High school was an unusually tough time for me, and it felt like I was the only one experiencing such exile.
It was exhausting, feeling like a majority of people disliked me. I struggled with finding the right friends, and often found myself alone, or with poor company. I spoke my opinions too loud, and had no fear of the repercussions of my actions.
I liked to tell it how it is, and had no shame in calling out any injustices I saw. I was often the topic of negative conversation, and heard rumors of myself through the mouths of people I thought I could trust.
It wasn't until my junior year that I came to terms with my oncoming adulthood. Before I knew it, I was applying to colleges and universities, being rejected from almost every single one.
Somehow, I got lucky, and was given the thumbs-up in Tallahassee, where I would be making my new home. I couldn't wait for graduation, where I could finally give everyone the finger and move on with my life. I wanted nothing to do with anyone from back home in Miami. My new life would begin in Tallahassee, and I would cut ties with anyone from my past.
Only through dark memories that crept up on me in the middle of the night would I remember high school. The toxic people, the doomed relationships, the blood-sucking environment of that poisonous town- it came during my darkest hours. I would distract myself with my writing, or with my new job, or with the partying that Tallahassee would provide.
I was sad at the thought of leaving my family behind, but I knew it was for the best. I'd only be able to come down for the holidays, and I counted down the days until Thanksgiving when I'd go home and reunite with my family for the first time since my move. Visiting family would be the only reason I'd return to Miami. I brought my dog with me to Tallahassee, unable to think of living away from home without her.
When I first moved away for college, I knew it was one of the best decisions I'd ever made, and I am so proud of myself for moving out. I was living on my own without any rules. I woke myself up for class, I cooked my own dinners, and I could do anything I wanted to. Moving out helped me become my own person.
No one needs to know about my past unless I decide to tell them. I've created a new person for myself. My mom and step-dad weren't a burden nor the reason I left; in fact, they were the ones that wanted me to move out for school. My dad was a little wishy-washy on me moving, but I've convinced myself it's because he didn't want to see his baby girl leave for college.
Freshman year was the trial period. I had class Monday through Friday, and worked almost every day. I went out almost every night. I went to frat parties. I went to football games and baseball games, decked out in Nole gear. I drove my old pick up truck with pride, and played my music too loud, even though my windows rattled. I was no longer that girl from high school people loved to talk about. I was a nobody here, which is exactly what I wanted.
Nobody bothered me, and I could be myself.
The start of sophomore year would be the start of a new chapter, and the best one so far. Less partying, more focus on school and my own well-being. I met a boy the summer before, the most amazing and wonderful person I could have ever met, who is now my boyfriend, and I couldn't be happier.
He's helped me become the best version of myself, and has helped me thrive as an individual. I found my Prince Charming at the most unexpected time, and I'm so blessed to have him in my life. With him, I've traveled more, experienced more, and have lived more.
I didn't know how things would turn out when I first moved away. I wasn't sure if I'd make friends in all my classes, or find my own group to hang out with. I wasn't sure if I'd get along with my neighbors, or if they'd invite me over to hang out. I was worried that I wasn't cool enough or if people would think I was weird for drinking soda at my 8 a.m. classes.
Now, I'm fine with not having a bunch of friends in my classes. I can focus on the lectures and go on with my day. I spent too much time trying to find a group to hang out with, and jumped around from one group to another, just to see that they didn't care if I was there or not.
I barely speak to my neighbors and I don't mind that they don't want to hang out. My roommate and I get along very well, and even though we don't hang out all the time, I know that we're still friends and can talk to each other when we need to.
Moving away helped me find myself. I'm still piecing together some of my personality and individuality, but I have an idea of who I am. I found my peace in writing, even when it's a bit controversial and stirs up conversation.
I can drive away in my new car without people raising eyebrows at what used to be the little girl behind the wheel of the big truck. I take my dog on walks around my complex, knowing people are looking at my dog rather than looking at me. I find comfort in people not knowing my name or who I am because that means I have yet to make my mark on this town. I'm still just starting out, new to all that Tallahassee has to offer.