Monday, April 15, 2013

The Awkward Beginnings

Oh man, a week without posting! And work is about to get even busier than it already is. But I have exciting changes in store for this blog, so hopefully that will motivate me to write in my minimal free time :) Also, I'm leaving for Uganda on Saturday so I should have lots to share on that front.

In light of my recent birthday (which was quite nice ;), I've been thinking about ways I have changed over the years, both minor and significant differences. Basically, how I've morphed into an adult. (Except have I really??)

First I started formulating a little list of random tidbits:
  1. I used to be the DEEPEST sleeper. Like, scream in my ear and I wouldn't budge. Half-way through college this shifted for some unknown reason and light footsteps jolted me awake. And yet a thunderstorm has yet to ever wake me up.
  2. I used to hate coffee. Now I'm addicted.... but I think that's kind of standard.
  3. I've recently developed a slight fear of heights. Two years ago I did a zip-lining obstacle course and I had a mini-panic attack mid-air, despite being harnessed in and surrounded by friends. I think I'd still do it again though. I also have dreams where I'm overlooking the edge of a precipice and I am filled with the most intense and overwhelming fear and dread.
And then I couldn't think of any other quip changes, so my mind wandered to a deeper, more personal change that's evolved quite organically, sometimes I forget it was ever a change to be made.

Basically, in high school I was known amongst my friends as the "awkward" girl. I was embarrassed really easily, told dramatic stories of said embarrassing moments, overanalyzed e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g., and developed strangely obsessive crushes that far too many people seemed to find out about. I was an odd mix of reserved (to those who didn't know me) and a crazy open book who could easily divulge a plethora of personal information to anyone willing to listen (as long as they didn't intimidate me). Picture the shy, quasi-studious, nice girl who never had the guts to approach to her crush, but talked the ear off her nerdy lab partner about her parents' divorce, her unattainable love interest, her college application saga, etc. In those cases, I lacked any sort of filter whatsoever.

Honestly, not many photos from high school do an adequate job exhibiting 
my awkward side, but let me just say that I lost 15 pounds in one week 
leading up to this event (sophomore semi)... due to anxiety. 
We also weren't trying to coordinate dresses! 
I guess black and white flowers were the rage in 2003. 
And my eyes are closed.

Oh goodness, it pains me to recall this time in my life. * Cringe *

What's funny is that sometimes when I reunite with high school friends, I can tell they still see me in this light because we haven't spent regular time together as I've become more self-confident and acquired a slightly more adept filter (I like to think!). At times I legitimately forget that old version of Kim even existed and feel a tinge offended when an old friend teases me for being awkward or over-sharing stories about my oh-so-dramatic life. Oops, I forgot had a livejournal where I wrote paragraphs upon paragraphs about non-existent love sagas, the agony of calculus, and torturous parents. * Cringe * Cringe *

In the mean time, I haven't changed completely. I'm still game for some over-analyzation now and again ;) And, um, I still have a blog. I just can't quit the satisfaction of sharing in a public space.

Where am I going with this?

Of course, leaving home and attending college played an important role in pushing me to grow the eff up. As did finally interacting with the opposite sex and breaking down the barrier of immense anxiety I felt in the presence of any boys I liked. I really began to come out of my shell in the first couple of years of college.

But my experience studying abroad in Senegal was without a doubt the single most formative experience in forming my outlook and approach to life... the general who of who I am!


***

And the extent of that tale is for another time ;) but here's a preview:

That's me eating with my hand from a communal bowl for the first time.
Not gonna lie, posting some of these pictures really, really pains me. 
Oh, the cornrows! Oh, the chubby cheeks! But I really loved my host family :)

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