Why I Have A Love-Hate Relationship With Writing

I Have A Love-Hate Relationship With Writing

It's a hobby and a form of self-expression and a moral obligation.

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I have been writing for most of my life. The first story I remember writing was heavily inspired by Disney's adaptation of Peter Pan. In those days, when I was only about eight or nine, the writing was just a way for me to express whatever was going on in my imagination.

My first original story, which I have been wrestling with since I was 12, was inspired by a school lesson on The Hero's Journey, a story pattern commonly observed in ancient myths and modern adventure stories. I've been dreaming about that story for so long without producing any results, I wonder if it'll ever be anything more than scattered thoughts, images, concepts, tiny snippets of dialogue.

There's my first grievance with my writing: a lack of direction with my fantasy story. It's frustrating that I can't seem to figure out exactly what the story is, because, without a written story, I have nothing to share. And, for whatever reason, there's nothing I want to do more than share my fantasy story. Despite the lack of direction, though, my underdeveloped fantasy world is my favorite place to visit. When I daydream, my mind imagines that place where anything can happen.

Then there's the story I've "finished," even though it never feels finished. Some people describe writing as a way to address their wounds, and I guess that's what I did with Autograph. Unlike with my fantasy story, Autograph is something I'm afraid to share. On the one hand, it's more important than anything else in the world to me. I poured my deepest, most troubling fears into Jude, the main character. And if I can love him despite his flaws, doesn't that mean I can love myself?

I'm probably afraid somebody will recognize the similarities between me and Jude. Or worse, I'm afraid people would shrug him off as another annoying melodramatic narrator with unrelatable problems.

Autograph was painful to write because I expressed through Jude what I could never express as Ashley. I hoped that if I gave Jude some variation of a happy ending, I could quell those feelings that scare me. And it did help. It does help to have a way to express myself. Still, it's always bizarre when I return to Jude's world, where I have to strain to see the light in the darkness. If I ever chose to publish the book, I know I would have to go back and read where I had been. And if I were asked to write more, I would have to go back to a place I fear.

Nevertheless, there is a great deal of importance in a story like Autograph. There's a certain moral obligation to share fiction with an authentic heart.

Maybe now you understand why writing is so complex to me. It's a hobby and a form of self-expression and a moral obligation. Maybe by writing these articles for you, I'll grow past the hardships I face when writing.

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Bethel Church's Gay Conversion Program Is A Huge Problem And We're Not Talking Enough About It

Religion doesn't give us a right to purposefully abuse a community.

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About a year ago, in May of 2018, Bethel Church in Redding, California came out publicly against a set of proposed laws which would make it illegal for a licensed mental health professional to perform 'conversion therapy' in order to change the sexual orientation or same-sex attractions of a person. The head pastor of the church asked for members of Bethel Church to act against the three bills (California AB 1779, AB 2943 and AB 2119), urging them to contact their congressmen and ask for them to prevent the laws from passing, all in order for them to continue their harmful ex-gay ministry.

Today, Bethel Church is under scrutiny for the role out of their ex-gay conversion initiative, CHANGED. The website of the initiative movement claims that any change is possible through Jesus, and encourages those who identify as LGBTQ+ to abandon the "pain, rejection, and despair," of being LGBTQ+. (CHANGED website). This movement is not the first, but just the next in a long line of organizations claiming to provide change for those who identify as LGBTQ+, despite this being an impossibility. Ex-gay programs, in actuality, only serve to push those who go through them farther away from the love of God.

Conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people has been proven not only to be completely ineffective but has also been found to cause intense mental issues and in many cases, a strong correlation to suicide. Those who have gone through ex-gay therapy programs such as Exodus International or Focus on the Family's Love Won Out have admitted that even after successfully completing the program they had not experienced a change in their same-sex attraction. The founder of Exodus International even claimed that by his estimation, 99.9% of those who had gone through his organization's therapy had not experienced any change in their orientation. Exodus International was considered intensely controversial, and their methods considered by most, if not all, mental health professionals to be incredibly damaging. Those who come out of conversion therapy experience intense feelings of depression and often experience a lack of self-worth.

As a Christian, I grieve every single time someone claiming to believe what I do comes out and condemns the LGBT community. It hurts to see one community I am a member of being hateful towards another community I am just as proud to be a part of. This news stung a little harder because I for a long time have loved Bethel Church's worship band. Their songs have spoken to me in ways I cannot fully describe, helping to bring me closer to the God I believe in. A God who I can say for certain would never advocate for something as damaging and destructive as conversion therapy. The same Jesus who Bethel's songs worship is the same Jesus who calls us to love everyone. Bethel Church is not following this call, and it is important that we speak out against conversion therapy, and not allow our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to carry out such a harmful program.

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This Semester Has Been Rough, But It Is SO Worth It

The photo you see above is a direct representation of how things are going currently.

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Let's be honest, college is not for everyone, and there are some days I question if it is right for me. I don't want to be negative, but I do believe in being a realist (you can think my mom for that).

When I started college, it felt easier. I was living with my parents, going to school during the day, and working at a school in my hometown in the evenings. Life was easy, but I was foolish not to realize it.

It is now three years since I graduated high school, I have changed jobs (twice), and moved out, but now preparing to move back into my parents' home. I mean life is wild.

There are honestly days that I have forgotten to eat until like 10 at night, and let's not even discuss laundry. I do not know how actual adults do it.

Ya girl is not only on the struggle bus, but I AM DRIVING THAT BAD BOY RIGHT NOW.

It is the week before finals, and I am praying that I see Friday at this point. Do not judge a college student over the next two weeks, because we have forgotten about thriving, and we are simply trying to survive.

FYI: PARENTS, BE PREPARED FOR LOTS OF LAUNDRY AND KIDS WANTING HOME-COOKED MEALS OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

I do not graduate until December with my bachelor's degree, and I tell you what, eight months feels like FOREVER. The closer I get to graduation, the slower time seems to go by.

But hey, YOU HAVE GOT THIS. WATCH THE TV SHOW. TAKE YOURSELF OUT FOR TACOS. TAKE A BATH. DO THAT LAUNDRY. YOU WILL SURVIVE, I may not, BUT YOU WILL.

In case anxiety and stress have taken over as it has for me, here are some tips for these last few days to help you get through it:

1. DO NOT FORGET TO EAT.

2. CALL YOUR FAMILY.

3. TAKE WALKS OUTSIDE TO GET FRESH AIR.

4. LEAVE THE LIBRARY (AT LEAST FOR JUST A FEW MINUTES).

5. REMEMBER WHY YOU ARE DOING THIS.

Gals (and guys) this degree will be so worth it.

I have grown up so much in the last three years, and it breaks my heart to know that I will be graduating at the end of this year. I have become this young woman that is full of joy in a world full of awfulness (is that even a real word??).

I have matured from a naive girl that grew up in a small town, and have learned that the tiniest things in life are the absolute greatest. College is a journey that is full of confetti, rainbows, late nights, coffee, tears, sweat, but of all moments that make me realize that I made the right decision.

I have truly learned that I am passionate about my degree and I will stop at nothing to walk across that stage, hear my full name (that is a bit long), and see my whole family smiling down on me.

We all know that we could not make it through these hard times without our families. So, don't take your frustration out on them, even when you are sleep deprived and just done with this whole thing we call college.

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