Lately, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with new, wonderful people that I have met within the past semester. And with heavy influx of new individuals in my life, I have noticed something about myself.
When I meet someone for the first time, one of three things usually happens.
1.) I end up hiding parts of my personality
2.) I try too hard to be myself, or
3.) I become completely silent in the fear of the previous two pitfalls.
It’s not that I don’t know who I am or that I’m struggling with a false sense of identity— I am still growing in my identity I admit, but isn’t everyone?
What I mean to say is that, when I meet new people I repress myself in hopes that they like me. But the “me” that they interact with during that first meeting—or even after that—is not completely the “Daniel James Araujo” that I am. I do not act like something I am not, to be sure. Instead I repress parts of myself so as to not scare people away.
But I’m not ashamed of who I am. Just sometimes my behavior can become unusual—especially during the late nights after 11 p.m.—and my oddities seem to frighten those that have just met me. At least, that is the impression that I am under.
I will confess that I am louder and more raucous than is usually acceptable in calmer society, and also kind of weird and nerdy. I have weird habits and tendencies that my family and especially Ally can attest to. So I repress this side of me due to an irrational fear that I will alarm someone I have just met. It’s as if I am walking alone in the woods, staring down a fearful deer, which would run away if I should break eye contact or make more disruption to their world than absolutely necessary.
So I become silent, impassive almost, smiling unnecessarily while noticing how often my shoe laces become loose and need retying.
Then other times, I decide to “be myself” and I end up “trying too hard,” which is yet another cliché. This method usually brings about the same results and I feel quite foolish at the same time.
And I know I’m not the only one that deals with this because I see it in the people I know very well, as I introduce them to a circle of my friends they don’t know. They go through this same internal battle and I observe them to see how they handle the situation.
Admittedly, I might come across as a tad over analytical or too sensitive but either way I look at it, this “be yourself” thing is easier said than done.