are you ready to stop making excuses as to why you’re a so-called introvert? isn’t that just a self-fulfilling prophecy? in this episode, blue struggles to not be a hypocrite as she tells you why you shouldn’t be afraid to use your voice to make new friends, and that not every human being out there is judging you.
okay so i started this project for a number of reasons. too many to count this second, but i know i’ll touch on all of them at some point.
but right now, i want to talk about one of the reasons. one day, when i wasn’t asking for it, i was blessed enough to meet someone who started this tiny fire inside of my head that quickly grew out of control.
when we started talking, i was so so out of practice. i hadn’t made too many new friendships in a while, i was caught up in myself, in a rigid, monotonous schedule of work, run, record some music, smoke, fall sleep.
the only interaction i had was with my coworkers, but i was failing at this too. i think i had convinced myself that it wasn’t important enough to me to make friends because i saw them as temporary, disposable. i thought this way because that’s how i felt my friends viewed me. i didn’t have a good grasp on what it meant to be a good friend.
so when i met this person, this person who truly came out of nowhere, it was like hitting the Start button on a game everyone is warning you not to play because you’ll get sucked in and never be able to put it down, even though you know it’s not always the best thing for you.
or maybe i was actually the game.
me, i can be awkward. i know i can feel awkward, but i’ve also learned that i appear awkward in motion and through speaking.
i didn’t necessarily recognize this when i was younger. most people described me as “shy, until she gets to know you.” i had friends, but not many.
i knew i was reserved, but not non-emotive. when i was happy, i felt happy, but i didn’t show happy. if something was funny, i wasn’t a laugh out loud kind of person.
i also wasn’t a very good conversationalist, which is interesting because, instead of talking to my classmates, i would write screenplays – pages and pages of scripts, mostly dialogue where my classmates WERE the characters. in middle school, most of my engagement was fake.
yeah, i did have some actual friends – i wasn’t a complete loss. but these were people that approached me, kids that were the opposite of me – confident, emphatic – kids that a) had no problem going up to someone just to talk, and b) didn’t turn their nose up at me just because i blended into the background of most scenes.
i have always been an “in my head” type of person because the biggest outlet i’ve had my entire life was writing. i wrote scripts, started journaling heavily, wrote songs. my four years of high school was me in my compo book, pretending to take notes off the board. my present was always whatever i had in my head at all times.
i’m not saying any of this is bad. i mean, honestly, this is just my compo book version 2.0, dedicating my life to introspection. and nothing is wrong with putting your thoughts and emotions into something tangible, as long as you are going to do something constructive with it, which is the purpose of this. it’s for myself first and foremost.
but being in my head for so long set me back from forming new relationships. i’d constantly remind myself that people are flakey, or make myself believe that people were only my friend out of pity.
which is really fucking ridiculous because why in the world would anyone take time out of their life to be friends with someone they didn’t even like? do i think i’m in some teenage romcom starring rachel leigh cook ohhhh yooou know the one i’m talking about. this isn’t pygmalion. this isn’t my fair lady. this is real life. and most people don’t do that thing.
so my own stupid insecurities brainwashed me into thinking it was most healthy to do things by myself.
one of my mom’s favorite songs is “here i go again” by whitesnake. she told me when my father was being a piece of shit, this song was her strength anthem. “like a drifter, i was born to walk alone.” and so i took on that independent mentality from my mother, but we both got it wrong, at least in the way we thought that would help nurture us somehow.
independent doesn’t mean alone, it means free. and keeping myself “alone” was disadvantageous. i started getting older, and i realized my mother wasn’t actually happy being alone. and even though i knew that i was still afraid of being hurt or rejected or damaged by some other individual, i wasn’t being fair by painting everyone with such broad strokes.
and i was also learning that i wasn’t happy being alone 100% of the time either. so what was i gonna do about it?
i didn’t put a lot into that area of growth because i felt like i was being productive in other ways, mostly making hopeless music about the things i’ve lost. ohhh, the humanity. i still wasn’t making any human connections. i was still trying to fill a gap with whatever else would keep me in my moment.
so then this person popped up out of nowhere like a giant lizard… i guess that would be like a dragon, a giant redheaded dragon with long legs. the antithesis of myself.
and i managed to do everything possible to screw it up. i didn’t say what i meant, i didn’t mean when i said, i said nothing, i said too much, i misspoke over and over and over again. at some point, i thought it would be a good idea to just sew my shoe INTO my mouth since it spent so much time in there anyway.
i was rusty. socially impaired. uh duh buh duh bud duh what are words? let me just keep thinking so i can’t hear what she’s saying. oh no, she’s looking at me like she’s waiting for an answer. did she ask me something? uhhhhhhh…
our communication would fail so badly that many times, she would have to say, “this is what you’re doing. it’s not okay when you do that.”
and initially, i took it personally that someone would point something out in me that i was doing, consciously or not.
“you fidget a lot.”
“you don’t make eye contact.”
“you’re not saying what you mean.”
i can’t explain why my reaction was to be defensive. it might have to do with the fact that since no one had never told me these things, i didn’t perceive them in myself, so my first response was to deny. she told me in so many words that i was a poor communicator. and i proved it by allowing her words to shut me down.
maybe you’ve experienced this before, this whole, “you’re being defensive” argument that escalates because you ARE being defensive instead of acknowledging what is being said.
maybe instead of assuming people are just pointing out your flaws or shaming you, you should listen to the words being used instead of viewing it as an attack.
because as someone who has always been on the defensive, always assumed people thought the worst of me, anything that put any part of me in a spotlight i didn’t ask for certainly felt like an attack to me.
because i was always so self-conscious, conditioned to care what people think about me, despite how on edge it put me, how unhappy it made me feel about the person i was.
having to navigate my own actions through what i thought the reactions of others would be. doesn’t this just sound like unnecessary stress? if you’re doing this to yourself, why? stress compromises your immune system, it makes you vulnerable to all kinds of health conditions and can literally kill you.
so i say all of that to say this:
if you consider yourself a loner, an introvert, and you’ve already subscribed to a life of being a solitary wallflower, stop selling yourself short.
i admit, people are hard. people seem especially difficult for myself, but like with anything else, practice makes perfect.
if you never push yourself out of your comfort zone, how are you ever going to teach yourself what it’s like to adapt?
i don’t know many people who actually looooove socializing. i don’t know many people who love public speaking, but most people will do it if they have to.
what makes those people superior to you? why can’t you be the one making friends? what are you afraid of?
oh, i know. it’s the judgment, right? it’s the negative thinking.
you’re assuming they won’t like you.
you’re not funny, so they won’t laugh at your jokes.
you won’t be able to hold a conversation, so they’ll find you boring and uninteresting.
but let’s be honest with each other – they probably feel the same way.
yeah, there are some folk out there who walk into a room and expect everyone to fall at their feet in awe, but lots of other people also have insecurities and feel self-conscious too.
the difference is telling yourself that YOU are not an awkward, uninteresting, not funny person. you’re just You. you just are. and everyone just is.
so instead of obsessing over the idea that you aren’t funny enough, smart enough, “cool” enough, whatever the hell that means, just be present in the conversation and stop overthinking.
stop prethinking, like i do, where i make up every possible answer to every possible question before opening my mouth.
do you know how much time has passed by the time you realized you haven’t even responded to her question because you were too busy thinking of a witty response, and now it’s too late because she just changed the subject and you’re lost completely?
then comes your favorite text: “you seem disinterested and distracted all the time. maybe this isn’t working out.”
well, fuck. but at least you tried, and now you can reflect on it for the next time because it really is just a matter of forcing yourself to hone your social skills and focus on being more aware of both yourself and the people around you.
so what do you do now?
do you have issues talking on the phone?
dare yourself to NOT order your next disgustingly cheesy pizza online. call it in instead. all right, so you’ll probably fuck up your own order, but just do it anyway. don’t overthink it.
next, record yourself speaking, reading, singing. you have voice memos on your phone. open it up. record yourself for a minute a day. does it matter about what? nah. just engage yourself. pretend you’re in a movie. make up a scene. imagine your lines and say them.
all right, so you don’t can’t say the words “rural juror” five times fast because you think you’re the worst speaker. but the only way to get better is to practice, just like with anything else. don’t be lazy, and just do it (this message is not sponsored by Nike).
and you’re not going to do that by locking yourself away in your own brain. humans are social creatures, and you’re doing your mental state a great disservice to not take steps to help yourself.
once you see the change in yourself, other areas in your life will follow suit. so let’s get it together and stop making excuses for the reasons you “can’t” talk to people, get out of that mindset because, it gets you nowhere. it’s only manifesting itself into truth when you think this way. so just quit it now.
all right, am i allowed to calm down? i feel very strongly about this because i wish i had someone to shake me by the shoulders years ago. instead, i found myself surrounded by people who encouraged this isolated existence, and i thought i’d be the happiest this way. i called myself an introvert, a loner as a way to justify my self-desertion, but truthfully, i’m neither of these things. these are just words i try to associate with myself, a means to identify with something because, apparently, i can’t connect with anything else.
so don’t wait until you’ve wasted countless years alone just because you’ve convinced yourself that’s what’s best. take baby steps. make eye contact more often, but don’t make it a staring contest. stand up straight, it’s good for your posture, and it helps your confidence. if you catch it, correct it. stop staring at your feet when you talk to people. just be aware and stop overthinking.
that’s it. go to bed.