February 25th was one year, to the day, to my coming down to Houston to enter the Menninger Clinic. Before then, I had essentially left grad school, had only a few friends – none nearby – , had serious internal family issues, and had tried to kill myself. Now, a year later, I live in my own apartment. I have a community of friends around, several of whom live in the same apartment complex with me – and we’re making plans for dinner, or something similar, this weekend. I have a job – if not a long-term, lifetime job – and I’m making money and getting experience, while looking for other work. And I have become a lot closer to my family, and we’ve covered a lot of ground that we probably never would have covered otherwise. There’s even the possibility – I hope a strong possibility – of a romantic relationship, something I wouldn’t even have conceptualized a year ago.
But it didn’t just happen, sadly. To get from there to here, I had to do a lot of work, look at a lot of unpleasant truths about myself, and undergo some pretty unpleasant experiences. Being told that, even though I wanted people around me – parents, colleagues, women – to change, that I couldn’t change them, and that the only person I could change was myself, was a big hit to me. There were times that it had to be pretty much beaten into me that there was no easy fix, no magic phrase or technique I could use to change the world around me. I had to look inside myself to see what I could change there, and oddly, as an introvert, I was very unused to introspection.
As an odd segue, being an introvert is one of the things I don’t think I can change about myself. And while there are certainly problems caused by being an introvert, I think I prefer being this way than being an extrovert. While my shyness and social awkwardness haven’t always been friends to me, there are good parts to being an introvert – I find it pretty easy to focus; I tend to be pretty good at assessing other people, even if I can’t always vocalize it; and I tend to approach most situations in a calm, thoughtful manner. But there are certainly things I find often frustrating, and while I could enumerate them myself, I find it is much easier to just let someone who has already done so to say what’s on my mind – ladies and gentlemen, I give you 10 Confessions From An Introvert.