It’s Sunday a night and I’m reading this teen fiction novel, “Always and Forever, Love Lara Jean.” I’m on the last book in the series and something happens in the book that reminds me of some things I had repressed. Main character Lara Jean gets rejected to a college she knew she was getting into. She had been dreaming of attending this college forever. Oh man, did I know her pain. I felt her sense of self-worth plummet. Some feelings that I thought didn’t exist anymore for because I have grown and matured, had resurfaced and I was a teenager all over again, confident and sure of my path in life.
When I was a teenager in Chicago, I remember applying to 4 very specific colleges. Two colleges were my top choices, my dream schools. The other two were no-brainers, I knew I was getting into those schools.
I’ve always been the type of person who needed to do things on my own. I’ve always been proud and independent. I don’t like asking for anything and I’ll be on my last dime (sometimes literally) before I ever ask for help. No one will know my struggles and unless I tell them to you. That’s how I’ve always been. That’s how I think I’ll always be. It’s nothing personal but I’m just so stubborn.
I didn’t apply to any schools in the state of Illinois. I didn’t want to even be in the state. I applied to Indiana State, The University of Southern Miss, Cornell University, and the University of Southern California. Those were my colleges. Those were my dreams. Those were the schools that would help me excel in my writing. Those were the schools I had googled and researched. I had gotten so many brochures and information. I knew ACT requirements and acceptable GPAs. I had written and rewritten and revised and re-edited countless essays and personal statements. I just knew I was going to get into one of those schools if not all of them. I was what they were looking for.
Finally, the first letter came in Indiana State had accepted me with partial scholarship! USM accepted me also! I was on top of the world. Nothing could stop me. The World was my oyster. The next letter came and it was from Cornell. Cornell, college for intellectuals or so I thought, had rejected me. I was not good enough for the elitists of Cornell. USC would later send the same letter as Cornell.
Talk about hurt. I had spent a good majority of my high school life doing what I was told to do. I got the grades. I got the ACT score. I was the ideal student and even though I knew my parents couldn’t afford Cornell and USC. I was determined to make one of them my home. I wasn’t thinking about the cost, I was just thinking about my happiness. When I didn’t get in OMG I felt so worthless, but I was determined to make ISU my home. My mom and I went on the college tour, I showed them around campus. I was amazed at how natural that campus felt to me. It felt like home. After graduation, I was headed to Southern Miss. I bet you thought I was going to say Indiana; Nope, I wanted desperately to be in the home of Larry Byrd, but I was convinced that life would be easier being a Golden Eagle.
Life as an Eagle was terrible or at least I made it terrible. I mean the parties were cool and the frat guys were FINE. (There is this one guy I was obsessed with and he didn’t even notice me. We’re friends now. He’s like my conscience because he’s my exact opposite.) I wanted to prove to myself that I was meant to go to Cornell so I took 19 hours. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND TAKES 19 HOURS AS A FRESHMAN? Who? You tell me right now?! I played myself so hard! I lived a semi-sheltered life and I was tasting freedom for the first time in my life. I didn’t have a cell phone because my parents weren’t “paying for another bill,” so no one could contact me unless I was in my room, which I never was. I had office hours. Only call between 9a-10a and after 7p. I was living it up. I was cutting up. I was wearing shorts that needed a pair of shorts underneath. I was enjoying myself. Then grades came out. I cried. I cried because I knew I would never get into USC or Cornell as a transfer student with the grades that I had. It just wasn’t happening. I buckled down a little more. I mean I had already messed the bed and now I had to spend the rest of my college days fixing the mess I made. Eventually, I gave up.
I revamped my life over and over and over. You are reading a blog by a certified makeup artist, an event planning business owner, a writer, a lab clerk, a fashion designer, and a comedienne. The last one is all in my head but I’m telling you it’s my life’s passion to make people laugh. I’ve done so many things to fix the initial pain of rejection that I felt all those years ago. I’ve tried to excel in everything I’ve ever done and I don’t want to hear no from anyone. It’s because I’m selfish. I like getting all the credit. I like hearing all the praise. I always have. I like knowing that all the things I’ve accomplished were because of my efforts. So what I didn’t get into Cornell or USC, who cares I failed miserably in my life at USM. All those failures and rejections helped me to discover who I am today. The person I am today would be a totally different person if everything would have gone exactly the way I planned them to go. I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog for the 2nd time.
Reading the novel and reflecting on my life, has shown me that although I didn’t do things according to plans. I did things that I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget the people who were in my corner and are still in there backing me up. I’ll always have the memories of the good old college fiestas in frat houses and clubs I shouldn’t have been in. I’ll always have the birthday parties I threw and the trips to Mardi Gras. They say things work out for a reason and I guess the reason was I wasn’t ready. I say often if God had given me the body he’d given some of these women you wouldn’t be able to tell me anything, but he didn’t so I have to humble myself. I guess that’s what all these resets meant, if God had given me what I asked for when I asked for it then I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog right now. I don’t blame anyone for the problems in my life but myself. I can’t be mad at mom, dad, or any other family members for my resets, but they certainly were worth all the tears, fears, and laughs.