What I'm Not Ashamed To Admit

What I'm Not Ashamed To Admit

Love is love.
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If you don't like what I'm about to say, I just want you to know one thing: I really don't care. Exit out, block me, curse my name if that'll make you feel better. Just don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

First off, I just want to say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, I am not ashamed to admit that I fully support same-sex couples. And the most shocking part? I'm a Christian!

The funny thing is that half the people reading this article will think that I am a hypocrite. How dare I be a Christian and support such a shameful idea. The other half will use this as a tactic to demote religion. However, I don't think God will disown me as his child if I show the LGBT community my love and support.

Again: I do not care. Because only one person can judge me. The best part? That person is not you.

The way I see it, I will not let adulterers, thieves, liars, etc. rant on how homosexuals will be condemned to hell. One sin is not worse than another in the eyes of God. A major thing I heard several times growing up in a church was that "You could even murder someone," but, as long as you admit that Jesus is the son of God who was sent here to save you because of your sins, you will go to heaven.

How can someone that lives such an unholy life, go to heaven, but someone who believes in God, that believes these things, go to hell, because of who he/she is attracted to?

When I was 16 years old, I heard a preacher confess that when he attended college, he himself had had homosexual thoughts. In front of God and everyone he shared this. The ironic part is that God is the only one that we should worry about, yet I'm sure his heart was racing as he spoke these words to hundreds of Christians. In that moment, I had never respected anyone more. He also told us that he had invited a lesbian couple to attend next Sunday and that we should all welcome them.

So, I will not sit here and listen to a 16-year-old girl say how she cannot let this boy go because "the heart wants what it wants," and "You cannot help who you love." Almost everyone accepts these statements. Except when it comes to homosexuals. Then, the game changes completely.

Maybe I am so biased on this topic because my best friend is gay. The first person he told was me. I remember the tears as he questioned why God would make him this way. But, then I remembered: God loves everyone.

However, I can't imagine what he went through. You see, when you go to a high school of only 400 people, of course, people will make a scene when two boys start slow dancing together at prom. Honestly, though, I feel bad for those that had to call their parents and exclaim "Did you know they are gay?!" I truly, sincerely feel sorrow for those people. Instead of enjoying their prom night like my best friend, they took time out of their last high school dance to inform others of business that did not concern them.

A few weeks later, my best friend and I went on a double date. That's right: Three boys and one girl. The four of us carpooled to a huge college campus and went ice skating. I made them hold hands while I took pictures and captured cute candids. A few minutes later, something hit me: No one was looking at us. Nobody cared that two boys were skating hand in hand. Nobody judged them for caring about each other romantically.

That day restored my faith in humanity.

So, if you're one of many people who is judging me, my friend, or anyone who has homosexual thoughts, that's OK. I will pray for you. But, if you're one of the people that have a heart or are worried about what happened to this friend of mine, don't fret. He officially came out during his valedictorian speech. Right now, he is at John Hopkins University studying to become a doctor. The best part? The love of his life followed him halfway across the country. I guess they made their own special kind of fairytale. From Illinois to Maryland, you know what they say: the heart wants what it wants.

Cover Image Credit: Forsyth County News

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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How Starting Your Journey Is Half Of The Battle

"You can start your journey any day at anytime."

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Not that long ago, I wrote an article about a little phrase I heard on my friend's snapchat story. It got a tone of views and a lot of great feedback. And just in time for the beginning of the new school semester, he said something else that just kind of stuck with me.

He said that you can start your journey any day, at any time.

Okay so we've all heard this before but have any of us actually taken the time to put that saying into action? Well, quite recently I have. I used to be the type of person who waited until last minute to do everything, whether it was homework, a workout plan or whatever I wanted to accomplish. I used to be the type of person who said that at whatever time I'll start my homework and if it was a minute past that time I would have to wait to the start of the new hour....yes like the meme.

But now, ever since I heard that quote, it's been replaying in my head on a loop. Which is why I now just do things at the moment they're thought of and not a certain time. I decided that this is the semester, I don't wait until the last minute to do all of my work, and so far it's going well. I decided that this is the perfect time to get in shape, and not wait until the New Year, because I'm the skinniest most out of shape person that I know. I decided that instead of waiting until the new year to eat healthier that I'm going to do it now.

For a while I have wanted to get back into dance. I kept saying that I'll sign up for classes again when I finish school. But instead I decided to do it now, registered for a ballet class at school and signed up for ballroom dance, and it hands down has been one of the best decisions I have made.

Honestly it's been weird not having a set start date and time for certain things, but why would I put off doing something that I want to do? What I will say though, is that not procrastinating on homework has made these first couple of weeks of the semester fly by and seem like a breeze.

Just by letting go of the idea that every thing needs to have a set start date and time and a set date and time to end has made the pressure of things go away. By just starting my journey for whatever I'm doing right now, has increased my happiness and my overall productivity of what I'm doing.

So a little word of advice just go for and just do whatever you want to do right now.

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