Do you remember me? The shy kid sitting in the corner of the same room as you. Yeah, I figured you wouldn’t. I guess I used to be pretty quiet on the outside, but I never realized it. It wasn’t like I didn’t want to interact with you, but I was always so engrossed in what I was doing, whether it was my math homework, or my new book. I participated in class; I was a good student, I asked for help when I needed to and I enjoyed school in general. I was just new and quiet, but it never did bother me much, I never felt like I was missing anything, until you made me feel like I was.
I didn’t hesitate the first time I talked to you, but you laughed, and I didn’t know why. The second time I came up to speak to you; I remembered being made fun of, so I did hesitate. I remember the day I didn’t really feel like reading my book during lunch, so I put it down and came to sit next to you. My smile wasn’t returned. I remember you whisper to the others, that you didn’t know why the weird girl was sitting with you, and that no, you weren’t friends with her. I have to admit, that kind of hurt.
Another year passed by of eating lunch with the characters from my novels. By now my heart throbbed a little when I raised my hand in class and felt everyone’s gaze sear through me. My mind raced, wondering what you thought about me, and the words got stuck somewhere in my throat. I felt a little flustered and embarrassed when I was the last one to get picked for a group project (or not get picked at all).
Another year passed by. We were all starting to grow up and mature. We were allowed to pick friends to sit next to, but ofcourse no one picked me. I picked someone. I heard their disappointment, but I didn’t care, I was about to make my first friend, and I did. A friend I’ll always be thankful for, because I cared a little less about the others, but I cared none-the-less. I matured a little more than the rest too, but I heard you talk about how disgusting periods were. So I gulped my pain and joined in the talk, while secretly sneaking out to change my sanitary pad. God forbid you found out, I would be mortified.
I remembered looking in the mirror at myself, I didn’t care much about appearances but I liked my eyes. They were big eyes rimmed with long lashes, filled with laughter and curiosity. That too changed slowly, I began to hate my childish round glasses and the bit of baby fat on my cheeks. Most of all I hated my baggy blue pants that made my butt look saggy. I got myself the tightest pair of beige pants I could spot and after hours of probing my eye a blood red, swapped in my comfortable frames for a pair of lenses. I even chopped off my hair and started wearing make-up. If only I knew earlier all it took was changing my appearance.
Another year passed by. I fit in. I shared notes and meals with you, and you laughed with me, not at me. Yet I never fit in completely, but that’s okay. Today, I have no problem talking to new people or making new friends. I am the ‘extrovert’. I’m also quiet at times, and I love my alone time with my books and my thoughts. I am the ‘introvert’. I’m also comfortable in my skin and have no problem with the baby fat on my cheeks and my belly that I never got rid of. I also like my eyes behind my thick frames.
So I want to thank you. If it weren’t for you I might have never learnt to love my own company. If it weren’t for you I would have never walked in both shoes. If it weren’t for you, I would have never found my balance. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to write this and remind myself at times, that I’ve been on the other side of the coin, and to go easy on those who still struggle with the same things I did.
Dear ‘extrovert’, thank you.