One of the classes I took as a gen-ed my sophomore year at school was a literature class. Being a Biology/Natural Resources major, I wasn’t the most enthused by it, seeing as our “history” block turned into a literature class as well. But looking back on it now, that “real” literature class was way more than that. The professor of that class was more focused on students understanding and absorbing the lessons from our readings, way more than if we used a semicolon the correct way, which might be a bad thing since I still don’t know how to use those things. Regardless, I learned way more life lessons in that class than grammatical ones.
One of those lessons was about the stories we tell ourselves. The traits and attributes that we define and label ourselves as. For me, it was “I’m Kasey, I’m shy, and I hate trying new things”. Like that’s what I would tell people when I met them, or when they asked about me. How sad is that?! And it literally took me so long to realize that while I hated those things about myself, I was the only one limiting myself to that narrative.
I literally try new things all the time. I did undergraduate research as a sophomore. I took numerous classes that I didn’t have to. I started an entirely new sport my senior year of college, and competed (all be it horribly). I hate being bad at the new things I try, this is true, but actions indicate clearly that trying new things is not something I actively avoid.
Now the whole shy thing is a different situation. I was never a shy child. I was the opposite. I wouldn’t shut my mouth ever, and I loved talking to strangers. Making new friends was easy and I was always myself. I started being shy in middle school. I was bullied (and I know a ton of people are bullied every year, so don’t spend time feeling bad for me), and that changed me somehow. The trend continued in High School, where my circle was extremely limited. I became afraid of people that I wasn’t 100% sure wouldn’t screw me over, though even when the bullying happened, it was the people who I called my friends who did it. In college it got a little better, with sports throwing me into friend groups, and meeting my boyfriend giving me another group of friends that I now see as annoying brothers and amazing best friends.
The summer after my freshmen year I joined a study abroad program, I thought things were going to be easier. I didn’t open up to anyone for the first month. I was miserable. After opening up, everything was fine. No one made fun of me, and people only laughed when I was also laughing at myself. I loved the people I was with, and none of them were horrible. I was the one that made myself miserable. I was the one that defined myself as shy and was stubborn enough to make myself sad in the process.
I was expecting the same to happen at this job in Hawaii. But it hasn’t. These girls are amazing and friendly, and I’m having a blast. I no longer define myself as shy. Stubborn, absolutely, but not shy. Maybe that means I’m “growing up”. I just hope it means I’m getting smarter.