All Wounds Need to Breathe


The tension is high as a visitor observes this rehearsal. Chamber choir singers are practicing their Christmas songs, but one of last year’s graduates is observing them. Joshua Shepherd can feel the tension, and couldn’t resist the chance to lighten the mood. With a pencil up his nose, he makes a ridiculous face at the visitor. Her laughter makes everyone relax. No one else seems to care about his antics because this is an example of everyday Joshua Shepherd.

Julie Day, Staff Writer

He is like an iridescent crystal; different people can glance at him and see different things. Although, everyone can agree that senior Joshua Banks Shepherd is a lively character full of royal sass.

As abstract and audacious as he is, Shepherd finds himself to be very attentive and focused towards the important things in his life. Because he is in the graduating class of 2015, college is on the fore-front of his mind. He wishes to attend Georgia College and State University to major in early childhood education. Not only is he concentrated on his studies, but Shepherd is also a gifted singer and actor. He plays a large role in the school’s most advanced choir and is very serious about theater. He holds great value to both of these advanced arts, but he does not let the intensity and sternness of them dim his quirky spirit. Though he is a tad facetious, he is motivated to be as successful as he possibly can in every aspect of his life. Shepherd is extraordinarily friendly to everyone, and cares deeply for all of his friends. When a friend is troubled, he always offers his hand. He carries himself with confidence, and provides a buoyant ambiance for anyone near him. However, there is more to him than that; like everyone Shepherd wields a much deeper story.

He wasn’t always full of personality and kindness. For most of his life Shepherd was bullied and treated like an outcast. The torture began around the end of his elementary school years; kids disliked him for being different, and took it upon themselves to make him feel like utter filth. Distressing words were slung in his direction from all around, and although the primitive comments didn’t phase him at first, everything worsened as he grew older. In middle school, the words had expanded into a much harsher vocabulary, insecurities found their way into his sub-conscious, and his friends abandoned him. Everything started to affect him in a way he never thought they would, and his spirit was seemingly broken beyond repair.

In high school, he hit his lowest low. Anger boiled inside of him to the point where he cared about nothing and no one. November of 2010, he began self-harming for the first time. He did not improve his destructive ways until his mother caught, and forced him to start improving. After a long journey of pain and suffering, he started an even longer journey, one he has yet to finish: his journey into recovery. Though he is not completely recovered, he is a completely different person. His progress was astonishing, but that was not nearly enough for him. He knew that others were struggling, and he had to do something to help. Therefore he did something brave, and started a blog.

“ I just thought my story could be beneficial to others,” reasons Shepherd. His blog relives his most painful memories and encourages others to persevere. Through the many years of pain, Shepherd found himself journaling to release all the emotions he kept inside. This was a big aid in his decision to begin a blog.

In June of 2014, he composed his first blog post and published it. He watched his story unfold over the course of that summer, but when the new school year reared its head, the blog posts changed. After his own story was out, he realized that so many people around him were wrestling their own demons. He knew that he needed to address, and shed some light on these issues.

His most recent posts have been about the body and beauty. Complete strangers approach him and pour their stories onto his plate. Ideas for his blog posts come from people like him who long for a listening ear. Shepherd wants to make a difference in troubled hearts, and he feels the need to show an evergreen side of the world to everyone who is blinded by the poison of their own monsters. He has a passion to inspire.

Though he is doing something massive, pressure creeps up on him accompanied by insecurity. He feels like a leader for his readers and knows his words need to touch at least one heart. When he posts, he worries that the message he delivers will not be what his readers need. In addition, he is insecure about posting his “deepest darkest secrets” online and is worried about the possible reactions he could get. However, he does not let any of this halt his message; he knows that someone needs to hear what he has to say, that each post will make a difference in at least one person’s life.

As far as success goes, he personally thinks his blog has been rather successful. In such a short amount of time, his blog has acquired a few thousand reads and a small group of regular readers. The blog has definitely been effective, but his goals remain high: he wants to be one of the top reads on WordPress, and he desires a large group of dedicated readers. To be able to tailor his posts to his readers is his dream, and he feels that would be the best way to reach everyone who wishes to receive his message. Yes, his blog has been very successful thus far, but he yearns for something much bigger.

He is like an iridescent crystal; he can be two very different people but still remain himself at the same time. Joshua Banks Shepherd has a large personality with a huge heart to compliment it. He was not always so caring, but with time and healing, he transformed into a beautiful, wise, and strong person. His grip on what he wants is firm, and he refuses to lose his hold. He is climbing higher and higher without glancing down, and he wants others to get there as well. His devotion will never fade.

“I just have a passion for helping others,” admits Josh.” Everyone needs confidence and commitment.”