Facing my fears today, writing a story about my past.
Recently, I watched a video of Ellen giving a commencement speech at Tulane University’s 2009 Commencement. ‘ To me, the most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity, and not to give in to peer pressure, to try to be something that you are not.’
This hit me really hard.
To be very honest with myself, I wasn’t very happy during my high school life. Everyone around me seem to have great memories of it, but to me, it was an awful past that I can never run away from.
I didn’t want to go to that school. My mother signed me up for the entrance exam, and I happily passed it and got into the first class in my year. First day, I was happily chatting with my peers around me; but when night falls, the feelings crash into me like huge waves at sea. I was overwhelmed with fear, fear of leaving my comfort zone and living in a place full of people I don’t know. I wasn’t ready to adapt, and so I cried terribly. I became very quiet the next day, not interacting with anyone at all, and everyone started keeping their distance away from me. My mother did come around everyday for the first week to check on me, and every time I see her, I would burst into tears and begged her to transfer me to a public school near my house, but she didn’t bother to.
First year, I didn’t get along with my roommates, not that we hate each other, just that I didn’t know how to talk to them, I was afraid of how they would judge me, as a stupid girl who cries everyday and can’t grow up. I ended up thinking too much and not joining any of their conversations and activities at all. So I requested to switch rooms, hoping to start my hostel life again with new people. During my second year, I had crazy roommates who have this special bond towards each other and they are lots of fun to be around with. They were so outgoing and friendly, which was such a contrast to my shy, introverted personality. I started feeling better, more happier, but I was still very low in self confidence and I hated myself.
Third year, I was horrified when I found out they had transferred me to another room, by ‘they’ I meant the hostel management. Unsure of the reason behind this, I spent another year living in minimal communication with my fellow roommates. I was back to square one again, not knowing how to talk to my roommates. I always went downstairs to my old room and hangout with my ex-roommates instead. As for school, I would try hard to blend in with my peers. Unfortunately, after hiding myself away from people since first year, I couldn’t bring up the courage to actually relax and show my true self when I was interacting with other people. I was being very cautious, I fear judgement, if others might think badly about me. I do talk to my classmates, but I wouldn’t hang out with them after classes. The only friends that I truly have are just a handful.
During my forth year living in the hostel, I learnt to accept the fact that I won’t be moving anywhere anymore and these people would be my roommates till I graduate. Sure I was still awkward with some of them, but I feel more at ease now. To be honest, I am only close to a few of my roommates, but overall we led a happy and peaceful hostel life.
I felt happier when I was in my room. I actually dreaded going to classes everyday. Seeing all these people circled by big groups of friends, I couldn’t stop comparing myself with them and it made me felt really bad about myself, sometimes I wonder if everybody hates me, but I know it’s because I’m so awkward with people and still, a terribly quiet person. And, when people ask me to run errands for them, I’ll do it just to make myself more likable, but after they got what they wanted, I won’t be in the conversation anymore. At some point, I wondered if I had depression or social anxiety, but I never went to a therapist to find out. I even thought about commiting suicide, but I just didn’t have the courage to do it.
I’m truly ashamed of myself during high school, I was actually quite happy to leave that place. It felt like this big burden has fallen of my shoulders. Yes I do have friends that made my school life happy, but I’m pretty sure none of them knew how I actually felt deep down inside. I always wished that I could turn back time, and I never had to attend this school.
But come to think about it, if I didn’t come here in the first place, I wouldn’t have met these few awesome friends that I have in my life right now. Since we cannot alter the past, we can still pave the pathways for our future. After graduation, I forced myself to go get a job in a cafe, to overcome my fear of interacting with strangers. It was a good start, and after a few different jobs and college, I started building up more self confidence and seem to have better understanding of my own personality.
Now I don’t really fear talking to strangers anymore and I learnt that it’s okay to be alone, but sometimes I might still fear judgement from other people. In this case, I will always remind myself ‘The less you judge others, the less you’ll be judged’, beacuse seriously, nobody cares about what embarassing things you have done, or how ugly you look today,so why bother with it too much? Only people who are insecure will judge others because they also have doubts on their own worth and values.Have a stronger heart and move on, because life is too short to waste it on thinking about how others will judge you.
For now, I will live my life with integrity and never try to be something that I’m not for the sake of impressing other people, because I’m tired of lying to myself . Just remember, be honest with yourself, it’s the key to true happiness in life.
*I’m not a professional writer, just expressing my thougts*