So here’s the thing. I’m a weirdo. This statement probably surprises no one who’s interacted with me ever. On social media I tend to be pretty outgoing and vocal, and this is also true about me face to face… well, once I’ve gotten to know you some.
I like to call myself an awkward turtle. Here’s why. I’m the kind of person who, when faced with a new social situation, will find the one or two people I know and attach myself to them because I am, frankly, terrified of taking those first steps in introductions. I imagine I come off as standoffish or maybe bored, but this is categorically untrue. Awkward Turtle has simply retreated into her shell until another less-awkward turtle has knocked on said shell and given her permission to come out and interact with the others. I have never been the kind of turtle to strike up a conversation with another strange turtle because I am horribly, terribly awful at breaking the ice. My mind goes totally blank and I can’t think of a single thing to say to engage the other turtles. I go into every new interaction assuming the other person has zero interest in who I am or what I have to say, probably because then there’s no risk of disappointment. This is who I am. This zero-expectation was my safety net growing up. It’s a holdover from childhood, when almost every interaction I had was inevitably painful for me. While I’m working on changing the little voice in my head that fills me with doubts and self-criticism, the scars still remain.
That said, enter the Scary New Thing.