Choose to be you

Move-in day arrived with much fanfare. The first year students were loaded into their rooms and shuffled off to a variety of activities that included a never ending list of ice breakers, inspirational speakers, and free food.

On the second day of move-in, students could attend the Dear World photoshoot in the Dining Center. I mentioned my requested participation in my earlier post, Stories to tellAnd between directing traffic, I jogged over to have my picture taken.

I explained the story of my chosen words to the photographer.

Throughout high school I let others dictate who I was. I let the words of others push me mentally, emotionally, and physically to make choices – that I didn’t want. I lived passively to appease others.

And it took me until I was 23-years-old to finally accepting who I was.

I had resisted for so long to be the person I was meant to be.

After moving 3,000 miles from home, I made the choices that I wanted.

Maybe I reference my move from Seattle too often. But in the novel of my life, that is the major turning point of my story.

And I’m the prime example of someone that finally chose to be themselves.

The other day I swung through the Student Center to check my mailbox. My best friend Curtis had sent me a text about sending me some post. I was not expecting two letters in my mailbox though.

A surprise letter from my mom.
A surprise letter from my mom.

I skimmed through Curtis’ letter, and made a mental note to respond when I got the chance. The second letter was from my mom. Over the last two years, she’s sent me sporadic letters and cards without any warning. We talk enough over FaceTime that I’ve never seen the reason for her to send them.

But this letter was different. I tore it open in the kitchen of my best friend’s apartment and started to read. And then my eyes welled with tears as I alternated between the conversation with my best friend and her roommates, and reading my mom’s letter.

My mom and I don’t have a rocky relationship. We did for about a year or two when I decided to join the Navy – again another instance where I let people dictate what I should be doing. But we have always been a solid pair akin to Lorelai & Rory Gilmore.

Letters of encouragement always make me cry. The same goes if they’re acknowledging some trait of myself that I don’t. I don’t tend to believe in myself as much as people say I should. People say we are our harshest critic.

My mom poured her heart out. She was proud of how well I was doing at school, and how much I had grown into myself. And she finally understood why I had to move away. That understanding gave her the wisdom to speak to a family friend that would be experiencing exactly what she had two years prior. Both of his daughters are moving away for college. One of them will head to Portland, OR., and the other will head to Spokane, WA.

Be fearless and choose yourself.


Stories to Tell

Pictures are worth a thousand words.

They tell a story that cannot be described. Or maybe words can help describe that story.

I have been given the opportunity to participate as a VIP in the Dear World College Tour coming to my campus. Its an incredible honor to be asked, particularly for a VIP spot. This means that I would have a message I want to share with the world written on my skin, and then get a professional portrait taken. I believe there is also a speech portion too, in which I describe the reasons of my message.

When I was originally asked, I struggled to find a short sentence that could describe me. Its been a week since I was asked, and twelve hours since I accepted, and I still don’t know what to write.

How do you take everything that you were, are, or want to be, and put it into only a few words? At what point are those things narcissistic?

In skimming the website, I can see that I should learn the rules just so I can break them. This is meant to be a self-reflection on stories, on experiences, on everything that life is.

I don’t know what my message for the world is.

It doesn’t feel important enough.

But maybe its because I haven’t let myself think deeply about my message. I haven’t considered my values, what I advocate for, or what drives me.

The photoshoot isn’t until August 31. I have time to mull it over, consult close friends and possibly my mom.

What message would you share with the world?