And That's A Wrap On 2017

And That's A Wrap On 2017

What a year!
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2017 has come to an end, officially marking another year in the books. We approach 2018 renewed and refreshed, bound by a sense of eagerness in hopes of finally fulfilling one of those New Year’s resolutions that have been in the works for the past three years. As ready as I am to ambitiously dive into a year full of fresh perspectives and new opportunities, I have found myself taking much time to reflect on 2017.

It was what seemed to have been an incredibly influential time in my life, and I have walked away from last year with a greater understanding of a knowledge that was once left untouched. 2017 has constituted nothing but change-a word that I once cringed at the sound of. Yet, to this day, I am nothing but grateful for the changes that have come my way.

I could not begin to list the number of lessons I have learned within this past year. Frankly, it would take a year for me to explain each of them in detail. Since I have been given the wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts on this social media platform, I have taken the time to speak about a variety of topics that I hold close to my heart. I truly believe that writing for the Odyssey has allowed me to prioritize many of the ideals that I value, as I am responsible for creating the content that I share with readers each week. In each of the pieces I have written within the past few months, I aimed to incorporate even the smallest of lessons I had learned in hopes of sharing my personal experiences with others.

Throughout last year, I found myself faced with numerous bouts of self-doubt, ultimately forcing me to address in my own mind ideas such as self-reflection, standards of beauty, and the definition of success. There were many moments that I felt extremely uncomfortable pressing the “submit” button on these articles, as I was sharing my inner-most thoughts and opinions with people I go to school with, people I am friends with, people I am related to. I have been blessed to receive positive affirmations and support in my pursuit of writing, but for some reason, I still felt as though there was something missing.

After glancing back at these articles and digging a bit deeper, I came to a realization. The real thing missing? Clarity. There have been instances where these writings seemed foreign and vague even to me. Ideally, I was conveying the messages I wanted to, just not to the fullest extent. Surely, I attempted to write about topics that would touch people, or at least get them thinking. In reality? There was no sense of closure to these pieces. Time and time again I had briefly mentioned what the takeaway should be, possibly overlooking what it truly was. In the spirit of this closure, and as my first piece of 2018, I would like to address my own “takeaway” from this past year:

I believe in self-care. I believe in waking up each morning, looking in the mirror, and feeling satisfied with the person that I am. I believe that hard work creates character, and have seen that simply “getting by” is no longer an option in this world. I believe in independence and its hand in fostering growth. I believe in family and in friendship, seeing now that offering your ear or a piece of advice can make an incredible impact on somebody’s life.

I believe in love, both in the happiness and in the heart break it may bring. I believe in gratitude and in displaying your thanks and your loyalty to those who have supported you. Primarily, I have come to believe in change. I no longer cringe at the sound of the word, or label it with a negative connotation. Instead, I have learned to embrace it. Change provides opportunity, and can lead to a happiness that remains unknown to us until we choose to walk through its door. My priorities have changed, my thought process has changed, and I have changed.

One year ago, I would never have known how to facilitate or express these ideals, let alone put them into words. One year later, my focus became sharing them with others.

Cover Image Credit: Gina Brennan

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13 Summer Struggles Only Thick Girls Understand

Chafing. So much chafing.

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Summer is a lovely time. A time of cookouts, swimming, and sunny weather. But if you're a " thick girl," summer sometimes brings more unpleasantries than it does for slimmer women. No matter how beautiful and confident you are in your body, it can bring some struggles.

1. The living hell that is shorts-shopping

Step 1: Find the biggest size the store has.

Step 2: (If you can even get those on): Realize your stomach is being squeezed into the top, your butt is falling out of the back and your thighs are having the life squished out of them.

Step 3: Realize why winter isn't so bad.

2. And dealing with them even after finding a pair that "fits"

Nothing like taking a pair of shorts home you remember fitting you okay in the store and then walking for 45 seconds and pulling them out of your butt or crotch 17 times. Truly a magical experience.

3. And every bathing suit you try on shows more skin than you'd planned

Even the most conservative bathing suit turns into cleavage-city and a non-cheeky set of bottoms turns into a thong. I promise, older people glaring at me in my sexual bathing suit, I didn't mean for this to happen!

4. Chafing. So much chafing.

No better feeling than four minutes into wearing short shorts realizing that your inner thighs are literally tearing themselves apart. Body Glide and baby powder are a thick girl's No. 1 necessity.

5. Loving rompers. Rompers not loving you.

Rompers are made with short and skinny girls in mind. Heaven forbid you're not short, and heaven forbid you're not skinny. Rompers are like a mystical article of clothing that, no matter what, always just barely doesn't fit.

6. Imagining wearing a sundress with a strapless bra and just laughing

Of course, not all thick girls are well-endowed in the boob department, but if you are, you understand how hilarious the thought of you wearing a strapless bra truly is.

7. And bralettes are a thing of fantasy

Once again, bralettes are designed for a very specific body type. One that I do not fall into.

8. Feeling like you need to constantly defend yourself for dressing like you want to

There are so many posts and tweets and just general ideals that people have that certain sized women can't wear certain clothing. You shouldn't feel the need to defend yourself for wearing a cute crop top or a bikini, but you will.

9. And always feeling looked at when you're rocking your swimsuit

Yes, I see your judging eyes, and yes, they are making me feel like shit. It doesn't matter how confident you are in your body, people looking at you like you just killed somebody just because you're wearing something typically made for smaller women doesn't make you feel good.

10. Did I mention chafing?

I just felt like something so horrible couldn't just be mentioned once.

11. Online shopping for cute summer outfits and then none of them fitting you correctly

There's always the dreaded "one-size-fits-all" for plus-size women. As if there's just one way to be plus-size. No matter how much they promise online that it'll fit well, it won't.

12. Seeing tiny girls complaining about losing their "summer bodies"

So many tweets talking about choosing food over a summer body. So many profile pictures of traditionally skinny women. I'm not saying that thick girls are the only ones who can complain about their summer bodies, and thick girls do not have a monopoly one not feeling confident in their bodies. But it is hard to see those posts knowing that those women would be glorified in their swimwear while you'd be gawked at.

13. The "you go girl!" comments on your oh-so-brave bikini photos

Compliments are nice, and positive comments while wearing a bikini go a long way. But the dreaded "you go girl" comment just seems so condescending. Just treat me like anyone else you'd see wearing a bikini. I promise, I'd like to feel like that.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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To The Stressed Out College Student, Be Optimistic For Spring Quarter

I am looking forward to a productive spring quarter.

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As a strenuous ten weeks of winter quarter is finally coming to a close, there is no better feeling than to be rewarded with a week of spring break. For most colleges and universities, this period of time is one of excitement and relief, as students approach a summer vacation that begins in May. Yet, for students with schedules revolving around the lovable (and often hatable) quarter system, it feels as though summer is far from our reach.

On a personal note, my previous ten weeks of classes have been bearable at best. I can proudly say that I have been counting down the days until spring break since our winter quarter began in January, though now that the week is finally approaching, I am reminded by the fact that I have yet another ten weeks of school in the near future. Interestingly enough, I have not started the countdown to June 18th quite yet. Instead, I am looking forward to a productive spring quarter that will leave me feeling energized and accomplished as I enter into a fresh summer.

I believe that the spring quarter withholds a sense of refreshment and newfound energy in comparison to that of fall and winter. Though students on the quarter system will end classes later than others, there is something to be said for spending days on campus when the warm weather finally breaks. Time seems to pass faster than it did in the dark and ominous weeks of winter quarter, and everyone seems to have a more positive attitude - as we can all see that vacation is approaching.

To the stressed out college student, be optimistic for spring quarter. Though tests and finals will still be ever-present, the completion of another ten weeks of classes is excellent motivation to achieve success and reward yourself within the coming months.

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