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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Alabama chapter.

In 8th grade, I dressed up in My Chemical Romance cosplay for Halloween. In 9th grade, I dressed up in My Chemical Romance cosplay for Halloween again, except somehow worse. Between the ages of 11 and 15, when I wasn’t in my school uniform, I was in a band t-shirt from Hot Topics, black leggings, and eyeliner that piled up in my lashes and was the bane of my mother’s existence. I envied the MySpace “scene queens” of the early 2000s and used Tumblr as my social media of choice. One summer, I went to camp with blue hair, and because of the hygiene practices (or lack thereof) at an outdoor sleepaway camp, it turned a seaweed green by the time I got home. I would listen to music so loudly through my earbuds that others around me would constantly ask me to turn it down. Was I popular? No. Was I a little overbearing? Absolutely.

I grew out of my emo phase during my freshman year of high school. After growing apart from a friend who was just as weird as I was, I lost my connection to a lot of what was happening in the scene. I found new friends: Catholic friends, friends in the choir, friends with sheltered childhoods and conservative parents. I still cherish these friendships today. I often wonder, however, who I would have become if I had never “grown out of it.” I traded in the Sleeping with Sirens and Of Mice and Men for Drake and Kanye, and when I did listen to “emo” music, I limited myself to Halsey and Twenty One Pilots. I let my hair grow naturally again, and I learned how to put on eyeliner without causing optical damage. If I hadn’t lost my old friends, I can’t even imagine who I would be today.

In my sophomore year of college, I joined a sorority at the University of Alabama. When I’m not wearing Lululemon, I’m in a pink cowboy hat and a fringe skirt from Amazon. I envy the influencers who live in NYC and make money from just existing. I let my hair be its natural color, and I rarely wear makeup to class. Not only that, but I turn down my AirPods when I’m around people as a sign of courtesy, even when “Dear John” by Taylor Swift is playing. Am I popular? I’m not sure. Am I a little overbearing? I’m not sure about that either. All I know is that sometimes I have dance parties to Pierce the Veil, and sometimes I use a little too much liner, and sometimes I miss the girl I used to be.

I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to that phase of my life. Sure, I miss it sometimes, but I’m proud of the person I’ve become. In short, my emo phase was character building. I look back and laugh at myself, but I also have a lot of gratitude for who I was.

Colleen is a junior at the University of Alabama from Grand Rapids, MI. She's currently studying history and dance with minors in women's studies, classical civilizations, and the Blount Scholars program. Outside of school, Colleen loves watching period dramas, planning her future on Pinterest, and listening to Taylor Swift on repeat. Colleen is so excited to be a part of Her Campus and write about the things she loves!