The Real Adventure Begins
March 10th 2017
“I’m finally free. I can be anyone,”
I thought to myself as a naïve college freshman. What I didn’t realize was the decisions I would make on the road to self-discovery would forever shape me.
Growing up, I had dreams and goals for the life I would live and the person I would become. I was always super social. Since birth. I could make friends with a door knob if I had to. Although I had a lot of friends growing up, I didn’t get noticed by my various crushes; tons of friends but no boyfriends. I was the one guys talked to about the girls they liked, not the one they pursued. I was outgoing and confident on the outside, insecure and looking to feel valued on the inside.
When I arrived at college I was terrified. Coming from a small, conservative high school, I hadn’t had to make friends since Kindergarten. Here I am in St. Cloud, in what I thought was a big city, at a college with over 15,000 students. “What if being outgoing isn’t enough, and I don’t make any friends?” I thought. Thus, day one on campus marked the search for my group, my posse, or whoever would take me.
I had zero standards for who that group would be, and I settled for the first two people who walked by my door. They were not at SCSU for their education but instead to party. I was afraid I wouldn’t meet anyone else so I jumped into the party scene. All of a sudden, “the undateable girl” was found attractive to guys and people really wanted to be around me, at least on the weekends. However, because of my insecurity, I searched for value and acceptance in relationships, especially with the opposite sex. When I said “no” to their pushing of physical boundaries my “knights in shining armor” moved onto other “princesses.” I was left feeling even more hopeless.
And then…I met him. This handsome guy was cool and carefree plus he really liked me. This time I wasn’t going to screw things up. I didn’t want this one to be like the others. So when he pushed the physical boundaries, I let him, thinking sex would make him stay and commit to a relationship. It actually had the opposite effect. One day, shortly after, he called me saying we should just be friends. I was looking for a relationship, and he wasn’t.
I was beyond crushed. This let-down drove me deeper into partying and meaningless hook-ups. I looked to these things to satisfy me, but they only made me feel worse. My road to self-discovery was shaping me into a person I didn’t plan on becoming. A close friend of mine said to me one day, “You’re different, and I don’t think I like it.” Did I like the person I had become? How did things get this bad? No one had told me about emotional consequences. Physical consequences, although always a fear, weren’t the real issue. It was the way I felt; the loneliness and darkness surrounded me, driving me deeper into a hole of depression and regret.
Fortunately, it’s not the end of my story. I met a girl with a similar background but had made some changes. We were talking one day, and tears streamed down my face as I shared, “I feel like I’m in this pit, and I can’t pull myself out.”
She looked at me and said, “You can start over. Everything can be different. You need to learn how to forgive yourself and forgive the ones who have hurt you. It’s not going to be easy, but I can promise you it will be worth it.”
I decided to do things differently. I made healthier choices, learned how to forgive, and surrounded myself with people who would guide me towards my goals and dreams. Some friends were lost along the way, but I gained myself back. Some pretty amazing people came around me at that time and nine years later are still some of my closest friends. Choosing to be abstinent and live a healthier lifestyle wasn’t an easy decision. But I don’t regret it. I needed to heal from the emotional consequences of my choices and am still healing today. I live a life free from fear of physical consequences, have discovered renewed dreams, and finally found the support I was looking for.
My past was wild, but starting over was where the real adventure began.
Blog post written by Brittany, Resource Director
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