Freshman opens up about life struggles, creative outlets


Freshman Nikki Crouse displays her tattoos reading "Serendipity" and "Copacetic" outside Robinson Hall Sept. 18.

Nikki Crouse is both reserved and refreshingly open. While the Comstock freshman doesn’t downplay the pain she’s endured, she also acknowledges the strengths and creativity she’s gained through her struggles. Central Michigan Life interviewed her about her life, passion for neuroscience and love of creative writing.

CM Life: What is your major and why?
I’m leaning toward neuroscience. It’s fascinating to me. I grew up in a family with a lot of mental disorders. Trying to understand that is why I took psychology classes. Since high school, I’ve been more interested in how the actual brain works and not just mental processes. 

The brain is everything you are. Everything you feel, everything you do is just there in one central system.

If you could have any job, no matter how impractical, what would it be?
I write poetry and short stories. I’d love to write (for a living), but it’s so difficult. There’s the risk of putting money into it and not getting anything in return. 

What are some of your favorite things you’ve written?
Probably a series in two parts I’m still working on. First one I started working on is “I Met.” The poems are each based off someone I met. (One example is) “I met a girl in an orange Ram.” (An example from) the second part is “To the Girl in the Supermarket,” which described what she was wearing, how she moved through the aisles — confidence just radiated off of her. 

I’m not sure how long I’ll be working on the series — that’s what fascinates me about it. I can write about so many people in so many different ways.

What’s a quote that means a lot to you?
“We loved with a love that was more than love” from Edgar Allan Poe. One of my biggest fears is falling in love with someone and then one day them randomly falling out (of love) or me randomly falling out. That’s happened to me before. I want something I know will last.

I’m definitely afraid of abandonment. My siblings and I ended up living with my grandparents because my parents got involved with a lot of drugs. My mom was a very difficult person. Even growing up, my mom wouldn’t let my grandma kiss her goodnight. (Even then,) there was obviously something wrong. And my mom’s coping mechanism was drugs. 

How has that affected you?
I can’t be yelled at without breaking down because when my mom was high or drunk she’d get out of bed and yell at me. I also have trust issues because she’d call and say she was getting better but nothing would come from it and it’d be obvious she fell back down.

Have you developed any strengths or passions from these struggles?
I was able to quickly develop a sense of independence. I was always OK being on my own. Other siblings were more affected by it; one of my sisters is a cocaine baby, and my brother just remembers a lot more than any of us. Because of that, my grandma always had to attend to their issues, so I was always off on my own.

I’m very open about it with other people, but I’m still processing it. I need to sit down and understand what happened completely. I write poems about myself, my own thoughts, my own fears. It’s just an outlet.

How do you want to be remembered when you die?
I want to be known for my creativity. I bring a lot of unique aspects of life (to others). I’m a very outgoing person when it comes to friends and family. I help others get out of their boxes.