“You’re so quiet.” The words that I’ve heard so many times before echo around in my head. When I try to sleep it’s all I can hear; my mind trying desperately think of ways I can come across as less quiet. Learn the art of small talk, make more of an effort, don’t only speak when it’s necessary.
Throughout my life, my quietness has been equated with low confidence. And, as a result I’ve become attached to the view that other people have of me, that I’m not confident, that I feel uncomfortable in social situations. As a child I was incredibly confident but I was still quiet. However, as the years have gone on, the way people see me has become the way I see myself.
At the age of 24, I’m now trying desperately to make it look like I’m not quiet. Daily I try so hard to not come across as quiet because for the whole duration of my life, quiet has been a negative. An insult. An aspect of my personality that has become my whole personality. “You’re so quiet,” has become my mantra. I’m quiet, don’t pay me attention.
I’m quiet has turned into I’m insular. I’m quiet has turned into saying no to party invitations, begging not to ever be asked a question, not out of a fear that I’ll do or say something stupid but out of a fear I’ll just end up being the way I’ve always been: too damn quiet. But now that effort I put in to seem like I’m not ‘too quiet’ is overwhelming me. I can’t fully take in what someone is saying to me because I’m so conscious of my body language, eye contact, what I’m saying. And it’s so anxiety inducing.
I’m quiet and that was never a negative to me. I’m not brash, I’m not loud. I never speaking without thinking. These are aspects of my personality that I’m proud of, features that I thought people would value, but as I’ve grown older, it seems that this is not the case.
Being quiet makes me stand out when the thing I want least is to be the centre of attention. It makes me seem rude when I’m not butting into people’s conversations because I don’t want to be rude. Being quiet feels like a minefield and it’s one that I don’t feel adequately equipped to deal with.