The Mountain Is Cold, But The View Is Stellar

The Mountain Is Cold, But The View Is Stellar

A tribute to what Charles Frazier's 'Cold Mountain' has taught me about the advantages of heartache
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"I know people can be mended. Not all, and some more immediately than others. But some can be. I don't see why not you." -Goatwoman, "Cold Mountain"

If you know me then you know Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain is one of my favorite books; if you don't know me, well, now you know. It takes place in the middle of the Civil War where strife and heartache wove itself into the everyday conversation of Americans all over the country. It's a tale of romance, heartache, sacrifice, patriotism, and independence.

As someone who has recently felt the low strum of heartbreak, I have found myself searching in my own time for a way to sort through these emotions. I sit now in my favorite hometown coffee shop, when a conversation I am having suddenly reminds me of a quote I have held onto for the last four years, "That's just pain," she said. "It goes eventually.

And when it's gone, there's no lasting memory.

Not the worst of it anyway. It fades. Our minds aren't meant to hold onto the particulars of pain the way we do bliss. It's a gift God gives to us, a sign of His care for us."

As I sit in this coffee shop, wanting more than anything to crawl under my covers and binge watch Netflix, my favorite book has forced me to focus. I have been forced to zoom out and remember how small I am in comparison to this Universe, how menial my temporary pain is in the grand scheme of things. How much I have to be thankful for.

Maybe it's best to remember, certainly not the events which it caused, but the pain itself. To reminisce about heartache because it can't last. It can't. Sure, there will be times when the walls feel like they're crumbling like you can't breathe. Like you're completely isolated in a room full of people. You will question and doubt and shout at God and ask why this is happening to you.

That's okay.

And it's okay to enjoy long walks downtown, to feel the cold air snag the breath in your lungs, to enjoy sunsets, and starry nights, and quaint coffee shops with killer cappuccinos. It's okay to drive with the windows down at midnight and the radio dial up as far as it will go and shout until there is nothing left in the world.

It's okay to write poetry until your hands can't move and there are no words left in the English language to describe the chaos in your brain. It's okay to cry until your body can't possibly produce any more tears.

"You’re left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on, or not. But if you go on, it’s knowing you carry your scars with you.” Pain is sometimes a side effect of being bold--so is happiness, adventure, and love.

Don't live a life with regrets.

Don't be afraid to love people and love them with everything you have because you will be better because of it. Do things that scare you. Go places that intrigue you. Be a coach, or a diplomat, or an anthropologist, or a scientist, or a stay at home mom. Find what sets your soul on fire and never let it go. Search until home, is not a place, but the smile you wake up to every morning. It's there. Robert Frost is right--we have many miles to go before we sleep.

Cover Image Credit: Eberhard Grossgasteiger

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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25 Self Love Songs That Promote More Than Just Body Positivity

Secrets by Mary Lambert has us loving not only our bodies, but our personalities and mental health struggles, as well.

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Music has so much power not only in rhythms and melodies but in lyrics and messages, as well. In today's society, especially with all of the fashion and beauty "trends," it's so hard to keep track of what's really beautiful - self-love and confidence in how you were made. These 25 songs sung by powerful and inside-beautiful women (and men) belong not only on a body positivity playlist but on every playlist, as well.

1. Love Myself - Hailee Steinfeld

Ever since acting in Pitch Perfect 2, Hailee Steinfeld has made a name for herself with her music and positive lyrics. Her songs have amazing melodies and even better positive reinforcement for girls struggling with loving themselves.

2. Feeling Myself - Nicki Minaj ft. Beyoncé

This positive song about body image has two queens collaborating to bring out an amazing song. The music video includes Minaj and Beyoncé lounging in a pool and eating some awesome looking burgers while singing "I'm feeling myself" on repeat.

3. Scars To Your Beautiful - Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara broke the music industry with this song about self-love. She sings about tough stuff and the realness that our generation of girls is facing.

4. Confident - Demi Lovato

There is no doubt that since the beginning, Demi has been an absolute power house. She's progressed through the music industry while being transparent about her own struggles with body image and addiction. In this song, Demi brings an edge and an attitude to showing what it's really like to be confident - and how this society of girls should feel the same confidence that she does.

5. ***Flawless - Beyoncé ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Beyoncé is the essence of confidence and that shows in her music - whether she means it or not. This song about self love is the anthem that every girl should be blaring 24/7.

6. Beautiful - Christina Aguilera

This Xtina song may be old, but the lyrics are still just as encouraging and applicable as much as they were in 2002 (are we old, or what?).

7. All About That Bass - Meghan Trainor

This is another song that got really big really fast. One of the ultimate songs about body image, this anthem is not only great for girls struggling with body image issues, but it's also a favorite of the older gen, too.

8. Run the World (Girls) - Beyoncé

Another lady anthem, Beyoncé threw us this song in 2011 and it's been such an incredible confidence song ever since.

9. Come and Get It - Selena Gomez

Disney star turned bombshell, Selena has shown what it's like to be a strong, powerful, and poised woman in both pop culture, but in society, as well. This song about self love invites girls to welcome themselves as attractive and worthy.

10. Beautiful Soul - Jesse McCartney

A beautiful songs about being a beautiful soul sung by a beautiful (then) teeny-bopper? Everything about this song is amazing and screams self-love.

11. Me Too - Meghan Trainor

Meghan Trainor gave us another great power anthem. She took a powerful and prideful (in the best way) stance in this song about body positivity and self love.

12. You Don't Own Me - Grace ft. G-Eazy

This song was featured in the movie, Suicide Squad, when introducing the character of Harley Quinn (who is a bad*ss and powerful girl who takes control and is confident in herself - even if she is a villain). This song is sung by Grace and G-Eazy as a remix of the original song sung by Lesley Gore way back in 1963. Even back then, girls were singing about confidence and self love!

13. Queen - Jessie J

This song is a new release but should not be overlooked. Jessie J brings us one of the most straightforward song about body positivity and self love while still giving us a JAM.

14. Perfect - Anne-Marie

This is another song that's up and coming. However, much like Jessie J, Anne-Marie gave us a true jam with awesome themes of self love.

15. Try - Colbie Caillat

Colbie's voice is so smooth and calming. If you're looking for a slow and peaceful song about body positivity and self love, this is the song for you.

16. Most Girls - Hailee Steinfeld

Like I said earlier, Hailee has made a name for herself in the music industry and with her encouraging and powerful lyrics. This song boosts self esteem, self love, and other amazing components.

17. Who You Are - Jessie J

Jessie J threw us another song about self love in this song. Her songs vary greatly, but most of them hold such important ideas that need to be drilled into the minds of the upcoming generation.

18. Secrets - Mary Lambert

This is one of my all-time favorite songs because Mary Lambert is so open and transparent about her life and what she struggles with. In this song, she mentions her weight, her family, her mental health, and her personality quirks. Even if someone may not be able to relate to everything she says, there is at least one relatable part for anyone in her song.

19. Who Says - Selena Gomez

This song came from the time when Selena was still big in the Disney channel days but that doesn't mean that her song is any less serious or relatable. Even back then, this song about self love influenced so many girls that needed to hear this incredible message.

20. Lip Gloss - Lil Mama

This song is old and a CLASSIC. Put this on and just about everyone will sing along, clap, and stomp their feet on the beat. The best part of this song is that Lil Mama sings about confidence and self love over and over and over.

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