I grew up in a small town about 20 minutes south of Minnesota in north central Iowa. I lived with my parents (biological parents until high school, then my dad and step mother until I married my ex-husband). I have a sister and a brother, and I am the oldest of the three of us. I had grandparents that lived close to me, aunts and uncles, and cousins. For most of my life, we were all very close.
We were not a highly educated family, however, everyone worked and worked hard at their jobs. But, I was very self conscious throughout my childhood and very, very shy. If I got to know you well, then I could open up to you, but in school and in unfamiliar places, I basically kept to myself. I was always nervous, and always felt judged. I felt ugly for most of my childhood…I hated my teeth (thank God I had the means to get them fixed as an adult). I did dabble in sports and stayed pretty active, but there were times in my childhood and young adult years that my weight would fluctuate, causing me more anxiety and reason to stay even more to myself.
As I was out running today, I was thinking back to my transition to Houston. We came here after graduating from college and started my teaching career here. It took me a year, but I finally realized that being so shy and intimidated by everything certainly was not going to get me the life I wanted. I wanted more…and I had to make a change. And this change was hard! I had to re-invent myself.
I started by making friends. Sure, I had friends growing up, but adult friendships are different. This was a challenge, even though I was up for the task, my ex-husband was also very shy and he wasn’t ready to make changes just yet. But, I made it work. Then I began taking part in extra activities through work. This helped me meet more people, and allowed others to get to know me better.
As I started moving up in my career, things started to become more natural…until I had to do my first public speaking! Boy, that day I learned how to be a duck…smooth and calm on the surface, but like a paddle boat under the water. But, the more I took on these experiences, the better I felt, and the better I had become. I think I even got to a point when I could walk in a room and liven up any party! That is when I knew I had finally overcome my fear and was on the road to being much more self-confident!
I laugh with others at time, especially when I tell them that at one time in my life I was so painfully shy…and then follow up with the line, “I may be 5’4″ now, but my confidence makes me clearly 6′!” But, the greatest part of it all is that I now feel that I can take on any challenge…meet anyone new…and take over the room, when needed.
Today, I posted the picture above on my social media and captioned it with, be proud of the person you have become. I certainly am proud of the work I have done and the person that I am today! I know my childhood and early adult years were a very important part of who I am today, so I do not regret any of them, but A Girl and Her Dog has many great things to accomplish in the future, and I could not be where I am if I had not taken that first step to become the person I envisioned I could be!
Until next time, my friends!