Thank you for helping me realize how strong I was. Thank you for showing me that no one should try to stop me from being who I am. Thank you for teaching me how to build love from hate.

5. High school me

You were insecure and hateful. You were fake. You smiled and laughed, never complaining about you hidden demons. You silenced your thoughts for so long. You were lost, scared, and sad. But you pushed through. You trusted your feelings and stopped letting other control your actions. You rose from the ashes and fought for a life that was worth living. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for deleting toxic people from your life. Thank you for learning to love and accept yourself. Thank you for making me who I am.


Cover Image Credit: Anthony Ginsbrook

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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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People Fail Because They Never Had A Plan To Succeed

Have a goal and go for it, no matter how out of reach it seems.

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I must dedicate this piece to my Design 3-D professor at UCF, Professor Reedy, because he is the one who told me, and the rest of the class, these words of wisdom on the first day of the semester. And they have stuck with me ever since.

"People fail because they never had a plan to succeed."

This had me thinking a lot. It seems like simple advice, but there is so much more behind it. Everyone wants to be successful, but not everyone has a plan to succeed. You may want to be a lawyer, a doctor, an artist, or if you're like me, a journalist. You may even be well on your way to accomplishing that goal. However, what is your next step? What is your next goal once you reach it?

This was a question I had to ask myself when Professor Reedy spoke those words. I know I want to be a journalist somewhere in a big city and make art on the side, and I have a couple of internships under my belt, but I never really thought about why. And the "why" you want to do something is crucial for planning your long-term success.

Ever since coming to UCF, I've tried to get involved as much as I can. I have hundreds of published articles, an editing position at a large publication, and have worked three internships. However, it wasn't until that day that I realized why I love both journalism and art so much: I love to tell stories.

Storytelling is in my blood. I have fond memories of family members telling me captivating stories throughout my childhood. I don't remember much about the gatherings each story was debuted at, but I remember the stories - down to every little detail. And so I decided to start writing stories when I was really young, entering writing competitions and competing in Power of the Pen tournaments.

Back then, I had a plan. I was either going to be a journalist, write novels or both. I was going to do whatever I had to in order to be successful and write stories the rest of my life. But as I grew older, it became more about getting good grades and graduating than about storytelling.

Now, as a senior in college, I was forced to remember the plan I made as a young girl. As soon as I heard those words, everything was immediately put into perspective. I have already accomplished many small goals I have set for myself throughout the years: go to a good college, get accepted into the journalism program, make the Dean's List and more. However, the only plan that truly matters is my plan to be a storyteller for the rest of my life, whether it's through my reporting, photography, videography or art pieces. Now, that has become crystal clear, thanks to Professor Reedy.

My advice to anyone reading this is to think about the big picture. What do you want to do the rest of your life and why did you choose to do it in the first place? Most people can recall a moment when they knew what they wanted their career to be. If you can't, then maybe you aren't doing what you were meant to do. Maybe your plan isn't clear yet, and that's OK.

Go make it, and don't underestimate yourself.

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