Some guy in high school would seriously call me “shy girl”.
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Okay. It’s not my fault I can’t and sometimes don’t like interacting with people. I get stuck in my head and I just overthink and subdue myself to not say a word. I honestly can’t help it if I am an emotionally quiet mess. I am BEYOND in-tune with everyone around me, including myself. I pay too much attention to every little thing, its kind of hard not to when it’s the way your brain automatically works. A blessing and a curse to be so intuitive, I guess.
This was a common thing when I was going to college. A huge part of me wanted to meet new people and really grow as a person. I saw my old friends from high school changing and becoming completely different versions of themselves… In a way I envied that, as much as I tried to grow and meet people and change, I always felt the same. It wasn’t like I wasn’t trying, I really was, it just wasn’t clicking for me at all. The more I felt stagnate, the more I reverted into myself. I just pulled back from everyone and everything. I closed myself off and didn’t try anymore. I thought to myself a lot, “what’s the point of any of this?”. If nothing was changing for me, for the better, I didn’t want anything to do with it.
I was getting tired of trying to become someone I really wasn’t connecting with. I tried being like the people in my classes who were more outgoing or appeared confident and bold. Let me tell you… I enjoyed sitting in the back of the classroom, analyzing everyone a lot more than participating. People watching has always been something I enjoyed doing, I wasn’t one for starting the conversation. I was the person in the conversation slowly drifting until the other person just kept talking. And I was okay with that for a long time, I liked the quiet, but I hated being told I was shy. I don’t know why it bothered me so much. So what if it took a lot out of me to make myself want to engage in any kind of interaction? So what if I wasn’t as outgoing as other people? The people who are criticized for their choice in interacting are always those who keep to themselves. And for what? What’s the purpose of pointing out that someone is shy?
In high school if I could sit back and just let things happen in front of me, I was okay. Being around my friend group, I was constantly doing this when we were at parties or just hanging out. Eventually it takes a toll on you and you start doubting yourself around new people. That’s why I think there’s a balance to how much you can just sit back and let things happen.
As much as I hate admitting it- I was miserable trying so hard to be different, to change who I was. I felt stuck. When starting college I knew there was an opportunity to grow and learn but it didn’t go that way for me at all. My emotions while attending college were always so bleak and unsure. I was always feeling one way or another but it was never any good feeling. The meter was always up and down or nothing at all. I hated feeling that way when I would talk about my experience at the time. I hated being that way around my friends whenever they would talk about their own experiences. I was fixated a lot in the way I wasn’t instead of taking the time to understand the way I was.
Which brings me to this… What I’m about to say might suck for my friends to read, if they ever read this, but I couldn’t be friends with them and grow at the same time. Like I said, it’s a really shitty thing to say. But let me break it down for everyone in case you’re confused or angry or genuinely curious.
We hear it a lot but I don’t know how many people actually apply this to their lives: sometimes you have to let people go to be happier. I’m not saying my friends didn’t make me happy, they did! They were good people, and good friends, I just wasn’t connecting with that feeling anymore. Equally, this time in college was a really fucked up time. I was dealing with depression, insecurities, and a complete disconnect from myself and everyone around me. I needed to be alone to feel whole. I needed to really pull away from watching other people and trying to be like them so I can figure out what I wanted to be like.
Trying to find myself really did sacrifice a lot. I dropped out of college, I took a year off and by the middle of that 1 year gap I was convinced I wouldn’t go back any time soon. But before I decided not to attend college again, I’d already cut ties with a lot of people from past friendships. Was that a huge sacrifice? Fuck yeah. I feel guilty and like a huge jerk for falling off the face of the Earth and not telling my friends about it. I want to call them or text them someday and say “hey! sorry for ghosting you for two years. i was having an existential crisis but i’m back now (-:” I would want to explain to them why I disappeared and why I had to do it. At the same time, I don’t want to apologize for disappearing. I don’t feel guilty for taking the time to look after myself. It was honestly worth it, and I don’t feel that bad about it. The greatest, I guess, message I learned from this was that me, as a person, depended a lot on my friends and just the people I surrounded myself with. I didn’t know who I was and I couldn’t grow from being that person because I had no idea where or how to start.
Being by myself, being a loner, and truly learning to be my own best friend made me appreciate myself more. This helped me through my insecurities little by little. Before, I valued everything and everyone more than I valued myself. I genuinely had the chance to get to know myself, not just in my likes or dislikes but the kind of character type I was, the kind of morals I had, and the kind of people I wanted to surround myself with. Realizing that changed a lot for me, and about me.
I don’t hate being called shy as much anymore. Because let’s face it. I am a shy girl who doesn’t like being the center of every conversation and who genuinely doesn’t mind solitude. What I won’t let slide however is being told I’m shy, and letting others define that as being a bad thing. It all comes down to how you look at things and how you let others affect your own mindset. It’s all on you. And some times you need to tell people to get lost so you can be found.