Have you ever wished that you could be a turtle? I know. It’s not a typical choice. Most people would want to be something way cooler, like one of the big cats, but hear me out. A turtle can go back in its shell when its scared or just cannot deal for one more second. Granted there is the whole moving slower than molasses in January thing and the danger of being hit by a car. So maybe a turtle isn’t the best choice.
If you were to meet me in person, you may think that I am an extrovert. I can strike up conversations fairly well and I’m outgoing but, alas, I am a true introvert. I prefer smaller groups to large ones and one-on-one is definitely my preference. I’m uncomfortable in new situations and I try my hardest to hide that fact. This makes it rather inconvenient that I find myself being the “new girl”- a lot. Now if I was a turtle, I could just go back into my shell when things get dicey but I do not travel with a shell. So that means I’m forced to deal.
New situations also make my daughter squirm. Since she’s only (newly) 7, she hasn’t quite figured out the whole “fake it until you make it” thing so, rather than pushing through it, she tends to hide her face and completely clam up. She will be the first one to tell you that she’s shy (and we’re trying to get rid of that “label”). As her parent who loves her dearly, its been a challenge to find the balance between pushing her to engage in new social situations and respecting/embracing who she is.
This week she and I decided to get a little uncomfortable and attend a meeting with over 75 children and parents. A meeting that required *gulp* interaction and participation. From the moment we walked in, it was painfully obvious that we were new and had absolutely no idea what to do. It was also clear that relationships and social circles had already been formed. During our two hours there, only one child approached my daughter and only one parent approached me. My attempts to start conversations were blocked by unapproachable body language and the seeming inability to get past “Hi, we’re new”.
I get it. I do. I used to live in a comfortable bubble, surrounded by people who I knew well. I loved that bubble and I am sure I am guilty of not including new people as much as I should have. I know better now and my hope for this post, is that now you do, too. After all, we were all new at one point, too.