Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You Can Change the Situation, but the Situation Won't Change You.

I think there are many times in your life where you wish you could have a new beginning. I think for many people, including myself, college is that escape. Whether you move away or not, I think most people are anxious to get out of the unnecessary drama and schemes of high school. Some people want new reputations, new friends, a place where the past won't follow them, a new appearance, a new expertise, new traits. We all set rules for ourselves when we jump into a new beginning. We promise ourselves we'll be more guarded, less trusting, more open, more private, less involved, a free spirit, modest, wild. We all have opposite goals of what we want to be, and what we hope to become and be perceived as. We claim we are finding ourselves, but do we ever find ourselves? We say "now I know who my real friends are," which I am definitely guilty of. Every time you lose someone you believe the friends you have are the ones there to stay. And then boom, it starts over again. Your experiences make you change your ways of life, or at least make you want to. I think it's a hard struggle. I've been told I'm too trusting, too guarded, too conservative, too crazy, too shy, too open... I don't know what to believe and I don't know how to act anymore. People are always going to judge you one way or another. It's hard to find a balance where you remain respected, but also fun to be around. People look at who you're with and stereotype you without knowing the entire situation.

When I decided to move away from the people who knew me, I told myself many things in order to be perceived differently. I took what past friends have complained about, or boasted me about, and tried to set a new way of life. But it's impossible. I told myself I wouldn't become too close to anyone here, that I wouldn't let anyone in like I did before because it's too hard when one person moves back, or allows one thing to ruin something good. I told myself I would stick to my morals, but remain someone fun to be around. Which is definitely harder than I thought it would be. It's weird being around such different, carefree personalities here. I told myself simple things too. I told myself I wouldn't judge anyone for being different than what I was used to (sounds dumb, but sometimes, especially in such a liberal place, it's hard), I wouldn't rule anyone out no matter how different their views were, I told myself I wouldn't get mad at people for making stupid decisions, I told myself I wouldn't need to be last person to text in a conversation (which is one of my anxiety-ridden OCD things), I wouldn't always make sure someone is okay, or force them to talk to me. I didn't want to be characterized as a protective person anymore. That was a really, really difficult reputation to live up to. I lost friends over it, I lost sleep over it, I allowed it to overshadow my own needs. These were all things I told myself to not stick to, and I haven't stuck to any of them aside from becoming a lot more open-minded and less modest though which allows me to finally have a well-rounded experience here.

It's so hard to change who you are, and how you were made. Certain people remind me of those from back home, and I find myself treating them just like I did before without even thinking. It's so difficult to not allow yourself to care about someone else, to not care if they're putting themselves in a bad situation, to not stick to what you've always known.

This past weekend I realized I really can't change my personality, no matter how much I try and trick myself into it. When we were celebrating a few different events over the weekend, I realized people really don't care as much about other people as I do. I found myself the only one concerned about how much people were drinking, even though their best friends could have cared less. At one point I told a friend to slow down on everything, and her best friend came up to me tried convincing me it was fine that she was losing control. All I know is I would never think it would be fine to let my best friend get that out of hand. But hey, that's just me. When we were celebrating Superbowl, one of my good friends here looked right at me and promised she wouldn't smoke a cigg with our friend who does smoke. I made her promise a few times before I let her go outside. Our table was right to the window and I saw her smoking. We needed to catch the bus and when we went outside she tried to hide it, I just looked at her and just felt really disappointed. She told me she had only done it a couple times, hates the smell, hates the feeling, but only does it when she's drunk. I got a flashback of some of my best friends back home doing the same thing. The same look, like they knew they got caught doing something they didn't even stand for. Why would you be a hypocrite, and do something you've always hated? A lot of my friends started off that way to the point where they became addicted. I have no clue why I even care, I try so hard not to, but I can't stand watching people make stupid decisions they regret the next day. Half the time they say the next day, "why did you guys let me do that?" Well, I'm one of those people who will do anything in my power not to let you do that. People may hate me, people may thank me, but I can't change my persona.

I've had a few really good friends thank me much later for caring too much. At the time they yelled at me and I had regretted it, but I've had enough people appreciate me for being the only friend who knows the 'real them,' and being the only one who genuinely cared for their well being. Sometimes you lose who you are in a situation, and only someone who knows you really well can remind you of what you're risking. They get angry because they know it isn't the 'real them,' and they just didn't want to admit it to themselves. I've had best friends tell other people stories starting off with "don't tell Larisa." Those times were tough. I felt like they didn't trust me, when really they didn't want to feel ashamed by someone who knew their morals (as some friends have later admitted to me after confronting them). I've been on the opposing side too, and later on I've always been grateful to the people who reminded me to stay true to myself. I've had friends give up on me for saying I've changed into someone else, it's the worst feeling in the world. It's the hardest when you realize they were right, and they don't give you that last chance you needed. I promised myself I wouldn't stop giving chances to people, but honestly a lot of people just don't deserve them anymore. But at times when I didn't deserve one, I could have used one. You realize eventually you need accountability friends. Friends who aren't afraid to tell you you're messing up. Friends who are willing to risk you being mad at them to prove a point. Friends who stick with you after you make stupid decisions no matter how hard it was to watch them digress.

I'm realizing that no matter what situation you are put in, your mind works a unique, specific way. God gives you that mindset for a purpose. Whether you are frustrated that you care too much, over-analyze everything, are too protective, too different, it's all for a reason. I need to learn to thank God for the way he made me instead of looking at the negatives and risks. He doesn't give you anything you can't handle, so you should handle it in your own way. People's perceptions should not change your actions, or your essence. Just like my blog quote, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

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