In kindergarten I didn’t make friends with anyone. I only played with others if they invited me otherwise I stood on the side alone. Once a nun at the Catholic school I attended taught me how to jump rope so I could entertain myself. A little boy kind of liked me–and I absolutely hated it when his mom brought him over to hand deliver a Cookie Monster stuffed animal to my house. My sisters playfully teased me about it and I instantly rejected the toy and handed it over to my little sister so that I could rid myself of the embarrassment.
Being outgoing and accepting lots of attention never came naturally. I clearly remember when my younger sister, Jessica, started kindergarten and I asked, “Who are your friends at school?” her response “Everyone is my friend!” We just started at a new school when I entered first grade and my cousin was thankfully in my class. He introduced me to all the English-speaking kids and we all played “shark” on the first day. I instantly became friends with the other two English-speaking girls in the class thanks to my cousin’s introduction and their willingness to play at recess with the new girl.
My next experience as the new girl came when I entered the third grade. We moved to a school in Camarillo and as usual Jessica assimilated nicely and instantly made friends with almost everyone in her class. I timidly entered the classroom and sat where the teacher told me to sit. Then this little girl with her dark brown hair cut in a neat bob said, “Come sit over here, next to me!” I looked around to make sure no one was looking and moved myself over to her. My first rebellious act! I thought for sure the teacher would notice I moved and scold me–but she didn’t! The little girl quickly became my best friend and I just followed her lead at recess and played with all of her friends. Her name is Joycelin and we are still friends to this day. Her personality was the exact opposite of mine–outgoing, fearless, bossy, imaginative–almost like Romona Quimby in real life! I had no problem doing as she did and learning from her example. Sometimes her brave actions shocked me and I wished I could be as bold as she!
Just thinking about how far I’ve come through the years is astonishing. From being a meek little girl to the person I am today is such a transformation. I would have never in a million years imagined I would be president of a university organization, make friends in college or live away from my sisters. I did it all by taking little steps to push myself out of my comfort zone. Joining the Drama Club in seventh grade, trying out for short flags in high school, becoming a member of Public Relations Student Society of America, blogging—all these things help me to get out of my shell and be confident about myself. Practicing not being shy is something I worked on my whole life and I continue you to work on it daily.
What struggles with yourself do you work on to overcome for the better?