In my essay, I figured out a way to form a story to reach audiences that relate to me and don’t relate to me. People that relate to my experiences can get a sense that they aren’t the only ones that feel the way I do. But I also want the people that don’t relate to get an understanding of the point of view I live in. The people that don’t relate can gain knowledge of how it feels to live in the world as a person who isn’t confident enough to publicly speak. Throughout this phase and assignment, I’ve been able to express any thoughts I have. Being able to freely express my thoughts has been the most meaningful thing I’ve experienced when it comes to school related subjects. Besides being able to express my thoughts, I feel like finding an audience has been the most impactful to my writing practice.
I never felt the need to find an audience when I wrote until I began this assignment. Now that I know I should probably target an audience, it has changed my way of thinking when writing. I analyze and think about who would be interested in my story and whose attention I primarily want to draw. Finding an audience has and will probably improve my writing significantly. Referring to the Course Learning Outcomes, one thing did help me best. “Develop strategies for reading, drafting, collaborating, revising, and editing.” During class and while writing this narrative, I listened to feedback on how to improve. I have also reread my drafts many times to see ways I can possibly improve it to fit an audience. I found that it helped my writing be a little more interesting and prevented me from getting lazy from the amount of writing I had to do. Anyways, I worked as best as I could on this narrative, and I enjoyed doing it.
It was parent-teacher conference night that took place in my middle school. I felt uneasy since I mostly knew what to expect. I was still in my school uniform, a navy-blue polo shirt and khaki-colored pants since I was just previously dismissed only a few hours beforehand. I sat and waited for my turn with my mom. It took a little while before we met with one of my teachers, first being my English teacher. Once we sat across from my middle aged, white English teacher, the previous lingering uneasiness grew stronger.
I knew I didn’t participate or speak much but my English teacher didn’t seem to mind during class time. Before I knew it, my teacher commented on my quietness and how she wishes I spoke more. “Adriana is a bit quiet..” She tried making it better by saying she knows I’m a smart kid after seeing my mom’s expression change to slight disappointment. “I know she has great ideas. I’d love to hear more from her!” Long story short, my mom ended up scolding me later on about speaking and participating in class. I still refused to do any of those two things in class besides write on a piece of paper.
Ever since I can remember, I never spoke much. I often observed rather than speak my thoughts and opinions. As a child, it has felt embarrassing to speak out loud to new people, especially adults. It felt like I would constantly get judged, or I was worried about people’s thoughts on what I had to say. My lack of speaking often caused people to say, “You’re so shy!” or “You’re so quiet!” These phrases always bothered me. It felt like I was being pushed past my limit to speak in moments I didn’t need to. Sometimes, my mom would get frustrated with me when I refused to speak to adults that I’ve never seen before. I was never able to bring myself to talk to anyone so freely.
But I am much more talkative with people I am close with. These people tend to respect me and my comfort zone. I feel like they are non-judgmental which helps my nerves go away when I’m around them. On the other hand, I can barely bring myself to meet new people to become closer and comfortable with them. It’s like I can barely remember how to even meet new people. Lacking these sorts of skills kind of prevents me from having more people I’m comfortable with, forcing me to mostly stick with the same people I’ve known for years.
I never spoke in class during my years in school. The feeling of being stared at didn’t sit right with me so I did my best to avoid it. There has been some instances where a teacher would call me out to answer a question because they wanted to hear from someone new. I remember the feeling of my body heating up from feeling nervous and embarrassed. Being called out often made me internally panic since I felt like every answer I would say could be wrong. If my answer is wrong, I felt like I would be laughed at and made fun of. Although, teachers did have some complaints about my lack of participation, I felt like it wasn’t absolutely needed to pass my classes.
I believe many people can relate to my feelings and experience. It’s not easy to push past your own limitations, but it can take time. Many people should begin to acknowledge that not everyone is a talkative person. There’s this expectation that everyone will be willing to openly talk and laugh with people they’ve never met. But, if talkative people run into quiet and reserved people, they more than likely take offense. Quiet and reserved people like myself are often mistaken as rude or uninterested. Most of the time it’s the complete opposite.
Speaking on behalf of the people that are quiet and reserved, they most likely don’t know how to properly socialize with new people. They probably feel like they should watch what they say or how their tone is since it’s not a person that they’ve known their whole lives. Personally, I believe it’s unfair for openly talkative people to expect quiet people to speak up more. Someone shouldn’t be pushed out of their comfort zone before they are ready to. It can be suggested to the person, but it could be stressful for a quiet person being forced to speak up way sooner than they’re ready to.
I realized that I need to push myself past my limits to connect to larger social realities. For example, I will be meeting new people everywhere I go. It could be in a store, workplace, or school. If it’s either in a school or workplace, I may need to work with one or more people which would be much easier if I practiced speaking more. Realizing I need to speak more also relates to my future career path as a veterinarian. I’ll be meeting new people every single day and it’ll be mandatory to communicate with them as well as team members instead of avoiding them. Practicing speaking has felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders but, it’s still extremely hard at times.
Getting older has helped a lot. I have slowly begun to ease out of my social anxiety and talk a bit more freely than I ever had before as a child. Maybe I just needed to mature some more. There’s no real reason as to how or why I was able to slowly ease out of my social anxiety. Besides finding a reason, life has been easier to navigate. I find out about new opportunities, facts, or places that I’ve never seen or heard before. Relating to my shyness, here are a few funny posts I’ve seen that I personally relate to.