“I am not my seclusion”

I don’t consider being quiet an issue, but it was an easier quality to live with until I started high school.

The first time I felt insecure about my quietness happened around the end of middle school. I used to have a cherished friend who I talked to often, albeit slightly more online than in person. Although we were not blood-related, I saw him as my brother at school. However, after we were separated into different classes, we gradually grew apart. When I finally told him I missed him, he dismissed our friendship as ” small talk” and started ignoring me even in person. I felt humiliated but didn’t have to confidence to confront him about it. Even in high school, I remember feeling nauseous whenever I saw him.

It was during this time that I started falling into depression and started to talk even less. Other issues I was dealing with: the death of my grandparents, moving to a shared house, and courses that I had trouble keeping up with. I cried often and found it hard to fall asleep at night. Although I was able to confide in my parents and a friend, I secluded myself from other friends or hid my pain under a cheery facade. I was afraid to be hurt and so tired of what was going on. Perhaps I was thinking, If I pushed people away or talked less, they’d have no way to get close to me and they wouldn’t have a chance to shun me. It was a twisted way of protecting myself, but somehow it made sense to me at the time.

I have struggled with “talking” since, and there are times where I judge myself for being the way I am. My hesitancy to talk, however, is not simply because of my past or my introversion. If I am not talking much in a situation, I am more than likely feeling shy and socially awkward. Other times, I simply don’t think fast enough to formulate what I want to say. As a result, I feel great relief whenever I return my dorm room because it’s the place where I feel like I can finally breathe and relax.

The next day–the next step outside my sphere–is a challenge. I’m still trying to accept myself. If it weren’t for playing music (a fun activity that doesn’t require constant talking), I think the four years here would have been much more difficult for me. I have made some dear friends after bonding over our shared love for music, and it is a constant reminder to me that a true hermit would not be participating in activities with other people whatsoever.

So hear me out for a moment: I am not my seclusion. I am not “that girl that never talks.” Finally, I am not going to pretend that I am okay when I am not. Even if it seems counter-intuitive, I believe that the more I admit my vulnerabilities, the stronger I will become.

I do talk.