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"Just Hold On, We're Going Home"

“Home is not where you live but where they understand you.”  
Christian Morgenstern

          I’ve talked a lot about how Maryland, professionally, has been a God send for me, but I’ve recently been realizing how great it’s been for me socially and mentally as well. I realized a long time ago that being myself was the only way I’d end up being successful and happy, so slowly but surely I’ve been coming out of my shell. Social norms still being as they are though, it’s still hard for me to really be myself without fearing judgment. By no means would I consider myself to be “normal” by any standard. I don’t necessarily care what other people think, but it’d be a lie to say being called weird all the time when you are within your own personal norms and belief system doesn’t eventually get to you.

          I don’t carry a lot of the beliefs of the people my age and my morals are very different. I’m really goofy. I like science. I'm very empathetic and always consider other people's emotions before I act. I value God and like to live as close to his word as possible. I do whatever I want regardless of whether I think it’s going to be widely accepted. I rarely lie (nobody’s perfect, but I try not to). I could go on... Because of these things it’s not uncommon for people to call me weird, or something of the sort. Sometimes it got to me so much I’d cut back on being myself just to prevent from having to hear the negativity. I’m disappointed in myself for that part. But coming to Maryland made me realize that maybe I was just hanging with the wrong crowd and surrounding myself with the wrong people.
         When I’m here everyone accepts me. As weird as I am they all accept me, and it’s so refreshing. I don’t have to pretend to conform, or be something I’m not. I can just be me, all of me. Because of this this place is home to me, more of a home than Richmond really ever was. I don’t doubt there are people like me there, but I didn’t surround myself with enough of them to feel comfortable being myself. So I guess God really sent me up here to uplift me as a woman and a human being, and teach me things I never thought possible. You can find home in the people and places that value and understand you, regardless of distance from your family. Never surround yourself with people you have to hide parts of yourself from. Surround yourself with people that will accept and love being around you as the complete and unedited version of yourself. There’s so much pressure to be a certain way all the time that people make themselves unhappy trying to conform. Avoid that pressure by forming a circle of like-minded individuals with similar values and beliefs. That way no matter where you are, you’re home.
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