The College Front #Fronting #tbt

If you’re anything like me, looking back at college life is….interesting.

I wasn’t sure who I was, and that confusion was perpetually guarded by a “front,” or some contrived persona.  My “front” would change from month to month, sometimes hour to hour, depending on who I was friends with and what “scene” I was into at the time.  My focus was on my friends and impressing them.   That preoccupation deflected how insecure I felt.

I was a hippie, a raver and occasionally a goth.   I was up for whatever it took to feel ok on the outside, in order to distract myself from how confused I was on the inside.  I was by no means alone, and almost everyone around me in college was trying to figure it out too.  There were a lot of question marks:  What to do, how to feel, and on top of it all, how to keep up with schoolwork?

All this confusion can easily lead to some seriously maladaptive coping behaviors like binge drinking, food issues and even drug use. For some, it can lead to isolation and depression. For me, I didn’t start to feel even remotely ok until I focused more fully on my own recovery path.   My compulsive behaviors in college were just a way of masking my fears and insecurities.  By learning coping skills, I gained confidence, lost anxiety, and finally found my authentic self, cohesive outer persona (and wardrobe!)

Today, as a creative psychotherapist, I see many college students going down a similar road to the one I went through.  I see their bravery in confronting their every day lives in ways that I couldn’t at that age.  Through mindfulness coping skills, they see the inner parts of themselves clearly and learn how to soothe their anxieties.  They have compassion towards their own struggling parts, and gain insight on how to help themselves.  Looking back, I wonder how my different “fronts” would have responded if I had been more compassionate and empathetic to myself back then.  I’d like to believe that my inner raver, hippie and goth would have all finally felt understood and danced into the world together.

What was/is your front? Please send pics and stories!


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