After spending Thanksgiving away from home with a very kind friend, I’ve done some deep thinking about what has changed since I’ve come to college. I’m a very different person than who I was two years ago. Introspection has always been a strong suit of mine, sometimes to a fault. But my musings have led me to these conclusions.
Change is a good thing. It was sometimes difficult and frightening before to the point where I wouldn’t do things I had always wanted to because of how it would change me. But moving to an out-of-state college away from my family made that easier. Sometimes the biggest changes are the easiest ones to make.
I am my own person. Long story short, my mother’s family all lives in Omaha, and generally insist on conforming to the family norms. These include being at any and all family gatherings, telling all your secrets to at least one member of the family, and at least pretending to be part of the heterosexual deeply Catholic traditions. So what changed for me? Once I moved away to college, I slowly realized that three hours away is just outside of the family reach. Doors unlocked, and I started opening them, a little at a time. Knowing I could do what I wanted without their judgement is one thing, trying some of those things out was completely another. Being my own person is still a work in progress. I’ve just recently come into what it means to be unapologetically myself. For me, it’s about not hiding. First and second year of college was a lot of making things up to fit it, trying to be as different from who I was in around my family as I could be. But that isn’t who I am. I might not be myself around my family, but I’m not myself when I try to change who I am either. Those lessons were learned from some close friends after realizing I wasn’t beholden to my family.
Family isn’t just about biology and nurturing. I learned that one very early, since I’m adopted. But I re-learned it when I discovered a new family. The family that raised me expected me to be many things I not only didn’t want, but also things I cannot be. The family I found on campus accepted who I was, and who I have changed to be. That is what family is. Accepting you for you, no matter how you change. This family is the one that taught me the most important lesson of all–one that I’m still implementing in my life.
Who I am is good enough. Why shouldn’t I just be who I am? I don’t care if I fit in their cookie cutter mold anymore. I don’t feel like I have to. I think that’s where I’ve changed the most, and am still changing. I’ve decided who I am, truly, is good enough. And if it isn’t good enough for someone, I don’t need that person in my life.
People are supposed to change. Some grow together, others grow apart. I’ve grown away from who my family wants me to be, but for the first time in my life, I’m completely okay with that. I’ve been told that I’m a different person from when I started college–that I’ve changed for the better. And that’s good. I need to be who I am, not who I’m expected to be by people that don’t really know me anymore. So here’s to changes, and realizing that who you want to be is who you are supposed to be!