By Desirae Harper
I used to get really uncomfortable and anxious around crowds, even if that crowd was full of my family members. I never understood why I felt that way. My mom would have family gatherings at our house all the time but every time the guests arrived, I would instantly want to lock myself up in my room. My mom would tell me how rude I was being so I had to force myself to go out and “mingle” but I felt so off that it seemed like I had an attitude. I got labeled as hard. People thought I wasn’t very pleasant. After really setting out to learn just who I am and what makes me tick, I realized it wasn’t an attitude.I was just a shy and awkward girl hoping that someone understood me. That someone would help me understand that I am an introvert!
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I had no idea that there was a term or an explanation for the way I felt. I just knew that something inside of me felt off. I wanted to be social. I wanted to have friends. But I didn’t feel comfortable enough to let people get to know me. Even to this day, I wonder why I don’t have many friends. That might shock the thousands of people following me on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat but I genuinely struggle to create and maintain friendships. I have always admired my older cousins for the bonds they share with their best friends. However, I have never been able to find that for myself.
Of course, I yearn for deep relationships and connections but making the first move, being the one to break the ice, that literally scares the shit out of me. I get sweaty palms and I lowkey want to vomit. Every relationship I have been in has been because the men were outgoing or full of themselves so I didn’t have to talk much! Once I get comfortable though, once I feel safe, I can open up and show you who I really am. Most will never get there because being shy and awkward makes me comes off like pure bitch. The saddest part is even if I manage to make a friend, my introvert-y-ness (pretty sure I just made that up) can be a turn off. I get in moods that I can’t explain. I’m the happiest version of myself when I am alone in my room just doing my own thing – not the best conditions for a friendship or even a romantic relationship.
When I became a mom all bets were off. In my efforts to nurture my 4 year old daughter, I decided that I would never stifle her growth with my introvert ass! She takes after her father in the way she shines in social settings. She has no fear. She jumps in with her full heart and makes friends wherever she goes. My ex was a complete social butterfly. You say hi to that man and he swears y’all are best friends. He was able to crack my shell a bit but for the most part, it was my daughter that kicked my ass right outside of my comfort zone.
If I continue to be my authentic self, the universe will guide me to the tribe that gets me, that accepts me, in all my awkward, introverted glory!
For her, I push past my barriers by making conversations with moms of the new playmates she makes at parks. I give myself pep talks and remind myself to smile before all of the birthday parties she is invited to. I even have to mood check myself at her birthday parties because as the host, I don’t ever want to make our guests feel unwanted, something I have done plenty of times. When I feel myself slipping, I sneak away to a quiet room, close my eyes, and remind myself that this is for her. I can be outgoing (and die on the inside) for a few hours! It isn’t a lie or a front but it’s hella uncomfortable for me in the moment. It’s for her, I CAN do that for her and I do! It isn’t all bad but it doesn’t always feel natural for me.
I have come to fully accept and embrace the introvert in me. For example, as soon as most of the guests have gone from my daughter’s parties, I disappear to my room! I leave my family to chat amongst themselves, and I decompress. I also say NO more times than I say yes now. I don’t see the point in forcing myself into social situations only to be completely bothered when I’m in it. No one has a good time – not me and not the poor soul that invited me. It’s okay that I am an introvert. It is perfectly fine to admit that I like being alone more than I like hanging out in crowds. It is a part of who I am and it wasn’t until I accepted that and started living in my truth, that I made peace with it. If I continue to be my authentic self, the universe will guide me to the tribe that gets me, that accepts me, in all my awkward, introverted glory! Until then, I’ll be posted up in my room listening to music or watching Netflix… until my daughter wants to hit the park!
About the Author
Desirae Harper is a blogger from Southern California who focuses on topics that range from her life as a single mom to celebrity gossip to her own personal fitness journey. Read her blog Fierce and Flawless Life and connect with her on Facebook or Instagram.