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Trusting Yourself

All my life, I’ve been searching for answers.

Like most little kids, my favorite question was “Why?” I’d ask my mom about everything and anything, wanting to know why people did the things they did, how things worked, and what my mom thought about them.

As a teenager, I explored different experiences to find who I was and who I wasn’t. I tried being the over-achiever, the slacker, the arty kid, the theater kid, the choir kid, the daredevil, the music snob, the loner, and the social butterfly (at least as much as I could manage it).

Now, I’m a young adult. I’ve got an idea of how the world works and who I am. But like most young adults, I’ve struggled with another big question: what do I want in life?

For the past few months, this question has been interrupting my life almost every waking moment. It all started with my ex Jessie telling me that all of his relationships have fallen apart because he’s still in love with me. While this wasn’t exactly a shocking revelation, it still threw me off guard and left me thinking, “What am I supposed to do with this information?” That got me looking at my current relationship with my boyfriend Fred. Would our relationship allow me to pursue my dreams of traveling in the future? Suddenly I wasn’t so sure. And then I started thinking about the other big black hole in my future: my degree and my career. I thought I knew what I wanted, but the hoops I have to jump through to get there sound miserable. So, all day everyday I have been thinking, “What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?”

The more I realized I hadn’t thought things out, the more questions seemed to be hurdled at me: do I want to get a Ph.D? Do I want to be in a relationship with Jessie? Am I willing to give up on travel? What type of job should I pursue if I don’t get my Ph.D? Would I be willing to let Jessie go? Would I be willing to let Fred go? Should I just be on my own? Should I start traveling now? What do I do if I take a year off? How did I not think about all of this before now?

The trouble with happiness (as weird as it sounds) is that you quit questioning things. The way that sadness makes you hyper-analyze your life, happiness makes you under-analyze your life. After all, if you’re happy, why should things change? Isn’t that the goal, to be happy?

When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to change peoples’ lives. Probably not in a fancy way, like being president or discovering a planet, but changing them in a small, meaningful way. That’s why I chose to pursue psychology, so I could help people manage their everyday lives. I also knew I wanted to travel, to see every continent (except maybe Antarctica) and discover how other people live, and how different life could be. I held these two goals close to my heart and promised myself that no matter how far away they seemed, that I would do them because that is just who I am…I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have these goals.

Now, I’m in my early twenties, and I feel as though every decision I make right now will influence whether or not those goals will become accomplished. I’m terrified of waking up in ten years, stuck, and wishing I had done something different. I’m terrified of choosing wrong, and being unable to make it right.

So I had to make a choice. It all happened in one night, when I sat down with my mom and told her everything I had been thinking. I didn’t exactly want her to tell me what I should do, more like her perspective. What did she want when she was my age? Did she get what she wanted? What about the things she didn’t get—does she regret the decisions that stopped her from getting them? What happened? What changed?

Basically, that conversation with her reminded me of every other moment of doubt in my life. Time after time, I’d feel so lost and helpless…and what did I do? I did what I had to. I chose a college, I chose a degree, I chose to drop out, I chose to go to therapy and get medication, I chose to go back to school. I’ve always done what I had to, and when I found myself lost again I made a change. No matter what has happened, when I’ve had no other choice than to trust myself, I’ve ended up happy and content in the end.

So I chose to make it work with my boyfriend, and try to let Jessie go. I chose to pick a career within psychology that would get me a job easily, so I could have the money to go back to school later if I didn’t like it. I chose to make a choice—to suck it up, pick a direction, and trust that I’d take myself where I needed to go.

Weeks later, I’m more or less the same. I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to get into grad school, and I’m still working on letting go of Jessie, despite not talking to him for weeks. But I feel better, I feel confident in a weird way. I may still be a little lost, but I know it won’t last forever. Eventually I’ll move on to different problems, circumstances in my life will change, and I’ll still be the one calling the shots. The problems I’m stuck on now will seem smaller; the insecurities I face will have faded. Life goes on.

So maybe down the road I’ll change my grad school plans. Maybe I’ll decide to travel on my own. Maybe it won’t work out with Fred, maybe it will be too late with Jessie. No matter how scary it gets, no matter what happens, it’s going to be okay. I’ve kept myself safe thus far, and I know I’ll do it again.

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A Product of My Generation

Once upon a time, there was a high school senior who, like most high school seniors, wanted to get the hell out of her hometown and away from her parents. She dreamed of a magical place she could go to where she could live and learn about wonderful things that would someday hopefully make her money: college. And then three years later, after many semesters of hard work and determination (while at the same time indulging her laziness), she dropped out so she could move back home with her parents and start intensive therapy (along with meds). And all of her dreams disappeared, POOF! And she didn’t live happily ever after, because she had no degree and would therefore probably die in poverty due to America’s capitalist, bullshit society. The End.

Despite the pessimism heavily influencing the end of that story, I feel surprisingly calm about my whole life going up in flames. Now before you start reasoning with me, and saying, “People take time off of school all the time, relax. You’ll go back and finish your degree. There’s plenty of time to figure out your life, but first you must let yourself heal, young grasshopper” just hear me out. No one wants to take time off, because then you failed. And even though all your friends and family are telling you this stuff about how school will always be there and everything is okay, you are sad because this was never part of the plan. No one is happy for you unless you are productive, and taking time off of school is not productive.

This is why millennials are so fucked up and why everyone complains about them. From the time we’re kids we’re spoon-fed this bullshit idea that everyone who is a good person has a college degree, a well-paying job, a picket fence with a husband/wife and 2.5 kids. And it’s a lie. Good people don’t always get to go to college, and good people don’t always get married or stay married or even have a house to live in. But everyone always dumps on those people because they didn’t live up to the “American dream”. So we panic when there’s a chance we won’t be a part of the normal, disappearing middle-class; we run ourselves into the ground with our high, over-acheiving standards. And then other generations get to point at us and wonder, “Why aren’t they succeeding? Why are they so freaked out all the time, so emotionally fucked?” This is the struggle of the millennial. This is the problem we are all trying so hard to hide.

But I can’t hide it anymore; if I stay in school I’ll continue to skip classes and fail because I don’t have the energy to get out of bed or leave the house. I can’t seem to bring myself to go socialize with people because it stresses me out so much that I’ll sit in my room crying. I’ve become so stressed and tired and worried about money that I hardly eat and have begun to pull out my hair again (a really weird habit I’ve developed in college). So Wednesday morning I was emailing my professor about an assignment I didn’t turn in by mistake (but spent hours working on) and I just started to cry because I knew I couldn’t keep doing this; it was over.

Monday I drove two hours from college town because I didn’t want to go home and spend another night alone. This week I’ve skipped all of my classes and even a shift at work. Yesterday I just slept all day, only leaving the house to go to work that night. It’s time to make a change, and try to put myself back together, rather than keep trying to pretend I haven’t fallen apart. And don’t get me wrong—this is going to be really hard, and it’s probably going to seem hopeless at times, but I have to do it.

My big mistake in all of this has been isolating myself all semester, and even last semester. Neglecting to tell people about your life only contributes to loneliness, and putting on a brave face doesn’t make you stronger. I’ve distanced myself from a lot of really great people because I thought that they would judge me, and I knew they couldn’t take away the sadness I felt. But it was wrong; people remind you of the good in life, of the strength in love and friendship. People are what make my life meaningful, and pushing them away has only given me less to live for.

So I’m starting over, I’m pressing the reset button on my life in the only way I really can. Maybe I failed, but I still want a shot at succeeding…and the only way I can do that is if I beat this depression. Again.

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Empty Futures

Well, everyone, here I am starting my senior year of college. By December I’ll be done with this college town and undergrad, and ready to start a new adventure… But, like a decent portion of college seniors  I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING.

Never before have I had less of a clue about my future plans. In high school, I didn’t exactly plan for college extensively (actually, I just took one lousy tour and applied to the place I’m at now), but I did have an idea of what I wanted. I had this vision of my future college self in my head, and I knew that’s what I wanted to be. As for post-undergrad, my vision is…nothing. I’ve got a giant stack of nothing ready to be served up as soon as I graduate, and while I know I’ve got a year left to figure something out I’m not optimistic. I keep searching and searching for what I want, and I either find nothing or find it in the wrong places.

It’s only the first week of school and I’m stressed. My latest dilemma is that the deadline to renew my lease is coming up, and I’m not sure I want to stay at my current place. It would be incredibly easy if I stayed, but I feel like I’d be less stressed if I went (at least once I found somewhere else to live). I don’t want to hurt my roommates’ feelings by leaving, though, and I wonder if it’s too short of notice to say something. But I bet they’d be better off without me, anyway. The thing is, I’m ready to live on my own. I know that’s a scary option, given my past with depression, but I know I’ll never feel comfortable living with anyone other than a romantic partner. I close myself off and I perpetually feel like a visitor; it’s time I make my own space where I can feel at ease. But it’s hard to make a decision that isn’t people-pleasing.

Speaking of, things with my ex-partner (who I’m just simply going to refer to as Jessie from now on) are interesting. She told me she wants to marry me someday, can you believe it? Actually, what she said was: “I’m going to marry you someday, ____. And goddamn it, you’re going to say yes.” What does a person say to that, especially when their whole life is a giant question mark? It made me very nervous and guilty, for reasons only some of which I understand. I don’t always know what to say to her, you know? The more time passes with her living in Central America, the more different our lives are becoming. She seems to be growing so determined and decisive about her life, while I only seem to be growing less.

I just want to find a dream to go for again. I used to have my whole post-undergrad plans figured out, and I wanted them so badly. I had a whole life I wanted to live, I dreamed of living…I know now that it wasn’t the right life for me. But what is? All I know are the things I don’t want, and the things I should want, but that isn’t the same as having a dream: knowing what you want and going after it with everything that you’ve got.

Hell, I don’t even know what plans to keep for this weekend…What is wrong with me?

Social Justice Loser

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There are things I like and despise about getting my women’s and gender studies minor. On the one hand, I like how women’s and gender studies opens my eyes to the problems in our society that I might not have ever fully comprehended. On the other hand, a lot of pompous, arrogant assholes take women’s and gender studies classes. I guess it’s a tradeoff.

See, after a few years of participating in The Vagina Monologues I was all, “Yes! Feminism, equality, fighting against social injustice is for me!” Everyone on cast was so friendly and welcoming, and lots of them seemed to be into the same things I were. They were almost intimidatingly cool. I wanted to be just like them. But, the more involved I became, the more issues I encountered. Any of the queer cool people who had a past with my girlfriend became someone to secretly despise (and since everyone gets passed around or hit on repeatedly in the queer community, it was a growing list). The hippie types were big into the drug scene…the academic types were too scholarly to have a normal conversation…the eccentric types a little too eccentric…some of them seemed angry and scary, some of them seemed critical and opinionated, some of them sorted into cliques, some of them seemed to know everyone… They were all so different. From the outside it seemed like I’d fit in, but as time passed and I became more integrated in the Women’s and Gender Studies world, I felt like maybe I didn’t belong there after all. I got angry sometimes, but let it go quickly. I had opinions, but I kept them to myself. I wasn’t engrossed in scholarly work like the others, I wouldn’t do any drug harder than pot, I wasn’t into anime or was a vegetarian or knew sign language. Hell, I wasn’t even that gay. But I stuck with the classes anyway.

How are the classes? They’re okay I guess. I never do the readings but I go to all the classes. One of my professors is super interesting, but her lecture is so big that it’s hard to talk to her. My other class is taught by an opinionated TA who scares me a bit. I hate writing the papers. I hate speaking up in class; I always feel like I’m about to say the wrong thing. Everyone in those classes is so politically correct that it becomes hard to know what’s the right language to use anymore. And as a white, cisgendered, middleclassish person I often feel like everything is my fault…no matter how hard I try to understand, I’ll always be part of the ‘bad guys’ it seems.

I even wrote a poem about being white, but I’m too afraid to show it to anyone. Even though I’m critical of my own race in the poem, I’m still nervous that it will come off the wrong way… I’m beginning to think that no matter where I go or what I do, I’ll always feel like an outsider.

Even though I feel stable emotionally, I still think I should go to therapy to address some of these insecurities I have. I always think my friends don’t want me around or think I’m too weird for them, and it’s a thought that won’t go away. I always worry that I’m being shitty to my girlfriend, because I don’t want to make the same mistakes I made over the summer. I get sad that I’m being a bad daughter to my parents because I won’t pretend to be straight. They don’t want me around, I tell myself about my brother and dad. You aren’t like them, I think in my women’s and gender studies classes.

I remember coming to college believing that I’d thrive and entrench myself in the material I learned. In reality, I feel so distanced from everything I do and just go through the steps to make the necessary grades. My passion is buried under stress and failed expectations. (That last sentence could sum up all of college in a nutshell, I bet.)

Alone in a Crowd

My life is lived behind a piece of glass. I look out, and no one (except a rare few) looks in. I wish I could step out of the glass, to break down the wall, but I’m afraid that if people see the real me all the time, that they’ll have the same opinion I have of myself.

And God, that is something I could not bare.

I’m not trying to rag on Women’s an Gender Studies people (although some of them are truly full of themselves and think they know everything about everything). I know just because people are different than me doesn’t mean they are bad people. But I wish I could be different with them. I just want to feel like I’m an okay person—that I’m even capable of liking and hanging out with. Isn’t that sad? It’s like I’m back in fourth grade and wishing I could sit with the popular girls at lunch.

Maybe if my family would accept me I’d feel differently. Maybe if I had more friends I’d feel validated. Maybe if I made more of an effort with the friends I already have…But I digress. One step at a time, right?

My Fucked Up College Life

Did you ever picture your college life as a kid? Did you sit there, dreaming about how professional and put-together and fun-loving you’d become? Did you imagine how many friends you’d have, how your hair would become all long and shiny and straight, how you’d coast through classes on your way to a fabulous job?

Did you imagine having a threesome with your ex-boyfriend and current girlfriend?

My life is fucked. Because the only one of those scenarios that is true is the last, and like just about everything, I screwed it up. How do you screw up a threesome? You enjoy everything halfway, and then watch your girlfriend and ex-boyfriend make out and suddenly become so sad that you want to burst into tears and so mad that you want to punch them both in the face for kissing the other person. And then you get all quiet until they think you’re done so you can disappear into the bathroom and start sobbing hysterically (while listening to them continue). Finally, when your shirt is covered in snot and tears you let your ex come into the room to comfort you (but not your girlfriend). And then your brain hurls every reason you are wrong about everything in your face. And it sucks.

My life is fucked. How did this all happen? How did an innocent trip to visit me in my college town become a friendship between my boyfriend and girlfriend, and then become fucking? Why did they have to get drunk like that, and why did my sober-self have to agree to a threesome that had “bad idea” written all over it? How did I end up in this fucked up place?

I just want to fast-forward through this point in my life—the point where I can’t stay happy through a whole day, where I’ve distanced myself from most of my friends, where what I want and what is possible are two separate things. The worst part is how tired I am of trying to hide how unhappy I am to my girlfriend—but it’s not like I can be completely open all the time because all it will do is make her sad and make me angry. So I’m stuck in my feelings, at least until I can go home for the weekend and visit old friends that make me feel like my old self.

When I was in high school, and went through my second major depressive episode, I realized that college wasn’t going to look like what I imagined as a kid. I realized that every few years I was going to have to suffer through my oppressive depression and that my version of happiness would never be quite as simple as other peoples’. I realized that this depression would turn me into someone self-centered and pessimistic and angry, and that all I could do would be to look for the symptoms and try to catch it early.

But even in that scenario, I never pictured a threesome.

Adulthood, And Other Scary Thoughts

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The longer I’m in college, the more I realize what kind of adult I’m going to turn into, and what a scary thought that is. I have this picture of my adult self in my head, carrying around a real purse that wasn’t bought from Journey’s and showing up to work with her hair in a way that looks both faltering and serious. Adult me wears slacks and blazers and drives a practical car that’s not from the ’90s. She gets things done. And if I’m right in my predictions, she will border on “emotional mess” and “type A personality”. Scary, scary thoughts here.

I have this prediction because right now my life is one to-do list after another, one rant session to my roommate Caitlin after another, and it doesn’t really seem to be changing. In the back of my mind, I’m dreaming of things normal college students dream of, like backpacking through Europe and moving in with my boyfriend. But in the front of my mind I’m panicking about getting into graduate school two years from now and trying to plan out a time to get research experience next year and trying to stay on top of the reading for all of my classes and trying to find a place to live next year with my friends and TRYING. I’m trying so hard to get it all right, but I’m not perfect, I forget and fail and it freaks me out. And freaking out will make me wish I could talk to my long-distance boyfriend and then I will get all sad and miss him and find reasons to be angry that should never exist. If this is any indication of adulthood, I think I’ll go ahead and run away with the circus right about now.

But, even though I’m drowning in a sea of things I need to do and am not doing, there are always the good things. I feel pretty good about myself appearance-wise nowadays, and that makes me feel proud, especially because I haven’t done a thing to alter my body, just my attitude. And I’m still completely in love with my boyfriend, which makes the whole planning-our-lives-together thing a bit easier, haha. My friends are great too, both here and back home. I feel confident that if I ever become super super stressed I could rely on them for help. And my mom is great too, as always. And the Vagina Monologues is coming up again, which is such a wonderfully empowering experience. So my life isn’t really in the pits, just sort of teetering on the edge some days.

As I look around me at this world of college students I can’t help but feel as if everyone either has their shit together more than I do, or less than I do. Apart from my friends, I can’t seem to find anyone else on my level of freak out and maturity. Are they worried about not measuring up to the standards of grad school admissions offices too? Are they wishing they could just skip a few years so they can be with the person they love, have their future figured out, and be done with French classes?

The picture in my head of my adult self will probably just stay a picture forever…I’m probably going to end up a slightly wiser, and older version of myself without some dramatic change of character and calmness (but I’m still holding out hope for the calmness and maturity…). But maybe someday I will buy a pair of slacks. And maybe some sort of clown-college-graduate-school hybrid will take me into their program. And maybe I’ll end up with a hybrid as my car, too.

I guess as long as there’s still time to speculate about the future, than I haven’t really screwed up yet.

Sleepless/A Conversation

It’s after three in the morning and I can’t sleep. After organizing my stuff to pack up for if-you-cant-sleep-playlist-art-4024school, I decided to lay down and close my eyes. That was around 2am, and here I am an hour later after listening to my brain come up with my schedule for the rest of the week, the route I’m going to take to get to my dorm Saturday morning, possible ideas of what to do with my grandparents when I visit them tomorrow (besides just sitting there flipping through magazines after an hour of twenty questions), something me and my mom can do together before I leave, and a fleeting idea of taking swimming lessons at school to conquer my long-time fear of water. It’s a mess. I also can’t help thinking that I should really be trying to go to bed sooner so when the first week of classes hits I can actually wake up sometime before noon.

For some reason it makes me want to talk to Charles. He always knew what to say to shut me up about my anxieties, mostly so we could focus on his problems, but there’d also be rare moments when he’d make me see something about them that I couldn’t before. I could imagine our conversation going something like this:

“Hey. I’m sorry to wake you up at three-thirty in the morning but I can’t sleep no matter how hard I try because I just can’t stop thinking about school starting next Monday and moving in on Saturday.”

“(heavy sigh) You realize you owe me for this, don’t you? I was having a dream about [some outrageous nonsense that he will go into great detail over] and you just woke me up from it.”

“What?! I’ve listened to you plenty, and even though I feel bad about waking you up, I don’t owe you squat.”

[then we’d argue for a few minutes, pointing out specific instances of us putting up with the other person’s crap]

“Alright, I’m too tired for this. Just tell me about school so I can go back to bed.”

“Well…I’m just nervous, okay? I don’t want to screw it up and be like last year.”

“And why was last year bad?”

“I didn’t make a lot of friends and I missed my boyfriend all the time and… It was like everyone else was having the time of their lives, and I was just getting through day-by-day. I just holed up in my room and watched Netflix a lot and I didn’t really do anything that made a difference. I didn’t explore the town that much and I quit running and spent most of my time wishing I was with my boyfriend.”

“Then don’t do that.”

“You say that like it’s simple. I knew I was isolating myself and felt really bad about it, but I didn’t know how to make friends after everyone seemed to stop looking for new ones. I was insecure, and my self-esteem was crappy, and I was scared to try to fill up my schedule at the risk of becoming super stressed out.”

“Look, if you want to make this year different then you will. You will find reasons to try rather than reasons not to, and if you don’t then that’s your own fault and you’ll have another crappy year. Do something about it, and stop worrying. If you want to be with your boyfriend then you’re going to just have to accept the fact that you’re going to miss him all the time, and not have the closeness other people have. If you want more friends then go find them, and quit expecting them to show up at your doorstep. You’ll be fine, you always are.”

“…..You’re right. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Now I’m going to bed, because I’ve got stuff to do tomorrow and can’t sleep in, unlike some people.”

“[eye roll, which he wouldn’t have seen anyway, but still completely relevant] Okay, sorry…So, I can do this?”

“You can do this.”

“Okay…Thanks again, Charles. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.”

Even though it’s pretty silly of me to type out this imaginary conversation, it makes me feel a lot better now. Almost as if it really happened. I guess what this all boils down to is believing in myself, something Charles has always done (even if he’s been snarky about it) and I’ve had trouble with. Even though we aren’t friends anymore, and might not ever be again, something about him always makes me want to prove to myself that I am strong. Maybe it is the tough-love friends, not the sympathizers, that I need to be searching for this year. People to push me out of my comfort zone, to do my best. Anyway, my subconscious’ advice is right: if I want to make a difference this year, then I will. I know what not to do this time, and the worst is over. Now is the time to be brave and embrace the change.

Misery Doesn’t Love Company

I just want to cry. I finished my last and only final a few hours ago, and I feel nothing. No skipping down the streets, no screaming in delight, no jumping for joy or even a celebratory nap. Nope, I feel like crap. Maybe the word ‘drained’ would be better than crap…I knew it couldn’t last, this happy streak I was on. When I stopped taking my antidepressants I was calm and optimistic that maybe I could make it a good six months without taking a turn for the worse. I have the feeling now that I was wrong.

To make things simple, here’s why I feel so terrible in a handy-dandy list:

  1. I just looked at my boyfriend’s Facebook page. I always want to throw up after I do this, but I do it anyway. All of the pictures of us have been posted by me. His profile picture is just him, not us. So many pictures of ex-girlfriends that he posted and commented on about how good they look or how much he likes them… I hate that I think these things and compare, because it’s not right or fair to him. And it also makes me look at him and wonder if I really know him. (I hate Facebook)
  2. I never got that boyfriend who posts pictures of us and comments on how much he likes me. Not once. I’m lucky if I have a single picture of me and any of the guys I’ve dated. I never got the sweet guy until now, after I’ve been dumped on time and time again. And I hate that I can’t forget that fact or stop being so pathetic, throwing myself these little pity parties. But it just hurts a lot, you know? It hurts that everyone I’ve ever given a damn about didn’t want to stick around. It makes me hate myself.
  3. My french final went horribly. I blanked. At one point my french teacher sat down by me, patting my back saying, “It’s okay. You know this, trust yourself. You studied.” It’s when she got up that I started to cry. I didn’t know it and didn’t trust myself and didn’t study as much as I should have and that was the first time she had ever shown me any kind of sympathy. I tried my best, but I won’t make it to French III.
  4. I don’t want to leave school, but at the same time I do. I don’t want to move back home for the summer or be stuck in that small town again, but when I’m at school I’m stuck in my room. I want the people at home in my new life at college. But I can’t have it, and now I feel like I don’t fit in either place. I feel like I did college wrong.
  5. I hate this whole list, and every crummy sentence in it. It all makes me super sad, and I hate myself for being sad. See, my boyfriend isn’t feeling too great right now either, and I need to be strong for him. I want to do everything I can to cheer him up, and I don’t want to make him worry about me. I should be better for him, but all of a sudden I feel so out of control of my emotions…it’s the worst.

How do I know this is not just a run-of-the-mill stressful night? Because I don’t want to talk to my boyfriend. I’d rather cry myself to sleep, alone in my room, than talk to him or my friend Caitlin or my mom. I know it’s wrong, but I just can;t bring myself to do it. Sometimes misery doesn’t love company.

Tuesday Night Reflections

It’s a Tuesday night, about 50 minutes after I usually go to bed (that’s 11 o’clock for all of you who don’t have an 8am class). My roommate just left and so I am left with the room to myself, a comfort you don’t realize until it’s gone. It’s almost shocking how much people modify their own behavior in the presence of others. But alone… you aren’t ashamed to take goofy snap chats of yourself, to play your music no matter how loud or embarrassing it is, or to let your eyes wander without fear of meeting a stranger’s eyes on accident. That’s one thing I will cherish when I have my own place—freedom. Even back home, the only place I really felt comfortable was my room unless no one else was there.

Doesn’t that suck? The idea that you have to wait to be yourself until you’re in your early to mid-twenties, and even then it is just at your home. One thing I always liked about the country is that you can be alone outside, with just mountains, valleys, or endless plains to judge you. But why do I have to wait until I have my own place, or to possibly move out to the country? Why is it so hard to be myself, by myself, in front of others? Almost every teenager can attest to the ease you feel around your true friends—almost as if the rest of the world isn’t there. I just need to figure out how to be comfortable being myself around people who haven’t known me for years.

This first year at college is rapidly drawing to a close and I’ve begun to reflect on what I need to do different next year. Number 1: Make more friends. Number 2: Be a tad more involved in what’s going on around me. Number 3: Work on my self-esteem. As much as I’ve enjoyed my time here, I haven’t. I haven’t explored, I haven’t embraced anything outside my comfort zone. And as much as I wish I wasn’t so timid, I accept that I was this year. But next year will be different. I’ll know what to expect, and I’ll be more decisive with what I want out of the school year. And as easy as it is for me to say all of this now, I’m committed to putting in the effort next fall to making these resolutions come true.

But for now, I’ll keep working on my feminism page for this blog, keep fighting off the urge to skip my classes each morning when I wake up, keep being thankful for what I have, and keep trying to figure out  what I want out of this life. It’s all very uncertain right now, but I’m content to see where the road takes me.

Oh god, that sounds really cheesy, doesn’t it?

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