The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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If it matters to you, it’s important

Whitney Veazey

I’ve never felt like any of my interests were really worth being interested in, and not because they don’t bring me joy. Trust me, I am the most easily excitable person you’ll probably ever meet, but I have a tendency to reign that excitement in, even when it’s about something I really care about. 

I read “Twilight” for the first time at 9-years-old, and because it was the first “big kid” book I had ever read, and because I have always had a tendency to treat words on a page like food or water or oxygen, or maybe just because I was nine, I got obsessed, hardcore. 

Spoiler alert: I’ve never quite managed to give that obsession up, and at my big age of twenty, I still reread the books at least once a year. The series comforts me unlike anything else, and though I know they’re not literary masterpieces by any means, the nostalgia wins every time. 

On the other side of this coin, however, I am an English Literature major. I’m supposed to be the one who knows all of the “good books,” the ones that professors love to have students analyze, the ones that supposedly contain the many secrets of the universe. 

The thing is, though, until I came to college, my idea of a “good book” was the many science fiction and fantasy novels that still fill my overflowing bookshelves at home. My high school’s English classes didn’t have a very diverse selection, so I’ve had to play catch-up. Along the way, I have learned to love both worlds: the books I escaped into as a child and the works of art that my professors can’t believe I’ve never read. Despite this, I still freeze when someone asks me what my favorite book is.

There’s this shame that surrounds what I think and what I love. I’ve always felt the need to avoid even mentioning the books, TV shows and movies I like, and the thought of someone seeing my Spotify account makes me want to crawl into a hole and die. My opinions feel both precious and mortifying, too childish, too personal and definitely too embarrassing for anyone to know about. It’s like they need shielding from others who might take one look and use that as a springboard for a mountain of assumptions about who I am as a person. 

It has taken me until very recently to realize that I am not defined by what other people think of me, and certainly not by the value they place on my interests, thoughts or opinions. A very good friend explained it to me like this: you are not your interests or opinions. You are a person outside of who you are “supposed” to be. You are allowed to find joy in the world around you and in the worlds other people create. You are allowed to be happy, period, and to not feel ashamed of that happiness. 

So here I am, writing my first ever opinion piece about how I’ve always been terrified of sharing my opinions. Thank you, Emma, for pushing me outside of my comfort zone by making me write this, and thank you to the many people who have assured me that I do, in fact, have opinions and that I shouldn’t be afraid to share them.

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About the Contributors
Kelley Peters, Managing Editor
Kelley is a junior from Tupelo, Miss. who is majoring in English literature with a minor in applied linguistics. She is currently Managing Editor for The Flor-Ala. She has loved reading for as long as she can remember, which developed her love of storytelling and the English language. Her career goal is to become an English professor at a university. She was previously a volunteer writer in the Fall of 2021, became a Staff Writer in January of 2022 and moved to being News Editor in January of 2023.
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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