I’ve never really stood out in the crowd.
In middle school I was the hyper kid who didn’t know how to act normal when I was with large groups of people. When that didn’t work out for me, I became the shy girl in high school who didn’t talk unless spoken to. And then when I made some good friends during the last two years of high school, I became a little hyper again. It’s a vicious cycle, trying to find your voice and then feeling like you have lost your voice after you no longer have the people you are comfortable interacting with around you anymore. Meeting new people has always been difficult for me, and change is even more terrifying. It takes me a while to feel comfortable being myself around others. I don’t think I am an exceptionally weird person, but I am a bit quirky. All I want is to be friends with people, which means I want people to accept me. Now that I am a “grown” woman, I have decided that it is about time that I get over my silly social fears.
I have to accept that I will not make a strong connection with every person I meet due to differences in personality, timing and other factors. I have to trust that others will respect me for who I truly am. And most importantly, I have to be more confident in myself.
So, in addition to finding my purpose in this world, I am also making it my mission to be more comfortable with who I am. This means I need to make more of an effort to put myself out there and to be more assertive. Some people have no problem doing these things, but making an attempt at being an extrovert and assertive individual makes me want to crawl into a hole.
Earlier this summer, I decided that starting this blog would help me break out of my shell at a slow and comfortable pace. Sure I don’t get much traffic on my blog on most days, but it’s a start. I also decided to put myself out there by submitting some of my writing to various websites. At the end of June, I submitted my personal essay on why I left my job to HelloGiggles. I found the website a few months ago while googling images of Zooey Deschanel’s bangs. I love her bangs and her quirky personality. I started reading HelloGiggles (which is founded by Zooey and two of her friends) because I appreciated that the founders and editors feature contributions from their readers on a daily basis in addition to posts written by regular contributors. I figured that I didn’t have anything to lose by putting myself out there a little and submitting some of my own writing.
Well, I am glad I submitted something! Earlier this week, HelloGiggles featured my post about why I left my job. I was so excited to find out about this. It was the perfect way to start a new week after spending the weekend with a sick kid. However, a few hours after feeling like I could do anything after having my writing featured on a site that has over 225,000 followers on Facebook, I suddenly found myself clinging to my pillow while in the fetal position praying that I wouldn’t die.
My son puked all over himself (and me) while we were at the outlet mall on Saturday looking for new shoes for him. On Monday afternoon I caught whatever 24-hour bug my son had and felt like I was in labor all over again. It was awful. Luckily, it was also the only day of this entire summer when both of my children took three-hour naps at the same time. God was looking out for me because I could barely walk! All I could do was clutch my pillow and iPhone and refresh my blog stats to see how many people were checking out my little blog after coming across my post on HelloGiggles. Despite being in excruciating pain, it was really a magical day.
What’s the moral of this story?
Be confident in who you are and don’t be afraid to speak up and reach out to others. You never know who is willing to listen. I never expected HelloGiggles to feature my post. And I never expected to hear from so many people who have been through or are going through similar experiences. There are so many other people out there searching for the same thing that I am searching for, and going through the same pain, confusion and adventure that I am going through. And there are a lot of people who have quit their jobs for good reasons.
I am not alone. You are not alone. We are not alone. We all have a voice as long as we choose to use it. We all have the chance to stand out in the crowd, even if it is for one day when your writing is shared with people across the world who would have never known that you exist.
Thanks to all of you who actually read my post on HelloGiggles and liked it, shared it, tweeted it, or commented on it. This gives me more courage to keep writing and to continue to spread my wings. Of course, someone did point out that I had two super obvious and annoying typos in my little essay. I read the damn thing dozens of times and still missed those typos and feel like an idiot now for missing the mistakes. Grrr…
I want to give a big thank you to HelloGiggles for featuring my writing and my blog. I took a picture of my featured post because this may be the only time in my life when something I wrote was deemed worthy enough to share with others.
I don’t know if Zooey ever read this post, but the fact that it was featured on a website she founded makes me super giddy.