Before starting my freshman year at the University of Kentucky, I had never put too much thought into my own personal safety. Sure, I looked both ways when I crossed the road. I never stayed out too late or went anywhere by myself. Needless to say, my high school life was pretty boring and uneventful, but that was a good thing.
I remember coming to school on that first day of move-in, fresh-faced and ready to begin my life as a young college freshman brimming with dreams and ambitions. A new stage, a fresh start. I couldn’t have been more excited.
I was focused on getting adjusted to a new class schedule, making new friends, establishing connections, getting comfortable with life on my own. I could, within reason, do whatever I wanted, become whoever I wanted. I relished the diversity I found on campus, types of people I had never encountered in my previous life as a sheltered Catholic School girl, cliché I know. I embraced these new and interesting people, and for the most part, they have embraced me back.
Generally speaking, it is a positive character attribute to believe the best in people. I am a generally optimistic person with a sweet-natured disposition, which can often times be presumed as naïveté. I think of myself as a perceptive person, but this youthful innocence is still with me today.
So, of course, being so “innocent” and all, I’m a primary RED DOT target. Thankfully, I do not have a horror story to tell you here. But I’ve had my fair share of close-calls. The problem with me is that, by giving others the benefit of the doubt, I squelch the little voice of intuition inside me that says “Hold up, there’s something wrong here”. When you’re having fun, you want to just ignore that nagging little voice, make it shut up so you can continue having a good time. Unfortunately, this is how most girls like me find themselves. We don’t go out looking for trouble, but trouble is attracted to us. By giving out an image of friendliness and open-mindedness, we put ourselves in a perfect position to the meet the right kinds of friends, but once in awhile the wrong ones will slip through the cracks.
Perhaps I see the world through rose-colored glasses. This is both figurative and literal, because in fact, I do own not one but several heart-shaped, rose-colored glasses. I enjoy the way I see the world and the way I see people. I do not want, at the tender age of eighteen, to be cynical of others or hesitant towards experiencing life. I know people like this, and it saddens me to see them live in fear and uncertainty. My optimism is my armor against a world where I know that evil exists.
So I will continue on this road, wearing my rose-colored glasses, yet with the full awareness that things are not always as rosy as they may seem.