Becoming Caitlin

Here it is, the promised post that was weeks in the making because I kept changing my mind or I just couldn’t figure out the right words. I finally put to vernacular what I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks:

Do you ever feel like you’re suffocating?

I do. Especially now.

It’s not that I hate being at home. My mom really is one of my best friends and I love being able to see my sister everyday, but I just feel trapped.

When I first decided to write about this I thought I felt suffocated because I was home for the summer and was limited by my surroundings…but the more I think about it the more I realize that it’s not being home that’s making me feel this way, it’s everything.

I’ve gone through a lot of drama and a lot of, well, less than stellar events in the past six months, but you know, I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ve grown up a lot and from pushing through those hard times I’ve learned that I can stand my ground as myself, on my own two feet. I’ve learned that I can go out and take on life by myself and come out on top. I’ve learned that I can trust myself, and my close friends and be independent. I’ve learned that despite other people acting immaturely, I can act like an adult. I have learned that regardless of what people want to say about me I am a good and caring person. The only opinions that matter to me are those of my friends and family…and my own. No one else’s.

This summer is such a dichotomy of emotion for me. I feel free when I’m at work at The Gazette because I’m actually out reporting and doing the exact thing that I want to do with my life, but when I come home to my cubicle of a room, to my father barking orders about not eating and going to the gym, all the confidence I gain and exert during the day gets sucked out of the window. I fell like I’m that defenseless teenager again, not the confident, strong woman I have become. I’m ready to bust out of my shell.

I know I’m not thin, but I’m also not fat. I am confident in how I look, and yes, I realize that I could look better, and I’m working on it, but right now, I am happy with how I look and I am choosing to focus on other things, like the GRE, my thesis, my jobs. OTHER things that I feel are more important right now…like not letting other people’s opinions get to me.

I know I’m not the smartest girl, but I’m also not dumb. I know when people are lying to me and being senselessly mean. I know when to speak up for myself and I know when to keep my mouth shut. I have worked my ass off for my 3.8 GPA and my acceptance into UB’s honors college. I am going to focus on standing tall as me and for me. I don’t need anyone except my friends and family.

I am ready to be done with college. I am ready to go out, go to Grad school, get an apartment and start my own life. Granted, I still want to have a blast as a senior in college, but I’m just done with being seen as a “kid.” I’m antsy with my current station in life and I’m ready to take on bigger and better responsibilities. My job at The Gazette this summer has taught me that I can get thrown into new situations, hold my own, and come out if not on top, then at least better and unscathed.

I finally know what makes me happy:
1. Journalism
2. Writing
3. Independence

Of course there are other things that make me happy, too, and I’m working on getting them back in my life, but you know, if it doesn’t work out, then I won’t sweat it. In all my growing up I’ve learned that there’s more to me than the people I surround myself with. It may sound obvious but it took me a while to learn that I’m not defined by other people, I’m defined by myself and my actions. That’s it. No matter who my friends are or who I surround myself with I am still always going to be Caitlin, I can always depend on myself and I can always count on that.

The people we meet and the things we do in life are fleeting but your love and respect for yourself is forever. I guess I have finally learned to respect myself and gained the self-confidence I’ve always lacked.

I’m looking forward to living the rest of my life with this new found faith in myself. I’m looking forward to maturing even more. I’m looking forward to what life has in store for me and I’m looking forward to doing it all on my own, as an individual, with the support of my friends and family.


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