Monday, September 26, 2011

you know my name, not my story.

(Today, I was planning on writing about food -- "yankee" restaurants in particular, but I've noticed SO. MANY. Cookevillians are reading my blog, so I decided to write something so you all could get to know me a little better.)

By now, I'm sure everyone I've talked to in Cookeville knows why I applied to TTU. I get really tired of explaining sometimes. But as those people should already know, I didn't start out here. I've lived the college life for the better part of 2 years, in 2 other schools I'll talk about today.

After I graduated high school, and had a fail of an experience at Eastern Kentucky University (long story short, I went there for a guy who left, and my financial aid didn't go through, and I found out it was a wild party school who placed way too large of a priority on greek life), my dad kicked me out of the house. Fast forward 6 months later, I was living on my own and planning on moving back to Kentucky to try again. This time, I was accepted at University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, where I got a pretty good scholarship. The only bit of Williamsburg that I knew, I had seen on vacation. Living there was an entirely different experience.

I knew I wasn't ready to be thrown into a world of frat parties, drugs, and one-night stands, so I made sure to apply at a school that banned those things. However, I wasn't ready for the rules that smothered me under the basis of religion. The turning point, where I realized "I don't like this lifestyle," is when I had gone to Walmart to buy decorations from my dorm room -- including some heavy things, like a TV and microwave. My guy friend who drove me to the store offered to help me carry my bags and boxes to my room, but he wasn't allowed to because it wasn't visiting hours. None of the FEMALE RA's helped me. I had to carry everything by myself, because letting a guy into a girl's dorm was somehow "offensive"...if it was before 7 PM.

Eventually I caved under the pressure of culture shock, homesickness, and the incredibly stupid no-male-visitors rule, and did something really bad that got me temporarily kicked out of school. (I will explain this later once I feel like I can trust my readers.) Since I was forced off-campus, I had to move into the first apartment I could find, and my money all had to go to rent/heat, rather than taking care of myself. I lived a disgusting life in Williamsburg second semester (when I was allowed back at school). I sprayed my clothes with febreze and washed them in the bathtub because I couldn't afford to go to the laundromat. Some days, I skipped meals (eating once a day was my norm), and sometimes I survived on ramen for almost a month at a time. There was just no money left over for anything else...and without a meal plan, I was dependent on what other people gave me.

I couldn't live that lifestyle anymore, so after my first year in Kentucky, I went home. I stayed with my mom for the summer, and enrolled in a community college 2 hours from my hometown. I wasn't particularly fond of my new apartment, but it was in good shape. My mom bought my food, and helped me out with rent. I was still poor, but I was clean and well-fed. And I loved the city. I still miss it a little. I miss the independence of the bus system, and my bike, before it got stolen. It was a neutral life. Not awesome, but not nearly as bad as it was. I began to enjoy myself.

Then my mom died suddenly in November (a week before my 21st birthday). And there was no reason to be close to her house anymore. I didn't have a "home" to go back to, and I was on my own again. The cold Minnesota winters didn't contribute any to my crumbling sanity...I was incredibly lonely... Kristi + family were great to me, inviting me over for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there was nowhere I felt I could go just to visit. Mike had tried to convince me to move closer to where his mother lived, but I knew I couldn't handle living in Kentucky again. I had no desire to ever attend another religious college, and I wasn't interested in any of Kentucky's state schools.

And then we went to Nashville...and my perspective changed. Now that there was nothing to keep me at "home," the hope of something better in Tennessee (as in, cheap food, affordable apartments, and GREEN GRASS in MARCH!) motivated me to move again. And here I am. Home. :)

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