Over the weekend I wrote a very open, honest, and confiding email in response to a close friend. It took a while to write, and I was nervous about sending it and I had to reread it a lot. I was nervous about what I was saying and how it would be received, and even nervous to check my email for the response. I wrote about how I missed her and wanted to talk to her more but that I don’t talk openly in most groups and that when it comes to honest and personal conversations I’m a one-on-one kind of talker. She opened up about something and I told her what I admire about her- her confidence, enthusiasm, humor, and how she is so fun and can draw people into her and be so open with so many people. It turned out to be a really long email even though I could have easily made that email less personal and shorter. But I wanted to open up to her so she could see more of the real me, not just the surface me.
After a very good response (phew!) I wrote back again, and told her about some other things that she probably didn’t know about that seemed ok on the surface. I told her about my conversation about how my biggest insecurity is my shyness and how tired I am of being called shy or quiet after having been told that my entire life. And again, I got a really good response and I was really relieved and happy. She even told me that she doesn’t think that I’m shy or quiet AT ALL! I couldn’t believe it! I think that’s the first time someone’s ever told me that they don’t think I’m shy or quiet, and she’s a very extroverted person too! I’ve heard so many shy or quiet remarks about me over the years that I thought it was painfully obvious that I’m shy, and that no one could ever not think that about me or I’d ever be able to escape that label. But hearing that she thought that was an incredible feeling. I felt like a heavy armored suit had been lifted off me, and I felt a new sense of confidence. It’s not that being shy or quiet is a bad thing, it’s just when you’ve been told that you’re something all this time it really starts to creep into your identity. Maybe it isn’t as obvious as I thought, and isn’t as much of my identity as I think it is. When I saw her in person we were both really happy to see each other and hugged each other tightly.
I never knew opening up could feel so good. I’m putting myself out there and making myself vulnerable, and it’s actually turned out to be a really good thing and I feel so much closer to her now. We were hanging out less and less as the year was ending and I was kind of worried we might lose touch. But now I think being so honest with each other has brought us even closer than before, and I am so happy about that.