Exactly a year ago from where I am now my life was completely different. I was studying something unrelated to my current major, my living situation was awful, I was in a bad relationship and I had very few close friends on campus. I was very unhappy and could never admit that to myself, and I didn’t really acknowledge what was holding me back until the end of the past school year. 

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I was not enjoying my classes and was disappointed in my academic performance, to say the least. However, that was really the least of my problems at that point in time. My mental health was at the lowest point it had ever been at and it was a struggle for me to get out of bed and do day-to-day things like go to work and go to class. I’m sure many people can relate to the toll mental health can take on your life, and I’m learning that it’s definitely okay to be open about my struggles in order to have the important discussions that will help me learn to cope with everything in a healthy way. 

At the end of last year, I switched my major to fashion merchandising and I am so happy I did. Although it’s completely different from my first major, integrated social studies, it allows me to express my creativity and is more enjoyable than it is stressful [except for my economics class]. It is something that I can grow into and I am so excited to start building my career in that field, as there are so many possibilities as to what I can do with it. It’s kind of a lot of freedom to have, especially when my previous major already had my career planned out for me. However, I like the fact that my future is somewhat unknown and I can make it into anything that I want. 

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Although making friends at first seemed impossible, I have made some of the best friends I could ever ask for [seriously the best people I’ve ever known]. However, in the case of my relationship, even though I knew in my heart that it was toxic, I couldn’t admit that to myself. Because I had been with that person for four years, and we had been through so much together, I didn’t want to acknowledge the problems we were having. I wasn’t excited to be spending time with this person and it felt like a chore to be around him. I felt extremely guilty because I did love this person, but what I was beginning to realize is that I was falling out of love because I was growing up. It took me a long time to understand that this is a totally valid feeling. Obviously, there was a lot more to it than me just “growing up,” but each and every relationship has its own set of struggles that will either make or break you, and in my case, they absolutely broke me. 

What I know now that I wish I would have known back then is that I would feel like the biggest weight had been lifted off of my chest after ending my past relationship. I won’t go into details, but I was putting way more into the relationship that I was getting out, and there were so many unhealthy behaviors associated with how my past relationship worked. Even though it was something I thought I found joy in, it was the biggest aspect of my life holding me back and it weighed on me every single day until I finally did something about it. I was so scared to make that change but I did it, for myself, and I’ve never been more content with my life. 

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Making changes, especially one as big as ending a relationship, is one of the most daunting tasks ever, but I’ve really learned that it takes so much bravery to do so. I’m surrounding myself with people who love me, support me and want the absolute best for me and it shows through the way I feel about myself now. I feel so much more confident, beautiful and happy without the toxicity of my past relationship in my life, and I can’t even fathom what my life would be like if I was still in that situation. 

To anyone in a similar situation who feels like they are stuck and there’s no other way to go about life, trust your gut and make the decision that is right for you. It is so scary, but so worth it in the end. I spent so many years of my life putting others before myself and sometimes you need to have a moment of healthy selfishness to do what is best for you. Since making those changes for myself, I am the happiest and most content I have ever been, and I’m living my best life surrounded by people who truly love and support me and will until the end. 

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