If you’ve ever read my blog, you know that I like to ramble on about myself, donuts/orange juice/Oreos, and coffee. So if you’d prefer to stay far away from this awkward food-and-mocha addict, please feel free to do so. As far away as you want…because that’s what I’d prefer too. No offense intended! Let me explain. Even better, let’s make a list, because that’s what I’m good at and I have coffee. Just holding coffee makes me feel 99% more successful, and when I actually drink it, things get crazy fast.
Confession #1: I’ve been wielding my introvert status as a formidable weapon.
Last time I took the Myers-Briggs (it’s a yearly thing for me…and no, my letters never change) I was 94% introverted. The missing 6% was coffee. Please excuse all the percentages and math references in this blog, because I just finished college statistics and percentages is just about all I remember. But I digress. Once I found out that I was an introvert, letting myself stay in my room became much easier. Refusing offers to travel, go to parties, and mingle with other human beings were all justified because my energy supply was low and leaving my room via books or Netflix was way easier. (Living vicariously and all that.) Makes sense, right? Yeah, I thought so too.
I make an effort to be outgoing, charming and talkative wherever I go. (When I’m not, it’s certainly caused by an extreme donut deficiency.) Attending college has made me realize that I can be around many people every week. (Meltdowns are optional.) (Man, I really love parantheses. They’re great.) The cafe I work at after classes every day is my place to recharge after a long day – even though I’m constantly serving people. Interestingly enough, all the jobs I really enjoy involve a LOT of people all the time. People are fascinating creatures. I enjoy talking to them, analyzing them, imagining little bits of life stories for them, and making them happy…all within a comfort zone, of course. Besides, who doesn’t appreciate coffee, sandwiches, and a good laugh at the awkward barista? The best part is that once they have their food, they go somewhere else to eat it. I can play the charming socialite best in small doses.
Confession #2: Last year was a tough year, even with my handy introvert excuse and many amazing experiences and people mixed in.
On a cheerful side note, this year 97% of my friends got engaged, married, or pregnant! Congratulations, all of you! I just watched it all go down with a mixture of happiness, amazement, and horror. Are we really that old already? Goodness. Just imagining all the delicious cake I get to eat this year makes my mouth water – and all the babies!! My heart might explode this year due to sugar consumption or cuteness overload, whichever comes first. Anyways, back to the confessions.
When I finished this semester, I was both relieved and sad. I always get attached to the people in my classes. It’s nice knowing exactly where my next class is, having friends to sit by, recognizing everyone and talking to the same professor. My classes and work were a set routine in the middle of a really difficult period of adulting. One of my closest friends has been really struggling, and it’s been hard for me to watch them go through their trials. Spring and summer this year were rough, but it was this last semester that things really got rocky.
I skipped classes for the first time to go to appointments with friends. I watched my grades drop sharply because I couldn’t concentrate. I pushed people away when they asked if anything was wrong. I started having anxiety attacks where all I could do was stare at the wall and try to stop shaking. I stayed up until past midnight almost every night this semester, talking friends out of tough places. As the semester wore on, I began avoiding everyone I could and sitting alone whenever possible. I made excuses to avoid hanging out with friends, hanging out with family, or even going to church. I drove home crying for the first time (thank you to all the other safe drivers in Dowagiac, y’all are great) and then many more times. When I got home from college every day, I’d go straight to my room. I did homework obsessively and worked ahead because homework was easier than talking to people. Basically I became a self-involved, self-centered little monster.
I found someone who made me realize that good guys still exist. Cynical, I know, but friends of mine have been going through some really terrible guys. I truly enjoyed talking and getting to know him. I started to want more than friendship -and he didn’t. I felt very rejected for a while (forever-alone-with-Netflix sort of thing), but I could be myself without the pressure of wondering, and that was a relief. Who knew the friendzone is actually sort of nice? Trust me, that hasn’t stopped me from going through a whole range of emotions. Once I get invested in a person and start caring deeply, it’s hard for me to back off. #introvertproblems. #usinghashtagsonblogsisntprofessional. #sorry.
So when Christmas break arrived, I was hurting and completely exhausted from this emotional rollercoaster I’d been on, mostly of my own doing. Seeing my GPA drop to a 3.93 was a huge disappointment. Call me crazy if you want, but I take my grades seriously and it crushed me when I got a B in stats and lost my 4.0. Scholarships and transfer opportunities became blurry and impossible, because what university wants a poor college student without a 4.0? Sigh. Maybe I can bribe them all with donuts and lattes.
Confession #3: I hate Krispy Kreme donuts, and Starbucks coffee is disgusting. Just saying.
Confession #4: If I made a list of people who deserve a heartfelt apology from me, it would take me at least a week.
Being on break was hard at first. I didn’t have anything to do after months of non-stop busy and high-stakes stress, and it chafed. I wanted to go to work and talk to my friends. I wanted to feel useful. I felt very alone. But slowly, as the days passed, I became more content to stay in my blanket cave and read or watch a movie. Many of you don’t even realize that I’ve been avoiding contact with you over the past few months, but some of you have noticed that I’ve become deathly allergic to social situations.
I’m truly sorry. It’s not you, it’s me. I have so many people that I dearly love spending time with, but I’ve been mired in my difficult situation and using my introvert status is a way to allow myself to stay home with minimal guilt and regret. I’ve found excuses to get out of nearly everything recently. Going out means I have to smile, and find something to say or do, and deal with unpredictable humans. (Are they going to ask about school? Donuts? Mocha? Holiday plans?!) Going out means I might start to care again, and get rejected again.
It doesn’t make me feel fulfilled or happy to admit all this to the Internet, if you’re wondering. I have my pride, and it doesn’t make me feel good knowing that people know about my issues. I’m a reserved person. I
hate do not like people knowing that I’m weak, that I often misjudge people, or that I would rather sit at home and eat donuts for the rest of my life and observe everyone else from a safe distance. But life is the messy bits as well as the laughter and fun, and the truth is better than keeping up an exhausting front of pretend perfection.
One of my goals for this year is to trust that people are kinder than I’ve decided they are. This year I have worked on honing my ability to observe and analyze people, to pick up on and “read” tension and facial expressions and social cues, but I’ve also been making assumptions about people based on my observations. These assumptions are not always correct. (Ugh, I hate not being right. In my defense, I was right about 52% of the time. My mom would say only about 5%.) But I forgot that I send out tension and facial expressions and totally miss social cues as well. I’m sure that more often than not, I’ve been coming across as a snobby, judgmental recluse with a heart of ice. The heart of ice part may or may not be reality, but the other parts are still up for interpretation. Also no, I am not Queen Elsa. I realize you may have drawn some conclusions there…
I apologize for all the years that I’ve thought that I knew what was up, and so I didn’t give you a second chance. I apologize for all the times this past year I’ve studied you and your actions and made assumptions. I apologize for all the times I’ve stayed home and watched Netflix instead of spending quality time with you. Whether or not my conclusions about you have been confirmed, I’m learning about this crazy thing called giving people grace. None of us are perfect, least of all me, and we all deserve forgiveness and second chances. Thank you for all the second chances and forgiveness and grace that you all have given me since day one.
Confession #5: Amazon Prime is siphoning my money away and I don’t even mind.
Confession #6: Do not under any circumstances let me watch sports, because I will get way too involved and might start screaming mentally or… not so mentally.
Confession #7: When I visit extended family unexpectedly and they welcome me with open arms, puzzles, deep talks, and multiple mugs of coffee or tea, it is so good for my heart. I’ve never been sarcastic or witty, but they are, and they all keep me laughing. To everyone in my family, I love you. Not everyone is as blessed to have extended family (on both sides, no less!) that are so caring.
Confession #8: Every list I make must have at least ten things because OCD tendencies.
Confession #9: I love giving people secret nicknames. Only I know these nicknames, except when I tell them to other people accidentally. Heh. Heh heh.
Confession #10: I love babies, but I also love handing them back to their parents when they scream. When I was thirteen, I decided that if I turned 30 and I wasn’t married, I’d adopt two teenage girls and they would be my special daughters. That’s still the plan!
May your journey ahead be amazing and full of grace,