“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”Anais Nin
I grew up watching the TV show, Saved By The Bell. On the show, there was a shy, nerdy female high-school character named Violet Bickerstaff. In one episode, the high-school choir heard her sing, and they discovered that she had a beautiful voice. They encouraged her to use her talent so that they could win the choir competition. To this request, she quietly replied, “My goal in life is to blend in.”
When I was in fourth grade, a friend came up to me one day and said, “Wow, Tiffany, you actually talk now. I barely heard you speak one word in second grade.” Like Violet from Saved By the Bell, when I was younger, I just wanted to blend in. I didn’t want to stand out because I never knew what to say and I was scared of embarrassing myself.
In junior high, I remember sitting in front of a cute, sweet boy in Language Arts class. I liked him a lot and will always remember the seventh grade dance when he asked me to be his “girlfriend” and we danced to “Don’t Speak” by Gwen Stefani. Even though I liked him so much, I was so terrified of being the center of attention that I pretended to be sick for a couple of days after the dance so that I wouldn’t have to deal with people gossiping about us. Two days later, I broke up with the poor boy because I felt like people wouldn’t stop talking about us or looking at us. As I write this post, and start to think about various memories of childhood, I can feel sweat start to formulate on my back and my armpits!
I am happy to report that I have changed since then. I don’t feel such a strong need to blend into a crowd anymore. Why? I realized that when I hid myself from the world, it was almost impossible for anyone to know who I really was. Life feels lonely when you don’t feel like anyone knows you or understands you. Also, I now believe that no one was made to just blend in.
You may not have grown up with social anxiety like I did, but you may be living a less-than-stellar life due to fear. You may be playing it safe because you are scared of rejection, failure, getting hurt, or something else. The truth is that life is full of risks. I believe that playing it safe comes with a risk as well—you risk missing out on a life full of adventure and joy.