just a part of me

I grew up in a world where it was not okay to be quiet–

in some ways, I still live there.

Soccer practices, soccer games,

school hallways, overflowing lunchrooms

family parties,

hanging out with friends.

Being labeled,

The Quiet One

felt like wearing an oversized sweater,

one I could sink into and never be found.

In college,

I spent one night peering into a bar

from a long, underaged line

and met a young man.

I spoke to him for ten minutes,

and he took my phone number

without me realizing it

(but that’s another poem).

He messaged me later

calling me,

Shy Girl.

After living in a locker room

for what felt like the two years prior

seemingly ignored

by supposed friends–

I couldn’t help but accept the label.

Of course,

I am Shy Girl.

Naturally,

I am The Quiet One.

Blurring into the background is just part of the package.

Society wanted personable presidents and extroverted aristocrats;

I was a simple shadow,
my identity

the pen that fell out of my hands.

Was I really ignored for being introverted?

Was I really unaccepted in full

because I’d rather listen to your story

than fill up space with my own?

Is it true

that this happens to children every day?

When we think “micro-aggression”

we often think “race,”

“gender,”

“sexuality.”

I want the conversation to start including

“personality”

because the fact that children can feel unwanted,

not enough,

simply because they are being themselves…

it is not okay in my book.

It’s only when I started writing it myself

that I realized being part “introvert”

is but a simple petal on a flower,

a single leaf on a tree–

it’s just a part of me.

October 1, 2015

Reading about micro-aggressions in graduate school brought up this thought, these memories.   Can you relate? 

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7 thoughts on “just a part of me

  1. I agree so much, RJ… I remember when in the sixth grade and I cringed at going to the school dance. Just didn’t want to go… Most of my close friends were on a soccer team not affiliated with the school I was attending, and it was my first year there, and I was not really comfortable. My math teacher took me out back behind the school one day for a heart-to-heart and told me why I really should go and how I should try and be more comfortable around the girls in our class and how some of the best times in my life would be with women… She meant well. But she wanted me to be like her– bubbling over… WTF…? I think my mother about threw a fit! Ha!

    Why couldn’t my teacher just see that I was being me? That, at the time, a certain quiet figuring of my own soul was okay… That spending the night at the house of one or two close friends I was comfortable with, who shared an interest with me, was all the heaven I needed just then…

    A little earlier than graduate school, but I think the same theme… We’re pushed so often to fit the mold, to be what someone else thinks we can be. Some of it is well-intentioned, and some of it is not seeing what is right in front of us…

    Peace
    Michael

  2. Thanks so much for your comment and sharing your story, Michael. I was actually speaking more towards my childhood/growing up around that time, too,so I can totally understand! People in my life would always push me to be “more social,” as if having a solid group of close friends wasn’t enough. I appreciate those, like yourself, that encourage others to simply be instead.

  3. Nothing wrong with being quiet or shy. Sometimes writers and artists are that way, and they observe our world, to write about it and create art. This is a wonderful poem.

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