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Getting to Know Me

Summer is a time for plenty of social opportunities. But what do you do if you don’t fit into this picture? Teens write in to TeenPages about “fitting in.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

getting

Photo: Shutterstock

My Name is Chavah 

As told to Bluma Schur 

Hi, I’m Chavah. Even though you might be in my class, I’m sure you don’t know me very well. We don’t talk to each other much, but I probably once gave you a set of my notes for you to photocopy for a final or test. I’m the one who sits stiffly behind her desk all day, obediently writing down every word the teacher says. The one who you’ll find standing in the corner at the school Chagigah or sitting on the sidelines at the class Melaveh Malkah. I’m that girl. The quiet one. The introvert. The socially awkward one. 

I know what you’re probably thinking. That I don’t talk because we don’t share any common interests. That I don’t dance at the school Chagigah because I don’t like dancing. But it’s not true. I’m a kid just like you. I love to dance and sing in the rain until my throat hurts and eat chocolate sundaes during a blizzard and play the guitar late into summer nights. I dream and joke and laugh and cry. At home, in the comfort of my family, I’m queen. I talk and laugh and dance without a care in the world. It’s outside of the home where the problem begins.

Photo: Shutterstock

Outside of my comfort zone, I’m a caged butterfly. I’m terribly, painfully shy. Unfamiliar faces frighten me. Large, noisy crowds overwhelm me. When I try to talk in front of others, I’m suddenly filled with shame and the words just get stuck in my throat. And I blush and stammer until tears fill my eyes. I wish I wasn’t this way. I wish I didn’t get frustrated at myself all the time. And I wish that I wasn’t ignored. Sometimes, when everyone around me is just talking to everyone else and pretending I’m not there, I just want to scream out loud and clear for the whole world to hear, “I’m a normal person, too! I have what to say! I have an opinion! I also have dreams and hopes and fears!” But words, as always, fail me. 

I’m certainly not the best public speaker, but trust me, I make a good friend. I’ll probably never know how to be the life of the party, but I know how to comfort you when no one else even notices you’re sad. I might not be the biggest talker, but I’m a great listener. 

I’m not sure if you know me. But I’m sure that one day, you’ll notice someone out there who’ll remind you of me. Maybe, she’ll be the one sitting at the corner table during lunch, or the one hanging out on the bleachers in the camp gym instead of sitting on the floor with the rest of the group. When you see her, she won’t say anything, but I’ll talk for her now: Please, don’t ignore me. I’m here and I see you. Talk to me. I can’t promise that I’ll give you a mouthful, but I have open ears and an open heart. Just give me a chance.

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