Yesterday was orientation. Oh. My. God.
Why did I decide on conservative colleges for my first two tries?
School number 1 was not actively harmful, but left me no wiggle room. School number 2 almost killed me.
School 3 is like coming home. I had a conversation with a professor of Ethnic, Gender and Labor studies afterward. I told her about my vision to write and to publish stories outside norm, safe places for kids who don't have safety. And she got it. She more than got it, she got behind it.
For the first time in ages I had affirmation. I had worth. I had something to give. I have been self-editing so much at home lately I had forgotten that there's a whole world out there, and some of it doesn't hate me.
Before I left for orientation, as I was racing to get ready since my alarm was set for the wrong time, my mom told me "I don't know if you want it, but I'm praying that you meet a friend today at school. A strong Christian friend who can encourage you in... life" I mumbled a thank you, tried not to be offended, remembered how it felt to fear for people's souls.
I guess the prayer was answered, because I made a friend. Or maybe it wasn't, because she sure wasn't the sort of friend my mom was hoping for. But I don't live for her, not anymore. I love her, and always will, but it's my dream I'm chasing. I'm going to catch it, too.