A few years back on my very first post, I decided to share a personal poem about my father. The reality of having two active parents in my life ended when I was 10 years old, and for a while, I was very much to myself, and struggled to express negative emotions.
After years of therapy, literature, and prayer, I know now that it wasn’t my fault, but I didn’t believe that back then. I started my first day in the 5th grade with one less parent, and I didn’t know how to talk about it, or who to talk to other than my mother. Something happens to a child when one of the parents is suddenly out of the picture. Many things, actually. It’s still difficult to talk about it, so I’ll stop here, but that was the beginning of my current struggle with communication.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about dating and challenging myself to meet more people. I haven’t dated anyone in about four years, and from my experiences, I know what I definitely don’t want in a potential partner. I thought about online dating, which I’ve done before, but I’ve always wanted it to happen organically like connecting with someone I know already, or meeting a guy at the supermarket. When the time is right, I know love will eventually happen for me, but I often wonder if it’s my lack of communication that’s in the way of it.
Meeting new people is hard, especially as an adult. My anxiety has often caused me to run away from crowded events, surrounded by people I don’t know. There have also been numerous occasions where I find myself standing alone while everyone is talking with each other at events. I don’t know how to politely glide into an ongoing conversation between people, and when I do, I just stare and listen. It’s awkward. I hate the awkwardness sometimes, it’s like I’m invading conversations that were never meant for me. I wish I knew how to start and continue a conversation without feeling disappointed in myself. I often look away during a conversation when I either struggle finding the right words to say or if I ran out of words. I’m learning to be kind to myself in those moments because I know that I’m trying my hardest to be social.
I like the word “introvert”, but I’m not sure if it really explains my personality. For instance, I want to be bothered. I want to be around others. I like traveling alone, but it’s not because I don’t like people. The negative perceptions of the quiet and reserved are wrong sometimes—it’s possible that we just don’t know what to say, and that’s okay. I enjoy listening to great conversations, but I struggle to be a part of them. It’s not a choice.
The best communicators I know are amazing storytellers. For me, I find myself jumping around topics while telling a story, and it makes it hard for people to follow along. I’ve dealt with this dilemma for over 15 years, and because it stems from a traumatic experience at a young age, my journey requires patience. I’m only going to improve on my communication with challenges, and that’s why I hope to travel more. Create more memories. Experience life with someone special. I deserve to live and be around people who can help me with communicating, rather than be around those who ask that dreadful question every “quiet” person has encountered in their life. Being stuck in my own bubble for so long gets lonely at times, and I don’t want to be in that feeling any longer.