You Are Allowed Build A Fortress If A Friendship is Tearing You Down

You Are Allowed Build A Fortress If A Friendship is Tearing You Down

A review of Lennon Stella's song, Fortress, from her new EP: Love, Me.

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If you haven't discovered Lennon Stella's music yet, you are seriously missing out. She and her sister, Maisy, began their entertainment career on the tv show, Nashville. After the show's finale, Lennon began her solo career in music and recently released her first EP: Love, Me.

One of my absolute favorite songs from Love, Me is Fortress. Not only is it super catchy but the lyrics resonate with me deeply. Fortress describes the aftermath of leaving a toxic relationship. She builds a "fortress" around herself to ward off the negativity surrounding this relationship. There are three lyrics in particular that I find extremely creative and powerful. They stuck out among the plotline of the song and painted a picture of the personal story Lennon is telling.

"I let you keep taking me up in the madness"

It can be easy to let other people wrap you up in their personal issues and project internal conflict onto you or your relationship. This doesn't just apply to romantic relationships but also friendships and sometimes even acquaintances. We are all human and sometimes we let our negative emotions affect the way we treat other people for no reason other than we are feeling down or mad. While I wish it was easy to stop this pattern of behavior, it is much harder than you might think. We use others as verbal punching bags, we vent, we get irritated easily, and we take all our negativity out on others. It is easier than dealing with it ourselves. But it is important to at least try to think before you burst at the seams with frustration, that the person you are about to unload your stress on has a million things they are going through themselves and don't deserve to have more things add to their plate unnecessarily.

"You don't get in my brain, you don't fill up the spaces"

Cutting toxic people out of your life is okay. Another thing about being human is that we always want to please others. Most people don't like confrontation and want others to feel at ease in their company. But I am here to tell you that if you feel like you are giving 100% to a relationship and receiving nothing back in return, it is okay to let that friendship go. Your mental health and well-being is more important than pleasing that one person. One of my favorite quotes I have heard about friendship is "some people are in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime."

"I'm not letting you in, now that I built a fortress"

Another important aspect of friendships that people forget about is that it is okay to keep your guard up. You don't have to be vulnerable with everyone and you don't have to share your life story with every friend you make. The wonderful thing about friends is that we get to choose who we surround ourselves with. It is natural to feel drawn more to some people than others and it may be those people we feel drawn to who we choose to open up to.

I have always been one of those people who wears my heart on my sleeve. I am for the most part an open book. To some extent, this is a good thing because it has allowed me to make some extremely close friends. They have opened up to me because I was open with them. However, my emotional honesty has come at a cost in friendships where that openness has backfired. Instead of building a close friendship, it has left me vulnerable in times of conflict.

If you haven't listened to Fortress yet, I couldn't recommend it enough. The lyrics are powerful, relatable, and will really get you thinking. Music is special in the way that it can make you feel a lot less alone in your daily battles. Knowing that I am not the only one who has been through relationships and friendships that have negatively impacted me is a comforting feeling. It is okay to let those people go and to prioritize you. We are told far too often to give and give and give to others but that should never be at an emotional cost to yourself. Prioritize "me time," surround yourself with positive people, and take care of your physical and mental well-being. These things are just as important.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Finding Your Niche In College Starts With Finding You

Attempting to be someone you are not for the sake of having company only hurts you in the long run.

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Transitioning to college is hard enough, but trying to find a place where you feel "at home" can make this time even more stressful. Here are some tips on how to find that place/group of people that make you feel like sunshine.

I have always felt a little out of place wherever I went, but it wasn't until college that I realized that this feeling was so special and more people should capitalize on their differences rather than conforming to a certain mold. Transitioning to college and finding your place among so many people can be very overwhelming. The added stress of attempting to be someone you aren't for the sake of having company adds a whole other layer to this problem. The easiest thing for me to do in any situation like this is trying to make the setting a little smaller. One of the most obvious ways to do this on a college campus is by getting involved!

It is inevitable that within the first few weeks of the semester at any college, there will be an organization fair. This is a chance to scope out all that your school has to offer! Chances are there will be some type of group or club that lines up with your interests. Most college campuses have extracurricular opportunities ranging from social sororities and fraternities, professional ones, intermural sports, vocal groups, and so many more. You are more than likely going to find some type of organization that you can call home if you seek them out. Joining an organization is such an easy way to interact with people with similar interests. An interest can bring two completely different people together and create some beautiful friendships. It is situations like this where it is important to be your authentic self and mingle with those you share something with.

That being said, finding your place in college isn't always about being involved. Getting involved on campus is just one of the simplest ways to start. There are so many other opportunities on campus to meet people whether it be among others in your residence hall, people in your classes, or just people you find yourself stumbling upon! Finding people to spend your time with is easy; however, you should make it a point to surround yourself with people who bring you up.

Once you have a set group of people that you find yourself spending time with, it is important to pay attention to the way you feel when you're around them. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself or get the impression that you need to change something in order to "fit in," chances are the people you're around are not the best for you or your self-esteem. It is important to surround yourself with people who allow you to feel comfortable in your own skin. That being said, you also want people who encourage you to make good decisions and help you reach your goals. People who encourage toxic behavior in your life might be fun in the short term, but in the grand scheme of things, you need to be surrounded by people with your best interest in mind. Essentially, surrounding yourself with people who influence you to be your best self is one of the best decisions you can make short and long term.

The key to all of this is being conscious of your own feelings and needs. Pay attention to who reaches out to you to hang out. Notice the ones who pay attention to you as you speak when it feels like no one is listening. More than anything, be conscious of who you're with and where you're at when you experience moments of pure happiness. Life is too short to waste your precious time on people who don't build you up. Wouldn't you rather spend your time with more moments of pure joy than self-hate? Start living for you!

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