Poetry On Odyssey: It's OK

Poetry On Odyssey: It's OK

Its ok to break down.
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Its ok to break down.

Its ok for it not to be ok.

Its ok for things to be bad or down or dark. Because that’s how the world is sometimes. And because we are in the world, we will experience these things.

But we can overcome it.

We CAN overcome it.

If we have our God within us and on our side, we can push through the black. Through the mush. Through the bad days. Through the dark skies and hate. Through the relentless black sticky matter that threatens to pull us down and not let go.

We can push through,

we can prevail.

We just have to keep the faith.

Faith in love,

in others,

in goodness,

in light,

in our God,

and in ourselves.

Remaining faithful in these things and people is sometimes the hardest thing to do, when the world around you and within you is crumbling.

But you can do it.

I can do it.

We can do it.

I believe in us.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

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I'm Starting To Love Myself And It's The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done

I deserve this.
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No, I don't want to do that.

Yes, I'm going to try this instead.

I'm going to learn how to _____.

I'm making these changes in my life to make myself a better person.

Because I want to.

Because I deserve better than this.

In the last few days, I've decided to make a radical decision. After 20 years of self-sabotaging, self-sacrificing, and overall making other people happy at my own expense, I've decided it's finally time to learn how to love myself.

This decision came out of the blue the other day and, while it'd probably be better to implement these changes one at a time, I've decided to dive into the deep end and start loving myself at every step along the way.

Yesterday this meant buying fruit, going to the gym, and letting myself fall asleep when I was tired.

Today it involved waking up early so I'd have extra time in the morning and wouldn't be rushing to class, eating breakfast, and letting myself watch a show in the afternoon when I had an hour-long break between class and work.

Some days it means letting go of a toxic relationship, reaching out to a friend I haven't talked to in a while, or letting myself eat my favorite comfort food.

Other days it involves going to the farmers' market, depositing money in my savings account, or calling my grandparents.

And every day, regardless of what the action is, the intention is always the same.

I'm doing this because I deserve it.

I'm doing this because I know I can be better.

I'm doing this because it's an investment in my future self, my health, and my happiness.

I'm doing this because I love myself.

And even on the days when I don't believe these words, they matter. Even on the days when I don't feel particularly loving towards myself; when my stomach sticks out too much or my hair won't lay the way I want it to, when it's hard to drag myself out of bed and all I'm craving is a slice of pizza and a nap, I remind myself that I'm loved and worthy of love.

I remind myself that I'm all I have, that my relationship with myself is the longest and the most important one I'll ever have, that telling other women to love themselves while I sit over here practicing self-loathing is hypocritical and unfair.

And on different days, "I love me" sounds different too. Some days it sounds like "I'm beautiful" and other days it sounds like "I can do this" and other days it sounds like "I'm proud of myself" and other days it sounds like "I deserve to be happy."

And at the end of the day, they all mean the same thing.

They mean that I'm done settling for less than I deserve. I'm done filling in the gaps with things and people that don't help me become the person I'm trying to be. I'm done chipping away pieces of myself and giving them away freely, expecting and receiving nothing in return. I'm done floating through life passively waiting for things to happen to me. It's time for me to take charge and to create the change I want to experience in my life.

It hasn't been easy. In fact, choosing radical self-love is the hardest thing I've ever done. But embarking on this journey has been the most worthwhile decision I've ever made. And there's no one I'd rather be experiencing it with than me.

Cover Image Credit: Maria Nelson

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Defining Bravery Showed Me How Brave I Am And The Bravery Of Those Around Me

I never thought I was brave, until I read the definition.
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The definition of bravery, according to Merriam-Webster, is "the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty."

I've always thought that bravery was laughing in the face of danger, facing your fears. I've always pictured someone jumping in the water to save a person from drowning or standing between a group of children and a gunman. But throughout my own life, I never would have described myself as brave, because what have I really done to call myself "brave" or say that bravery is a constant trait of my personality?

I've never saved a drowning person or faced a gunman. But looking at the definition right in front of me, I know more brave people that I can even count, and brave is something I can say that I have been. I had never considered that mental strength while facing difficulty was brave until I realized that the things I've been through could cause anyone to break down, and although I have had my share of breakdowns, continuing to face them as best I could, makes me strong and brave.

Not to mention, those around me are continually brave. One of my best friends lost her mom a week after we moved to college, and I've watched her face her sadness and difficulty, and keep going. A coworker who has become a treasured person in my life since we've worked together has faced her demons head on and has come out stronger on the other side, which is something I look up to.

She's been brave and has kept going and I admire her. Another friend of mine has been through illness, mental health issues, and so much more and she keeps on every day with her head held high and she remains strong. This list goes on and on. So many people I know face their own difficulties every single day, including myself and each and every one of us stay brave and keeps fighting. Because we're strong, and we're brave.

One day I was looking at tattoos because I was wanting to add to my collection, and I found one that was a tiny wrist tattoo, with the words, "be brave." In that exact moment I knew, I wanted those words on my body forever, as a reminder to myself that you can face any difficulty and come out stronger on the other side, you just have to stay strong and be brave to do so.

So, along with a friend of mine, we both went and got tattoos - me, "be brave" and her, a semicolon. Both tattoos that mean the world to each of us and it was so special that we could get them together. Now, I wake up every day and as I look at the words on my arm, it makes me happy that not only do I forever have a reminder of my past strength, but a reminder to be strong in the face of future difficulties.

Be brave, everyone.

Cover Image Credit: Jenna Reed

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