A Preface: I wrote this piece as part of my final for my journalism class in December, blasting "The Line" by dvsn (IF YOU LOVE THIS SONG THEN WE NEED TO BE FRIENDS ASAP). My first semester of college was truly an experience that changed my life. My second semester rocked my world even harder. Even after I left college for the summer, I am still being tested every single day. Self--acceptance is not a immediate action. It is a never--ending process that requires strength and patience. However, it is a process that has a reward that is worth the struggle. My biggest hope from publishing this personal piece is that someone can relate to it and find comfort in that they are not alone. You got this. You will make it. You will THRIVE not just SURVIVE.
I used to be a different person. When I was in elementary school, I was the loudest and most confident person in the room. I was bold and made friends easily. However, when I moved to a new school in the fourth grade, I did a complete 180. I made friends but because of the bullies, the ones at my school and the ones in my head that followed me up until graduation, I was not the same happy and confident little kid. I hated everything about myself— from the awkwardness that followed me like a shadow everyday to the anxiety that threatened to overtake me. When graduation day came, I remember myself strutting across the stage, tears in my eyes, thinking: “The worst is over. College is going to be so much better for me.”
I was wrong.
When I arrived at Baylor University my freshman year, I was ecstatic to become who I used to be. I would no longer be “Maddie Gee the shy girl”— I would be my old self again. However, what I did not expect was how completely different high school is from college. Parents and friends from home are not there to help. It was time to be an adult. This fact was something that definitely took some getting used to.
I was lucky enough to meet my best friends the first week on campus. I tried my hardest to be outgoing and bold not just when I was with them, but when I saw someone I knew or someone that knew me. Whenever I try to be social, my anxiety trips me up and I stay silent when all I want to do is speak up. My social life at Baylor has been a constant battle between myself and my brain.
My anxiety and awkwardness were not only present in my social life with friends. It was also present in my romantic life as well. (It’s about to get real.)
At my old high school, guys either pretended I did not exist or would spew horrible things about me behind my back. Consequently, my phone was drier than the Sahara Desert—my pull game was non--existent. My mom would always tell me “Just wait until college Maddie; you will not have a problem getting a boyfriend!” At first, I did not believe her. My first weeks at Baylor were just like high school—until this one guy literally appeared in front of me.
My fatal flaw in relationships is that I go zero to one hundred real quick. I will be your biggest supporter from day one. So when that guy did not work out, I was extremely hurt. My anxiety ate me alive, planting horrible thoughts in my head that made me feel even worse about the situation. I began to think that because this one guy did not work out then my entire college experience was going to suck. Eventually, I met another guy and thus began a vicious cycle—I would meet someone new, become too invested, they would drop off the face of the world without a word, and I would cry and eventually meet someone new. I began to let what others thought about me determine my happiness and my overall life.
So, you might be wondering if this story has a happy ending. Luckily, it does. I am a VERY stubborn person. A person can tell me something is true a million times but until it clicks with me I will deny it is true. My mother and my friends told me throughout the year to not be so hard on myself and to accept myself for who I am. I used to hate when they said that to me— I wanted to be who I used to be, not the new version of myself. On October 21, I was driving past my old high school and three things hit me at once.
First: the past is the past and I needed to focus on the future.
Second: the struggles I went through on a daily basis would only make me stronger.
Finally: I needed to stop tripping over guys who would not even take a step to be with me.
From that moment on, I have felt more secure in myself then ever before. To say that I never have moments where I falter is a lie. Loving myself is going to be something I will struggle with every day. Putting myself out there and being bold are also things I will struggle with too. It's hard going from staying silent all the time to boldly speaking up -- its a process not an immediate change. The freedom that comes with accepting your flaws and living for yourself and not the satisfaction of others is something I hope everyone can feel. My life is no fairytale, but I am working hard to create one for myself.
I love y'all very much. Reach out to me if you wanna talk about literally ANYTHING. My DM's are always open.
Peace Out Girl Scout,
Maddie the Media Princess