The 20s are all about dictating your own experience. Too many times do we let frivolous petty things soil our fun. Good times are forgotten because of things or people that really don't matter. We let them get to us and instead of being fully present we get stuck in this knit picky cycle of ingratitude. Nothing is perfect but nothing just gets to be. Things are what they are. Take them that way lest you hyperbolize every negative instance that occurs. You are your own arbiter. 

"Who are you are speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you're saying" Ralph Waldo Emerson

There's more satisfying than self assurance. No matter what you're good. There's nothing anyone can say or do that will get to you. You find peace within yourself and throw your worries to the wind. Insecurity, doubt, and fear can and will come but they will always go because you're you. That means something truly profound. There is no one else in the world like you. No one gets to determine your self-worth, your self-esteem, or your self-image. The "self" part in all those compound words is important. All of that has to come from you. Regardless of who comes at you, tries to bring you down, or inadvertently ruins your experience, at the end of the day, the personal truths that make you up still stand. In the most potent of ways you get to choose how you frame what you experience - choose wisely. You are the arbiter of your own experiences.
There are some truly disappointing ways in which college reminded me of high school. For a place that was meant to be one of growth I witnessed too much irresponsibility. People unwilling to take ownership over their baggage, mistakes, actions, and words. Mess up, have your life be in shambles, don't know - that's all perfectly fine, it's the possessive part of it that is often missing. Accountability is the mark of some sincere progress. When you are mindful of how much space you take up, how you address others, and just carry yourself overall that's huge. People come crashing in and out of other people's lives without any regard for their impact and it's more than jarring. They cause harm and never acknowledge or try and shame those most affected when they are confronted about it. It's unacceptable. It's juvenile. It's honestly just sad. No one is expected to be perfect but you are meant to take people seriously when they call you out for what you bring. When you are conscientious of how you are making others feel it makes a noticeable difference. People should feel empowered, energized, or at the very least safe, comfortable, and valued when you leave their presence. If you leave others feeling drained, maxed out, or downtrodden something has got to give. Self-reflection (there's that "self" again) is a lifelong endeavor.

Living the kind of public life in college has affected me in some substantial ways. At some points it almost brought my downfall and self-destruction, and at other times pride, motivation, and passion. It's been a gift and a curse to have my everything be out and for other people to see. The scrutiny has been a perpetual annoyance and so many times did I feel like I could never fully be myself because everyone was watching. What I came to know was that through it all, I was being myself, albeit a different version, but still me nonetheless. I made it and am proud of how I showed up and humbled that I ended up with the opportunity. People keep telling me that it's foreshadowing my life in the future, and if they're right, then I'm in for the adventure of a lifetime. Through all the rumors, betrayals, and story spinning it was a struggle to search people's hearts and know if they good for me. I've lost people along the way and for that I am grateful - we didn't work; they served their purpose to teach me a lesson; and I am forever changed for the better because of them. I took control of my own stories in various ways and brought an undeniable candor. The best stories come for the source. I am the arbiter of my own life, and I promise to never forget that.

In leaving college, I'm leaving behind all the foolishness. I wipe my hands of it. I bow out and walk away content with my experiences and my relationships. I am happy with myself. I am filled with joy with who I have become. I am ecstatic about my accomplishments and that's the realest. The trash talk, the wishing me away, and placing arbitrary blame are insignificant. I have already decided that every single day of my life I will find happiness, peace, love, light, and joy. No one, and I mean absolutely no one can or will take that from me. Jealousy, envy, apathy, and hatred - whomever shall harbor those things for me in their hearts, I wish them nothing but amelioration. Whatever you attribute to me or associate with me whether valid or not, I accept it and extend my apologies. I hope you are able to move on and to be rid of that heaviness. Grudges, anger, and hurt are too big of burdens to carry with you. I leave this place with nothing but goodness and hope that it has been made different in the best of ways because I was here.

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year" Ralph Waldo Emerson

My blog post question for the day is ... what's something that you carried with you this year that you want to let go? There's one or two people I would like to reconcile with. The General, if you still read this. I forgive you and I forgive myself - hope you can do the same for me.


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