Beachled Black

“Was it a mosquito again?” I consider the possibility just as I tuck myself properly in bed. In that instant, I didn’t feel the warmth of any covering apart from my thick, fuzzy shirt. I open one of my eyes gently only to catch the break of day in my iris. “6 A.M. already?” I uttered as my energy levels leaped from the shock. This was just one of my many confrontations with the sun in our frustrating relationship, but did I have a choice?

For all my life, I was socially inept. Asking for help, let alone approaching someone was a chore. If I were to succeed, what then? How would I maintain the conversation? What about the one after that? And the next? In synergy, my mind and body would come to a complete halt. I barred any opportunity for help and relied on my abilities for my own sake. I found great comfort in my self-sufficiency and to say I felt invincible is an understatement. That, however, I couldn’t prove to anyone but my teachers. 

When the doors to middle school opened, there was a heightened emphasis on group work. My social anxiety prompted me to work alone. Combining that with my fixation on earning perfect marks, my self-proclaimed “self-sufficiency” was put to the test. With a laptop, notebook, and pens in my arsenal, I swept through each task effortlessly. “Done, done, and done,” I said as I reviewed my work with pride. To my dismay, however, I couldn’t preserve the momentum I had hoped to maintain.

Then came high school, and as the years stacked on top of the last, so did the intensity of the labor. I persevered, but perseverance wasn’t enough. Time and time again, I found myself in a staredown with my laptop and an endurance contest with my alarm clock and it was the sun that would greet me first at the start of a new day. While its lustrous aura was often seen as something reassuring, I saw something sinister. It served as a grave reminder of my inability to keep pace and progress socially. Dwelling on it, I realized it was taking a mental and physical toll on me but without self-actualization and initiative, that revelation was in vain.

So, what did I do? I just pushed myself and accepted the inevitable, as simple as that. I befriended people on a whim and though I was reluctant at first, I grew fond of having company and conversing with others on even the most random of things. Some of these friendships never evolved past greetings; however, I developed others that were much more sophisticated and personal. I rose above my social anxiety and from then on my study-life balance improved immensely. I accepted the help of others and returned their generosity when they needed it and I became a happier and healthier person overall. 

No longer was I being taunted by the handicaps I placed on myself. The only regret I have was not acting sooner, but like all regrets, they fade into obscurity in the presence of newer and blissful memories.