January 7, 2013
My best friend said this before we went back to school: “We are all on our respective college campuses still trying to figure out who we are.” This simultaneously gave me hope and made my stomach sink. The hope came from the encouraging word “we.” We are all together, freshmen across the board, groping our way through our first year on our own. But we’re here, I’m here flying by the seat of my pants as I navigate the Belmont waters.
The reason I panicked was because I thought I knew who I was, who I am, and in one sentence, my friend brought that fragile idea crashing down at my feet. It makes me think that my identity has actually been unstable for quite a few years now. The summer of 2010 seems like a generally good time period to put the blame on. I tried to rid myself of being a singer that year, but tying for first chair at All-State Choir and earning the role of “Fantine” in Les Mis shortly thereafter made it difficult to do so.
And then senior year challenged me in every way possible. I was not expecting that, and my surprise put me at greater risk of falling into an identity crisis. I’m sure everyone feels this way, but last year I felt very much isolated. Each college I applied to had a distinctly different character; so different, in fact, that I envisioned myself turning into seven entirely different people when I projected my future self.
I thought that making the decision to go to Belmont meant that I had solidified my identity. But the second I arrived on campus, things didn’t quite go the way I had hoped they would. Nothing bad happened, but if you had asked me to predict what my first semester of college would look like, I never would’ve guessed that I would be in a sorority, have written a book, and dropped out of choir. I haven’t touched a piano or a guitar, and I hardly sing. I am not bold like I want to be, and I have gained almost ten pounds. [That Freshman 15 is a real thing, guys.]
I’m not upset, though. Some great things have happened to me, and to be fair, I did very well on my own my first semester. I’m slowly accepting the fact that it’s OK to build up a new identity around the ruins of the old one. There are still qualities I like in myself and old qualities I’d like to reintroduce, too (more on that later). Do you see what I mean now about sensing a change?
I want to be a balanced woman: physically fit (I want to feel 19), mentally fit (I want that 4.0 scholarship pearl), emotionally fit (I want to enjoy a sense of peace despite the rough patches of life), socially fit (I want to balance friends with alone time and to make new friends as well), and finally, spiritually fit.
This is a touchy subject, and one I haven’t mentioned before because I am ashamed that I no longer find my identity in being a Christian. Please don’t misunderstand me- I am still a Christian. My faith in God is intact. I have not gone off the deep end but rather have come to my own side path, which is still straight, but it is foggy and lonely. The old characteristics I want to reintroduce are a faithful Christian heart and lifestyle. I don’t ever want to have to tell somebody that I’m a Christian, I want for them to know by my character. You know that verse in James that talks about faith without deeds and deeds without faith? From here it looks like the first years of my Christianity were faith without deeds, while this last part has been deeds without faith. I want my relationship with God back.