First and foremost, I wholeheartedly thank God for bringing me to where I am because there is no way that I got to this point by myself. How I got here took a lot of trauma, a lot of 'nos,' mental processing and a lot of difficult lessons. The biggest being that it will become increasingly harder to be yourself in a world that demands so much of you. I am a student in undergrad, and I simply get the back and forth tug of wanting to be over-appreciated but also wanting to be myself. In a nutshell, influence is a mother and yes, no matter what anyone says, to a certain degree you are still pressured in college.

I can honestly say that in this current moment in time, I do not know myself. I thought after the first hump with anxiety and depression, that this stage was over and I could level up instantly. I was so wrong. The constant pulling at my character and spirit has taken me through an abyss of wanting to get out of pocket but also, keeping calm because you know that there is something better on this side of adversity. There is nothing fun about the transformative process that you go through to honestly love yourself and to be of accessibility to others. This is where I found myself falling apart, and this is where I am (in January) trying to piece myself back together with what I have left after I have given myself to everyone.

Now, I’m not a pushover, but my heart is so big that I want everyone to be happy. I hate confrontation, but if you take me there, catch me outside, okay? I allowed so much of what was not myself to take my power away from me that I did not know what I had become. I sacrificed my time for meaningless things, tried to keep up with crowds that were obviously not in my lane, I didn’t set any limits, and I began to adopt traits that were just not me. I didn’t like myself. But, there’s always a way to change this and learn from it! I firmly believe that you can only make a mistake once before it becomes a habit. And habitually, I’m so hard on myself that the thought of letting that happen again honestly scares me. So, I stopped and figured out what it was that pieced me together before becoming everyone’s something.

I stopped emulating everyone’s picture perfect idea of me and didn’t give two cents. This so far from me that I am still out of my comfort zone. I am someone who cares so much about what people think of me, but I hate to admit that. I honestly think that this is the day that I tapped into my real carefree black girl realness, because it felt like I dropped a burden. I was scared, but I dropped it. I garnered so much exhaustion that I began to feel it physically, including headaches to muscle spasms and so much fatigue that I decided enough was enough. Bearing anymore than what I already had just spelled trouble, and then throw in the fact that I am a campus leader and you have the perfect mix of my many anxiety attacks. Saying yes to so much will literally turn you into someone that you do not know, and I can promise you, that is a scary moment when you realize it.

Even though most of us do not like to admit this, doing what you “have to do” is a part of the problem. We do so much of what we have to do that we lose sight of what we were called to do. I have made many mistakes in my college career because of this mindset, some that I am rectifying now, but one thing that I have learned is that no one can make you do anything unless you permit them. Clearly, my permission was given to too many individuals because rediscovering my identity is becoming another transformative stage. I don’t like it, but I know I need it. I have to grow through what I’m going through to be a better me, which means being grateful for the bad times even while you’re currently in them. It sucks, but it won’t always be like this.

Although I don’t know what higher power you believe in or if you believe in anything at all, there is a purpose in this confusing, funky and all-around nerve-wrecking stage. However, always remember that you can take back your life and put limits on anything invading your space. You will make it. I will make it. We will make it.