I’ve spent so much of my life afraid.
Afraid of everything–anything that was different, anything outside my comfort zone, new people and ideas.
Perhaps it came from my own social anxiety and perhaps there was something more….but if there’s anything, I’m a pro at being uncomfortable.
I always felt like there was something inherently different about myself. Not in the “you’re special” type of way but more that I didn’t connect with anyone. I still struggle to build meaningful relationships with people today.
I’ve always been exceptionally independent, but for some reason, growing up, I thought that was weird. I thought being an introvert was weird.
I couldn’t accept myself so I looked for someone else to latch on to.
Enter sexually and emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend of almost two years.
I had never been in a relationship before and I felt like I needed one more than anything in the world. I had my first kiss at 18, and I was kind of ashamed of that. I desired a reationship in high school and there were some potential suitors. But I was sooooo shy it just never happened.
So, when I saw ex-boyfriend in my orientation group at college in the fall of 2011, I decided to pursue him. He was attractive. Quiet. But I was curious.
I don’t regret my relationship with him. I wouldn’t be the person I am without it. He never meant to hurt me. We recently chatted after graduation and he told he felt terrible for what he did to me. Which I knew. I could always tell. I’m perceptive like that.
We were both so immature.
We didn’t know what we were doing.
We didn’t know we were hurting each other in the process.
That relationship left a lot of damage. I hated him for a while. I was afraid to ever have sex again. I felt so used and so unloved. We broke up in August 2013. In January 2014, I sunk into a deep depression. For five months, the world was the darkest it’s ever been. I was scared. I was alone. I had thoughts of suicide and they scared the shit out of me.
I’m not 100% sure why that period happened. I know part of it was excess emotions and feelings from that relationship. You have no idea how worthless I felt near its end.
I found so much of myself during that time. The last year and a half has been this period of immense growth for me. I interned in Washington D.C. and learned so much from my roommates there and from my overall experience there. I started blogging regularly and developed a great online community. So many people who I’ve never met before are supporting me. It’s amazing.
I’ve dealt with a lot of different emotions in the last year. I started doing yoga and I’m so attentive to my own being. After months of freaking out over what to do with my life post graduation, I realized why? Why do I have to know what I want to with my life now?
My internship at the Smithsonian led me to a general interest in education. I’ve always wanted to live abroad. With all I’ve been through in the past year, Thailand made sense.
More opportunities for learning and growth. That’s what I need now. I want to push myself in new ways. I’m comfortable with myself now–that’s what I learned during my college years. Now I want to be comfortable with the world.
I’m tired of being scared.
Yesterday in my TESOL course, we were asked to write why we decided to come to Thailand to teach English. How we found ourselves in that room preparing to learn how to become ESL teachers abroad at that moment. Our responses were supposed to dig deeper than simply “I wanted to travel” or “I wanted adventure.” There was supposed to be substance to them.
This is my response to the question.
I ended up sharing my response (rather nervously) in front of the class and now I want to share it in the blogosphere.