I’ve tried to write this blog twice already, but by the time I go to post it, it just doesn’t feel true anymore. During the past few weeks how I see myself and what I prioritize have been changing so much, so quickly that what I feel is the most important update in one moment seems almost irrelevant a few hours later. Things have slowed down a little bit and I feel more consistent the past few days, but I still don’t totally trust myself not to write something tonight that I’ll find totally insane tomorrow. So I won’t definitively try to predict exactly what has changed, but I do better understand now how I’ve changed, and why I’m proud of that.
On the surface I feel very much the same. I combed my hair with a key and still need my dance helmet. I destroyed a metal lid with a knife because I forgot to buy a can opener with the pumpkin pie filling. I lost my bike – and got lost on my bike – so many times during Orientation that my friends were afraid I’d end up at Cal. I talk all the time – to myself if necessary – although I swear, I really am better at listening. My room is in a constant cycle of Pinterest perfection and total chaos – to my credit, the bed is almost always made, but I won’t speak to what I’ve hidden under it. Just like in high school – and basically every school ever – there are moments like last night when I’m incredibly frustrated and feel like I’m running on empty and still don’t totally fit in no matter what I do. And then there are moments like this morning where I pass three palm trees whose leaves stand together perfectly to form a giant heart in the sky – it’s awesome y’all, Main Quad, right side if you’re standing in The Oval – and I see the beauty of this place like I did the first time I visited. It pulses with the energy of the amazing people who make it extraordinary, and I know without question why this was my dream, and that this is where I’m meant to be.
Half of my last blog was just about how much I love Ben, and the crazy thing is he is only part of why I know I’ve won the friend lottery here. We are so much alike, and especially when we’re with Stanford’s now officially most fashionable freshman, Stelio, we laugh so loud our voices probably DO end up at Berkeley. But I’ve also been lucky to find close friends who are totally different from me and – thank God – a little less high-strung. Nick amusedly watched the key combing with little (or at least well-hidden) judgement, and knows where my bike is parked even when I don’t. Alaina cooks with me – fortunately/unfortunately videotaped the can murder for all eternity – never fails to provide a much-needed dose of hilarious sarcasm, and makes sure I bring a jacket when it does get super cold – California, YOU LIED TO ME. I met Ben, Stelio, and Nick at Admit Weekend in April and Alaina on move-in day, so I’ve luckily had all four of them since the very beginning and have met even more incredible friends every day since. Because of them, I have never felt truly alone even in my toughest moments, and I know never will. The hardest thing about leaving a tiny school like St. Francis is losing the feeling that everyone around you really knows and loves you for exactly who you are, so finding those people who do in college has been one of the most important things I’ve done. That’s why I don’t feel like the core of who I am has changed either: I still would rather carve pumpkins on a Friday night than go out partying, I still believe that happiness is a choice, I still want not just to have adventures, but to BE an adventure, and relentless tenacity is still my worst – and best – quality.
What has changed – and continues to exhaustingly quickly – is something between the surface and my core. I cook and even SEW now, and go to church every Sunday. (Although I have moved on from the very strange day when I decided I was “half-Catholic and half Bapthodist.”) I’m an environmental activist. I’m an Iggy Azalea fan. I haven’t worn boots and sweatpants even once – well, yet. I certainly could improve, but I feel like I’m a better friend than I ever have been, and prioritize relationships and conversations way over anything you can put on a resume. I voted. I biked alone to Safeway in the dark because I could – and I wanted to make the pumpkin pie right then, dammit. (Yep, the impatience has not changed at all.) In grand adventures or little declarations of freedom, I am creating my own new life and making my own rules. My world is scarier but I am braver, and what I think of who I am matters more than what anyone else does.
Because the only person I will ALWAYS have…is me. This girl is all I get. Last night I wasn’t distraught by any means, but a little upset and disappointed and just kind of ready to be done. I had talked to both my moms, both my sisters, and all four of my closest friends in the span of a few hours which NEVER happens, and yet I still went to sleep with tears in my eyes. For whatever reason, they couldn’t help, and I was all I had left. This girl is all I get. Yesterday was unexpectedly hard, and normal sounded so good, and I was sick of her. But today she did what normal can’t. She chose to be happy. She didn’t wait to have a good day, she made it a good day. Normal sounded good, but bold sounded better. This girl is all I get, and tonight, I couldn’t be prouder of her.