If you take away anything from this post, please let it be this: it is okay not to be okay. You do not have to be perfect.
Coming into college I thought that I should have everything figured out and put together. When I graduated high school I thought I did. I truly thought I was set. I had amazing friends, I exceeded all of my goals for high school, I knew where I wanted to go to school and what I wanted to study, and I thoroughly just loved my life. Then things started changing all at once. I was moving away from my family and friends, I was saying goodbye to my summer camp kids, my boyfriend and I broke up, and I was packing my bags for school. Literally everything in my life changed within days of each other. I thought I was crazy for hating this. Everyone else was so excited to go to school and start over but I was just not. I didn’t want to start over. I loved my life and the people in it, why would I want to do that? But here I was moving into Central Michigan University feeling more lost and alone than ever.
I honestly kept myself together pretty well my first week here. Let me be clear though, I was not okay. I pushed every feeling of being lost and alone as far away as I could because I didn’t want all of these people that I had just met to know that I was feeling so low. My personality is not sad and pessimistic; it never had been. Ask any of my friends from home and I can guarantee that they would never describe me as any of those things, and I loved that. I loved who I was. I didn’t want to be known as anything else because I didn’t want to be anything less than my best, especially not with people who don’t know me well enough to know the real me. I forgot that it was okay not to be okay.
Soon enough my best friend from high school, Allie moved into CMU. She moved in a week later than I did because I moved in early for Leadership Safari. When Allie moved in I lost it. Allie knew everything that was going on and I felt comfortable talking to her. It was hard to still only have one person to really and truly break down with though. Eventually I got closer with more and more people but I still didn’t feel comfortable with anyone seeing me like that. I still thought that it was pathetic and, to be blatantly honest, annoying for me to be sad and what I thought was ‘needy’.
I’d like to clarify that the people that I met here at CMU are amazing people. I knew that they were all here for me and that I could talk to them if I needed to. I chose not to because I saw myself as weak for doing this and I didn’t want them to think that of me too. I see that this now was silly. After getting closer with people and connecting with people on deeper levels I started opening up to my friends. I started telling them about the things that bother me and about the things I was feeling and most of them said one thing very similar to one another: “Tessa you can always talk to me, I understand”. I know we have all heard this before but I never realized how sincere and honest most people were when they said this.
Other people have had their own hardships and struggles and they understand what you’re going through. They understand that you are not weak and that you have imperfections; so do they. People understand that that does not define you, and you have to realize that about yourself. You are allowed to hurt and you are allowed to be lost; we all are at one point. No matter how put together and perfect someone seems, they have their own struggles and insecurities that you would never see. No one else is perfect and you do not have to be either.
Realizing that it is okay to break down and it is okay to be sad was one of the most important things that I have learned so far. Caring about someone or something else so much that it hurts you is not a negative thing. Truly I think it’s beautiful. I encourage you to care. Care so much that it hurts. You do not have to be perfect. It is okay not to be okay.