The other day a friend of mine called me an extravert. It took me by surprise and I didn’t believe them at first. I think that’s because I still think I’m the same person I was in school.
During my school years I didn’t get out much. My weekends were pretty uneventful because I was never really socially accepted. I didn’t fit in with my peers at school. I was always a little behind in the social skills and I didn’t interact well with them. Or it could have been that they just didn’t get me. I couldn’t keep up with everyone and I had to take my time when I was out.
Plus I was bullied. Not terribly bullied, but I was called “surfboard” and “wall” and I am not going to tell you why, guess for yourselves. It made me feel pretty bad and why would I want to hang around people who didn’t accept me?
I went away on school camps and youth movement camps but I never felt comfortable and I was always on the outer. Once again, I couldn’t keep up.
So due to all this, my social communication skills were never that great and I couldn’t make small talk. I was great with my parents friends and teachers and so I had some great conversations with them. But what teenager cares about that? Teenagers want to hang out with their peers and be cool.
It was clear to most people that I was socially awkward.
When I hit my late teens I started going on-line. This was where I found people who understood me and had similar interests. Finally I had some real friends and I would spend my weekends with them. A couple of those people ended up being pretty mean and I weaned off them eventually, but the ones that were nice stuck around and I’ve been friends with them for over ten years.
Once high school finished and I started university I met more people with similar interests and I hanged out with them. My social skills developed a bit more, but my walking and issues with public transport was holding me back. I still spent a lot of time at home or relied on my friends to take me out. It wasn’t much of a life.
Then I got Scarlet and then Clive (walking frame and car) and you couldn’t stop me. My confidence boomed and I was making friends through work, through radio and other places. And I started believing in myself. I started to realise that I had something to offer and that people liked me for me.
I can’t help but think that if I’d accepted myself as I was (and am now) then I may have been at this current place in my life ten or fifteen years ago.
A little confusing I know, but when this person said this the other day, it made me feel really good about myself and I wanted to share that feeling with you.
It’s a great day when you like who you see in the mirror.
PS. I did make some good friends in school who I am still friends with today and they mean the world to me.