May 2016 I graduated Eckerd College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies and minors in Biology and Human Development. Last week I was thinking about what how different I am now versus when I was 18 and starting college across the country from where I called home. The biggest change I’ve noticed is the way I allow myself to be treated by the people I surround myself with.
It is very hard to ignore what people think of you. As a freshman in college you are still similar to the person you were in high school. I was quiet and let people talk over me. I would do everything I could to keep people happy or at least not annoyed with me. I was always very unhappy with who I was, and I felt voiceless. I would change who I was to be friends with people I thought had perfect lives and were liked by everyone. This happened in high school and by the end I realized I didn’t like those people and I became friends with caring people I still talk with to this day.
In college I became “friends” with a group of girls I thought were “popular.” I wasted 2 years with people who were very self-involved and insecure. These girls projected their insecurities on me, and I became insecure about things I never noticed before. I never knew I had a “pouch” on my lower belly. I don’t even know what my stomach looked like before freshman year of college because I didn’t think it mattered. I became very self-conscious and I hated that new quality about myself.
Junior year I went through a hard time in my life, and realized these people weren’t truly there for me. They were happy that it didn’t happen to them. I became friends with some amazing, loving girls and graduated college happy. We made great memories and I’m so happy I had the inner strength to distance myself from toxic people in my life.
The people I am friends with, as well as my family, care about what I have to say and how I feel. I know the best qualities in my inner circle that are best for our relationships, and there is love flowing in both directions.
I love how much I have grown in four years, I know who is worthy of my time. I am important too. My voice matters. We all deserve love in all forms and don’t let anyone make you think you deserve anything less.