How This Little Girl Coped With Awkwardness

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I remembered being the shy and quiet kid in grade school that stayed to herself because being around people was an uncomfortable experience. My big, round head, skinny, iddy-biddy legs, and glasses with bifocals (yes, bifocals at five year old), didn't help my awkwardness. I got teased, horribly. And to add insult to injury, I had a speech impediment.

Yes, I was one of those students you would see in the movies who gets thrown in their locker; or get tripped by the class jocky-jerk in the cafeteria while carrying a tray of food; or become a victim of innovative name-calling (or joning, in my later academic years); or find herself isolated not because she wanted to, but because no one could connect with her. I mean, I even thought being left-handed was strange.

My escape from the cruel and unforgiving world at that time was my vivid imagination. Those very images of whatever or whoever was my solace, and safe to say, still is. But I’d often wondered the disconnect I had with others. Of course I had a friend or two, and then later in high school I hung with a small group of quiet and reserved students like me but not with the popular cliques. Looking back on it, I find myself in the midst of quiet company today. Perhaps I haven’t outgrown the awkwardness, just find it comforting.

This trend, if you want to call it that, frenzied through my adult years. The unforgettable twenties – a time period we thought we knew it all, and most likely tried to do it all. The unimaginable thirties, when life reminds you aren't twenty anymore. And of course, the forties, when you look back the last twenty years and ask yourself: “Did I really do that?”

For me when I look back and remembered the years of awkwardness, being uncomfortable in large crowds, or having me time like an event for the ages, I thought they were antisocial tendencies, a desire of not wanting to be around people. Then one day I read an interesting article about the traits of introversion and career choices.

Introversion, according to the Free Online Dictionary, is the directing interesting inwards towards one thought and feelings rather than towards the external world or making social contacts, or the act of directing one’s interests or to things within self. However in Imani’s world: I don’t see people or conversations in black and white; I see everything as an in-between, straight-forward without small-talk, and yet sit back and quietly observe the minute details of living things: The way people carrying themselves; such as, speaking, their body language, and even how they blink.


In retrospect, I've done all of those things, including daydream my way through twelve years of grade, middle, and high school. My introverted personality became an open door to many opportunities. Sounds crazy, but it has.

Another thing I've learned is the difference between shyness and introversion. Shyness, according to Susan Cain of Psychology Today, wrote, “Shyness is the fear of negative judgment, and introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments”. The vast misconception of these traits isn't unusual. I didn't comprehend the definitions until later in my adult years, and even then I had the notion of introverted-souls were creepy for the outlandish.


Now that I've reached the fabulous age of forty-two, I've come to terms of who I am. I’m a lot more than just a writer and storyteller, but been blessed with a unique personality. I used to ask God what was wrong with me: Am I a defect. Why do I feel ill at ease around people?

But you know, I had to stop questioning His intention and live life. My introverted personality was by far no accident whatsoever! And it also don’t matter what others think, but how I respond.

Wouldn't it be something else if I go back in time to that bighead kid with skinny iddy-biddy legs, and look into her heavily-lined bifocals to tell her she isn't strange or awkward. Then I will also add: Continue to daydream and act out those daydreams into stories with your dolls. Because you just never know, your imagination could just payoff. 


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