As of today, it’s been five years since God helped me leave behind the toxic dorm I’d been in my sophomore year at college, and returned me to the same wholesome dorm and roommate from the year before. I still remember waking up back in my old dorm room, and the beautiful feeling that I’d finally escaped a seemingly endless nightmare. I’ve been meditating on all of my experiences from back then, the good and the bad, and I realized that in all of the writings I’ve done on this, I’ve had a bad habit of only detailing the unfortunate parts. It’s time that I honor the beauty that came out of that chaos from five years ago.

To quickly summarize, when I was a sophomore in college, I thought I knew what was best for myself as an introvert, and opted to live in a dormitory filled only with single-occupant rooms. I left behind my awesome freshman year dormitory and a great roommate because I thought that isolation was best for me. Haha! Yeah, no. That choice led to me encountering a catty group of girls who treated me with passive-aggressive disdain, with one of them developing an unhealthy obsession towards my daily habits. Even though I wasn’t in a healthy living environment, it would take months until I finally accepted that I didn’t have to stay in a place where I wasn’t safe.

After the dust settled five years ago, during my healing process, I realized that I’d allowed myself to steep in bitterness. That was a major mistake, because it led to a number of problems such as grudges and an impaired healing process. Whenever I look back on those days, it’s too tempting to solely focus on the people who mistreated me, and how degrading it was to be on the receiving end of their pettiness. But they’re forever irrelevant. Ultimately, what’s relevant about those days is my trust in God becoming forever solidified. After all, it was only thanks to Him that I was officially transferred back to the same dorm hall and roommate from the year before, my true home on campus.

While I was drained and emotionally exhausted after getting delivered out of that nasty place, there was still happiness to be found. The next day, after finally opening up about what had happened on Facebook (and simultaneously coming out), I received a tender amount of love and support from the people in my life. During classes that day, my classmates were major rocks for me. I still remember the big hug I received from a Japanese classmate that day, after tearing up a bit at how relieved I was to be in a happier place. None of the hatred I experienced back then can hope to compare to the mountain of love I received.

Later that same day, while walking around the floor of my old dorm, I was blessed to meet a tender-hearted, big-brotherly guy who helped welcome me back into my campus home. From the first time he met me, my friend’s instinct was to greet me with warmth and compassion, something that I’d failed to find in that isolated dorm. He was and continues to be the anti-thesis to the malice I experienced, a living embodiment of God’s love. I’m forever grateful for his kindness, especially after escaping a place where I found none.

God Himself continues to be the ultimate reason why the events of five years ago don’t haunt me. He helped me get the counseling I needed to address the momentary trust issues that I dealt with in the aftermath, and ensured that I was surrounded with people who cared for me. And it’s thanks to God’s gentle nudging that I no longer repeat a mistake I’ve made before: overanalyzing the past. That chapter is over, and besides the love that came from it, the rest is irrelevant.

All it takes is to trust God without restraint.