I used to be afraid.
I was not one to try new things, because I believed I would fail. I spent so much time trying to fit in with others, because I was too afraid to be myself. I told myself I was not enough, and I believed it. I thought no one would listen, so I didn’t speak my mind. Most of all, I was afraid of living my life, because I couldn’t control what would happen next.
I used to be quiet.
If you would throw me into a group of people I hardly knew, I would barely make conversation. I would sit, quietly, observing people as they spoke, thinking of witty, sarcastic things to add to the conversation, but never saying them. Occasionally, people would ask, “Why are you so quiet?” which I would have the rehearsed response of, “I don’t know, I just am.”
I used to be timid.
On the rare occasions that I would add to the conversation, I spoke quietly. I was unsure of the words that were coming out of my mouth as I said them. I did not project my voice. I did not stand up and look confident. Instead, I curled into myself, and shut out the world before it could even get a chance to come in.
I used to be unsure.
I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, or who I wanted to be, and that’s not just career-wise. I didn’t know who I was. I spent so much of my life trying to fit in with those around me, that I lost myself. I was unsure about what I liked and didn’t like. I was unsure about my thoughts and beliefs. I didn’t know who I was, or where I could turn.
I used to be forgotten.
I was that friend that was never included in plans, and it hurt. At such a young age, I felt alone and isolated, and that’s not a feeling I would wish upon my worst enemy. Because I was so afraid, timid, and unsure, people forgot about me. I blended in with everyone else, because I was too afraid, timid, and unsure to make something of myself.
One day that changed.
I am still afraid, but I no longer let my fears control me. There are times when fear becomes irrational, and it causes you to miss out on an opportunity. I saw this, I noticed this, and I changed this. I now recognize when those fears are legitimate. I recognize the difference between when that little voice inside my head is really trying to help me, and when it’s only trying to hold me back.
I am still quiet. I’m an observer, so sometimes I do like to sit back, watch, and listen to my surroundings. I can pick up on people’s emotions just by the way they speak and position their bodies. I think of that as a skill — a skill that I have learned by being quiet. However, I no longer hold my words back. If I think of something, I say it, and guess what? Sometimes people don’t like what I have to say, and I have learned that is 100% okay. I’m quiet, but when I speak, people listen.
I am still timid, but on much rarer occasions. I have transformed from the girl who is too afraid to speak her mind, to the girl that is known to speak her mind. I no longer let people walk all over me. If someone does me wrong, I speak up. If someone does someone I love wrong, I speak up. If someone is just wrong in general, I speak up. Sometimes though, being timid is necessary, so it is important to notice when you are thrust into those situations.
I am still unsure. Career-wise I am still learning. As I progress through my school and work, I am learning what I like and dislike. I am learning what I want to do with my life, but I believe that I will always be a little unsure. One thing I am not unsure about is who I am. I no longer question who I am or who I will become. I know that I am a strong, intelligent, kind, gentle, fierce woman, and no one can change or suppress that.
I am no longer forgotten. After feeling this way all my life, I refuse to be forgotten. I know what I have to say and do is important, and I will no longer let anyone push me to the side. I want my words to resonate with you. I want you to think about what I have to say, and I want that knowledge to stay with you for the rest of your life. I refuse to be brushed off like I am nothing, because there is not a single person on this earth that is “nothing.”
Recognize who you used to be, and let it shape you into who you will become.
2 thoughts on “I used to be”
Thank you for your essay. I identify with your all of your words especially being an observer and feeling forgotten as well. Over the last 3 years I’ve worked hard on making changes. I guess I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. It’s a slow process but it works! I’m 56 yet it’s never too late to change. I found your writing seeking to continue improve my life. It helps knowing I’m not alone. Take care and God Bless
I’m glad you resonated with this post, Judy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!