When I was younger, I was a very different person than I am now. As a child, adolescent, and teenager, I was incredibly shy. Outside of my small group of friends, I was uncomfortable in social situations. I felt like I had very little in common with the other people in my life. I was afraid to try new things. I didn’t like to go places alone. I was terrified of public speaking.
Once I graduated from high school, it all changed. I became a new person. I would talk to just about anyone that crossed my path. I made new friends. I dated new guys. When I got to college, I immediately became active in student organizations. I loved to try new things. I loved to travel. No sign of the timid girl remained. When I look back at this drastic change, I’m just in awe. I don’t know exactly how it happened. It seems as if my confidence appeared out of thin air.
Today, I feel like I fall somewhere in between those two versions of myself. My confidence isn’t as strong as it used to be. I’m not as inclined to go off and do new things on my own. I’ve had to actively force myself into things (for example, registering for to attend CatalystCon–by myself–in March and opening myself up to criticism with a public blog about sex and sexuality).
I’m uncertain as to why I took a few steps backward. Is it the general dissatisfaction I’ve had with my life for so many years? Is it the poor treatment I’ve received from the men I’ve dated, time after time? Is it the gradual drifting away of my friendships? Is it the fact that I’ve consistently felt overlooked and undervalued in my career? Maybe it’s none of those things. Maybe it’s a combination of all of them. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fear of really being me and what that means for my future and my place in the world.