Disclaimer: This was not an easy post to write, because these were some INCREDIBLY tough times for me. I remind myself though, had I not gone through all of this, I wouldn’t be where I am today, sharing my story with all of you.
Toward the end of my senior year of high school, I had pretty much decided I didn’t want to go play sports anywhere. My 18-year-old brain couldn’t imagine having any more injuries, and looking back, I honestly have no regrets that I didn’t pursue sports in college. I went to a few JuCo’s and NAIA schools to try out for volleyball and track, but nothing felt like the right fit. I enrolled and got accepted into Kansas State University (Go Cats!) and it just felt like the right fit. I also started seeing a guy who was quite a bit older than me, he was 21, I was 18; this was the first love interest I had had since I went through a TERRIBLE break up the summer before my senior year of high school. That one genuinely broke my heart, but like I’ve said all along, God shatters some of our plans to give us even better. Anyway, this guy and I hung out some my senior year but ended things before I went to K-State.
Moving to K-State was so fun. Holy cow, what is this freedom, I remember thinking! Getting to go to Sonic at 11pm with my friends and no one to tell me different? Going to house parties and not having a curfew? WHAT? It was like nothing I had ever experienced. I met some amazing people throughout my time at K-State, a few of whom are still some of my closest friends. I say closest friends “loosely.” These women and I still interact via Snapchat and sometimes through text, but a lot of us are mamas ourselves now and we’re a little busy; we have great intentions of meeting up sometime, but it hasn’t quite worked out. And yet, I am so thankful for these people. We can reminisce about the ole days at K-State and still celebrate the season of life we’re in. We’ll meet up for margaritas sometime, mamas; I promise! (If you’re reading this, you know who you are!)
About three weeks into my freshmen year at K-State, I went out with the older guy again. To this day I’m not sure why I chose to have a serious boyfriend for the next three and a half years, but at the time I felt it was what I wanted. I am not going to share a lot of details about the next three years, out of respect, but it was not a good time in my life. I was not the person I wanted to be, nor the person I am today, but it took all of these life experiences to get where I am today. Over the course of the next few years, I became someone I hated. I had 0 self love. I was mean, condescending, 40+ pounds overweight and spent more time spending money, drinking, and partying than anything else. My grades at K-State suffered. I had one semester where I had a 2.1 GPA (mind you, I was a 4.0 in high school). There were times throughout the first 3 years of college that I wanted my life to end. I never actively took measures to end my life, but there were times I could have drank myself to death. I spent money I didn’t have and that wasn’t mine; I would literally go shopping every single day. I had erratic behavior; I made incredibly rude comments to people. Guys, in all honesty, I was not a nice person. There’s really no other way to say it. And I feel like I didn’t make those around me any happier either.
Fast forward to my junior year of college (where I was essentially estranged from my parents; I had not been home in 6 months and the relationship between my mother and I was hardly salvageable) I had just finished my last final for the spring semester. I was living with my boyfriend at the time, and that evening, after finals, he proposed. I accepted. I thought that was what I wanted, I thought it was what needed to happen to make me happy. Keep in mind, for almost 3.5 years, I had gone to counseling a few times to help my mental health, but I was not on medicine, chose to drink, party and spend my issues away. Again I say, I was not in a very good place. Two days later, after I had gone home for the first time in over 6 months, I realized I couldn’t marry him. I was physically ill because I felt so bad for hurting him, but also because I knew this wasn’t right and we both deserved better. I honestly felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I came to this realization. I had tried to grow up too fast; I had taken for granted the time I had in college to figure out who I was as a person. I had tried so hard to “be an adult” from the very beginning that I has lost a few years of the carefree time known as college.
I moved out, after 3.5 years in a relationship, and moved back in with my parents. I spent the summer between my junior and senior year living with my parents; I found a super cute one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan for my senior year that was perfect for me. I lost 40 pounds (without even working out or anything), but after the initial decision to take my senior year and do it for me, I started to “get better.” I realized I needed to take CARE of myself; I focused on eating better, cooking at my apartment more; and honestly I started working on loving MYSELF again. It took dedication; it took a lot of time, but I slowly started to heal. I started going to church again; I hadn’t done that in almost 4 years and it felt good to reconnect with my faith. I did the crazy thing all college kids do. I partied, I met a TON of new people, I excelled in the classroom; I had time for my friends. Call me selfish but I was focused on ME. I still was not going to counseling, but I was going to the rec twice a day, doing an hour on the elliptical each time (wish I would have weight trained!). My senior year truly was a blast; it genuinely saved my life. For the first time in my college career, I felt like I was truly present, and in the moment. I met a ton of people who not only became good friends, but also showed me my worth. I went on dates. I hung out with girlfriends; I had coffee dates in Aggieville. It truly was a BLAST. My mental health soared. I wasn’t on any medicine; I was too busy living life and HAVING FUN!
On March 3, 2014, I drove to Larned, Kansas for an interview for a high school biology teaching position at Larned High School. It was pretty awesome; I fell in love with the town, the school, and was offered the position at my interview. Talk about a lot to contemplate…I was 22 years old, and was considering moving 3.5 hours from my home. I gave myself two days to think about it; and, after talking with my parents and assuring them it would “probably only be for a few years,” I took the job in Larned. As a senior in college in the Education Department, I had secured a teaching position and coaching jobs by March 15.
(Here’s a little hint for future posts…a few weeks after I accepted the position, I received a Facebook friend request from a dude named Ty Josefiak).
The end of my college career was pretty amazing. I was at a genuinely good place, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I had a lot of friends, I’d met some pretty hot guys; hell I’d even made my relationship with my parents BETTER than it was before college. Things were going really, really great! I truly do feel that the Lord intervenes when He knows there’s something better out there for all of us. I graduated from Kansas State University in May of 2014 and started to prepare for my big move to Larned. My mind was happy; I was in the best physical shape of my life. My parents and I were closer than ever. The only true anxiety I had at the end of my senior year…was I ever actually going to find Mr. Right? Was I ever going to find the guy God had made for me? But even still, I was thriving. I was excited for my future and what it might hold. Life was looking hopeful, for the first time in a long time, I was looking forward to what the future would hold.
So, that is my college story. A lot of ups and downs. I truly feel like a LOT of us are in a better place today than we were 7 or 8 years ago. To quote Garth Brooks, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.” I’ll keep going next week or so with the next parts of my mental health and life journey. It wasn’t all daisies and lollipops after I decided to move to Larned, but I’ll get to that soon. Have a wonderful week, friends. Remember to love yourself and those around you.