SUBCULTURAL GIRL: To Thine Own Self Be True

Welcome back to school, darlings. As glad as I am to be back in the academic saddle, I’m still relishing in all of the wonderful experiences I had during break.

I don’t know about you guys, but I went to France. Not to get all braggy about it, but going to France was big deal for me. I’ve been studying French since I was 10, and going to France has been a dream of mine since then.

Fast-forward 16 years later, and I finally managed to get myself on a plane to Paris. Leading right up to getting off the plane in Charles de Gaulle, I was worried that France wouldn’t be everything I’d wanted it to be for so long. I’d spent the majority of my life fantasizing about all the wonders of France, and was worried I’d built it up to an unachievable standard. But boy, was I wrong.

We’re in charge of our own happiness

Not only did France meet all of my expectations, but it far surpassed them. I discovered more places and had more moments of pure joy and wonder than I’ve ever had up to this point in my life. Likewise, I had plenty of moments where I was taken outside of my comfort zone; the trip was full of lessons from plane trip to plane trip.

Overall, though, the most important lesson I learned from this entire experience was the importance of staying true to oneself, and allowing ourselves to be pulled unwaveringly in the direction of the things we love.

For the first time—possibly ever—in my life, I was able to comprehend what it means when people say we’re the ones in charge of our own happiness. I live so much of my life for other people that I often forget to leave room in my life for myself and my desires.

Making this trip happen was the first time I’ve ever done something for me because it’s what I wanted, and doing that has been so empowering.

I’ve spent so many years of my life trying to create my own happiness from outside sources or other people, but now I finally understand the importance of ruthlessly following your passions and making your dreams come to fruition.

—Aubrey Houdeshell

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