Being My Own Person

Being My Own Person

Gaining independence is not as simple as moving out. It takes more.

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When I first graduated from high school, I was so excited about college. But, the truth is, I wasn't excited for college because of expanding my horizon or making a new life. Honestly, I just wanted to move away from my family. I know what you're thinking. Harsh, right? Well, it's the truth. But why? The thing is that I love my family, but sometimes they really get in the way of my grind. My parents overreact over everything I do, even when it's not that big of a deal. My brother and sister are really unsupportive of my passions and hobbies. Overall, it's exhausting living with them and I don't argue with them anymore because it drains my energy. I can honestly go on about my family forever, but that's not what this is about. It's about who I became and being able to make my own decisions.

As I progressed through the years of college, I've grown mentally and physically. I was able to find the confidence I never knew I had. Along with this confidence, I got more involved in school and gained leadership experience. Here is where the story is interesting. One of the groups I got involved in on campus is Alpha Kappa Psi, Alpha Kappa Psi is a co-ed business fraternity. I joined it because I wanted to gain the tools needed to become a more successful business leader and gains the tools needed to do so. Along with that, I also made new friends and learned to be more clear and confident in my interviews. Unfortunately, my parents thought otherwise. One of the things I forgot to mention about my family is that my parents are really strict Christians. I am a Christian too, but I don't take things as seriously as they do. I pray, I read scripture, I go to church. But, they always judge my ways because I'm not as serious as them. My parents think fraternities are like cults and once you join, you're selling yourself off to other figures or something.

I know that's not the case.

But they are too unreasonable. They threatened to take me out of school if I didn't quit, but I knew they were bluffing. Even if they weren't, I would've rather let them take me out of school than give them the satisfaction of controlling my life when I'm already 21. After that, I had a realization. As an adult, I'm the master of my destiny. In other words, I make my own decisions. No one can judge me. Only God can. My parents guided me up to this moment, and I'm thankful to them for that, but whether they realize it or not, this is my life, and I refuse to let them be in charge of that. That applies to any random person who even thinks about judging me. I plan to live life to the fullest, and no one will ever get in the way of that, even if the ones you love the most are biggest doubters.

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To My Little Brother

Six things I want you to know.
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I am not your mother, but I am your big sister.

I cannot even apologize for it, I am always going to act like your second mom. I am going to keep yelling at you to (please) put down the toilet seat and to clean up the mess you made in the kitchen. It doesn't matter to me how often you say "I am not your mother," because you're my little brother and I'm always going to be the boss.

I never mean it when I tell you to grow up.

I hope that you have taken, and continue to take, full advantage of your childhood. As often as I complain about your maturity level, my wish for you is to put off growing up for as long as possible. The closer I get to real adult life, the more I miss home and all of the worries I didn't have. You shouldn't rush through the years you have left at home, you are doing just fine the way you are.

No, I didn't tell Mom.

All of our secrets will always stay secrets. I may have ratted you out to Mom about being the one to break her new vase, but I hope you know that our brother-sister bond protects all of the private things we share. Please, never forget that I'll always be here to listen to you.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry for giving you your first bloody nose, and for laughing at you afterward. I'm sorry for every time I have blown you off for plans with a guy, or to get an extra hour of sleep. I'm sorry for yelling at you to leave me alone and for slamming the door in your face. I'm sorry for all of the times you asked me to play outside that I didn't. I'm sorry for all of my broken promises.

I forgive you.

I forgive you for all of the “little brother" insults you have used. I forgive you for using all of my paints and letting them dry out. I forgive you for embarrassing me in front of every guy I ever brought home. I even forgive you for cutting off that piece of my hair in fourth grade.

I am so proud of you.

It isn't said nearly enough, but I am so proud of you, little brother. I am envious of the passions that you have and the way that you pursue them with no fear! I am excited to see where you go in life (but don't go anywhere too quickly). Keep working hard and doing what you love, no one can fault you for following your heart. I love you so much, and I will always be your biggest supporter and fan!

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Summer = Rest?

Sometimes it feels as if we need a vacation... from our vacation.

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Ah summer: Popsicles and sun burns, mixed with fresh-squeezed lemonade that local kids are pandering to make enough money for Roman candles and Black Cats. The crack of the bat can be heard among the simmering charcoal grills and Troy-bilts humming through the ever-lasting sun. School is out and children are wild. It's a paradise.

Or is it?

But after countless sports camps and tournaments, other camps, vacations, school (?) events, traveling teams, VBS, summer seems to have been sucked fun-free.

Maybe it's Hollywood and Harper Lee's fault for giving us this utopian view of what summer should look and feel like (I'm looking at you Sandlot). But how can we really rest this summer? Because everyone needs some actual rest, even adults.

First thing is do NOT pack your summer full. Say no to some things. Coaches and Families can expect too much and it's okay to say no to them. You have to. There is no time for kids to be kids anymore.

Work can take a backseat. Vacations need to be taken. Families need to reconnect.

And for all my super-scheduled people out there, please PLEASE don't schedule out your vacation. Just enjoy it.

Another bit of advice would be to put away the technology and spend some time outside. When was the last time you tried to catch lightning bugs? Or went for a swim? Or listened to birds on your front porch?

I may sound like I have an old soul, but I really feel like we have lost this connection to the outside world. Summer is all about getting a farmer's tan and getting stung once or twice. I can guarantee you that's some of the best therapy in the world.

Maybe this sounds all over the place. Maybe this sounds like me ranting. And it probably is.

But I'm telling you that this stuff matters. Don't let summer whiz by and you arrive in August more drained that you were in May. Enjoy this time with family and friends.

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