“Life is very interesting… in the end, some of your greatest pains, become your greatest strengths.” – Drew Barrymore
My heart was beating out of my chest.
This was it. It was the last day of my sophomore year of Highschool. This felt like my last chance to ask a girl I had a crush on out before the school year ended. I had hyped myself up all week for this moment.
I was an awfully shy student in Highschool so this was a big deal for me. There was an assembly on the last day of school and all of my peers were in the auditorium. I took a deep breath, walked to a nearby water fountain, sipped some water and took another deep breath. Before I could stop myself, I turned around, marched inside the auditorium, and spotted the girl sitting with her friends.
My legs were shaking as I stepped one foot in front of the other towards the girl. I slowly sat down next to her, nervously smiled and muttered…
“Hey Amanda, would you like to catch a movie sometime?”
It had only been a couple of seconds but it felt like an eternity. I could see it on her facial expression that she was flabbergasted I had asked her.
She slightly smiled and said: “sure thing, I would like to”
The weight of the world fell off my shoulders as I grinned and said, “great”.
I turned around, galloped out of the auditorium and met up with some friends…
…and I didn’t talk to her again.
One Unforgettable Summer
I had forgotten to get her number and I was too shy to follow up with her on social media. My world came crashing down as I spent that summer frustrated, sad and pissed at myself. Laying down in bed listening to melancholic music became an ordinary day that summer. I hardly got out of bed as I sulked in my misery. When I did get out of bed, I would ride my bike around the neighborhood wondering why I was such a failure.
Why do I get so anxious?
Why am I so quiet?
Why can’t I just be myself?
I was tired of being so nervous. I was fed up with being so shy. I hated being so…afraid to truly express who I was…
Then one summer day, like a gift given to me from the universe, I picked up the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. I devoured the book as my head quickly became filled with new profound ideas. The book talked about paradigms, or our perspectives of the world, and how our paradigms of ourselves could be inhibiting our lives. There was one section that absolutely blew away my malleable young teenage mind…
“You are 100% responsible for your life”
These words hit me like a 5000-pound steel semi-truck. It was something that seemed so obvious in hindsight, but I needed to read it at the time. If I was not happy with my life–I was the only one responsible to change it.
I vowed to make the necessary changes to be able to express myself better. I enrolled myself into public speaking courses, forced myself to ask random strangers what the time was (even though I already knew the time) and to make conversations with the cashiers at every grocery store I visited. Day in and day out for the rest of the summer I kept pushing myself to change.
Each step of the way, every nerve in my body was telling me to not do it and to stay safe but my mind was determined to change. There were a lot of ups and downs, especially when people did not react too kindly to my friendliness, however, I stuck with it and it slowly got easier and easier.
I continued to push myself throughout the rest of high school. It was an arduous process but after putting myself through the fire, by my senior year of high school, I was a completely different person. I actually ended up dating that girl for a bit my senior year of Highschool.
Now, 10 years later, I can effortlessly talk to strangers and express myself. This one event that seemed so big in my teenage head at the time, was such a pivotal moment in my life. I am so grateful for all the self-loathing and angst I felt that summer. It put me on this journey of self-improvement that has enhanced my life for the better.
To anyone looking to make a big change in their life, my advice is to be positive and keep pushing through. You will make it through. I am absolutely sure of it 🙂
About the Author
Brandon Leuangpaseuth is a writer from San Diego, CA that helps various law firms such as Orent Law Offices, PLC across the country with their public relations. You can connect with him on LinkedIn @bleuangpaseuth