Well, here I was. All moved into my new apartment near TCU with the help of my parents and sister. My room in my apartment was complete with colors and pink! And Yes, I did get my bedding from the baby section at Target!! I was excited but terrified. I had never lived away from home. I spent my entire life clinging to my parents, especially my mom and she was about to leave. She prayed with me and out they went. I remember texting her immediately and started to cry. What was wrong with me? Why am I like this? Why can’t I have fun and enjoy this new adventure? It was crippling. She did the best she could to encourage me, and although I had medication to help, I was a mess. I was also living with two other girls, whom I had just met. They were friends and seemed nice enough. Hopefully they would become my friends too? I longed for friends and for familiarity. Something…anything to help ease what I was feeling.
I distinctly remember walking into the cafeteria (also known as the BLUU) and being overwhelmed with the amount of people. The smells of food made me nauseous. I was looking for a seat, or someone to ask me to sit with them. Nobody. Everyone was talking away, visiting with new friends they had made in their sorority/fraternity. I walked around for a few minutes just looking for a seat. I finally found one. I had my lunch and sat down by myself hoping that someone would start talking to me. Nope. I felt so out of place and lonely. I was so plagued with fear that I didn't want to reach out to anyone at this point. I couldn’t eat. Instead, I called my mom and started losing it on the phone. It was the first time I felt extremely alone. That would be one of many lunches I experienced in college unfortunately. Not only that, the same week I started school, remember that guy I was still talking to even though we weren’t technically together? I found out he was with someone else. He didn’t care about me at all, and in fact, expressed that very clearly. I look back now and realize how desperate I must have been.
I did make a few new friends in the theatre department. Staci saw that I was by myself in the building and came up and introduced herself to me. THANK GOODNESS. I had my first friend! So, the crazy first week began. There is nothing quite like an intense 5 days of auditions to get my first semester at TCU started. I was a nervous wreck. You audition for the entire season in the one week. I didn’t realize how talented these people were. I was like, “how am I even here with these people?!” I did get some callbacks and got cast in Urinetown the Musical, directed by TJ Walsh. I was excited just to be doing something. It made some of the unbearable days a little bit better. I still had long phone calls with my mom to get me through those hard days. In the first month, I had a severe panic attack that even my medicine didn't help. My mom drove all the way to Fort Worth, picked me up and drove me home. I couldn't drive, couldn't talk, couldn't function. It was a tough few days and I dreaded going back, but I needed to be responsible and try to make it through! I was supposed to be doing this thing called college!
I got into a car accident after rehearsal one day, it was completely my fault. I was looking at my GPS, and the next thing I know, I ran right into the car in front of me. I was not wearing a seat belt either. Lesson learned. It was hard for me to know what just happened, as I just slammed my head into my visor. I was able to move my car over into the neighborhood where the person in the other car wouldn’t stop screaming at me. I called 911 and then immediately called my parents. This sweet lady in one of the houses came outside to see what was going on and saw me crying hysterically and offered me a drink while I talked to the police officers. She even let me use her bathroom. They really wanted me to go on a stretcher to the hospital, and if you know me, you KNOW how I feel about this! I was hysterical, I wouldn’t go. I told them I would go on my own, which I did. My parents came to Fort Worth because being in a hospital at this point was my worst nightmare. I hated even being in the building!! I had the necessary tests done and got the all-clear to leave. I just felt like I couldn’t catch a break. Or was it my perspective? Probably both.
I went home almost every weekend during my first semester to see my old flame or just to be at home. I didn’t party, didn’t make effort to go out – I just wanted to be at home. I did stay a few times and went to some TCU football games with my best friend, Reza, and some new friends. THIS got me excited! I never thought I would be a huge fan of college football, but I became one SO FAST. I loved going to games and cheering for my team! GO FROGS!
I auditioned for a show at my old school in my second semester because I did not get cast at TCU. I really wanted to do be doing something and be on the stage. Luckily, I was cast as Beth in Little Women – The Musical. I even dyed my hair brown! Shocking, I know! It was a wonderful show and I loved being able to be a part of it. I won’t even go into detail how many miles was put on my car going back & forth from Plano to Fort Worth a few times a week!
I ended my first year at TCU with a falling out with my roommates. Boundaries were crossed, and I wanted out. It felt forced too. I came home one day & my bed was moved right in front of my bedroom door so I couldn't get in. It was a horrible experience. But, I wasn’t completely innocent myself. I was SO GLAD to be out of the situation. I finally found a roommate for my last year at school, my very first friend at TCU – Staci, who was also involved in the theatre department. And, it was SO MUCH BETTER! I finally gave up on that toxic relationship and actually rekindled a romance from high school. We had been off and on since middle school through my senior year. Man, I sure was jumping from relationship to relationship! And, although this time it would be a long-distance romance, it felt comfortable and familiar. And it worked for a period of time.
Entering my second year at TCU seemed like night and day. My anxiety started to go away during the summer. It wasn't all gloom and doom! This wasn’t to say I was completely better, but I could function, had more motivation and had friends! Also, a confidence booster was getting cast in several more shows at school! I was learning and growing in classes and making friends in the process. Although I made new friends, I still kept in touch with my friends from Collin College & my best friend, Stephanie, from high school, because these girls were life-long friends! Regular Panic attacks were decreasing each day and I was able to function. I finally had some relief and was able to have fun! Something that seemed impossible the year before.
Enter: Pageants. My voice teacher had encouraged me to try it, so I did! I loved getting dressed up and singing so this would be easy and fun, right? HA! I started competing in several prelims. TERRIFYING. I didn’t know what I was in for. But, I improved each time and finally won when I competed in Miss Texarkana in 2011. I could write an entire blog post about all that goes on behind the scenes, but let me just say that it’s A LOT of work! Workouts, vocal coaching, interview coaching, walking in 6 inch heels, doing events…it was exhausting! And, I was doing around 18-20 hours in school. But, it was so worth it. All the late nights, workouts, butt glue, hairspray, trying on 1,000 dresses, working events, speaking at schools…it was amazing! I didn’t place when I competed in Miss Texas, but honestly, I was just honored to be there. I learned so much about myself and gained confidence I didn’t even know was inside of me! This was also a huge distraction from anxiety. It kept me busy and my mind was so focused on achieving goals, quite a change if you ask me!
I finished my last semester at school and managed to graduate with honors?! WHAT?! I guess I could also say I had a butt-load of hours, so that helped balance everything out! 😊 As someone who used to be afraid to leave their house, this was huge! I still had my fears and phobias and wouldn’t talk about them, but I was gaining confidence in myself. The scary part was what was I going to do after college? Try this whole acting thing out? I guess so! How was I going to make money? No clue. The whole "adulthood" thing was just around the corner and I was not prepared! But, I was proud of myself. I had come such a long way and felt hopeful.
Thanks for reading!