When I write, my mind is free to wander. It picks up pieces of memories and feelings and mixes them together to create a unique form of self expression that became my outlet for emotional release. I have always done my best work through written pieces, but there was a time in middle school that started me on the path of personal development and self-confidence when it came to my writing. I had never submitted any of my poetry for competitions, but my sixth-grade self wanted to participate in the Reflections Contest as a way to test my ability - I told myself that if I placed, then I would continue to improve my writing and compete in larger competitions with more experienced writers. So that day, I sat down and wrote a short poem about a natural beauty that most people often overlooked when focused on their busy lives: a rainbow. It was a poem that reflected my childlike innocence and naivety - the vocabulary and ideas were simple, but I felt like Shakespeare writing some big masterpiece at the time. Proud of my hard work and clever rhyming scheme, I ran to show my literary genius of a mother expecting her to shower me with compliments. "This isn't good enough to win," she said after quickly skimming through it. "I thought you could write better than this - here, I'll help you." Her words opened a pool of insecurity inside my chest, but I gladly accepted her help. She sat beside me the entire night, changing every bit of my poem to fit her standards. "I want to describe the rainbow within my poem," I had explained to her. "No, don't do that. If you want to win, trust me," she said firmly. After she was done with her "suggestions," I could no longer recognize the poem that I had written - it was all her ideas, her words, and zero of my originality. I was not happy with the poem I had written with her help, so after she went to bed, I stayed up to write a second poem about a second natural beauty: the geese that always flew above our home. This time, I stuck to my own stylistic way of writing, even if I knew my mother would not approve of it. I wanted purely my work to get judged, and this was the only way I knew how to do it. So at school the next day, I submitted both poems to see how they would compare with each other. A few weeks later, I walked by the Reflections board in the hallway to check out the winners. As my eyes slid to the poetry category, I saw my name next to the words "First Place." My heart pounded with joy, and when I checked to see which of my poems had won, I saw the title "Wings of Beauty," which was the poem about geese that I had written without my mother's help. That day, I realized that writing was subjective - every person's style is different, and that's what made this art so communicative. From then on, I have become more self-assured when writing poetry, and have gone on to compete in the Beta State convention and the Georgia Poet Laureate. To this day, I look back on the memory of my first Reflections Contest to remind me where I used to be, and how far I have come.
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Every person, every couple celebrates Valentines in different ways, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Ah, Valentines Day, a day of excitement for some and heart break for many. There are three kinds of people on Valentine's Day: the ones who make it a big deal, a little deal, and those who are single, but Valentine's Day can be fun for anyone if you have the right spirit in mind.
Valentine's Day can be a super exciting day, especially for new couples. People like to make it a big deal by getting all dressed up, going to a fancy dinner, and getting each other super nice gifts. All of this is super fun, but can take a toll on your wallet. If you do make Valentine's Day a big deal, ensure that the things you put your time and money into are something you want in the long run.
Making Valentine's Day a little deal can put more emphasis on your true feelings. Little deal Valentines may consist of going to a nice dinner and spending quality time with each other. Some gifts may be involved, but they are little and very meaningful gestures such as pictures, letters, or their favorite heart-shaped candy.
To some, being single on Valentine's Day can be a bummer, but a having a night with your best friends can be super fun too. The day does not have to be so dreaded like many feel when Valentine's Day is mentioned. A whole group of friends could go to dinner together and maybe even make little Valentines for everyone like we did in elementary school.
There are so many fun ways to celebrate Valentine's Day without having a significant other.
I have had the same boyfriend for over three and a half years and Valentine's Day has never been a huge deal to us. Every year we usually go to dinner together and enjoy being in each other's presence. We also write letters that we give to one another after dinner and read them one at a time to watch the other's reaction. My boyfriend is especially good with his words, so I usually end the letter with happy tears streaming down my face. I know I'm successful if I get him to tear up a little and smile from ear to ear. Some years we've also given each other gifts, like our favorite heart-shaped candy and pictures.
No matter what kind of gifts we exchange, we always have something interesting happen to us on Valentine's Day. The first one we celebrated together, we went to a nice pizzeria and, mid-dinner, snow starts falling outside. By the time we left the restaurant, the road and cars were covered.
The next year, we had planned to go to a burger joint because they had a fudge brownie milkshake special. We arrived to the restaurant and there had been a kitchen fire, so it was closed for the night. There's no telling what will happen this year!
In the end, there shouldn't be one day that defines your love for one another, your love can be displayed every day in the littlest or biggest ways, just make sure you talk with your significant other a bit in advance so you're on the same page. If you want Valentine's Day to be a big deal, tell them, and vice versa. If you don't express how you want to celebrate the holiday, you might end the night in disappointment. If you can't come to a compromise, make it balanced! Have a fancy dinner, but do small gifts, or something along those lines. As long as you communicate with the one you love, it will be a success!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Dedicated to February 14
1. You don't have to feel guilty about flirting with customers for tips (or just for shits and giggles).
2. You can be obnoxiously flirtatious with anyone you want. You are free to be that girl that flirts with everybody and makes 'em all smile (it's especially fun when the guy is as cute as Collin Jost). No shame.
3. Making random men nervous with your superior beauty and intense eye contact just for the hell of it is really amusing and empowering.
4. No one gives two poops if ya legs are hairy (your man shouldn't either but *Kermit the Frog meme* That's none of my business)
5. The toilet seat will remain down.
6. There's more money to spend on yourself.
7. There's always this secret butterfly in your tummy that marvels at the possibility that when you go out this weekend you're gonna meet someone super handsome/wonderful/prince-like and have this moment of dazzling dalliance.
8. Nothing is that serious...you can take it all with a grain of salt...you don't owe anybody anything.
9. You can dance with anyone and everyone...or no one (Hello frat boi w/ glasses, I see you).
10. You don't have to fluff anyone's ego but your own.
11. Free drinks and dinners from single guys (It's not taking advantage if they're offering; a girl's gotta eat).
12. You have more time to learn how to love and improve yourself rather than constantly pouring your energy into another person.
13. You don't have to sacrifice your cheesy Jen Aniston rom-coms and Gilmore Girls for his Fast and Furious/other dumb action movie featuring blonde that is only in the movie to supply a relationship to the male lead and to make him look more masculine/empowered in juxtaposition (In other words, you don't have to deal with a guy being a crabby Patty while you watch your cute movies). 14. You can daydream about what your future husband may be doing right now (and not get stressed/guilty out because you're not picturing your current boyfriend that's crazy about you as your future husband). 15. There is more time to be spent with your girlfriends.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
African Americans have done so much and will forever be remembered for their accomplishments. In my opinion, there is no such thing as Black History Month. All year, we should celebrate the amazing poetry, music, inventions, and accomplishments that has surfaced over the last 100 years. Let's take a look...
Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
Social activist, columnist, early innovator, novelist, and playwright
8+ awards, 15+ poems, 24+ books of different genres.
Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)
Novelist of "Things Fall Apart"
NAACP Founded (1909)
A group including Ida Wells and W. E. B. DuBois met in Canada, demanding civil rights for blacks.
Marc Hannah (1956-present)
Invented 3-D Graphics technology used in films
One of the founders of Silicon Graphics in 1982, which is what was used in "Jurassic Park" and "Terminator."
"I Have A Dream" (1963)
250,000 people participated in the march on Washington. Leader Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech, titled "I Have A Dream." It was focused on black America and non-violence, which made him an amazing figure looked at today.
Lonnie Johnson (1949-Present)
Invented "The Super Soaker"
A toy with a multi-million impact. Currently using his fortune to develop energy technology.
I could go on for days. With so many amazing people that do not get enough credit, African Americans are just as influential as any other race, but we have a story to share. As an African American, learning what went on years ago and knowing that racism is still around is absolutely absurd. We have a voice and it is being heard right now. Kendrick Lamar's performance at the 2016 Grammys and Beyonce's performance at the 50th Super Bowl are great examples! We will keep making noise until things change for good. February is Black History Month, but so is January, March, April, May, and the rest of the months! We will not be stopped!
We've seen this movie before with the popular social media app.
Here we go again. There's a groundswell of support to ban TikTok in the United States.
But if this seems familiar, that's because it is.
Back in 2020, there were widespread efforts to ban the popular app, but a judge halted those efforts.
Additional attempts since have gone virtually nowhere, as the dances are undisrupted, the challenges continue, and the video views keep skyrocketing.
TikTok isn't going to be banned outright. Devin Coldewey over at TechCrunch says it best:
"There isn’t a clear path to a ban. The FCC can’t do it (no jurisdiction). Despite the supposed national security threat, the Pentagon can’t do it (ditto). The feds can’t force Apple and Google to do it (First Amendment). Congress won’t do it (see above). An executive order won’t do it (too broad). No judge will do it (no plausible case)."
So while a Senator from Colorado can write to Apple and Google asking them to ban the app, there's not a lot politicians can do on the matter. It's up to the tech companies and it would set an incredible precedent if they took the action to ban the app.
But banning TikTok for all Americans, across all U.S. devices, there's no clear path for that to happen. It's just not happening.
Check out what's trending on Odyssey!
Looking for some inspiration to kick off your Monday? Check out these articles by our talented team of response writers! From poetry to tips for manifesting your dream life, there's something for everyone.
“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.”— Maya Angelou.
Sometimes we can lose who we are... So here is a poem about just that.
This was a response to 5 Reminders You Just Might Need Right Now.
How can the media do better?
This was a response to Funny Bones: Eating Disorders in Comedy.
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To get started, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We're excited to hear from you!
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign