June 05, 2018 04:01 PM

Becca Kufrin vied for Arie Luyendyk Jr.s heart on season 8 of  The Bachelor. Now, she’s on her own journey to find love on the latest season of The Bachelorette — and she’s blogging about it exclusively for PEOPLE! Follow Becca on Twitter at @thebkoof.

Okay guys, can you believe it — we’re already into the first week of dates! But before I get into everything, I just wanted to say a few things. I was really nervous putting my heart on the line again and stepping into the role as Bachelorette. But the love and support you’ve continued to share has meant the world to me, so thank you. Now let’s get into it!

Kicking things off, I’d be lying if I said I knew how I’d handle 21 hearts on the line. I felt the full spectrum of emotions after that first night, and I didn’t want to disappoint these guys or myself. I just had to remind myself to stay open and true to me.

There were so many emotions running through me heading into those first three dates. I was nervous and excited ,and waves of memories came streaming back to me like crazy. Last season Arie asked me on the very first date, and a one on one at that. I remember feeling so grateful, so elated and touched that he saw something in me that made him want to share that day with me. During that first date with Arie I was lucky enough to be pampered with Neil Lane jewelry, Christian Louboutin shoes and dresses from designer Rachel Zoe. It. Was. Incredible. So, heading into my own first date, I wanted to take a little bit of that magic from last year and share it with these guys. But this time, muddy the waters for them. Once these guys were dressed up in their tuxedos I was floored by how quickly they went from handsome boyfriends to striking grooms in waiting. But here is the thing, I’m not looking for a nice-looking man who can rock a tux … no, no. I’m looking for someone who can be put to the test … and by test, I mean an obstacle course that represents life and its challenges!

Paul Hebert/ABC

My fellow Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, had a similar date during her season– and it obviously worked well for her. I figured why not take a page from her book and revamp it a little. Having Rachel and Bryan there to lead this with me was really fun for everyone that day, and I think it is only fair to restate the question: What that mouth do!? Even though the obstacle course was meant to be lighthearted and fun, it was designed to still show me who these guys are. What I was really looking for was a positive attitude, who was having fun and who was still excited to be hanging with me at the end of it and not focused on the “win.” As you all saw, Lincoln literally took the cake and won the challenge. Now, the word winning might be a stretch — it’s still up for debate if he won fair and square. What do you guys think? Either way, for me this was the first time that I really began to feel tension between the guys. I wasn’t sure then if it was just a competitive spirit or more –—but of course that evening revealed everything.

Heading into that evening I was really excited to continue what I thought had been a really successful fun date. I was able to connect and really make strides in my relationships with a handful of men. I loved hearing how close Chris was to his family, especially strong women. Then there was Jean Blanc, who was able to really express himself in a way that resonated with me. I felt like we were on the same page and that is why I decided to give him the group date rose. What I needed that night was a man who was 100 percent invested in me, and he made me feel so hopeful for the future.

Now, let’s take a moment and talk about the picture. Lincoln expressed that I bring out the best in him … but obviously he was able to bring out the worst in Connor. What started as a creative way to let Lincoln know he made the day really fun and special for me quickly turned into a nightmare. I don’t condone lashing out in a physical way like Connor did, but I also disagree with how Lincoln was rubbing my personal gift in everyone’s faces. I left having my guard up with both men, and that is not how I wanted to feel starting the week.

Paul Hebert/ABC

After the issues from the night before, I was really looking forward to a one-on-one date with a guy who I knew wouldn’t be any drama. Blake was just that guy. Something you guys didn’t see was our limo ride over to the warehouse. We must have laughed the entire way and bonded over our love of peanut butter and the show Friends. Our connection, while so far over 90s TV shows and snack foods, felt like it was natural and easy — I loved it.

Usually it’s me planning the dates, but Chris Harrison had something up his sleeve and took all the planning off my hands. I was going into this one just as blind as Blake, which bonded us in a way that made me feel like no matter what, we were in this together. When Blake and I were handed the jumpsuits and sledge hammers I thought to myself, okay, Chris, you have our attention. Then we walked into the warehouse and I thought to myself again, oh wait, NOW you have my attention. What a cool freaking date. Besides meeting Lil John and Turning Down for What (what does that really mean?!), my favorite part of this date was the fact that Blake and I seemed like a team. Smashing away my past felt insanely therapeutic, but doing it alongside Blake (someone who I’ve been excited about since After the Final Rose) made me feel so optimistic about officially putting history behind me and looking ahead to the future.

That evening, Blake opened up about how he too was blindsided by heartbreak in his past. It felt for the first time in this journey, that I found a real connection with a man that I could see a solid future with. He had my back and I had his, and that was a refreshing feeling.

The next day was my second group date and another physical test at that. This time it was dodgeball — but not your average dodgeball. I decided to up the ante and play on trampolines to see what these guys were really made of. Since I’m not athletic whatsoever, I recruited the help of dodgeball champs Wakime, Jonathon and Sydney to walk us through some drills. They taught us the 5 Ds of the game: dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge. Watching the guys dodge and dive to and fro while being bossed around by these hardcore kids was everything. I’m not going to lie, I was slightly afraid of them (the kids, not the guys). Those three did not take it easy on us. Poor Ryan was pelted in a most uncomfortable place, meanwhile Christon was going straight for me! The best though was hearing Wakime yell “TRASH!” at the men, and it will forever be ingrained in my memory. It became a running inside joke between the guys and me.

RELATED VIDEO: The Bachelorette’s Becca Kufrin On How She Forgave Arie Luyendyk, Jr. – “He Had to Follow His Heart”

Heading into the Ultimate Bachelorette Dodgeball Championship, I knew the key to success was dressing the part. I made sure to get them into florescent short shorts, that, if I’m being completely honest, wished were a little more retro and not so gym class. However, they still looked pretty darn fabulous. It also wouldn’t be a Bachelor event without the help of the legendary actor, announcer and dodgeball enthusiast Fred Willard. Hearing his hilarious and witty commentary really brought me back to the good ol’ dog date last year where I first met him. That man is fiery, and I’m glad he came back this time around to give some good jest.

The tournament started off strong but quickly turned into a sweep as the green team dominated almost every game. But man, could Leo in pink play. He really kept the pink team hanging on by a thread. I could tell he was so in his element and loving the cheers coming his way. It was really fun to see him stand out and he definitely had my eye that day. And not just my eye … but what you didn’t see (or hear) was “YAZ daddy!” coming from a very taken women in the crowd with me. Part of me was jealous, like hey, these are my boyfriends, but really it was so funny, so shout out to her for making me laugh! Even though Leo was definitely MVP, the green team took the brass balls trophy and off we headed into the afterparty.

Heading into that evening I couldn’t help but have a little anxiety from what had gone down on that first group date afterparty. I was over the drama and was really hoping there wouldn’t be any more surprises — but of course I was wrong!

For those of you who don’t know, Tia was with me on Arie‘s season of The Bachelor last year. We were instant friends, bunkmates and she was someone who I could turn to when times were tough. Sharing the stage with Tia when I was announced as Bachelorette was an empowering feeling for all strong women. My relationships with my friends are lifelong, solid and unbreakable. So, when Colton revealed the truth about his previous relationship with Tia, I was frustrated, shocked and left with a million questions. My mind raced and I didn’t know what to believe or how to handle the situation. Was it true? Why would he lie about something like this? Was Tia aware he was here? How does she feel? Is Tia okay? Is Colton a player? Can I trust him? My friendship with Tia (and all the strong, amazing women in my life) mean the world to me. So really, the first thing I wanted to do was send him straight home. But the fact of the matter is I was really drawn to Colton for reasons other than just our chemistry and how impressed I was with his charity for Cystic Fibrosis. I felt like there was an invisible pull, something that in my gut told me to not discount our spark.

Paul Hebert/ABC; Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

I did my best to not let my confusing surprise with Colton consume me that evening and tried to put focus back into the amazing other guys at the after party. That night I feel like I was really starting to peel back the layers of John from successful tech developer and discovered that he has his own home cooking show that he shares online as a fun hobby. Garrett continued to make a really great impression on me and made me confident in knowing that there was something special between us. Then there was fashionable Wills. I absolutely loved talking with Wills that night. Seeing him get emotional about his parents really moved me. I felt like I could see a future building with him, and it made my decision pretty easy when I thought about who to give the group date rose to.

The second cocktail party arrived before I knew it. It was hard to believe it had only been one week because it felt like so much craziness had already happened and feelings were already developing. The guys could sense that this was an emotional week for me and did everything they could to pick up my spirits. I loved that Clay taught me how to touch down dance that lead to scoring a kiss. I think the first night I really connected to him as a person, so I like that he wasn’t afraid to turn up the romance and take things to the next level. I really appreciated Connor apologizing and owning up to the picture drama from the start of the week. I believe in second chances and I wanted to give that to Connor. And to be totally honest it was kind of fun to toss the picture of Connor therapeutically into the pool and officially drown the person he was on the date and focus on the man standing in front of me. I think one of my favorite moments from that evening was Jordan showing up, or should I say, down, in his underwear. I know most of the guys didn’t appreciate this gesture, but I had to hand it to Jordan, he beats to his own drum, and I found that endearing. The only problem was trying to figure out where to stick that rose when I offered it to him.

Going into my second rose ceremony, I was overcome with emotion and really questioning if I was cutout to handle what it means to be the Bachelorette. I was truly conflicted in the decision to keep Colton and I remember making myself sick over the potential to jeopardize my friendship with Tia. I made the decision to keep him one more week but not feed anymore into our relationship until I was able to speak with Tia … you’ll just have to wait and see.

Next week has one of the most shocking and dramatic twists I could never have anticipated. One goodbye leaves me absolutely heartbroken, and the tension continues to build between two guys, leaving one of them in a pool of blood. You’ll have to wait until next week to see everything unfold and how my relationship with Colton takes an unexpected turn and what this ultimately means for my friendship with Tia.

Thanks for reading.

Xoxo, Becca

The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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