3.03.2016

About Being the New Girl and How I'm No Brenda Walsh

So, I've written a lot about this recent move--about experiencing the last of things, looking to the future, and such. What occupies my thoughts these days is the sensation of being "the new girl."

This was not my senior portrait..
I haven't felt this way since I was 16 and moved semi-cross country to a new state, new neighborhood, and new school. My experience was... meh. Needless to say, 90210 lied to us. In a few months time, I was certainly not hanging with the popular girls, getting courted by the hottest guy in school, and hey, where was my Peach Pit hang out? Yeah, I was no Brenda Walsh. It went about as well as you'd expect in real life. I fumbled through loneliness for a couple of years until I graduated and started a far more social life in college.

Good news is, being the new girl is much better this time around. Twenty-two years later, I am not on this adventure alone. I have two of the best extroverts I know by my side: my husband and my daughter. Both have never met a stranger, and they connect with ease. My husband introduced me to the people he already knew here over the years prior to our arrival, so when I landed, there was a community waiting (who, by the way, have been amazingly open and embracing). And my daughter ushered me into a new universe called "Mommy-land" where I'm constantly and pleasantly surprised how much I have in common with other women simply because we are parents.

So what's my deal? I am in the jackpot of all "new girl" situations. I should have no complaints, and truly, I don't.

The deal is, though, somewhere inside, I'm still that insecure 16-year-old girl at lunch period scanning the room for someone to eat with.

I meet people and obsess over whether they like me. I ask myself, am I making a good impression? Are any of my jokes landing? Even in this situation where people are openly warm and receiving, I'm still self-conscious that I'll say something stupid and ruin it all. Seriously, I may look normal, but I'm an Anxiety Cat meme on the inside.

See, being comfortable in your own skin takes on a whole different meaning when making friends. You want to be liked. You want them to think you're cool. Because nobody wants to eat lunch alone (well, actually, as an introvert, yes, sometimes you do, but not all the time). 

And at my age, I'm too old to pretend to be someone I'm not. So, what you're getting is pretty spot on. I'm funny and awkward. I'm reserved, but kind. I suck at small talk. When I ask you questions, I really listen to you, because I want to know you. There's also a good chance that my poor short-term memory is due to knowing way too many popular song lyrics.

Let it be said, I know I am loved. I belong to God. My husband adores me. My daughter thinks I'm her butler. My family both near and far are close to my heart, and I know my friends across the country have not forgotten me. I'm not sixteen any more (praise the Lord).

So, I muster up my courage and show up in my new community. I graciously accept social outings and extend those invitations as well. I'll be a friend and see what happens. Like I said before, the tribe doesn't form over night, but this is how it begins.

~jennifer.

3 comments:

  1. I love that I am part of that community waiting for you. I sincerely call you friend.

    And I'm right there with you, scanning the lunch room. If you see me, wave me over, and I'll do the same. :)

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  2. Introverts of the world unite! (Quietly and in small numbers.) ;)

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  3. I totally know what you're talking about--that Anxiety Cat meme is eerily spot-on.

    And I like what you said about reaching an age where we just are what we are, I only wish it happened sooner. I think a lot of us are beautiful little weirdos with so much in common, but we don't know because we're afraid to show our weird!

    ReplyDelete

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