Words were not always meant to be spoken. She understood that, and she only spoke in public when it was needed. And that was not as often as one might think it would be. Because of this, the five year old girl would be tormented on the bus rides to school, where the other kids would poke her and ask her why she never talked.
"Are you shy? Why are you embarrassed to talk?"
She looked up at the smirking blonde pigtailed girl with a straight face and responded: "I don't talk when there is nothing to say."
And with that, she turned back to face the front and looked out the window, wishing the other kids would just leave her in peace.
When she was in first grade, she couldn't talk to anyone but her best friend, Claire. When she wanted to say something, she told Claire and Claire would tell the other kids. Now after being singled out as the shy girl, she started to believe there was something wrong with her. And because of that, she'd rather Claire tell others, not her.
Fast forward to fourth grade. She was in a special school for privileged children who were schooled outside in the woods of Colorado. She made all of her grades and it was also there where she discovered her love for writing. But the teachers were concerned because she would spend every single recess alone, playing by herself with a hula hoop. When her parents asked why she hadn't made any friends, she simply shrugged and said she didn't want any. She was too obsessed with the stories that were playing in her mind. It was much more interesting than playing dogs and cats with her classmates.
When the family moved to a new place and she started a new school for middle school, her teachers were so concerned about her quietness that they held a parent teacher conference and recommended she see a psychologist. So her parents took her to the psychologist. She felt uncomfortable hearing someone in the next room crying loudly. When the psychologist asked her about her life she answered truthfully and the result was that she was just a "reserved quiet kid, but no mental issues."
It was at that point that she realized in order to be socially acceptable, she needed to be more outgoing. She began her journey of bottling up her quietness and putting on the mask of a "normal" person.
In highschool she made many friends and began to realize the joys of socializing and friendship. Even within her group of friends, some tendencies remained: she would feel like part of the conversation even when just listening, she couldn't be out with others too long before feeling the strong need to be alone. There was a gym class when the students were cheering on their gym partners while they were running the mile run, and she realized it was almost physically impossible for her to yell and cheer her friend in front of so many classmates. But in the over all, she was improving. Especially when she began her part time work, where she was forced into social situations everyday.
There was a particular English class she had issues with in highschool. The teacher would make them participate in round table discussions, and if you hadn't spoken during the 1 hour discussion, you would lose points in your grade point for that class. It was a vital part of her grade, but she would stress so much over when to jump in, what to say and how to say it, that most of the time she never had a chance to even get more than a sentence in.
Applying for colleges was painful in that they wanted students who had been in many extra curricular activities during highschool, and she did not have many of those under her belt. She was not "well-rounded" by their standards. And it did effect some of the aid she got for college.
College brought out the adult ability to completely hide her introvertedness. She learned to channel all of her stories in her head into writing to release the tension. And it carried on into her early adult life. She was never too excited about things for too long nor was she a social butterfly, but she created and maintained relationships.
Even now, she still has resting bitch face and feels uncomfortable saying hello to coworkers in the hallway in passing, but she's managed to somewhat conform to the social norm. And she's ok with that. Because even if it's awkward, she does need it to live in this society. But she also knows now that there is nothing wrong with wanting to have silence.
There's nothing wrong with being quiet, listening and reflecting. There's nothing wrong with seeking knowledge for the purpose of knowing rather than acting. There is nothing wrong with the silence.
Labels: expression, inspirational, introvert, shy, words, writing