Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the shyest of them all? Yeah, that would be me. * raises hand * “You? Shy?” Whenever I try to tell people about my “shy past”, they look at me in doubt like I’ve just just told them the world is actually flat. Or that Kim Kardashian is actually famous for something more than her rear. Or that socks and sandals are actually okay. I’m here to tell you my story about having an extrovert’s heart with an introvert’s mind.
Balancing Being an Extrovert and Introvert
A lot of human beings are born introverts. It doesn’t matter who their parents are, where they are raised, or how beautiful their eyes are. They may just naturally be shy and a-okay with it. They may have no desire to change and that is perfectly acceptable. Do you, boo. But my story is a little different. I had an extrovert’s heart living in an introverts’ mind. I’m not sure if I was extremely self-conscious with teen angst or suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder – but I knew I needed to overcome it. Ten years later, I didn’t just overcome it – I conquered it. My happiness in high school was based solely on how many people I could muster up the courage to say hi to in class (god forbid, in the hallway). But mostly, I was silent. Literally. I couldn’t even raise my hand when the teacher took attendance.
My mother once got a call at the end of the year from the attendance office, saying I had only been in class half of that year. But I was in class every day, I told her – I was just too embarrassed to raise my hand for roll call because I knew, for five seconds, all eyes would be on me until I said “here.” Seems silly, right? Well for me, it was paralyzing. In the eighth grade, the one time I did answer a question voluntarily – a boy stood up, pointed, and said – “Look, IT talked.” Kids these days (eye roll – commence with anti-bullying tactics). I instantly shrunk into my chair and spent the next 24 hours debating whether to switch schools and dye my hair purple (great disguise Sonia). As you can see, my timidness consumed me and I battled it daily.
How to Come Out of Your Shell – Embrace the Extrovert’s Heart and Introvert’s Mind
2010: I made it through high school and was relieved to start over fresh in a new environment. Someone had approached me at the mall to try out modeling with their company. I scoffed at them – until I actually went through with it. Turns out the company was a scam, but the opportunities I got out of it were certainly not. How did I jump into it? I slowly began writing down a list of goals which I glanced at daily. Also, I preached positive affirmations to myself and others. I surrounded myself with loud and vivacious souls.
I accepted my body and my mind, as a work in progress. Before I knew it, I was asked to be an actress in a soda commercial. Then, I modeled for Macy’s on their runway. I tried voice-overs for audio books. I helped produce a tv show for Kato Kaelin. Finally, I became a publicist for celebrities like Terry Crews and Eva Longoria. I wasn’t afraid to let myself be seen or be heard anymore. Eyes and ears zoned in on me constantly, and I loved it. By 22 years old, my social paranoia became social excitement – and it gave me the greatest joy.
Who I Am Today
I am 25 years old now and I cannot believe how far I’ve come. Occasionally, I find triggers that make me want to recede back into my shell. But it’s rare not to find me in big crowds, at the center of conversations, or rocking the life of the party. I am blessed that I have been able to see both sides of the personality spectrum and it has allowed me to appreciate all types of people.
The objective of this post is not to make you think that modeling will always solve the difficulties that come with being shy. Nor that to be successful you have to be outgoing or a model. The last thing I want to do is make you feel bad for being who you are. This is more for those of you who desire to be so much greater than you feel you are right now, whose personalities are screaming to be set free, who cannot seem to get past the insecurities in your own minds … Take baby steps, find the outlets that force you to come out of your comfort zone, surround yourself with good people, and most importantly – never give up. Now, I feel I have both an extrovert’s heart and an introvert’s mind. But in the best way possible! A little of both.
Why blend in, when you are born to stand out? XO