Growing up I was shy. Painfully shy at times. I just sat back and watched all the goings on. There were bonuses to this. For example, if I never said anything then I would never say anything stupid. If I kept to myself and didn't let people in, then they couldn't hurt me. The times I did come out of my shell to fit in, I ended up regretting it.
In 6th grade I wanted so desperately to be part of the group of cool girls in my class that I would do anything to have them accept me. One time I agreed to take everyone's change and go into the teacher's lounge and buy sodas for all the girls. This was DEFINITELY NOT allowed. They all were supposed to go with me and stand at the door while I did it. So, as I was putting all the change in and getting 6 sodas, the girls took off running for the playground when they saw a teacher coming. I was left there, dumbfounded, with 6 soda cans in my hand, all alone. I was suspended, of course. Also, my 6th grade teacher started associating me with these girls and then when the time came to recommend classes for me in junior high, she decided I wasn't going to be in the "Honors" classes. I then spent the next 2 years of junior high taking test after test, trying to prove to the teachers that I could handle and Honors English. This all sounds so trivial now, but it was DEVASTATING at the time.
In High School I was in the marching band (that didn't do much for my popularity status, I'll tell ya!). I was just part of the crowd, part of a giant moving crowd, wearing uncomfortable wool uniforms and 10 pound hats on our head in 100 degree heat! But, being in the marching band provided an outlet for my creativity without forcing me to "put myself out there" too much. My last 2 years in high school I played in the orchestra pit for the school musicals. I wanted so badly to be one of the girls on the stage, starring in the musical, but there was no way I would ever be able to stand in front of hundreds of people with them all looking at me. I would literally just die.
In college I started to come out of my shell a little more. It helped that no one knew me. No one knew who I really was. I could more easily express myself and who I was without all the judgement. You see, living in a small town everyone knows you. And if they don't know you, they know your mom, your dad, your siblings, your best friend, your grandma, your dentist. So, people always think they know who you are. In college I didn't have to worry about that. I felt so comfortable just letting loose and being me, but then I had to explain the "new" Heidi to my parents when they would come visit. And how, when people would hear about the "new" Heidi back at home, what would they say??? Oh... the horror!!
Well, I slowly started to become more outgoing. The shy Heidi was in the past. I was enjoying it! But lately I have remembered the benefits of being a recluse, and unfortunately the downside of putting yourself out there. I have also realized that no matter how old you get, women/girls are mean. I have had to come to an agreement with myself that I wouldn't let someone else's opinion of me determine what I thought of myself.
I have to pick myself up by my boot straps every morning and tell myself who's opinion really matters. These 3 beautiful little children looking up at me with these huge, love filled eyes... they matter. What they think of me really matters. I know they love me (even though they really have no other choice) and I know they need me (again... no other choice).
But, its hard. I don't think it ever gets any easier, either. I think I will still be thinking to myself, "What is her problem? Why doesn't she like me?" in 50 years as I am sitting at the "home" playing canasta. That is an exhausting thought! Another 50 years of insecurities? No wonder women are so complicated!
But, men do not have these issues. They don't care who likes them. They don't sit and stew about which guy is talking about them behind their back. They don't worry if their butt looks bigger in their jeans than the guy standing next to them. They don't keep grudges, either. Their lives are so much easier!
So, what are the positives in this situation? Hmmm.... hold on... I'll come up with one.....
I have one... I would NEVER want to be a man. I would have to give up the clothes and accessories and hair! No more handbags. No more Bloomingdales. No child bearing (hmmm... that might not be on the plus side after all). Men have too much hair in all the wrong places and they smell. Their feet are not attractive. They go bald. Women are smarter and have the ability to multi-task. There... with all of the positives of being a girl I guess it is only fair that we have some negatives, too.