|This was not my senior portrait..|
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.