Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why The Fox's Hideaway?

At this point, you might be wondering about the name and why the hell I chose it when it has nothing to do with books. Well, there's a story behind my blog name, and I'm going to share it with you.

When I started my freshman year of college, I was scared. Like, terrified. I was moving into the dorms with three strangers and living away from home for the first time. It was also a really, really bad week for me and my family. It was probably the worst time for a major life change, and yet, I still packed up my stuff and set off to Mt. P with my family. I'm pretty socially awkward, so my first meeting with two of my roommates got off to a rough start. I didn't really click with them at first, and instead of going to see a movie with them on the football field that night, I locked myself in our room and cried on the phone to my mom. And that wasn't the last time I had an emotional phone call with her. I almost quit. I almost told my mom that I wanted to leave and that I couldn't do it. There were a few moments, and even one or two during the rest of the semester, that I just wanted to give up. I was not emotionally ready for the dorm life. Not at that time, and my mom understood that. But I am so, so glad I stuck with it.

After those initial rough weeks, I started to find my rhythm and balance. I started becoming close with one of my roommates, and I no longer felt so scared. I was still pretty socially awkward and INCREDIBLY shy (which I still am), but I was slowly feeling more and more like myself.

And that was with the help of the wonderful group of friends I made during that year. I was very close with the one roommate, good friends with another, and just mere acquaintances with the last one (which was totally fine with both of us. Some people just don't click, you know?). But not only that, there was a mutual friend that my two roommates had who started hanging around a lot. And we also had our next-door neighbors that we shared dinners with many times. But I didn't actually really start hanging out with them until the spring semester.

There was a bit of drama, which ended with the roommate I had been close to moving out at the end of the first semester. Looking back, it still makes me a little sad that we'd grown apart. She and I had started pulling away from each other about a month before the drama. However, I was sad because I hadn't grown really close with the other roommates and neighbors. I was kind of nervous about how the spring would go, which is stupid in hindsight, because it ended up being the best semester out of all of my college career so far.

Like I said, I'm a shy person. I didn't have very close friends from high school that I still talked to then, aside from my very best friend. So, it was pretty much just me starting over. But I loved that. I loved that no one knew my past, that I could have a life away from the people I didn't like at my old high school. That I had a chance to start over, without anyone having any preconceived notions or judgments about me. It was one of the best feelings, but it also kept me from forming strong attachments for so long.

I'm not an open person; I'm very closed off about my past and my feelings. I've been through a lot in my life, and I loathe crying in front of people, so I never want to talk about anything painful. It took me a really, really long time to become comfortable around everyone. To be able to walk down the hall and knock on my neighbor's door for dinner. To invite myself to study sessions in the lounge. To actually tell them about my day or my weekend without anyone asking. And after awhile, I felt like I was a part of them. That I fit in with this awesome group of people. That, even though I'm shy and closed off, they still wanted me around.

Through my friendships with them, I started becoming more and more confident in myself. They were loud, funny, and had dirty minds that got me more comfortable talking about very personal stuff. I think it all started when I took Spanish with one of my neighbors. We ended up becoming really close and having our own inside jokes. And through her, through my slowly fading shyness, I started to feel more like myself. Like I'd been hiding so much of my personality from everyone. I stopped caring how I looked, how I acted, and if I talked without thinking first. Because we just accepted each other.

And one day, we started playing Gubs. Have anyone of you ever played that card game? If you haven't, oh my gosh, it's so much fun! It's basically a game of luck, with a little skill thrown in there. So, anyway, apparently everyone had already been playing this and they all had their own nicknames. And so while we played, my Spanish friend kept watching me. Everyone was totally surprised at how competitive I was and how bold I was playing. My friend looked at me in the middle of the game and said: "You're The Fox." And ah, do you see where I'm going with this? No one took to their nickname more than I did, and heck, everyone loved it. They loved calling me that at random times, and my Spanish friend even gave me a stuffed animal fox for my birthday. I just felt so happy. I never thought I'd make one friend, let alone become part of a group as awesome as this. Yeah, I didn't have great self-esteem (still don't, but I'm infinitely better and more confident in myself now). I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I'd made lifelong friends and that these people would be in my life for years to come.

I also became very close with one of my other neighbors, more so than anyone else. Her and I were so alike, had a lot of the same personality, and our friendship was a slow progress that really took off after we watched The Fox and the Hound together. She became Copper, the hound. And I was Tod, the fox. She stopped calling me Holly and I started answering to Tod. It was a friendship pretty much based on a Disney movie.

I had always liked foxes, but after being nicknamed, they became an obsession to me. And they still are, hence the new blog name! It was one of the best times of my life. I had amazing friends. I was doing well in school, and I felt like I was finally letting go of the hurts from the past and finding the person I was meant to be.

But, eventually, all good things come to an end. Freshman year ended with a bang and a summer where I felt myself regressing back to the person I was before that first semester began. But then school started back up, I reconnected with everyone, and I was moving back into a different dorm with one of my old roommates and one of the neighbors (the Spanish friend). It felt so perfect.

That was before everything went to hell. Without rehashing everything and all the drama that came from sophomore year, I'll recap the highlights. The roommate I'd been living with since freshman year became self-absorbed and let her life center around a boyfriend she'd met on the internet over the summer and fell in love with the first time they met in person. My Spanish friend was moving out at the end of the semester because an apartment was cheaper. My first and only good guy friend stopped talking to all of us and never wanted to hang out. So it was pretty much just me and Copper holding everything together.

That was before the spring semester showed up. Without my Spanish friend in the dorm room, I was feeling lonely. I was so very close with my roommate, who we'll call C because I'm tired of thinking up ways to tell you who these people are without giving away names. But that was before she lost sight of who she was in the wake of her newfound true love. *gags* Don't get me wrong, I love her and we're still good friends. She's actually probably the best friend I have right now. But I still don't like her boyfriend and I can't get over all of the shit she put me through last year. We also got a new roommate at the beginning of the school year. But J and I just never clicked, not until well into the spring semester. And I also lost Copper over a text "fight" because we were both pissed. I tried to reconcile with her a couple weeks later, but she just... stopped talking to me. And, to this day, I still don't know why.

Because of all of that, I was feeling incredibly down about myself and depressed. I hid away in my dorm room (luckily, I didn't have to share with anyone) and read and used Netflix a lot. But over time, I slowly started pulling myself out of that terribly black mood. It was hard; it was painful to lose Copper. There were times I wanted to text her and reconcile. But I was tired of being that person who always tries harder in a friendship. And I had already tried, so what was the point of getting shot down again? So, I let it go and started hanging out with my two roommates. It slowly started to get better, but it wasn't the same. And by the time finals ended, I couldn't wait to go home.

When summer hit, I was still feeling the effects of sophomore year. I felt like I regressed from all the progress I'd made during freshman year. And I lost pretty much all of the people that I thought I'd always have in my life. There was also some family drama going on, and my cousin wasn't talking to me. I didn't try hard enough to find a job, and so I was stuck at home all day, in my room with no one who bothered to push me away from my laptop and books. What got me through it all was blogging. It was YOU tweeting at me, commenting on my posts, and listening to my voice when I felt like I was silently screaming and no one was hearing me. That no one cared enough to check if I was okay. Blogging helped me find the strength to say that it wasn't me, that there wasn't something inherently wrong with me that I kept losing everyone. I've made some great friends through this, and I'm so, so happy that I have blogging in my life.

No, sophomore year wasn't great. In fact, it was terrible and I barely survived it. But I wouldn't change how anything happened, because I'm not the same person I was before starting CMU. And I like the person I am now so much more than before. She's still changing; she's still growing. But she's no longer that frightened girl who was afraid to be herself.

The Fox's Hideaway isn't just a blog name. It's me. Even though I'm only friends with two of the people from our freshman group, I'm glad that it's them and not the others. And I still love foxes. That hasn't changed. My friend, C, still calls me The Fox from time to time and she even bought me this cute foxy mug and bowl. Foxes are my thing. But not only that, they remind me of how happy I was freshman year, of how much I grew as a person, and how much more confident I became with myself. Everything may have gone to hell, but I can't forget all of the good that came out of it. And The Fox's Hideaway is me not letting what happened affect me any longer. I've moved on, truly. It still kills me that so much has changed. I still have moments of anger and hurt when I'm going through my Facebook newsfeed and see Copper's new status. But only I have the power to change my life, and I want to make junior year even better than my freshman one.

That all explains "the fox" part in the title. The "hideaway" part is basically what it means. Books have always been my escape, my safe space. My hideaway. They've always been there for me when I've had a rough day or week or month. When I'm feeling down about myself and need a break from reality. I turn to them for everything. And I want this blog to be a safe space where I can share what books mean to me, discuss them with others who are just as passionate about them as me, and make even more friends.

So yeah, that's where The Fox's Hideaway came from and why I chose to change it to that even though people won't automatically think it's a book blog just from the title. Not only will I be posting reviews and bookish things, I'll also be talking about my writing. I didn't want my new name to be just about books, because writing is my other major passion in life. I'm on a journey to trying to become an author, and I wanted a space where I could share that as well. And this name being what it is, I have the chance to do that. To merge my two favorite obsessions into a place that's all mine.

I'm sorry this story was really long, but this was actually therapeutic for me, as I have not had a chance like this to let everything out. To let go of all the negative and accept the positive, something I'm not prone to do in real life because I'm high on the neuroticism scale. And, I don't know, it's easier to be more personal with you guys than family and friends. Maybe it's because you don't know me. Maybe it's because I can't see your face when you're reading this. Whatever the case, writing has always been therapeutic for me and I love that I have my blog to help with that.

And I'm so happy I decided to do this. I'm so excited to start blogging under the new name. The Fox's Hideaway is freaking perfect for me. <3

All of this makes me curious about you guys! Where did your blog names come from? :)

And don't forget to enter the giveaway for a book of your choice!

16 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! *hugs* I LOVE the new name and design. And I love how The Fox Hideaway has such a deep meaning.

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    1. <3 I probably read this over and over again a couple dozen times and almost didn't publish all of this. But I wanted to be honest and like I said, it was therapeutic to talk about all of this.

      And I'm so glad you love it!! I couldn't wait to see what you thought of it since you love foxes too. :)

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  2. I love your new name! I think that the best blog names have a deep meaning like yours. Personally, my blog's name is a pun, which I think is second-best :) What I really like about your blog is that you are so willing to open up about your life. Your blog has become a secure place for everyone is the blogging community to connect. Thank you! That is a hard thing to achieve.
    This is a great new start for your blog and I cannot wait to see what else you have in store.

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words!! :)

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  3. I thought before that your name is fantastic but now I'm in awe.. I mean I pretty much came up with my blog name after pinning a quote on Pinterest, not that impressive, huh? It's a great thing that you were able to come up with a name that means so much to you. Your blog is one of my favorites from the ones I follow because for some reason it feels more personal than the others. I really hope this semester things will be much much brighter for you because I know what it feels like to be that friend who tries harder all the time.
    Great post, brave of you to post such a personal writing here.
    PS: I would totally love if you shared some pieces of your writing here on the blog. :)
    Best luck. :)

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    1. Your comment seriously made me tear up. Thank you so much for your kind words. And I didn't know how much I needed to hear this until I read it. <3 <3

      PS: I might definitely be persuaded to do that. However, I'm so weird about sharing my stories. So, we'll see. But I'll definitely be talking about my writing and WIPs. :)

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  4. Awe, Holly. I'm so glad you shared this story. The name of your blog is beautiful. I feel like it would make for a good song or short story title.

    Your story gives me the courage to share the story about my first two years of hell... I mean college. Maybe one day. I'm so glad that things got better for you. They did for me at first, but then things sadly went sour with my second roommate. I'm still working on trying to become more comfortable with myself, but I doubt I'll ever get there, especially now because I'm officially an adult.

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    1. I was feeling a little weird about sharing this very personal post, but your comment has taken that away. I truly and sincerely hope you get to a place where you're comfortable with yourself and the hurts from college no longer have such an impact. *hugs*

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  5. I am so, so glad you shared that all. It takes a lot of guts, and I agree that is therapeutic. I LOVE that this name is so personal for you. I think it makes you more invested, you know? When it means something more.

    Your post definitely brings back so, so many memories of college for me. God, that was hard. I was in no way ready to go to college (I was 17. I needed permission slips to go to swim meets. I should NOT have been making major life choices!) and it was mostly crap with some decent stuff thrown it, but so, SO many life lessons.

    I think realizing that you shouldn't always be the one who gives MORE in a friendship is such an important lesson. I wish I'd learned that many, many years ago, but I think I have only come to terms with it in the past year or two. Friendships are messy. So messy. I really think that it is a generational thing. I look at my mom, who has had friends literally since kindergarten. But pretty much everyone I know has so few deep (and in person!) friendships, it is really sad. It's funny, because I truly feel like some of the best people I know I have met via online stuff- book bloggers like you, and a close group of moms in a group I joined on a whim. I think there is something about specifically reaching out, knowing that these people WANT to interact with you and aren't just doing it out of convenience, or because they live across the hall or whatever that makes it special.

    I also think it is incredibly brave of you to go in the first place, AND to stick it out. I went 2 hours away because my parents made me, and only chose the college I chose because some people I knew from high school were going there. It was an awful fit in pretty much every possible way.

    I hope that the rest of your college experience turns out well, and that you meet some people who can recognize how lucky they'd be to have you as a friend. They'll come along, maybe not in college, but they will. It's one of those things I just have to believe, that we will meet the people we're meant to be friends with forever, even if it isn't until later than we'd like. Maybe it will be even more special when the time comes, who knows. I have a tendency to be incredibly negative too, but deep down, I feel like it all has to work itself out.

    Ah, I wrote you another novel! If only I could write like this, I wouldn't be failing at NaNo ;) But seriously, thank you for sharing this! It helps me to realize that I am not the only person who had these college experiences (I am kind of sick of everyone telling me it is the best time of your life. Because no.) and that sometimes, shitty friends just happen, shitty circumstances happen. And maybe we will never be super positive, or completely comfortable with ourselves, but maybe that is okay too.

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    1. I just, I don't even know what to say to this comment; you've rendered me speechless. And you also made me cry. Good tears, though. I don't know how you do it, but you just seem to get exactly what I'm saying. So, I thank you for this amazing novel you just wrote me. <3 <3 <3

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  6. HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG

    I'm so sorry about everything that happened in college! But I think that's a part of life, I guess. Things come and go, life gets hard, you have to pick yourself up from time to time even though you feel like you're alone. But truth is, and like you said, YOU'RE NOT :D

    Holly, you're an amazing person, and I would love to meet you in person (*stalks to see where CMU is, because I'm a creeper*. Unless you're lying about where you're going which is understandable). BUT YEAH. WE LOVE YOU. YOU LITTLE FOX. KEEP BLOGGING AND BEING AWESOME AND I'm sure one day everything will work out in the end!

    Your experiences with your friends have shaped who you are, and I wish I was there physically to comfort you. But for now I can just yell at you or chat over twitter.

    ONE DAY WE WILL MEET.

    ONE DAY.

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    1. *accepts all your hugs* You're seriously the bestttt!! <3 <3 <3 AND WE BETTER MEET ONE DAY. OR ELSE I WILL CRY.

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  7. Somehow I totally missed commenting on this as I couldn't find it. Anyway, reading it made me sad. I'm so sorry about how your friendship sort of ended with. I know college can be so great. Reading this brought me back to my own first two years, which I loved (mostly). I, like you, was also pretty quiet, in the background and didn't talk to my roommates very much initially.

    Finding a balance of friendship is hard, we want to reach out, but it's hard if we're always the ones doing it. I struggled with this feeling with a friend I have online. Anyway, it's good to know you don't always have to give 200% to a friendship, at least not when the other person isn't making much of an effort.

    I love your name. It's so poetic given the meaning and it's just amazing and original and gah. I'm in love. I'm glad blogging has given you a voice and more friends. That's so great. I'm happy this was therapeutic for you. Any creative outlet is like that, especially writing. :) You're so awesome for writing this and sharing. These are the kind of posts that make people come back and connect and just...relate. I remember in a college class I had when we were talking about relationships online and how it's easier to share online due to not seeing that person's reaction and being able to look over what you say before sending.

    Anyway, fantastic post! You almost made me cry a couple times when reading it.

    --Amber

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    1. Thank you so much for your awesome comment. It definitely helps to be heard and to write everything out. <3 <3

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  8. I loved reading this post. I can only just begin to imagine how hard this must have been to write. However, I can also see how it could be liberating. I almost cried at the content and writing style of this post. I'm glad you're a blogger and even though I'm new to your blog, I love it.

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Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3