For a year, I wrote. This is my 52nd and last article for Odyssey – and it has been an adventure.
I had always been a writer in some capacity. Skits in elementary school turned into poems and short stories in middle school that catapulted into essays, plays, a half-finished novel and a 10,000-word undergraduate thesis in high school and college. I didn't realize the power of words and the ability – carefully cultivated – to wield them until high school. I realized I could make people laugh or cry, just with what I wrote.
This year working for Odyssey, I have written one article every week.
I have written these articles in seven countries and with a variety of backdrops: Hotel rooms, trains, libraries, coffee shops, my childhood bedroom and my college apartment. I wrote my articles when I couldn't sleep at 3 a.m., at 4 p.m. while procrastinating my thesis, and 7 a.m. before class and work. I wrote when it felt like I couldn't type fast enough to get all the words in my head on the page, and when it was the last thing I wanted to do.
It was easy to say that this was just "something to do," but as I reflected on my work, I realized it was so much more.
The 52 articles had a combined word count of 31,740 – which is longer than "Of Mice and Men" and three times the length of my undergraduate thesis.
My work combined had more than 5,000 views and 700 'social engagements.' That sounds like a lot, but let's be honest, most of those were my mom! I learned more about social media and self-promotion this year than the first 21 years of my life.
I learned what I value – that is to say, what I have enough passion, interest and knowledge to write about. I realized this year that I kept writing about queer representation, over and over again. I was able to work through, or write through, my own issues with representation in my own life and the larger culture.
This year, I realized the importance, once again, of writing and sharing your point of view with the world.
So, thanks, Odyssey. It's been fun.