Hi there – to anyone out in the world reading these words. I’m going to put myself out there – the real me. Now, you probably don’t know me and if you do then you know this is really, really and I mean REALLY hard for me. I’m an introvert to the 10th power… I mean for years I wouldn’t even enter into a bank to do normal transactions for fear that I would actually need to speak to another human. Speaking to another human was THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD (it wasn’t, but it kind of was). I did 100% of my banking via the ATM machine – if for some reason it was out of order I would rather drive the 15 minutes to a different machine than get out of the car and go inside of the actual bank. I would do everything in my power to avoid interacting with a stranger. Yes, I have issues.
I was born an introvert. I always enjoyed spending hours writing in marble composition books (you know the black and white ones from school tests with the wide ruled lines) or setting up entire cities out of Barbie accessories. I could spend hours and I mean HOURS playing Barbies, creating their little world and acting out their lives. I loved to make things up. I loved to tell stories. I loved to write. For years and years and years I swore I would grow up to be a writer. I’m an adult now, not a writer – but I do have the same introvert tendencies. Now as I get even older I find myself daydreaming of being an author. Maybe I could write children’s books, maybe I could write a movie script or a TV show, maybe I could create the next 50 shades series or Twilight… I could, right?I like to think that I can. Who knows, maybe one day I will.
There is always one thing holding me back though – I am an introvert. I don’t like to talk to too many people, I don’t do anything other than smile at anyone outside of my immediate group or team of co-workers. I don’t introduce myself to strangers I meet at the park with my son. I don’t say “Hi” to random people passing on sidewalks. These are things I just don’t do. I come off as a total Bitch, this I know. I don’t think I’m a total bitch, I know I can be one if you really cross me but generally I don’t think I live my life being a bitch. I’m just a little stubborn and a whole lot of shy wrapped up in an awkward smile. This presents a problem though, you see – in the world I live in (and most of us) you can’t go up the ladder without talking and building relationships with people. This is my problem. It’s so incredibly hard for me to build relationships because the entire time people are talking to me —t I appear calm and smiling on the outside but my inner Kim is screaming and whining and itching. I feel uncomfortable. I worry that my clothes are too tight. My hair is a mess. My make up looks funny. Do I have food in my teeth? The entire time people are talking to me I worry about how they’re perceiving me. That they’re judging me. That if I actually build a relationship with them they’ll judge me or worse, get to know me.
I don’t know why I stay so guarded. I don’t know why I’m so uncomfortable in any public situation. I just am. It’s how I was made. My husband evens that out a little – he’s way more outgoing than I am. Opposites attract, right? The problem for me though even worse than wanting to build relationships and advance in my career and in my life is that now as a Mom my introvert tendencies often hold back my son. For this I forever feel guilty. I’m the worst Mom, I have to be. I will cancel play dates because I worry the other Mom won’t like me. I don’t take him to soccer practice because I can’t bear the thought of using all the energy in my being to push myself to smile and interact with other humans. I don’t go to the park as often as I should with him because I might have to speak to another parent. I won’t go to the gym without a friend by my side because people might look at me. I’m always worried about being judged by others and lately I’ve just been judging myself.
We are always our worst critics, right? I’m never good enough. Not for my husband. Not for my son. Not for my job. Not for my side-hustle. Nothing. I’m always pushing myself to do more, schedule more, plan more, BE MORE. Then when I fail at all of these goals I set I am nasty to myself. I look at myself in the mirror critiquing my every move “You should have gone to the park, it was beautiful outside” or “you could have finished that research piece for your boss yesterday if you only focused more” even sometimes “if you just stuck with your work-out schedule you’d get rid of that lingering baby fat” and often “your husband deserves better”
These are things I believe. Things I often feel. These thoughts and feelings are no one’s fault except my own. I’m too hard on myself – I know – it’s also in my DNA. I’m very competitive and I’m always pushing to be the best. The best field hockey goalie. The best night shift dispatcher. The best foreclosure team manager. The best paralegal. The best Mom. The best Wife. I have to be THE BEST. I want to be THE BEST. You see, as much as I have talking and interacting with strangers I LOVE recognition. I love winning. I love being told “You did awesome!” I need words of encouragement. I thrive on ego strokes. I illuminate from the inside when I know others are impressed. Lately though, I’m not impressed with myself. I’m tired. I’m stressed. I’m struggling. Struggling to figure it all out. Struggling to push myself to do more, to give more, to earn more, to BE MORE.
I feel like I’ve let my former self down in some weird way. What ever happened to that girl? The girl who drove to NC on a whim to visit friends from college for a week. The girl who would stay out until 2am dancing and singing in front of crazy friends. The girl who had a LOT of fun. The girl who had all the confidence in the world. I’ve always been an introvert but there was a time in my life, in my 20s, when I was a different kind of introvert. I had a lot of fun because the friends I surrounded myself with had a lot of fun. I enjoyed being around them and feeling that love and friendship. I enjoyed being part of those crazy nights. I’d still love that today but I have responsibilities – Wife. Mom. Job. There isn’t much time to go to the beach bar and have a few cocktails and sing and dance all night. Hell, I’m lucky if there’s enough time for 1 glass of wine before I face plant in my bed.
I haven’t let that girl down because I became a wife or a mom though. I let that girl down because I haven’t stuck to one single goal I’ve set for myself. I haven’t pushed to be awesome at writing. I haven’t pushed myself to stick to one single goal I’ve set since I’ve become a wife or a mother. I always let life get in the way and I always get derailed. That’s how I’ve let myself down. Now, if you’re thinking I’m being too hard on myself – you might be right. That doesn’t change the fact though that it’s the truth. I suck at sticking to anything that isn’t for someone else. I suck at making myself follow through. It doesn’t matter how many times you step up to bat if you never follow through right? You’ll never get that home run.
Well – that all changes tonight. I’m going for it. I’m doing this. I’m shooting for the stars and even if I come crashing back to earth in a fiery explosion – at least I’ll know I did it.
Cheers to day 1 of my journey (imagine I’m power posing like Wonder Woman).