Wednesday, April 2, 2014

College isn't easy

College is not easy. A new environment: new people, no parents, and for many of us, being away from home for the first time. Once again we are the little fish, wandering around a big sea, still trying to get the hang of how to swim. We're vulnerable, but, we're not the only ones. Being on your own for the first time can be scary. It's easy to get lost. Being lost can lead us to searching for validation from the new people we meet on campus. However, it is ultimately up to you to decide how you feel about yourself.
If when you look in the mirror, your thoughts are clogged by what others have said about you, you have let them win. You allowed other people to have power over you, in determining how you feel about yourself. It's time to silence those voices, and gain back the power.
I'll admit, college has not been easy for me. I'm away from home for the first time, and on top of that, I am really shy. The first few months on campus led to me searching for validation from my peers, something I have never cared to do before. Silly things: do I fit in here? Is my skirt cute? Am I eating too much, too often? Do you like my haircut? Those first few months, I was under a lot of stress, mainly stress I put on myself, in an attempt to strive for unattainable perfection.
I wasn't taking care of my body, and I didn't care. Chemicals, on top of strict dieting, and excessive exercising. I would settle for a few pieces of fruit per day, while trying to maintain my schedule of kickboxing 3-4 times a week. Barely giving myself enough fuel to get through the day, it got harder and harder to complete an hour kickboxing routine.
I pleaded ignorance when my family asked how I could have possibly lost almost 30 pounds in just a few months. Dropped in a new world full of uncertainties, I had "control" over one thing, and it spiraled desperately out of control.
I was never fat, I have always been an athlete- soccer, basketball, track, kickboxing, and cycling. However, I was always striving to be better. I always believed if I was more tone, I would feel so much happier.
Almost 30 pounds lighter, I was anything but. Not only was I weak physically, but, emotionally as well. My spirit was destroyed, and I was tired all of the time. I didn't have the energy to go out with my friends and frankly, I was embarrassed to. I didn't have the energy or motivation to do anything that I loved to do. Writing and working out was placed on the back-burner. Filled with anxiety, sadness, and fatigue, I spent the first six weeks back at school in my bed trying to regain my strength. There's no feeling quite as bad as watching fun things happening all around you, but not being able to par-take. My days consisted of: waking up, wishing for a nap, and going to class as an empty shell. I would eat lunch and dinner in my room, because I was exhausted, and out of excuses, tired of getting defensive, because people judged my eating habits.
At one point, I considered switching schools and moving closer to home. I told myself I wasn't ready to be on my own quite yet.  I had just turned 18. Reality is, no matter what school you're at, your brain is coming with you.
I knew I had to take initiative if I wanted to feel better again. Being as stubborn as I am, I had to admit I was having a hard time, and that I could use a hand. Slowly, I began to let down walls, and open up to my friends and family. I shouldn't have been shocked that they weren't shocked, or immediately ready to run fast in the opposite direction. I am beyond lucky to have the strongest most patient friends and family, that anybody could ever ask for.
My friends and family have been patient with me as I relearn to love myself, and find the enthusiasm I once had for the things that I loved most.
One thing I've learned this past year is that no matter what it is, your family will never let you go through anything alone. I've never been more grateful and sorry for anything at the same time.
From this point on...
I promise to...keep what other people think and say about me as being none of my concern.
I promise to...accept and embrace my flaws in all their glory.
I promise to...take care of my body.
I promise to...say something if i'm feeling unhappy, or lost.
I promise others who may be feeling down, or get a blurry reflection when they look in the mirror.
I promise to...go easy on myself.
What do you promise? 

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