Here I am today, 30 years old. At times, I feel like the character Jennifer Garner plays in the movie 13 Going on 30, because I feel like I still have a shy, awkward, teenage version of me lurking somewhere inside my body. Actually, I know she does, because she manifests herself, often unannounced and at the worst moments.
I spent my high school years feeling a little off, a little too tall, too skinny, too many things. Because of this, I forced myself into positions where I had no choice but to face my fears. I signed up for acting classes just to prove to myself that I could be confident. I think my teacher often asked herself, What is this girl doing in my class? Instead of appearing confident, what happened most of the time? It showcased my unease; it negatively affected my acting. My teacher, in her confusion and frustration, barked at me once: "Make friends!" If you're a shy teenager, you know that worsens the situation. I just wasn't as outgoing as the others.
Here is a grand example of how my shyness affected my acting—I was given one line to speak in a play. There was only one other girl who had one line out of the whole class. What did I do when it was my turn to speak? I spoke her line! Not my own! It didn't matter how many times I practiced my ONE line. Wow, right? I know.
So, today, as a 30 year old, I still find these moments creep up, where I feel out of place and shy. It doesn't matter how many times I have faced my fears, this shy girl will come out sometimes and say, think, or do the darndest things that embarrass the heck out of me.
Looking back, I appreciate the fact that as a teenager I stepped out of my comfort zone and took acting classes. The more we put ourselves out there, the easier it gets. What happened after graduation? I got the lead role in a community play.
Through all of these experiences, I can come to one conclusion: That teenage girl will never leave and I should embrace her and all her dorky and awkward little quarks. I think those who know me best can appreciate these characteristics as well.