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I'm Not Changing
"I know you're shy, but if you want your participation grade to get better, you're going to have to raise your hand. When you get a job, you're going to have to react with other people. What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Trying not to show my frustration, I replied to my Theology teacher.
A shocked look spread across her face, but she quickly resumed to a normal expression. I immediately figured out she wasn't expecting me to choose a job where I didn't interact with many people.
"If you become a writer, you're going to have to interact with editors and publishers. I'm trying to help you with your future."
I nodded, because I knew if I tried to speak, harsh words would come out of my mouth.
"If you have any questions, just come see me."
"Okay," I replied and headed to my seat in the classroom. I glanced at the clock and noticed that there was only one minute until the bell rang. Looking around the classroom, I wondered if anybody had listened to the conversation between the teacher and me. Everybody seemed to be talking to other people, but what if they were talking about me?
Ever since I was little, I knew I was shy. I've always been the type of person with a small, close group of friends and didn't really talk to anybody else. Whenever I'm around other people, I always feel awkward because I don't know what they think of me. I'm terrified of speaking to people because I'm afraid they'll hate me or think I'm a jerk. Because of that, all my words are stuck inside me.
I heard the bell ring in the distance and class started. I raised my hand to answer a couple of questions and then zoned out. The whole class, my mood went downhill as I depressed myself with my own thoughts.
The next few days, I started feeling better. I had decided to go another school's homecoming football game and hang out with one of my closest friends, Haley. The day before the game, I mistakenly told my parents that some players from the Green Bay Packers were coming to my school's football game. When was the game? It turned out to be at the same time as the game I was going to.
"I can't believe you're not going to your school's game. The Packer players really know how to get a crowd going," I heard my mom say for the billionth time that day. It was the day of the football games, and every time I hear her say that, it made me even more determined to go to the game I planned on going to.
"Mom, I don't like the Packers nearly as much as you do."
"The football games aren't about football, they're about hanging out with people." My mom finally started to sound frustrated, the feeling I've felt for the past few days.
"I don't even hang out with the people that go to the games."
At that, my mom gave me a weird look.
“You don’t hang out with anybody? Do you have friends at your school?”
“Yeah, but they don’t go to the games. Besides Christina.”
"Why don’t you don't hang out with her?"
"Because she's more outgoing."
"You really need to stop being so introverted."
I pretended I didn't hear her and we arrived home. I decided to text Haley, so I could figure out how I was going to find her at the game. At her first text, I wasn't alerted by the one word reply. But as I kept texting Haley and receiving even more one word answers, I felt even more annoyed by the second. Figuring she didn't want me there, I texted her saying I might not go. When I received another one word reply, I tried ignoring the hurt feeling inside.
Knowing I had to confront my parents about my change of plans, I tried making it fast and emotionless.
"I changed my mind; I don't want to go to the game anymore."
Before I could step away, I heard my mom's voice cut through the silence.
"Why don’t you want to go?"
"I'm not in the mood to anymore."
I left the room and sat in a different room, trying to sort things out. My mind was one big mess that was going to take a while to figure out.
First of all, being shy wasn't acceptable anymore. My teachers, my family, and my friends were pushing me to be a totally different person. And I'm not ready for it. I'm not prepared to break out of my shell and open up.
Also, a good friend of mine just talked to me like I was the biggest disturbance of her life. I have heard Haley talk to me like that before, but that's when we used to talk all the time. Now that we go to different schools and rarely talk, I thought that would change. But apparently, it didn't. Maybe she was never a true friend to me after all.
Finally, all my friends have been pushing me away. Have I changed too much? Was there something wrong with me? I don't know, and maybe I'll never find out.
I texted my best friend Jesica, because I knew I had to find out the truth: did she think I was annoying too?
"Quick question, please answer honestly: does it annoy you when I text you?" I hesitated for a second, and then pressed send. A few minutes later, when Jesica texted back, I waited a little bit before I read it. What she wrote automatically made me smile.
"No, it doesn't annoy me, honestly. I love when we text, you're my best friend."
At that moment, I realized something: no matter how much the people around me want me to change, or my 'friends' decide not to care about me anymore, things would be okay. My best friend accepts me for who I am, and that's all I need. Somebody does care for me out there, and loves me for who I am. And I wouldn't give that up for anything.