The year I left home and went away to bible college was the best year and the worst year of my life. At first I felt extremely lonely. As an introvert it takes a lot to make me feel that way, but feel that way I did. I saw everyone else making connections, making friends, forming relationships and I was alone, in my dorm room, unable to comprehend how all these strangers could bond so instantly. Even to this day I struggle to form those types of connections. After half a year of being alone, I snapped. I remember the moment it happened, shortly after our Christmas break.
I confessed to my small group that I had not been "me" the first half of the year. I kept my true self hidden. I may have been physically present but I was not really "there". They couldn't believe it. They thought they knew me but they had no idea who I really was. It's sad because the small group members were the people who knew you best and they didn't know me at all. The other 80 or so students outside my small group knew me even less. And at that moment I allowed my true self to be known. I didn't do anything crazy, I just finally started acting like me in front of other people. It was difficult at first. I remember asking my small group and a few other dorm guys specifically for help. I told them that left to my own devices I would retreat into my room and isolate myself. I asked them to drag me out of my room and involve me in activities around the school. I told them if I ever seem to get quiet or stop contributing to a group dynamic, call me on it, and ask me if I am being myself. They did. And I did. Soon after I stood up in front of all my classmates one morning and asked them to help me with my struggle. They did. Everyone made an effort to involve me in things and people would randomly remind me to be myself around them. My life really did change in that second semester.
I have written a lot about my struggle with Social Anxiety Disorder early on in this blog. The second semester was a giant step in me overcoming it. I was myself the second half of the year, with great intentionality and a little fear. But I was not rejected. I can't say everyone became my friend. This is real life and that just doesn't happen, but some people became my friends and that was more than I could have dreamed of in the first semester. By the second semester I was on the volley ball and basketball teams, the drama team, the puppeteer team, the dance team, (I hate dancing, but I really want to dance. Paradox.) the stage director, playing guitar during worship, involved in every extra-curricular activity and course, wrote and performed an original song for our graduation and I even started dating a girl. The reason I'm telling this story is that I see a lot of parallels between my year at bible college and the last 2 years of my life. My blog began around then and became a sort of documentary of the journey I've been on. College and Career is behind me now for a couple reasons. I've "graduated". And now I'm here... wondering what's next. I regressed a little after bible college. I don't want that to happen again.
Speaking of being myself, that has always been the point of this blog. That and allowing you a chance to get to know who I am. So, I need to make a little confession. I haven't totally been myself. I haven't been deceitful, I have just ignored certain parts of my life and so I haven't given you the complete picture. I've focussed a lot on my thoughts, and particularly on the issues I've struggled with or things I have to put a lot of effort into overcoming. I haven't really focussed on my strengths or interests too much. I think I'm going to try that the next little while. I've heard people can usually think of 10 negatives for every positive about themselves. I'm going to try and tweak that ratio a bit.