Age 3: Hiding behind my parents’ back, peeking to see the stranger woman give me a hello, to only wave a quick hand and hide again.
Age 5: Still shy, but stopped hiding behind and tugging my dad’s shirt from the back.
Age 6: Still shy, but every new uncle or aunty at a party knew I was the kid baby-sitter; always around the little kids, trying the hardest to make them all laugh and taking care of them like they were my dolls.
Age 7: Found out my unparalleled passion to public speech, and that became the added on trait people labelled me with – from family friends to people at school. Shy kid and stage lover? It was an opposing juxtaposition, but it describes me more than perfectly.
Age 9: Shier than ever before, but it was unlike ever before; new place, new people, new culture, new language – but constantly trying to maintain the same personality that proved to be the definition of me to the outsiders: calm, composed, a sweetheart.
Age 13: Not shy? Not introverted? What was starting to happen…
Age 14: Making friends was now a constant cake walk. Loud, welcoming, weird, funny, extremely carefree were just few of the phrases my character was shaped by, by the strangers.
Age 15: Shift of place once again – a smaller shift, yes; but a shift, most definitely. In the need of a perfect, new start, I wanted to be pictured with a new sketch. An extrovert, bubbly, always entertaining, constantly chattering, laughing at the littlest of things were not just what I was beginning to sound like, but with each deliberate attempt to be drawn different, I was also discovering myself at each step.
Age 16: New character, new self, new ideas, new self-discoveries tracked the one year. But in place of all the good, came the bad. The deliberate attempts weren’t meant to be fake, and they still weren’t…completely and additionally, with the change, came the physical insecurity. My first impression with another wasn’t going to take place without a planted bright smile, constant voice in my head asking me to make sure conversation wasn’t drying up, eyeliner on and concealer applied.
Age 17: Introspection was the key. Today, I stand so much more confident, and true to myself than ever before. A peoples’ person, truly carefree, a girl who loves to make pleasant talk and conversation and proudly naïve are what I personally describe myself with. The insecurity began to phase out, as I drew myself into watching, reading and writing so much about the modern obsession with beauty. The deliberate attempts mostly faded out, as I realized that I didn’t require the plastic; what I am is better than just right.
First impressions have always been something I place immense importance to. While they’re not necessarily the ones people stick themselves with throughout, they’re definitely the strongest. As someone who may seem to be carefree but holds a giant spot for sensitivity, I have a constant necessity to make sure I’m not disliked at first sight. And second sight. And the third. And so on. But over the past 2 years, while I haven’t had any enemies, there’ve been several misunderstandings and times when I stuck on to what I believed in which may have made another angry. Now, about those changes in impressions: they affect me too, to be honest, but I choose not to show them because to me it’s right versus impressions – I can come to peace when I choose the latter, but not the other.
The journey has been a swirly one, through series of metamorphoses – from an introvert to an extrovert, from being carefree to insecure to bouncing back up incrementally and to finding out a little bit more about life and people to make sure that I’m true to who I am and who I want to be.