I realized recently that I'm way cooler than I let myself be in high school.
Right about now you're probably thinking, "Wow. Modest much?"or "Duh! No one's cool in high school!" But hear me out.
I was very shy and insecure in high school. There were plenty of things I wanted to do that I just never had the guts to do. I was really involved in speech and drama, but mostly behind the scenes. If I got a part it was minuscule, and while I was ecstatic to have the part, it also created a sense of sheer panic. That insecurity made it easier to hide behind other people. Not in a debilitating way, but in a way that shaped my taste in music, or clothing, or hobbies. I usually felt comfortable being around my friends, around what felt familiar. If they liked a certain band, sure, so did I. If they loved horrible B horror movies from the 70's, sure, why not? To some extent, this continued through college.
But at some point in my twenties, something clicked. I started to realize what I liked, and I was ok with it. I was comfortable with it. I could do things, new things, on my own, and it didn't send me into a panic. After I had Ellie, even more of those old insecurities went out the window. I was comfortable with me.
I realize this is all a work in progress, and when I think back I'm actually grateful for the time I spent following. If I had been stubbornly set in my ways, and my habits, and my preferences, I wouldn't have discovered music I still love today, I wouldn't have learned that I'm terrible at first person shooter video games, or that I hate B horror movies from the 1970s (or all horror movies for that matter…much to my husband's dismay).
I see Ellie, and all her shyness, and sometimes I worry that she'll go through school as timid and insecure as I did. While I came out with a few positives, it took me until my late 20's to find my confidence. I'm hoping she gets there a little faster.