It was as a child I learned I was happy. There was only the present moment, and there was never any pressure, no ideals to conform to, no desire to impress. I loved my family, I loved my friends, I played hard from dawn until dusk. I was full of life.
It was in the sixth grade I learned I was quiet. I strayed from the gossip and cliques to focus on the more important things in life – family, friends, and my wonder for learning. It wasn’t long before my peers began to notice my quiet demeanor. The same questions and judgments hit me like bullets every day at school. Why are you so quiet? Can’t you talk? You’re boring. You should talk more. As if there was something wrong with me.
It was in high school I learned I was depressed. I began to believe there was something wrong with me. Though I was always surrounded by people, I felt fundamentally alone. The same questions and judgments hit me like bullets every day at school. Why are you so quiet? Can’t you talk? You’re boring. You should talk more. I looked at my feet when I walked, looked away from eyes when I talked. I was angry, bitter, unhappy. Why was I so quiet?
It was when I was 17 I learned I had anxiety. I was sitting in a college class when suddenly I could no longer control my body. It was my first panic attack, one of the scariest moments of my life. My body had gone into fight or flight mode and there was nothing I could do about it. My heart was pounding out of my chest, my thoughts were mush – I couldn’t think straight, I felt weak, afraid, alone. Out of fear this would happen again, and it did (many more times), I was forced to drop college classes, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t go anywhere alone. I was repressed by my own being.
It was when I was 19 I met you. You and your energetic, magnificently extroverted self. You, with your personality the complete opposite of my own. You, my love, who accepted me for me. You encouraged me, supported me, helped lift me out of my shell.
It was when I was 21 I believed in myself. I learned there is nothing wrong with me. I learned I am an introvert, along with one third to one half of the United States. I am a girl who prefers solitude over long hours of social stimulation, a girl who loves her family, her boyfriend, and humanity. A girl with a big heart, and love to give. From time to time I am asked the very same questions and shown the very same judgments that would hit me like bullets every day at school. Do you know what I say? I am quiet, and there is nothing wrong with that.