Every semester, on the first day of class, I always have this impulse to reach out to people. I suppose it’s a desire to make friends, to finally have peers from my classes that I communicate with on a regular basis. Most of the time it usually just ends with me keeping my mouth shut.
I don’t really know what’s wrong with me. I’ve always had a powerful shyness holding me back, some fear that I’ll be looked at as an intruder, that people will reject me with disdain. I suppose it’s rooted in some more general fear of failure, a fear that has haunted me since I was a kid. I can’t say whether this fear is the result of some particular experience, or whether it’s just in my nature, but whichever the case, it’s not something that I wish to keep anymore.
This fear’s effect on me extends well beyond mere friendship making or direct, person to person interactions. E-mail, telephone calls, text messages: in all mediums I find myself bogged down by hesitation and indecision. I’ve kept myself from so many social and career opportunities because of my inability to just open my mouth, to just press “Send.” I wonder how many good friendships have died before reaching the tip of my tongue, how many jobs have passed me by with a couple of strokes of the “Backspace” key. It’s sad really.
I just have this weird tendency to get stuck in my own head, to let my hesitation and fears plague my decisions until they’re dead and gone. I think about so many things, mostly all the things that could go wrong and all the ways I could mess up, that I end up not thinking about what could go right. What I haven’t realized is that, if I fail, if I am rejected, it doesn’t really matter. Pursuing a chance for success and failing is always better than doing nothing at all and having the world pass me by: I might as well have just failed!
My thoughts about this are somewhat cathartic in nature. It feels good to just talk about it, even if not a lot of people are reading or responding. It’s good to just get this all out in the open so I can start to plan my attack. I guess that’s why I’ve had this sudden outburst of communication. I started talking to people I haven’t talked to in a while, sending e-mails to professors who liked my papers, writing blog posts about my not-that-sad life to strangers on the internet. I’m trying to improve my communication skills so that I don’t end up missing out on great opportunities.
I’m done with missing out.